The Dodgers brought Yu Darvish off the disabled list Sunday to start against the Brewers and placed reliever Josh Fields on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain in a corresponding move. Darvish missed the minimum amount of time after going on the DL retroactive to Aug. 17 with lower back tightness. Before that, the trade deadline acquisition from Texas made three starts with his new club and allowed just five earned runs over 18 innings, with 22 strikeouts against four walks. He and ace Clayton Kershaw should form an elite tandem into the fall. Kershaw has been out since late July with a more severe back injury than the one Darvish dealt with, but the left-hander will start for the Dodgers next weekend, manager Dave Roberts announced Sunday (Twitter links via Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times). The team could use a six-man rotation with Darvish and Kershaw back in the fold, Roberts suggested.
- Rockies manager Bud Black gave slumping closer Greg Holland a vote of confidence earlier this week, but after another rough outing Saturday, his hold on the ninth-inning job seems weaker. Black told reporters, including Thomas Harding of MLB.com, on Sunday that the Rockies will “navigate” the ninth while Holland works to fix his slider and “simplify some things when it comes to basic pitching mechanics.” Holland allowed two earned runs in a third of an inning Saturday, the fifth time in 10 appearances this month that he has yielded multiple ER. His ERA is now up to 4.05 after sitting at 1.56 on Aug. 4, and failing to turn things around over the next several weeks would seemingly increase the likelihood of Holland exercising his $15MM player option for 2018 in the offseason.
- Speaking of players with big offseason decisions ahead, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday that there’s a “good chance” right-hander Johnny Cueto will return to their rotation next week (Twitter link via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area). Cueto hasn’t taken the mound since July 14 on account of a flexor strain. The injury, Cueto’s underwhelming 2017 performance before landing on the shelf and his age (32 in February) will make it difficult for the longtime ace to opt out of the remaining four years and $84MM left on his contract after the season. Regardless of what he chooses to do over the winter, Cueto’s comeback in 2017 won’t affect righty Chris Stratton’s place in San Francisco’s rotation, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes. Stratton has racked up 24 1/3 innings of 2.59 ERA ball as a starter this season, though his strikeout and walk rates don’t offer as much hope (5.94 K/9, 4.5 BB/9).