Yasiel Puig to begin rehab assignment Thursday

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Some very good news here for the Dodgers …

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that injured outfielder Yasiel Puig has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday with the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Puig will serve as the DH in his first couple rehab games before eventually testing his hamstring in the outfield.

The 24-year-old Cuban has officially been on the shelf since April 25 with a left hamstring strain, but the injury first began bothering him in early April. He figures to rejoin the Dodgers’ active roster by the middle of next week.

Puig was batting .279/.380/.465 with two home runs and four RBI in 11 games this season.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.