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Pennant Races Heat Up; MLB News Continues Hot and Heavy

Take a look at some of the recent Major League Baseball News and Notes as September looms.

Nationals Waving White Flag?

While the Nationals were not willing to waive the white flag on their season prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, they certainly did on Tuesday. In a flurry of moves, the Nats traded both Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams. Daniel Murphy was traded to the Chicago Cubs for prospect Andruw Monasterio. Murphy, who is batting .300/.341/.442 with a .784 OPS in 190 at bats, heads to a team that has the best record in the NL.

Adams will also be going to the NL Central, except heading south of Chicago to the recently hot St. Louis Cardinals. Adams has hit .257/.332/.510 with a .842 OPS. He also has 18 home runs, 48 runs batted in and has scored 37 runs. The Nationals won’t receive anything in return for Adams, though, as he was simply a waiver claim by the Cardinals that the Nats decided to just offload.

One other player who was claimed on waivers will not be going anywhere. After being claimed, Bryce Harper was pulled back on waivers by the Nationals. The belief is that the Dodgers were the team who had claimed Harper, but no deal could be made. The free agent to be will instead likely leave this offseason with only a draft pick coming to the Nationals if they give him a qualifying offer (which they will).

Altuve Returns To Action

The Houston Astros are hoping that they are starting to get healthy. After seeing their division lead plummet, to the point that they are tied with the Oakland Athletics in the AL West, they welcomed back a familiar face on Tuesday as Jose Altuve was activated off of the disabled list. Altuve has been out since July 26 due to an injury to his right knee. On the season, the defending AL Most Valuable Players is hitting .329/.392/.464 with a .857 OPS. He has 9 home runs, 46 runs batted in, 64 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. While Altuve is a welcomed return, they are still without their full complement of players. George Springer is out for the second day in a row after complaining of quad pain before Monday’s game. It has been since June 25th since Altuve, Springer and Carlos Correa have all been in the lineup at the same time. Throw in players like Brian McCann, Lance McCullers Jr. and Chris Devenski and the defending champs are hoping to return to health soon.

Another big story out of Astros camp is the changing of guard at closer. After blowing his last two save opportunities, manager AJ Hinch has discussed that Roberto Osuna will likely get many of the save opportunities moving forward. The controversial trade deadline acquisition, who has been dealing with domestic abuse charges, will take over as closer for a team that is desperately looking to turnaround a rough patch over the last month or so.

Ohtani Testing Arm

Despite playing with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament, the Angels are hopeful that Shohei Ohtani might be able to pitch again this season. The two-way star has still been used as the Angels’ designated hitter, but after a simulated game on Tuesday, the Angels are hoping that he can return to the mound sometime in September. They will continue to amp up his pitch count as he works through bullpen sessions and if all goes well, they will try to unleash him. On the mound this season, Ohtani is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and opponents are hitting .202 against him. In 49.1 innings, he has 61 strikeouts and 20 walks.

Darvish Out For Season

To say that this season has been a disappointment for Yu Darvish and the Chicago Cubs would be an understatement. After being signed to a 6 year, $126 million contract, Darvish’s season is now over. Trying to work back from a shoulder issue, Darvish had to leave a minor league start early after Darvish felt that something was off. An MRI showed that he had a triceps strain and a stress reaction in his elbow. With no damage to his elbow ligament, he could conceivably be back in about six weeks (assuming everything went according to plan), but that would not really give him enough time to prepare for the playoffs, especially knowing he would have to work through rehab starts. With five years left on his deal, the Cubs are hoping that they can get some return on investment starting next season.

White Sox Add One Star, Lose Another

The Chicago White Sox know that they are still a couple years away from legitimately contending in the AL Central. Still, the White Sox gave one future star the chance to show what he has on Tuesday. Michael Kopech went 2 innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 4. Unfortunately for eager White Sox fans, his outing was cut short due to rain. Still, in just those two innings he showed the promise that the White Sox saw when they traded for him as part of the Chris Sale trade.

While Kopech showed why many people think that he will be a star, the White Sox lost another one of their stars on Tuesday. All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu underwent surgery on his groin area. After completing the outpatient surgery following feeling abdomen pain, Jose Abreu is expected to only miss a couple weeks. At 47-77 this season, there is no real reason to rush Abreu back until he is completely healthy.

Posey To Have Surgery?

After struggling with hip pain for the entire season, Buster Posey is now considering going under the knife. If Posey and the Giants decide to go ahead with the surgery, Posey would be out for the rest of the season. With that in mind, expectations are that he would be good to go come next spring training. This season, Posey is hitting .286/.360/.386 with a .746 OPS. He has 5 home runs, 40 runs batted in and 46 runs scored in 391 at bats. While no official decision has been made, it does appear that he may be leaning that way, especially if the Giants are resigned to the fact that they are out of the playoff hunt. That very well be the case since reports indicate it is likely Andrew McCutchen will be traded in August after being placed on revocable trade waivers. For McCutchen, the veteran outfielder is hitting .255/.353/.412 with a .765 OPS. He has 14 home runs, 53 runs batted in and 62 runs scored this season.

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