With two weeks remaining until the All Star break, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Manning to return:
The Tigers are poised to welcome one of their young starters back from the 60-day injured list today, as right-hander Matt Manning is expected to start tonight’s game against the Rangers. Manning, out since April with a fractured foot, posted a 4.63 ERA in 11 2/3 innings of work across two starts prior to the injury. He’ll need to be added back to the 40-man and active rosters before he can make his start today, teeing up the possibility of multiple corresponding transactions ahead of this evening’s game.
Detroit’s rotation has been ravaged by injuries. Alex Faedo, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Spencer Turnbull are each currently on the injured list in addition to Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize, who both have yet to throw a pitch this season. Those rotation woes could worsen yet, as left-hander Matthew Boyd left yesterday’s start in Texas with elbow discomfort. As noted by Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, manager AJ Hinch indicated to reporters that Boyd will undergo testing today to determine if he will need a trip to the injured list.
2. Muncy to return:
Dodgers slugger Max Muncy is expected to return to the lineup today, with manager Dave Roberts having previously indicated the infielder will play third base upon his return. Muncy’s return figures to provide the Dodgers with a significant power boost, as the 32-year-old has connected for 18 home runs in just 251 plate appearances this season.
Muncy’s return to the lineup figures to displace 25-year-old Michael Busch, who has been covering third base in the absence of Muncy and utilityman Chris Taylor. However, Roberts recently indicated to reporters (including Jack Harris of The L.A. Times) that Busch could continue to draw starts by shifting over to second base following Muncy’s return. That would take playing time from 23-year-old Miguel Vargas, who has struggled to a .150/.246/.300 slash line in 70 plate appearances this month. Busch has also struggled since his June 16 recall from Triple-A, posting a similar slash line of .192/.250/.308 in a smaller sample of 28 plate appearances. Using both players in a timeshare at second base could offer Roberts the opportunity to optimize matchups for the youngsters going forward.
3. MLBTR Chat Today:
With MLB’s trade deadline just over a month away, many expected contenders headed into the season are finding their paths to the playoffs getting slimmer and slimmer. If the events of the season so far have spurred any questions in your mind about your favorite team or the league as a whole, MLBTR’s Steve Adams is holding a live chat with readers at 1pm CT today. You can click here to ask a question in advance, join in live once the chat begins, or read the transcript once the chat is complete.