Newly acquired Nationals lefty MacKenzie Gore will resume throwing this Friday, manager Dave Martinez told reporters this weekend (Twitter link via Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post). Gore, the former No. 3 overall draft pick and top pitching prospect in the sport, has been sidelined since July 25 due to elbow soreness. A previous MRI did not reveal structural damage, however, and the Nats were clearly comfortable with Gore’s medical records upon reviewing them in advance of the Juan Soto blockbuster that sent him from San Diego to Washington. Presumably, he’ll require a minor league rehab stint before jumping into the big league mix for the Nationals, but Friday’s throwing session will be an important first step to monitor as he begins that progression. Assuming good health, Gore looks poised to play a pivotal long-term role in the Nationals’ rotation, joining Josiah Gray (acquired in last summer’s Max Scherzer/Trea Turner deal) as a building block acquired at the deadline.
Gore absolutely overpowered opponents through early June, pitching to a 1.50 ERA with a 30% strikeout rate and 8.9% walk rate across the first 48 innings of his career. He’s been tagged for 27 runs in 22 innings since that time, however, working with diminished velocity along the way. Gore only pitched 50 1/3 innings last year (plus some work at the team’s Spring Training complex while going through a mechanical reset), so workload was always expected to be something of an issue in 2022. The Nationals have not made clear the extent to which they’ll monitor his innings moving forward.
Some more health situations to monitor around the league…
- Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant is currently in a walking boot due to a case of plantar fasciitis, and there’s no timetable for his return to the field, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes within a broader look at another disappointing season for the Rockies. Colorado signed Bryant to a seven-year, $182MM contract over the winter but have thus far received just 42 games and 181 plate appearances from the former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP. Bryant’s power was MIA early in the year while playing through a back injury that required two IL stints, but he did bat .330/.398/.567 with 13 extra-base hits (five homers, eight doubles) in 108 plate appearances between his most recent trips to the injured list.
- Cardinals righty Jack Flaherty believes issues with his mechanics led to his latest trip to the injured list, per MLB.com. The starter spent most of the season on the injured list due shoulder problems, returning to make three starts in June before returning to the 60-day IL. That means he’s ineligible to return until late August, though he has started throwing this week, trying to iron out those mechanical issues and potentially starting a rehab assignment soon. “You start doing things incorrectly for a while and then you repeat it over and over again — eventually something is going to flare up,” Flaherty says. “The goal was to clean things up and sharpen things up so that that doesn’t happen. That’s what we’ve been working on, so hopefully things stay that way.” If he can return before the season is out, he could provide a boost to the rotation down the stretch, though the Cards added Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery at the deadline to proactively address the situation.
- The Twins expect righties Josh Winder and Bailey Ober to begin throwing bullpen sessions Tuesday, tweets Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com. Winder has been widely regarded as a top-100 prospect this year and has given Minnesota 45 1/3 frames of 3.77 ERA ball in his big league debut, but shoulder troubles have slowed him of late (as has been the case in past seasons as well). Ober has made 27 starts for the Twins dating back to 2021, pitching to a 4.14 ERA along the way and serving as a generally solid back-of-the-rotation arm. He’s been out since June 1 due to a groin strain that proved more severe than originally believed. The Twins remain hopeful that each of Winder, Ober, outfielder Trevor Larnach and right-hander Kenta Maeda (recovering from 2021 Tommy John surgery) will be able to return in September, tweets Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Meanwhile, Darren Wolfson of SKOR North tweets that right-hander Randy Dobnak will head out on a minor league rehab assignment Thursday, giving the Twins some additional depth on the horizon.