The Marlins’ victory over the Padres last night put them at 64-63 on the season, the first time Miami has been over the .500 mark since April 26. The Marlins have now won 22 of their last 34 games and have quietly moved to just 4.5 games back of the Rockies for the last NL wild card slot. Miami’s surge has been fueled by hot streaks from several hitters, though Giancarlo Stanton is setting the pace with an extraordinary .368/.455/.977 slash line and 16 homers over his last 101 PA. As surprising as it would be to see a team that has been in seller mode all summer suddenly become buyers, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the Marlins make a low-level trade addition before August is over if the Fish feel they have a legitimate postseason shot. Here’s the latest from around the NL East…
- Ryan Zimmerman missed Friday’s game due to a shoulder injury, and Nationals manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and other reporters that Zimmerman also isn’t expected to be in today’s lineup. Baker did express hope that the first baseman would be back on Sunday, so it doesn’t yet appear that this could another significant DL absence for the injury-riddled Nats. Zimmerman hurt his shoulder on a slide into home plate during Thursday’s game.
- The right index finger injury that sent Ryan Madson to the DL last week could’ve been caused by his increased usage of the curveball this season, a source theorizes to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Madson has received treatment to calm the inflammation of the tendon sheath that runs through his index finger’s knuckle, and he recently visited a hand specialist. The big-picture news is that while Madson’s DL stint will likely extend beyond the minimum 10 days, the Nationals expect him to be back in action before the postseason.
- Ronald Acuna’s tear through the Braves’ farm system probably won’t result in a September callup, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The 19-year-old outfielder began the season in high-A ball and been promoted up to Triple-A, raking all the while — Acuna has a combined .325/.376/.533 slash line, 20 homers and 41 steals over 558 combined plate appearances at three minor league levels. This performance had firmly placed Acuna near the top of several midseason prospects rankings (MLB.com rates him the eighth-best prospect in the game, Baseball America 10th and Baseball Prospectus 11th). While the Braves have been aggressive in promoting their top prospects, Bradley feels there isn’t any need to rush Acuna to the big leagues quite so soon, though Acuna may well be in line for regular duty for Atlanta as early as Opening Day 2018.
- Michael Conforto’s posterior capsule tear in his left shoulder will be re-evaluated on Monday, though Newsday’s Marc Carig and Mike Puma of the New York Post hear from medical professionals that Conforto could be sidelined for several months if he undergoes surgery. It’s important to note that neither of the doctors cited by Carig and Puma have personally examined Conforto and are basing their opinions simply on prior knowledge of similar injuries. That said, both doctors commented on the unusual nature of Conforto’s injury, which came after swinging and missing a pitch. “The problem in this case is that this player dislocated his shoulder without any major trauma,” Dr. Armin Tehrany of Manhattan Orthopedic Care told Carig. “It was his non-dominant arm. He was just swinging a bat. And that alone led to the dislocation, which means that the likelihood that it happens again after he heals is very high.” Dr. Tehrany believes Conforto could face a four-to-six month rehab process if he opts for surgery, while Dr. Umer Dasti of the Ridgewood Orthopedic Group tells Puma that a six-to-12 month timeline could be necessary. The latter projection, as Puma notes, would have a significant impact on the Mets’ offseason plans, as the team would likely have to check into acquiring another notable bat if Conforto is sidelined for a good chunk of 2018.