The discomfort from the neck spasms that forced Nationals ace Max Scherzer from his last start have largely subsided, the right-hander told reporters today (Twtiter link via MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman). Scherzer tells reporters that he played catch today and will throw a bullpen session tomorrow. He’s expected to make his next start for the Nats on Monday of this week.
A few more notes from around the NL East…
- Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes that Marlins lefty Wei-Yin Chen is not yet giving up hope on being able to return to the mound in 2017. Chen has missed most of the season, owing to a reported partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, but he’s thrown six bullpen sessions over the past few weeks. “We’re still talking a little ways,” manager Don Mattingly said of Chen’s possible return. “But I think we’re also getting to the point where we can say he’s progressing to the point where at least it’s on the radar.”
- Also from Healey, while rookie southpaw Jarlin Garcia has emerged as a valuable setup piece, the Marlins organization isn’t entirely closed off to the idea of him returning to a starting role in the future. “I think it’s something that you at least think about,” said Mattingly. “But I don’t know if anyone has necessarily talked to Jarlin or the organization has really gotten that far.” The 24-year-old Garcia has appeared in 46 games for the Fish this season and has turned in a 3.53 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9. He’s limited opposing lefties to an awful .167/.229/.328 batting line while holding righties to a .212/.278/.415 clip.
- Phillies outfield prospect Carlos Tocci has forced his way into consideration for a 40-man roster spot this offseason, writes Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 21-year-old could “play center field in the big leagues tomorrow” from a defensive standpoint, per Phillies international scouting director Sal Agostinelli. But, as Breen explains, his improved play at the dish in Double-A would make him extremely likely to be selected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft after being left unprotected last winter. Tocci is hitting .313/.370/.410 in Double-A this season and has improved as the season wears on. Phillies fans — and those who follow the Rule 5 Draft in general — will want to take a full look at Breen’s piece, as he runs through a number of locks and borderline candidates to land on Philadelphia’s 40-man this winter. (Breen also shares an interesting anecdote about the Rangers actually outbidding the Phillies for Tocci at the last minute while Agostinelli was with Tocci’s family in Venezuela, though Tocci nonethless signed with the Phillies.)
- In a separate column, Breen speaks to Agostinelli about his excitement over the additional international bonus money that GM Matt Klentak acquired in trades that sent Howie Kendrick to the Nationals and Jeremy Hellickson to the Orioles. “During a period of the year, sometimes you have to give more money than you wanted to a particular guy. A lot of teams don’t have any money left,” Agostinelli explains. He goes on to recall the story of how the Phillies came to sign right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who was throwing 86-87 mph when most scouts saw him leading up to the international signing period but saw that velocity build up to the low 90s later that summer. “We had the extra money and we signed him for 300 grand. It’s kind of the same ideology,” says Agostinelli.