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On The Move presented by Penske

Pazos optioned; Elias, Bradford recalled

Infielder Beckham also sent to Triple-A; Paxton playing catch; Felix to start Monday
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Lefty reliever James Pazos, one of just three relievers who'd been with the Mariners all season, was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma as Seattle added Roenis Elias and Chasen Bradford to the pitching staff for Sunday's 12-1 loss to the Dodgers.

Elias was recalled from his rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma to start Sunday's game and took the loss after allowing five runs in three innings. Bradford also was brought back from Tacoma and pitched three frames of relief and allowed three more runs (two earned).

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SEATTLE -- Lefty reliever James Pazos, one of just three relievers who'd been with the Mariners all season, was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma as Seattle added Roenis Elias and Chasen Bradford to the pitching staff for Sunday's 12-1 loss to the Dodgers.

Elias was recalled from his rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma to start Sunday's game and took the loss after allowing five runs in three innings. Bradford also was brought back from Tacoma and pitched three frames of relief and allowed three more runs (two earned).

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The Mariners also optioned infielder Gordon Beckham back to Tacoma prior to Sunday's series finale.

Pazos' departure is something of a surprise as he's one of just three relievers -- along with Edwin Diaz and Nick Vincent -- who have been with the Mariners since the start of the season. Pazos owns a 3-1 mark and a 2.68 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks in 40 1/3 innings over 49 appearances. He's tied for 10th in the American League with 17 holds.

But the big lefty had struggled for the past month, allowing 12 hits and nine runs (six earned) with five walks over nine innings in his last 13 appearances.

Manager Scott Servais said Pazos has been given a detailed throwing program to work on mechanical issues with the hope he can regain his fastball velocity and command and return in September to contribute for the stretch run.

"I thought through first couple months of the season, once Pazos got on a roll, he was really, really good," Servais said. "But over the last six weeks, he hasn't been as consistent with his fastball, and that's his trick. That's what he's got, a riding fastball that really plays well up in the zone.

"This is about getting him right mechanically. We really need him to be a big part of our bullpen and right now, he's just not. So let's take a step back, regroup and go from there."

With Elias starting his first game off the disabled list and having only pitched one-inning stints in his three Minor League rehab games while recovering from a strained left triceps, the Mariners need some length in the bullpen and Bradford should help there.

The 29-year-old is 5-0 with a 3.05 ERA over 44 1/3 innings this season, with 32 strikeouts and 9 walks. His 44 1/3 innings are second among Mariners relievers behind only Diaz's 61. In 11 outings of at least 1 1/3 innings pitched, he is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA, with 12 strikeouts and five walks in 22 frames.

Beckham had a pinch-hit single on Friday after being recalled from Tacoma prior to the game. He's hit .222 in 36 at-bats in 14 games with Seattle this season and .311/.411/.479 in 82 games with Tacoma.

Paxton on the mend
James Paxton, on the 10-day disabled list after getting nailed in the left forearm Tuesday in Oakland by a line drive, played catch at about 75 feet prior to Sunday's game and said everything went well.

"It felt good. No problems," Paxton said, estimating he threw at about 60-percent effort level. "There was no real stiffness or anything. Just a little achy, maybe. I think just getting the rest of the swelling out of there will help that and I think once we get the swelling out, it should be ready to go."

Video: SEA@OAK: Paxton going to DL with left forearm bruise

Paxton is expected to play catch again the next few days before getting back on the mound in a bullpen session and testing the arm with some breaking balls and more velocity. The lefty will miss at least one start this week and could come off the DL by Saturday in Arizona, though that seems unlikely.

"It's one of those things you have to work through," Servais said. "We certainly need him in the worst way. But I want him to be healthy and able to contribute when he gets back out there."

Felix back in rotation on Monday
After pitching one game in long relief after Paxton got knocked out of Tuesday's game, Felix Hernandez returns to the rotation in Monday's series opener against the Astros.

Given that Erasmo Ramirez only went five innings in a 10-inning win on Friday and Elias isn't stretched out to go very deep in Sunday's game, the Mariners need Hernandez to provide some length Monday.

"That's where we're at," Servais said. "With a bullpen day [with Elias], Pax being out, giving Marco Gonzales a couple extra days, Mike Leake has been hands-down our most-consistent guy probably throughout the whole year. Felix doesn't have to go out there and shut the world out, just go out and be competitive and throw the ball over the plate. That's the biggest thing."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Gordon Beckham, Chasen Bradford, Roenis Elias

Twins place Santana on DL with finger injury

Busenitz recalled from Triple-A; Grossman reinstated from DL
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Ervin Santana, who has struggled with velocity and results in five starts since returning from right middle finger surgery, was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday and could miss the rest of the season, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. He's suffered recurring symptoms related to his original injury to his third finger MCP joint.

Reliever Alan Busenitz was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot on the roster, and lefty prospect Stephen Gonsalves was in the clubhouse and will take Santana's spot in the rotation to start on Monday against the White Sox in his Major League debut. Reliever Tyler Duffey was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Gonsalves on Sunday.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Ervin Santana, who has struggled with velocity and results in five starts since returning from right middle finger surgery, was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday and could miss the rest of the season, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. He's suffered recurring symptoms related to his original injury to his third finger MCP joint.

