- The ailing back of Angels starter Matt Harvey seems to be mended, as he tells reporters (including Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic; Twitter link) that he has been symptom-free since hitting the IL recently. Skipper Brad Ausmus says that Harvey will face live hitters and then likely undertake a rehab assignment of unknown duration. The larger question is what, if anything, Harvey can do to emerge from his malaise on the mound. Fellow one-year free agent signee Trevor Cahill has also struggled badly. Otherwise, the Halos rotation may finally be rounding into form with Andrew Heaney’s return, the emergence of Griffin Canning, ongoing solid work from Felix Pena, and good health for Tyler Skaggs.
- It looks like Athletics hurler Paul Blackburn will get his first shot at MLB action this year, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he’s likely to come onto the roster to pitch this weekend. Blackburn, 25, has pitched to a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts over the prior two seasons but has remained on optional assignment at Triple-A to begin the present campaign. He carries a 4.55 ERA in 57 1/3 innings there, recording a 45:18 K/BB ratio and surrendering ten long balls.
- Mariners righty Gerson Bautista seems ready to return from the injured list, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports on Twitter. The 24-year-old has been sidelined with a pec strain. He has already thrown a dozen innings on an extended rehab assignment and now has a locker waiting for him in Seattle, which certainly suggests an imminent activation. Bautista struggled in a brief debut showing last year with the Mets and ended up being dealt to Seattle as a part of a significant multi-player swap. While he didn’t mow down opposing MLB hitters in his first attempt, Bautista did show off a 97 mph heater and posted strong strikeout numbers last year in the upper minors. Because Bautista had been moved to the 60-day IL, his activation will require both a 40-man and active roster move. [UPDATE: The Mariners announced that Bautista has been activated from the IL, with right-hander Andrew Moore heading to Double-A to create roster space.]