Though a few notable players went on the disabled list earlier today, some even more notable names are making progress in their returns. Here are the details…
- Shohei Ohtani is nearing a return to the mound, and his rehab seems to be going even better than expected (per Trent Rush of Angels Radio Network). The Angels double-threat reportedly threw from 120 feet “with aggression”. Ohtani, the club’s headliner offseason acquisition, is already back to doing damage at the plate, but the club would surely be glad to see him return with rest and rehab after suffering a grade 2 UCL sprain earlier this season; the alternative would of course be the feared Tommy John surgery which would keep him off the field until the beginning of the 2020 season.
- It would appear that Giants hurler Jeff Samardzija is even closer to a return, as the 33-year-old threw 30 pitches off a bullpen mound on Monday (h/t Chris Haft of MLB.com). “Shark” has been trudging through an injury-plagued 2018 season that’s seen him make just ten starts and average fewer than five innings across them. His hideous 6.25 ERA would be a career-worst by far, and his 5.44 FIP doesn’t paint a much kinder picture. The 57-58 Giants will surely be hoping he can provide a boost to their rotation after they opted not to sell off any assets at the trade deadline in overly-optimistic hopes of contending for an NL Wild Card.
- The outlook isn’t as optimistic for former wunderkind Julio Urias of the Dodgers. The 21-year-old lefty blew away the competition at every level of the minors en route to a 1.8 fWAR showing in his first taste of major-league action back in 2016, when he pitched to a 3.39 ERA in 77 innings. But he followed that up with a rough 2017 showing that saw him post a bloated 5.40 ERA and ultimately cede the season to an anterior capsule injury that required surgery. Now, according to Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, Urias’ velocity is down to 88-91 MPH after sitting closer to the mid-90’s for the majority of his pro career. Longenhagen also reports that the youngster’s secondary pitches are less “crisp” than they were pre-injury, leading to questions about whether Urias will ever be the same pitcher again.
- “I’m not going to get ahead of myself,” says Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in reference to his latest attempt to return from a shoulder injury. In a video interview with Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribute, the former NL MVP details his patient approach to injury rehab (though it’s disappointing that the interview is largely inaudible). Bryant’s 2018 season has been marred by shoulder troubles, though he’s still managed an impressive .276/.380/.474 performance across 358 plate appearances while healthy. On the other hand, that’s not quite to the level of his career numbers (.286/.387/.519).