Phillies prospect Matt Imhof suffered a serious eye injury while working with a stretching band, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The 22-year-old righty, who was a second-round pick in 2014, is said to have been struck in the eye due to a malfunction in the piece of equipment he was using. He has already undergone one procedure and is expected to require more, per the report. MLBTR wishes Matt the best of luck for a speedy recovery.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- A rain delay has slowed the Nationals’ first look at top prospect Lucas Giolito tonight, as their contest against the division-rival Mets is currently on hold after four innings. Earlier today, GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, including MLB.com’s Jamal Collier (via Twitter), that the much-hyped hurler will have a chance to earn a permanent spot at the big league level. Rizzo, though, was not willing to commit to anything beyond that. Arguably the best prospect in baseball, Giolito has worked four scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and a pair of walks. He’ll cede the remainder of the game to Yusmeiro Petit, but the Nationals have to be rather pleased with Giolito’s truncated debut.
- Another top Nationals prospect, Trea Turner, is getting a look in center field in an effort to accelerate his path to the Majors, as MLB.com’s Alex Putterman writes. Turner got his first pro start in center field last night and started there once again tonight. “We feel that offensively he’s Major League ready,” said Rizzo of Turner. However, Danny Espinosa’s June surge and Daniel Murphy’s excellent season leave the Nats without a spot for Turner at the big league level. “We figured to get him in the big leagues sooner rather than later, we need to make him more versatile,” Rizzo added.
- Bud Norris’ most recent start has continued to bolster trade interest in the Braves’ right-hander, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Norris fired seven shutout innings and held the Mets to four hits and no walks with eight strikeouts over the weekend, and he’s now sporting a pristine 2.08 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 53.7 percent ground-ball rate dating back to the beginning of May, when he initially lost his rotation spot. Norris has been stellar since being plugged back into the starting five, and the Marlins are reportedly among the teams with interest in the 31-year-old.
- Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan examines Norris’ remarkable turnaround since rejoining the Braves’ rotation and attributes the success to the fact that Norris has abandoned his previously ineffective changeup in favor of a cutter that has generated tremendous results. Left-handers were never especially troubled by Norris’ change, but they’ve been absolutely stymied by his new cut fastball, which has also caused a significant spike in his ground-ball percentage. There’s probably some degree of regression in store — Norris has a .269 BABIP and hasn’t allowed a single homer since returning to the rotation — but the new pitch has had a profound impact on Norris and could be the start of a sustainable run of success.