The Nationals are expecting ace Max Scherzer to return from the injured list by Thursday or Friday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports. Scherzer, out since July 13 with right shoulder bursitis, threw a full bullpen session Monday and offered an encouraging assessment afterward, per Zuckerman. The Nationals have maintained a playoff spot during Scherzer’s absence, but the three-time Cy Young winner is their MVP and someone they likely can’t go without for much longer. The 34-year-old Scherzer was amid another all-world season before hit hit the shelf, with a 2.30 ERA/2.02 FIP, 12.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and 5.5 WAR in 129 1/3 innings.
More on a few other clubs…
- Back on July 1, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington downplayed the possibility of trading closer Felipe Vazquez. The Bucs have lost 10 of 16 since then, putting them six games out of playoff position, but Huntington’s mind hasn’t changed. He once again made it clear Sunday that the Pirates expect to push for contention in the near future with Vazquez on their roster (via Adam Berry of MLB.com). On a potential Vazquez trade, Huntington said: “If we were expecting to lose 100 games next year, then it’s a different approach. But our expectation is to be right back in this — if we don’t get there this year — to be right back in this next year, and to have a guy like that in the back end is really important.” The Pirates haven’t made the playoffs since 2015, the year before they acquired the electric Vazquez, and appear as if they’ll extend their drought this season. Vazquez is controllable through 2023, giving the Pirates time to take advantage of his presence; on the other hand, Vazquez’s team-friendly contract is one of the reasons he’d bring back so much in a trade. Huntington appears to have no interest in giving up one of the greatest acquisitions of his tenure, though.
- When the Orioles designated center fielder Keon Broxton for assignment Sunday, manager Brandon Hyde suggested the O’s would lose him, saying (via Joe Trezza of MLB.com): “I’m hoping he’ll get picked up by somebody, especially someone who needs outfield defense and baserunning for the postseason. I wish Keon the best.” It appears Broxton will indeed end up elsewhere in the coming days, as Trezza reports “a few teams” have checked in on the 29-year-old. Broxton can run and defend, as Hyde noted, though horrid hitting has torpedoed his value in 2019. Broxton has struck out in 43 percent of his 165 plate appearances, thus limiting him to a .184/.244/.289 line (42 wRC+). With no minor league options left, both the Mets and Orioles have given up on the once-promising Broxton this season.
- The Reds put right-hander Tyler Mahle on the injured list Monday with a left hamstring strain and recalled fellow righty Sal Romano from Triple-A Louisville. The 24-year-old Mahle’s IL placement came after a pair of rough starts that saw him allow a combined 14 runs (10 earned) in 9 2/3 innings in losses to Colorado and St. Louis. Mahle has now mustered a 4.93 ERA in 102 1/3 innings, though he has also logged a much better 4.32 FIP, posted 9.32 K/9 against 2.29 BB/9 and notched a 45.6 percent groundball rate.