Stephen Strasburg ruled out Friday with upper back issue

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was pulled after four rough innings Sunday against the Marlins with discomfort in his upper back, and now the issue is going to cost him his next rotation turn.

Tanner Roark will be recalled from High-A Potomac to pitch in place of Strasburg Friday against the Braves, per CSNWashington.com’s Mark Zuckerman. Strasburg has been able to play catch the last two days without issue, but the Nationals want to see him pitch off a mound before they clear him to return and he won’t do that until Thursday.

Strasburg could pitch at some point this weekend versus Atlanta if the mound workout does go well.

Washington entered play Wednesday with a 6 1/2 game deficit in the National League East standings.

A four-game weekend set with the 54-79 Braves should provide an opportunity to gain some ground.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.