The big news from Wednesday involves Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, and it is again the bad kind of update.
Strasburg left his start Wednesday night against the Braves -- his first start back from a mysterious right elbow injury -- after grimacing on a delivery to Ender Inciarte in the top of the third inning. He walked off the mound with his glove covering his face, visibly frustrated and possibly coming to grips with the growing notion that his 2016 season may well be finished.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker told reporters after the game that Strasburg “felt a pinch” in the back of his right elbow and will undergo an MRI on Thursday morning. There will be no further news until those results are reviewed by team doctors sometime Thursday afternoon.
Strasburg hadn’t appeared on a major league mound since August 17, when he was lit up for nine earned runs over 1 2/3 innings by the Rockies. He landed on the disabled list a week later. Including the one run Strasburg surrendered over 2 1/3 official innings on Wednesday versus Atlanta, the 28-year-old right-hander has now been charged with 20 earned runs over his last 14 innings covering only four starts. That is a 12.86 ERA.
Strasburg underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery back in 2010, after his rookie season.
He signed a massive seven-year, $175 million contract extension with Washington this past May.
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Cotton Cruises In Major League Debut
Jharel Cotton was having a relatively underwhelming 2016 when the Dodgers included him in an August 1 trade for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. But the 24-year-old right-hander from the U.S. Virgin Islands has made big statement after big statement since becoming a member of the A’s organization.
Cotton nearly threw a perfect game in his second start for Triple-A Nashville back on August 9, retiring the first 26 batters he faced, and he worked 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in his major league debut Wednesday afternoon against the Angels.
Anaheim’s lineup did not include Mike Trout or Albert Pujols -- manager Mike Scioscia rested his two biggest stars for the second Wednesday in a row -- but it was still an impressive two-hit outing from the up-and-excelling Cotton. The one run he allowed came in the top of the seventh inning when C.J. Cron connected for a solo home run that climbed just over the wall in center field at Oakland Coliseum. Cotton threw 102 pitches, 70 for strikes, while whiffing three Anaheim hitters.
According to Mike Selleck, the baseball information manager for the Oakland Athletics, Cotton is the first A’s pitcher since Porter Vaughan in June 1940 to go six-plus innings and yield two or fewer hits in his MLB debut. The same Porter Vaughan who lost much of his baseball prime to World War II.
Cotton is a former 20th-round pick who had a 4.90 ERA in 97 1/3 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City before the Dodgers traded him away. He’s never been on a top-100-prospects list and he probably won’t crack any leading into 2017. But he did register a 2.82 ERA and 36/7 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 innings with Nashville and he does have 499 career strikeouts in 447 career minor league innings.
Cotton also gets a decent matchup next week on the road against a Royals offense that ranks 24th in runs scored.
Benintendi Back In Action Next Week?
As relayed Wednesday by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, injured Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi could be ready to come off the disabled list during the team’s next homestand -- which begins Monday against the Orioles.
Benintendi suffered a serious-looking left knee sprain just two weeks ago at Tropicana Field, but he was fitted with a brace on Tuesday that has allowed him to resume all baseball activities and the Red Sox are considering sending him to one of their playoff-bound minor league affiliates this weekend for a couple of live rehab games. At one point thought to be done for the season, Benintendi is now trending confidently toward a September 12-18 return.
The young outfielder was batting .324/.365/.485 through 74 major league plate appearances prior to the injury.
National League Quick Hits: Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz (thumb) has moved his minor league rehab assignment to Double-A Springfield … Jose Reyes finished 2-for-5 with a homer, a stolen base, and two runs scored in the Mets' defeat of the Reds on Wednesday afternoon in Cincinnati … Starling Marte was held out of the Pirates’ starting lineup on Wednesday night due to ongoing back spasms … Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco is day-to-day with a jammed right thumb … Matt Holliday (thumb) has been cleared to resume baseball activities and will aim to rejoin the Cardinals in 2-3 weeks … Scott Kazmir left his rehab start Wednesday at Triple-A Oklahoma City with neck and rib pain … Marlins right-hander Andrew Cashner was dominant over 5 1/3 innings against the Phillies on Wednesday, striking out nine batters without allowing a run … Jonathan Villar blasted a pair of solo homers to help the Brewers edge the Cubs on Wednesday … Joe Ross (shoulder) is expected to throw around 80 pitches in a simulated game later this week at Nationals Park … Giants activated Jake Peavy (back) from the disabled list and will use him in long relief initially … Jung Ho Kang finished 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in the Pirates' defeat of the Cardinals on Wednesday … Marlins slugger Justin Bour (ankle) made his first start since July 2 on Wednesday night against the Phillies and went 1-for-3 with a single … Gerardo Parra left Wednesday's game against the Giants with a strained right hamstring … Nationals activated infielder Stephen Drew from the disabled list … Dansby Swanson went 2-for-4 and homered for the second straight day in an extra-inning loss to the Nationals on Wednesday … Pirates catcher Elias Diaz will miss the remainder of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to clean up an infection in his leg.
American League Quick Hits: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is expected to miss at least the next 2-3 days with a sprained left shoulder … Chris Tillman (shoulder) remains on track to return to the Orioles' rotation on Sunday … Yan Gomes is scheduled to catch at Triple-A Columbus on Thursday and should then return to the Indians’ active roster … Twins center fielder Byron Buxton homered again and doubled again on Wednesday night against the Royals … Yoan Moncada was held out of action Wednesday after striking out in seven straight at-bats between Monday and Tuesday … Rays shortstop Matt Duffy has been shut down for the remainder of the 2016 season with a lingering left Achilles injury … Yulieski Gurriel went 2-for-4 and hit his first home run as a major leaguer on Wednesday versus the Indians … Trevor Plouffe is likely done for the season with intercostal and oblique strains … An MRI taken on Dallas Keuchel’s left shoulder showed no major structural damage … Kevin Kiermaier finished 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in the Rays' defeat of the Orioles on Wednesday … Yankees right-hander Bryan Mitchell fired five scoreless innings Wednesday in a win over the Blue Jays … Yunel Escobar (hand) could return Friday … Orioles setup man Darren O'Day (shoulder) threw 26 pitches off a mound Wednesday … Red Sox lefty David Price picked up his 15th win after holding the Padres to two runs in seven innings on Wednesday … Cody Allen allowed a base hit but struck out three batters while protecting a one-run lead in the ninth inning to earn a save versus the Astros on Wednesday … Yankees placed right-hander Chad Green (forearm) on the disabled list, ending his season … Tim Lincecum will not be called back up by the Angels this season … The Red Sox juggled their weekend rotation to allow Drew Pomeranz extra rest … Cory Rasmus (abdomen) is scheduled to pitch an inning for rookie-level Orem on Thursday.