Max Scherzer
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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.

Astros trade Jake Marisnick to the Mets

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The Mets and Astros have announced that they’ve completed a trade. The Mets will get outfielder Jake Marisnick from the Astros in exchange for outfielder Kenedy Corona and lefty Blake Taylor.

Marisnick, a seven-year big league veteran, has never hit all that much — his career line is .227/.280/.380 — but he’s a very strong defender at all three outfield positions and can run a good bit. That makes him a decent bench option at least. To the extent the Mets rely on him to be more than a bench guy they’ll get diminishing returns, but the Astros used him a good deal more than your standard 4-5th outfielder and that worked out fine. Really, having a no-hit, plus-defending center fielder is something that even contenders can deal with, even if you’d like some more offense.

Taylor is organizational depth. He turns 25 next season and has only pitched 50 innings above A-ball. Corona was an international signee last year so he’s not near contributing to a contender like Houston.