Outfielder Juan Soto, infielder Howie Kendrick and infield prospect Luis Garcia all returned to the Nationals on Thursday after quarantining for two weeks, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com was among those to report. It’s up in the air whether the Nationals will be able to pencil Soto or Kendrick into their lineup when their season opens next Thursday, but it’s encouraging to see those two and Garcia cleared. Meanwhile, there hasn’t been any change in center fielder Victor Robles’ status, manager Dave Martinez said (via Zuckerman, on Twitter). Robles has been in isolation during Summer Camp.
- After an MRI on Mets ace Jacob deGrom’s back returned good results Thursday, he had a throwing session and told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com and other reporters that he plans to start Opening Day. However, the Mets aren’t ready to say whether that will happen. Manager Luis Rojas stated the club’s taking “a day-to-day approach” with the back-to-back NL Cy Young winner, who probably won’t be able to go as long as expected if he does take the mound for their opener. He’d originally been slated for around 100 pitches, but 85 seems to be a more realistic ceiling now. In the meantime, deGrom will throw 65 pitches in an exhibition game against the Yankees on Sunday.
- Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka returned to the mound Thursday for the first time since suffering a concussion on July 5. Tanaka threw a 30-pitch bullpen session that was “higher intensity” than the team expected and “very crisp,” pitching coach Matt Blake told reporters (including Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News). Tanaka will throw another bullpen session Sunday. The Yankees haven’t ruled out Tanaka from being part of the first turn through their rotation, but it seems likely he’ll miss at least one start, per Ackert. In the meantime, considering the team has an off-day in the first week of the season, it could start with a four-man rotation of Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, Jordan Montgomery and then plug in Tanaka.
- Cubs southpaw Jose Quintana, two weeks removed from left thumb surgery, played catch from 60 feet Thursday, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score relays. Quintana “felt fine,” according to manager David Ross. Still, Levine writes that Quintana will start the season on the injured list, which will be the first IL stint of his career. The Cubs aren’t putting a timetable on exactly how long they’ll go without Quintana, with Ross saying, “Today was a nice positive, but one thing I know from my time in baseball — a lot of twists and turns, so it’s wait and see for me.”
- Padres righty Trey Wingenter is seeking a second opinion on his ailing pitching elbow, manager Jayce Tingler said Thursday (via AJ Cassavell of MLB.com). The team previously shut down Wingenter last week because of inflammation. The 26-year-old was among the Padres’ most-utilized relievers last season, throwing 51 innings. Wingenter only managed a 5.65 ERA, and he walked 4.94 batters per nine, but he also put up a 12.71 K/9, posted a 3.61 FIP and averaged 96 mph on his fastball.