Former big-leaguer Bryan Harvey says his son, Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey, could return to throwing next week after having Tommy John surgery in July, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. (Hunter Harvey himself told MASN’s Steve Melewski last week that he would begin throwing the day after Christmas.) Harvey’s progression will be slow, in keeping with the very long timeline associated with TJ recoveries — he won’t pitch off a mound for quite awhile. Still, he appears to be on schedule, and there’s a chance he could pitch near the end of the 2017 minor league season. Harvey, the 22nd pick in the 2013 draft, is currently the Orioles’ third-best prospect, according to MLB.com. He was off to a very promising start to his pro career in 2014 when he suffered an elbow injury that caused him to miss the entire 2015 season. He briefly returned in 2016 before it became clear Tommy John surgery was necessary. Here’s more from the East divisions.
- The Nationals’ search for a solution to their closer issues goes back nearly a decade, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post writes. Janes identifies Chad Cordero — who had three good seasons in Washington from 2004 through 2006 — as the team’s last good long-term option at the position. Now, the departure of Mark Melancon and the team’s failure to sign Kenley Jansen fit in with a long-term pattern of the Nats missing out on long-term closer help. The team could now turn to an internal option like Blake Treinen or Shawn Kelley to take the ball in the ninth.
- The Mets do not need to trade for Andrew McCutchen, who provides “a very convoluted answer to their outfield logjam,” Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes. The Mets have been fleetingly connected to McCutchen, but he’s coming off a season in which he was poorly rated defensively and didn’t fare much better on offense. The McCutchen rumors indicated the Pirates would want pitching in return, but Ackert notes that the Mets themselves can use their young pitcher stockpile, and that their young arms are likely to be healthier in 2017 than they were last year.