Mike Leake could return from hamstring strain on Sunday

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July 31 trade deadline pickup Mike Leake made only one start for the Giants before landing on the 15-day disabled list August 3 because of a left hamstring strain. But everything appears to be trending in the right direction now with that injury.

According to Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com, the right-hander made it through a bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis without issue and could return to the Giants’ starting rotation for Sunday Night Baseball at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

Leake, 27, owns a cool 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 95/36 K/BB ratio over 143 innings (22 starts) this season between Cincinnati and San Francisco. He can become a free agent in November.

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.