Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg missed his scheduled start Saturday on account of nerve irritation in his pitching hand, but he said at the time he wasn’t “extremely concerned” about it. Manager Dave Martinez issued another update on Strasburg on Monday, saying last year’s World Series MVP threw lightly, felt better and had less tingling in his hand, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post tweets. It’s still unclear when Strasburg will debut this season, though. Having started 1-3 during a 60-game season, the Nats need him back sooner than later.
- In encouraging news for the Braves, left-handed closer Will Smith is no longer dealing with COVID-19 symptoms and hopes to be closing in on a return, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. Smith has been down since July 4 because of the coronavirus; if he is able to pitch this year, the hope is that he’ll be a major part of Atlanta’s late-game setup. That’s what the team was banking on when it signed Smith to a three-year, $40MM contract in free agency last winter. Smith earned that payday on the heels of several strong seasons with the Royals, Brewers and Giants.
- Speaking of Atlanta, one of its former hurlers – Angels righty Julio Teheran – continues to progress toward a 2020 debut, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic relays. Teheran, who’s recovering from his own coronavirus diagnosis, is slated to throw three innings and 55 pitches in Long Beach, Calif., on Tuesday, per pitching coach Mickey Callaway. If all goes well then, Teheran could join the Angels’ rotation. The team signed Teheran, 29, to a one-year, $9MM guarantee over the winter after a successful run in Atlanta from 2011-19.
- The Tigers plan to use righty Michael Fulmer as an opener all year and are unlikely to let him go five to six innings in any of his appearances, pitching coach Rick Anderson revealed (via Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic). Fulmer’s a former AL Rookie of the Year winner who topped out at 164 2/3 frames in his second season in 2017, but it’s understandable that the Tigers are taking a cautious approach with him. After all, the 27-year-old is just returning from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in March 2019. He took the mound Monday for the first time since September 2018 and surrendered four earned runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings during a blowout loss to the Royals.
- The coronavirus has deprived the Marlins of a slew of players, leaving them to scramble for replacements, but righty prospect Edward Cabrera is not a candidate for their roster as of now, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Cabrera is not dealing with the virus, fortunately, but “a minor arm issue” that has stopped him from throwing over the past week, Jackson writes. The 22-year-old was tremendous last season between High-A and Double-A, combining for a stingy 2.23 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 96 2/3 innings, and is widely regarded as a top 100 prospect.