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Joey Gallo will not participate in Home Run Derby

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Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo will not participate in the 2019 Home Run Derby next week, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Gallo missed more than three weeks in June due to a strained left oblique. Understandably, neither Gallo or the Rangers want to risk aggravating the oblique issue.

Gallo, 25, has been one of the game’s better power hitters this season, batting .286/.426/.683 with 20 home runs and 46 RBI in 238 plate appearances. He finished with 40 home runs in each of the last two seasons. Needless to say, Gallo is an obvious candidate for the Home Run Derby. One of these days we’ll see him in there.

There are six confirmed contestants for the Derby thus far: The Indians’ Carlos Santana, the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Brewers’ Christian Yelich, the Mets’ Pete Alonso, the Pirates’ Josh Bell, and the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. The other two contestants will be confirmed by 10 PM ET tomorrow.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

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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.