Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta sent a scare through Wrigleyville on Monday when he limped off the field in the third inning of his start at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park while grabbing at the back of his right leg.
But the injury might only cost Arrieta one turn in the starting rotation.
An MRI exam taken Tuesday afternoon showed a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, the least-severe type of hamstring strain a player could suffer. Arrieta should be fine in 7-10 days, meaning he should return to action sometime next week. Mike Montgomery will take his spot Saturday against the Brewers, with Kyle Hendricks handling the big series finale versus Milwaukee on Sunday.
Arrieta had a mediocre first half -- he was sporting a 4.67 ERA at the end of June -- but the 31-year-old right-hander boasts an ace-like 2.01 ERA over his last 12 starts covering 71 2/3 innings.
This final stretch of the regular season looms large for Arrieta, who is set to become a free agent in November. He might also get another opportunity to strut his stuff in the playoffs, with the Cubs currently holding a three-and-a-half game lead over the Brewers and a four-game game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central standings.
“Things happen,” Arrieta told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com on Tuesday night. “I think it’s good that if it had to happen – if it was going to happen – now is better than in a couple weeks. Use the next week to work with the training staff and do some things for mobility, stability and then strength. … It stinks to miss any time at all, but it should be short.”
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Harper Does First On-Field Workout
We have our first promising rehab update on Nationals superstar Bryce Harper, who’s been sidelined since August 12 because of a bone bruise in his left knee and a muscle strain in his left calf -- injuries he suffered when he slipped on a wet first base bag and landed awkwardly.
Harper played catch in the outfield Tuesday at Marlins Park in his first baseball-related workout since he was placed on the disabled list August 13. “It’s very encouraging,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said afterward. “You see him doing light baseball activities, you know he’s on the way.”
The big hurdle for Harper will obviously be running and agility drills, but there is at least a light at the end of the tunnel here on September 6. The 24-year-old outfielder was batting .326/.419/.614 with 29 home runs and 87 RBI through his first 106 games this season for the Nationals, who boast a 16-game lead in the NL East standings after beating the Marlins on Tuesday night.
Harper won’t be of help to fantasy teams down the stretch -- unless his progress comes fast and furious over the next few weeks -- but it appears he has a decent shot of being ready for the MLB playoffs.
Game 1 of the National League Division Series is around four-and-a-half weeks away.
Say Hays, Baltimore …
Hays earned the promotion by batting .329/.365/.593 with 32 home runs, 32 doubles, and 95 RBI in 128 games this summer between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. A third-round pick in 2016 out of Jacksonville University, the fast-rising 22-year-old has made it to the major league level before any of the Orioles’ draft selections from the last four years.
Hays probably isn’t going to get many starts down the stretch in Baltimore, but he gives the O’s some much-needed right-handed-hitting outfield depth and he should be on the fantasy radar leading into the 2018 season even if he opens the year at Triple-A Norfolk.
Hays did not appear in Tuesday night’s rain-delayed 7-6 victory over the Yankees.
National League Quick Hits: An MRI on Paul Goldschmidt's sore right elbow showed no structural damage and he could return to the Diamondbacks’ starting lineup on Wednesday … Nationals ace Max Scherzer (calf) played catch Tuesday without issue and is on track to make his next scheduled start … Scooter Gennett went 2-for-4 and hit a three-run homer against his former team Tuesday as the Reds beat the Brewers … Matt Carpenter (shoulder), Tommy Pham (shoulder), Dexter Fowler (hip), and Kolten Wong (back) were all held out of the Cardinals’ starting lineup Tuesday in San Diego … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Corey Seager (elbow) could return Friday … Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (hamstring) is scheduled to play a rehab game Thursday with High-A Myrtle Beach … Buster Posey suffered a contusion on his right ring finger Tuesday when he was struck by a foul tip … Phillies infield prospect J.P. Crawford finished 1-for-5 with a run scored in his MLB debut Tuesday versus the Mets … Amed Rosario (finger) remained out of the Mets’ starting lineup on Tuesday night … Luiz Gohara’s major league debut has been pushed to Wednesday following a rainout Tuesday night in Atlanta … Stephen Strasburg shut out the Marlins for six innings and struck out eight in a victory Tuesday … Pirates closer Felipe Rivero posted a dominant 1-2-3 ninth inning to notch his 18th save of the season in Tuesday's win over the Cubs … Matt Wieters (back) was held out of the Nationals’ lineup Tuesday versus the Marlins … Jose Martinez went 3-for-3 with two home runs, a double, three RBI, a walk, and three runs scored Tuesday in the Cardinals’ defeat of the Padres … Ben Lively pitched seven innings of one-run ball, homered, and knocked in four runs to propel the Phillies past the Mets on Tuesday … Reds manager Bryan Price said Luis Castillo's next start Wednesday against the Brewers will be his final start of the 2017 season … Zack Greinke worked seven innings of one-run ball as the Diamondbacks earned their 12th straight victory on Tuesday ... Dodgers recalled outfielder Joc Pederson from Triple-A Oklahoma City … Braves catcher Tyler Flowers (wrist) swung a bat Tuesday without experiencing any discomfort … Lucas Sims has been moved into the Braves’ bullpen for the stretch run.
American League Quick Hits: Making his Astros debut, Justin Verlander worked six innings of one-run ball, striking out seven, Tuesday in a win over the Mariners … Manny Machado slugged two home runs, including a ninth-inning walkoff blast, as the Orioles topped the Yankees on Tuesday … Rays right-hander Chris Archer (forearm) made it through a flat-ground throwing session Tuesday without issue … Justin Smoak (foot, calf) was held out of the Blue Jays’ starting lineup Tuesday against the Red Sox … Logan Morrison was scratched from the Rays' lineup Tuesday due to a stomach flu … Jose Ramirez stayed red-hot Tuesday with two more solo home runs in the Indians’ win over the White Sox … Hanley Ramirez hit a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 19th inning Tuesday as the Red Sox outlasted the Blue Jays … Marcus Stroman (elbow) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday … Kelvin Herrera (forearm) was available out of the Royals’ bullpen in Tuesday night’s blowout loss to the Tigers … Athletics recalled prospect Renato Nunez from Triple-A Nashville … Mariners center fielder Jarrod Dyson missed another game Tuesday with lingering groin discomfort … John Hicks went 3-for-4 with two homers, four RBI, and a walk as the Tigers crushed the Royals … Indians setup man Andrew Miller (knee) is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday … James Paxton (pectoral) threw another bullpen session on Tuesday and is scheduled for a simulated game this weekend … James Shields (knee) said he expects to make his next scheduled start … Jason Kipnis (hamstring) will work out with his Indians teammates this week in Chicago … Red Sox activated reliever Carson Smith (elbow) from the 60-day disabled list … Michael Brantley (ankle) has been running on an anti-gravity treadmill … Aaron Sanchez (finger) threw on flat ground Tuesday at Fenway Park … Athletics right-hander Paul Blackburn (hand) has been shut down for the remainder of the season … Anibal Sanchez suffered a right calf contusion in the first inning of his start Tuesday against the Royals … Angels reliever Bud Norris (knee) will be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday … Russell Martin (oblique) has begun workouts at the Blue Jays' spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida … Mariners right-hander Yovani Gallardo has been demoted back to the bullpen … White Sox placed left-hander Derek Holland on release waivers … Mariners release reliever Evan Scribner.