The Mariners got some unwelcome news about the status of rehabbing lefty Drew Smyly. As Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, plans for Smyly to face live hitting were scuttled after the southpaw experienced some elbow discomfort. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre explains that Smyly has dealt with other such “episodes” while working back from a flexor strain, especially when throwing breaking pitches, so perhaps this could just be a minor blip. Still, he’s slated for a medical examination; at present, there’s no clear indication of what’ll come next. “Until the doctors check, and all that stuff subsides, you just can’t move forward,” explains Stottlemyre. “It’s hard to make a plan going forward until we know more.”
Clearly, Seattle’s deadline plans could be altered by Smyly’s progress (or lack thereof). If the team finds itself in a strong Wild Card position at the end of July, but doesn’t think it’ll get the rotation boost it needs, it’s at least possible to imagine a move to bolster the rotation. Here are some more notable injury situations from around the game:
- Young Braves hurler Patrick Weigel is headed for Tommy John surgery, per David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That’s the result that was feared when it was learned that he had suffered a partial UCL tear. Soon to turn 23, Weigel had reached Triple-A in just his third professional season. He could’ve conceivably provided the Braves with a rotation option for 2018, so the loss should only increase the organization’s interest in adding a significant outside starter.
- It seems the Astros are wisely taking a measured approach with southpaw Dallas Keuchel, who is working back from a pinched nerve in his neck. As Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle writes, skipper A.J. Hinch acknowledges that the club is “just being conservative” by “methodically putting a few more challenges in front of him” to bring Keuchel along slowly. With Keuchel in need of at some rehab outings before returning to the MLB hill, it seems he won’t likely make it back until after the All-Star break. That timeline surely works just fine for the front-running Astros, who are as close to a postseason shoe-in as there can be at this stage of the season.
- The Nationals’ bullpen needs have long been a focus of the 2017 trade season. Just how many arms the Nats will go looking for could well depend in part upon the progress of several current pitchers. Per a club update, via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com (via Twitter), Sammy Solis appears to be making real strides after missing a significant stretch with elbow issues, as he was able to take the ball for Triple-A Syracuse. If the power lefty can return to health and to form, that’d be a significant boost. Meanwhile, Shawn Kelley (out with a trap strain) has resumed throwing — which is not yet the case for fellow righty Koda Glover (who is dealing with back issues).
- There’s some positive momentum for Indians righty Danny Salazar, as Jimmy Miller of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Salazar says his shoulder feels good, and he’s now slated to begin a rehab assignment. The high-octane hurler, 27, could potentially re-take a spot in the rotation or provide Cleveland with another fascinating, multi-inning-capable bullpen arm.
- Likewise, the Cubs saw progress from righty Kyle Hendricks, as Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago tweets that he was able to throw (albeit only from 90 feet) without experiencing any issues in his hand. Hendricks has been dealing with tendon problems in his pitching hand, leading to a DL placement. Before going down with the injury, Hendricks had turned in eleven somewhat worrying starts. Expectations were high after he landed third in the 2016 Cy Young voting, but Hendricks has shown a significant velocity loss (over two miles per hour on his fastball) and a big drop in swinging-strike rate (from 10.0% to 7.3%). Getting him healthy and back to form would represent a big boost to the Cubs, though it’s not clear whether they’ll have a real read on his capacity before making deadline plans.
- While the Reds haven’t yet made a move, it seems likely that lefty Brandon Finnegan is heading back to the DL. Initial indications were that he had only experienced a triceps strain during his first start after rehabbing an injury to the teres major muscle in his shoulder. Instead, per manager Bryan Price (on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, via Twitter), the injury was traced to that same muscle. While it’s said to be in a different part of the muscle, it nevertheless seems rather concerning that Finnegan is experiencing issues in that same narrow area. The broader prognosis remains unclear at this moment, though Price said he expects the southpaw to miss “at least … several weeks, if not longer.”