Rockies righty Chad Bettis has faced live hitters as he readies for a rehab assignment, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. While he’s going to need a long build-up, the hope is that Bettis could make it back to the majors at some point in August. That’s great news for the Rox, who have plenty of options but relatively few sure things in the rotation. Bettis, of course, is returning from testicular cancer, which required not only surgery but also chemotherapy. If he can return to being the steady presence he was before hitting the DL, it could go a long way to helping the club maintain its current course for the postseason. (Adding him back to the rotation might also allow the team to bump another young arm into the bullpen.)
Here are some more health notes from around the game:
- Already out for a month due to groin issues, Diamondbacks outfielder Yasmany Tomas has now been re-diagnosed, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert tweets. While the injury had initially been called tendinitis, it is now said to be a mild strain. It’s not clear whether that impacts his timeline at all; Tomas has yet to undertake a rehab assignment.
- Cardinals southpaw Zach Duke is stepping up to the High-A level to begin his rehab assignment in earnest, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports on Twitter. The veteran southpaw, who is working back from Tommy John surgery, now seems on track to provide a potentially significant boost to the Cards — who are now in the thick of things in a middling NL Central.
- Speaking of earlier-than-expected returns, the Braves could welcome back infielder Sean Rodriguez by the end of the month, per David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). It seemed he could miss the entire season after significant offseason shoulder surgery, but evidently Rodriguez has responded quite well to treatment. Rodriguez landed in Atlanta on a two-year, $11.5MM deal but suffered the injury in a devastating offseason car accident. He could provide a strong boost to Atlanta down the stretch, with his role dependent upon the team’s experiment of utilizing Freddie Freeman at third base as well as their ultimate deadline moves — which could still conceivably include trades of either second baseman Brandon Phillips or first baseman Matt Adams.
- The Astros have successfully weathered a slew of rotation injuries of late; needless to say, though, the team will be glad to welcome back its missing arms. Righty Charlie Morton will be activated to start on Friday, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle writes, and he’ll be interesting to watch upon his return. Morton has a solid 4.06 ERA and even better peripherals, though it remains to be seen whether Houston will feel comfortable relying on him (among others) for a presumptive postseason staff. Fellow righty Collin McHugh is also making forward progress; Kaplan notes he’ll make a second rehab outing at Double-A. Meanwhile, as MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets, top lefty Dallas Keuchel may be closing in on his own rehab assignment.
- Also nearing a rehab stint is Orioles first baseman Chris Davis. As Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes, Davis says his injured oblique is cooperating as he begins ramping up baseball activities. He’s slated for a minor-league assignment over the All-Star break; so long as he progresses, he might be back to the big leagues shortly thereafter.