Justin Verlander has continued to progress in his late-season comeback effort, as Jake Kaplan of The Athletic writes. The veteran hurler isn’t yet ready to return to the Astros rotation, of course, but he has now faced live hitters in a two-inning sim game. It’s still unclear how things will progress from here. The club would surely like to get JV a regular-season appearance before the season concludes, but it’s also possible he’d make his first start in the postseason. Meanwhile, the ’Stros have now welcomed back fellow right-hander Lance McCullers from his own stay on the injured list, as Mark Berman of FOX 26 was among those to tweet. It turned out to be a brief stay for McCullers, who had a procedure to relieve neck nerve irritation. He’ll look to improve upon a 5.79 ERA through his first eight outings.
Here are some more injury notes from around the league …
- Phillies first bagger Rhys Hoskins is still in limbo as he deals with an elbow/foream issue. As Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports on Twitter, the burly slugger is holding out hope of a return even while the threat of a season-ending surgery hangs over his head. When and how this situation will be resolved isn’t yet clear. Losing Hoskins would represent a big dent to the Phils’ lineup. He has to this point of the season turned in a productive .245/.384/.503 slash line with ten long balls.
- It seems the Giants could yet get a bullpen boost from right-hander Reyes Moronta. He’s ready for competitive mound action at the team’s alternate training site, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area notes on Twitter. Moronta has been building up after undergoing shoulder surgery, so the club won’t want to push him too hard. But it’s enticing to imagine adding another postseason weapon, particularly since Moronta is said to be showing typically strong velocity. Jeff Samardzija is also nearing readiness, with a five-inning set scheduled. It’s unclear what role may await for the veteran once he’s deemed a full go. He coughed up 15 earned runs in 13 2/3 innings over his first three starts on the year.
- The Cubs haven’t yet received a contribution from recently acquired southpaw Andrew Chafin, but that may soon change. The 30-year-old reliever, who was nursing a finger sprain when he was dealt at the trade deadline, is close enough that he could be activated over the next few days, skipper David Ross indicated to reporters including Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Chafin had struggled to open the year in Arizona, but he’d represent a notable addition to a bullpen that has had its share of issues, especially from the left side.