Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig will go for X-rays after fouling a ball off his left foot Saturday and leaving the team’s game against the Giants, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times was among those to report. An injury to Puig could open the door for highly touted outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, who McCullough notes is on the Dodgers’ taxi squad for their doubleheader in San Francisco. Verdugo, 21, collected 25 plate appearances in his first major league action in 2017. He hasn’t gotten off to a great start at the Triple-A level this year (.276/.309/.474 – good for a 98 wRC+ – over 81 PAs), though Puig also hasn’t exactly been on fire up to now. The 27-year-old has hit an unsightly .193/.250/.250 (43 wRC+) in 96 PAs on the heels of a bounce-back 2017.
As we await word on Puig, here’s more from around the NL:
- Marlins right-hander Dan Straily will likely make his 2018 debut Monday against the Phillies, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com suggests. Straily, arguably Miami’s best starter, has been on the DL all season with a forearm injury. The 29-year-old is coming off back-to-back respectable campaigns, including 2016 with Cincinnati, and could perhaps emerge as a trade chip for the Marlins if he’s healthy and effective as the season progresses.
- Righty Luis Castillo was a key part of a Reds-Marlins trade in 2017 that also involved Straily, and the former has struggled mightily this year after looking like a potential long-term cog last season. The Reds are now working to fix Castillo, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com details. “They all agree that his arm angle has changed a little bit,’ interim manager Jim Riggleman said of pitching coach Danny Darwin, bullpen coach Ted Power and coach Derrin Ebert. “His hand is maybe not getting on top of the ball like it needs to. What that does, is it causes the ball to flatten out instead of sink. Hitters love that when the ball moves [flat] across the plate instead of having some sink. It’s kind of running right into their barrel.” Hitters have indeed barreled up against Castillo, who has seen his ERA rise from 3.12 in 2017 to 7.85 this year. Along the way, the 25-year-old has experienced a velocity drop and allowed more hard contact, Sheldon explains in a piece that’s worth checking out in full. It’s been a discouraging development for the Reds, who haven’t had much success developing front-line pitching from within.
- Brewers southpaw Wade Miley, out since late March with a slight groin tear, made his third and final rehab start Friday. The Brewers now must decide within the next two days whether to add Miley to their roster or release him, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com writes. If the Brewers do keep Miley, whom they signed to a minor league deal over the winter, they could option starter Brent Suter or reliever Brandon Woodruff to Triple-A to make room, McCalvy notes. But it’s “a tough decision” because Milwaukee’s staff has fared well thus far without Miley, manager Craig Counsell admitted.
- The Mets have activated left-hander Jason Vargas from the disabled list and optioned righty Jacob Rhame to Triple-A in a corresponding move. Vargas is set to take on San Diego on Saturday in his first start of 2018 after signing a two-year, $16MM deal in free agency. The 37-year-old, who logged a 4.16 ERA/4.67 FIP across 179 2/3 innings as a Royal in 2017, missed nearly the entire month of April after suffering a fracture in his right hand in late March. Vargas is in his second stint with the Mets, having previously been a member of the organization in 2007.