We’ve already heard of one notable player making progress in his attempt to return from injury yesterday. We’ll round up a few more notes here.
- White Sox star infielder Yoán Moncada took a small step in his return from a hamstring strain that knocked him from action a week and a half ago, reports David Just of the Chicago Sun-Times. He took batting practice and infield drills and emerged feeling optimistic about his outlook. While the switch-hitter noted he still has “some discomfort,” particularly when charging ground balls or hitting right-handed, he’s “feeling better, way better” than he did when he first suffered the injury. There’s no timetable for his return, and the 52-63 White Sox will surely play things cautiously with the 24 year-old, who is a central piece of their rebuild. The former top prospect has actualized his tools this season to slash (an admittedly somewhat BABIP-inflated) .301/.358/.535 (134 wRC+).
- Johnny Cueto made his second rehab appearance in the rookie level Arizona League Friday, tweets Maria Guardado of MLB.com. Guardado notes he maxed out at 92 MPH, right in line with the low-90’s fastball he sported before going down with Tommy John surgery. While the Giants’ miserable August has all but ended any hope they had of a surprise Wild Card run, getting Cueto back on the mound this season could offer something of a morale boost for a still-important piece of the organization. The 33 year-old is guaranteed $47MM for the remainder of his six-year contract ($21MM per year through 2021 with a $5MM buyout on a 2022 club option).
- One of Cueto’s future teammates is about to embark on a rehab assignment of his own. Outfielder Alex Dickerson, who went on the injured list August 1 with an oblique strain, will begin a minor-league assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Sacramento, tweets Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic. The 29 year-old has a laundry list of injuries in his career, but he’s always been a promising offensive player, prompting San Francisco to acquire him in a minor trade with the division-rival Padres. He’s mashed since then, putting together a .386/.449/.773 line in 98 plate appearances.
- Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who went down in June with an elbow injury, will work out of the bullpen on rehab in Double-A San Antonio, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Nelson isn’t eligible to be activated until August 26. A burgeoning ace in 2017, Nelson has lost most of the last two seasons to arm injuries. While he returned from an 18-month absence stemming from shoulder surgery in June, his fastball velocity was down over 2 miles per hour from his 2017 peak, per Brooks Baseball, reflecting the toll the surgery had taken. While there may still be hope for the 30 year-old as a starter in the long run, any 2019 impact he can make will be in short stints for the playoff-hopeful Brew Crew.
- Like Nelson, Jonathan Loáisiga may be able to make an impact on a contending bullpen down the stretch. The 24 year-old Yankee right-hander has been out since May 10 with a strained throwing shoulder, but he threw three innings Friday with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. As MLB.com Bryan’s Hoch tweets, manager Aaron Boone confirmed Loáisiga could return this week to bolster one of baseball’s top bullpens.
- Another promising young arm is on the doorstep of the big leagues. Jesús Luzardo, Baseball America’s #12 prospect, was unscathed through three rehab innings in the High-A California League, tweets Martín Gallegos of MLB.com. He’ll pitch again at the same level Thursday, Gallegos adds. A lat strain has delayed Luzardo’s big league debut, but scouting reports and his high minors performance indicate he could contribute, if healthy, to the A’s playoff push down the stretch.