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MLB News and Notes

With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, the rumor mill has certainly been heating up with experts trying to analyze what players fit best for what teams as they try to make postseason runs. With many of these rumors dominating the headlines, let’s take a look at some of the other stories from around the league this week:

Astros Trying To Get Healthy

While maybe not to the extent of the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros have been dealing with injuries all season long, and it looks like they might finally be getting fully healthy. George Springer and Jose Altuve are a couple of the players that have spent time on the injured list and have since returned back to playing high-caliber baseball, and it appears that this week the Astros will be welcoming back two more players.

Both Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz have been on the injured list since May 26. For Diaz, it was a strained hamstring, an injury that has come up to bite a couple of Astros players this season. For Correa, it was an even odder injury, as reports indicated that he had fractured a rib getting a massage. However, it appears both will be back this week as they have been participating in rehab assignments and all signs point towards healthy returns.

For Diaz, it appears that it could be as early as Monday. Diaz, who was acquired during the offseason in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, has served as the Astros’ super-utility man, playing most infield spots for the Astros. Thus far this season, he is hitting .286/.321/.510 with five home runs, 22 runs batted in and 17 runs scored in 98 at-bats.

For Correa, the projected return date is Friday. Since he was recently moved to the 60-day injured list to make room for Joe Smith’s return, Correa cannot come back up prior to that date. Correa’s return will be huge for the Astros as they have had to significantly juggle their lineup with Alex Bregman and Myles Straw taking a lot of the action at short.

By Correa returning, Bregman will be able to go back to third base, which will, in turn, allow Yuli Gurriel to go back to first on a regular basis. Prior to his injury, Correa was hitting well at a .295/.360/.547 clip with 11 home runs, 35 runs batted in and 26 runs scored in 190 at-bats. His return will be a huge boost to an already solid offense.

Brewers Get Gonzalez Back

The Milwaukee Brewers also returned a regular on Saturday as starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez returned to the rotation to face the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gonzalez had been out for just under two months as he was dealing with left arm issues. Gonzalez was pitching well prior to the injured-list stint, and it would be a huge boost for the Brew Crew if he can return to form now.

Saturday’s results were mixed. Gonzalez took a no-decision in an 8-3 win over Arizona, but he also only went four innings, allowing five hits, two walks, and three earned runs while striking out just one. In all fairness, being his first return, he was on a bit of a pitch limit as he went just 73 pitches, throwing 45 for strikes.

Still, for the Brewers, they have moved into the second Wild Card spot and are just two games behind the Cubs for the division lead. If Gonzalez can pitch somewhat effectively for the remainder of the season, it will be a nice addition for a mid-market team that can’t always afford to go out and make a “splash” at the deadline.

Kiermaier Injures Thumb

Health news has not been good for everyone, though, as it appears the Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier is likely to miss some time. Kiermaier hurt his thumb Saturday evening while diving back into first base. He was getting an MRI on Saturday evening, and, as of this writing, the results have not been announced. Still, any time missed for Kiermaier would be a loss for the Rays, who have dropped to nine games back in the AL East (although they sit just one game back of the second Wild Card in the AL). To date, Kiermaier has hit .248/.294/.425 with 10 home runs, 43 runs batted in, 43 runs scored and 17 stolen bases while playing a superb centerfield for the Rays.

Asking Price High For Boyd

To say that the second Wild Card has enhanced the chances for many more teams to make the postseason would be quite an understatement. For example, in the National League, only one team (Miami Marlins) sits more than six games back of the second Wild Card spot. While there is more disparity in the American League, where six teams sit more than 6.5 games back, it still makes a lot of teams feel like they could have a shot this time of year. With that in mind, the true sellers in the trade market are much fewer, which is escalating the prices for possible trade targets.

One example is the Detroit Tigers and Matthew Boyd. Jon Heyman of MLB Network is reporting that the Tigers not only want a future star, but they also want an “established young MLB star.” With the trade deadline about 10 days away, it is not shocking to see a team ask for the moon in any deals at this point, but it will be interesting to see if a team is willing to pay the price or if the Tigers are willing to come down in their demands.

Regardless, Boyd is an exciting pitcher but has had some struggles of late. Still, on the season, he is 6-8 in 20 starts with a 4.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and opponents are hitting .243 against him. In 120 innings, he has allowed 112 hits, 55 earned runs, 21 home runs, and has struck out a whopping 160 batters versus just 24 walks. Especially for that strikeout potential, there are sure to be teams interested.

Phillies Sign Smyly

The Phillies made a low-risk acquisition this week as they signed starting pitcher Drew Smyly. This season, Smyly has already bounced around a bit as he was traded to the Rangers in the offseason, was released by them last month and signed by the Brewers, but opted out of that deal after not being called up to the majors. In nine starts for the Rangers, he had a disastrous 1-5 record with an 8.42 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, and had 52 strikeouts in 51.1 innings.

Still, for a rotation that has all righties, the Phillies are hoping they might be able to catch lightning in a bottle with Smyly. At 51-48, Philadelphia sits just a half-game back for the second Wild Card spot, and while they will likely be in rumors for bigger fish this trade deadline, they are still hoping Smyly can give them a low-cost boost.

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