Reliever Alan Busenitz was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot on the roster, and lefty prospect Stephen Gonsalves was in the clubhouse and will take Santana's spot in the rotation to start on Monday against the White Sox in his Major League debut. Reliever Tyler Duffey was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Gonsalves on Sunday.

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Additionally, outfielder Johnny Field was optioned to Rochester as outfielder Robbie Grossman was reinstated from the DL after missing 11 games with a strained right hamstring.

"It's a combination of some discomfort, and I don't think it's working quite as well," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Santana's injury. "We all see how it's been going to this point. I'm not sure where it's going to go from here, but we just thought it made sense at this time rather than run him back out there on Tuesday. I don't know when the next time he'll pitch is going to be. We'll hopefully get another opinion on Tuesday."

Santana, 35, underwent the surgery on his right middle finger in early February but was expected to return in late April or early May. However, Santana dealt with complications, including a setback that forced him to wait until July to make his debut. His fastball velocity has been around 90 mph -- three mph less than last year -- and he's struggled with homers. His last start came on Thursday against the Tigers, when he allowed seven runs in four-plus innings, including three home runs.

Video: DET@MIN: Santana fans Reyes in the 2nd inning

"I have a little bit of discomfort right now, that's why we shut it down," Santana said. "Mostly the grip, that's where most of the pain is. You need to get it right before you do anything else. I'm going to shut it down and try to recover as fast as I can."

Santana is in the last year of his contract and the Twins aren't expected to pick up his $14-million option for next year. The 14-year veteran has a 3.68 ERA in 85 starts with Minnesota.

"It's our desire to try to find a way to support him the best way we can," Molitor said. "Sure, there's a component that what makes sense for us is going to be in there, too. He's well aware, we're well aware where he sits on next year status and all those type of things."

Gonsalves is the club's No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline. He's gone a combined 12-3 with a 2.76 ERA between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester this season. He's struck out 95 and walked 55 in 100 1/3 innings with Rochester this season.

Video: Top Prospects: Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Twins

"I was actually struggling a little bit walking everyone," Gonsalves said. "I was effectively wild, not mixing in a whole lot of hits. I've missed bats in the past with good changeups and good spin. Hopefully, we can just go from there."

Gonsalves, 24, said he found out late Saturday he was going to make his MLB debut, and the first person he called was his grandmother.

"I shared some tears with her," Gonsalves said. "We're all very excited. My grandfather passed away three years ago, and I dedicated this season to him. They'd been at every game ever since I was a little kid. They had season tickets to the Padres when my dad was a kid. Big sports fans. Big baseball fans. She was number one."

Busenitz, who pitched in 11 games over three stints with the Twins this season, recently appeared in seven games for the Red Wings, allowing six runs on nine hits in eight innings pitched with three saves.

Grossman and Busenitz will take the vacated 25-man roster spots of Field and Santana.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Ervin Santana

Farmer gets first start of 2018 in place of Turner

Triple-A pitcher did not clear 10-day DFA period
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Buck Farmer made his first start of the season in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Twins in place of Jacob Turner, who was orignially scheduled to start.

Detroit announced on Sunday morning that Farmer would get the nod and left-hander Daniel Stumpf had been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take the spot of Zach McAllister, who was designated for assignment following Saturday's 7-5 win.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Buck Farmer made his first start of the season in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Twins in place of Jacob Turner, who was orignially scheduled to start.

Detroit announced on Sunday morning that Farmer would get the nod and left-hander Daniel Stumpf had been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take the spot of Zach McAllister, who was designated for assignment following Saturday's 7-5 win.

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The Tigers had originally penciled in Turner to start on Sunday, announcing on Saturday that they had purchased his contract. But later that night, the club realized that Turner, who had been designated for assignment on Aug. 10 and optioned to Toledo on Aug. 13, had not yet cleared the 10-day DFA period and thus could not rejoin the big league club.

"We had actually discussed before either going with a bullpen day or going with a starting pitcher," Detroit general manager Al Avila said. "And it just so happened that Turner's day to start fell today. So we put that into action. Then [Detroit director of baseball operations Sam Menzin] calls and said, 'Hey, I just checked, and Turner hasn't been down 10 days.' So at that time, we reversed everything."

Farmer worked 2 1/3 innings in his start on Sunday, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out two batters.

Stumpf tossed the fifth and sixth innings for the Tigers on Sunday and held the Twins scoreless. The 27-year-old struck out three batters and walked one on 27 pitches, 15 of which were strikes. 

Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said the club planned for Farmer to throw two or three innings, then the majority of Detroit's bullpen would be available. Only Victor Alcantara and Joe Jimenez, who both pitched on Saturday, are off limits.

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Detroit Tigers, Buck Farmer

Stroman on DL; Pannone, Shafer brought up

Blue Jays option Santos, move Sanchez to 60-day DL
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays officially placed right-hander Marcus Stroman on the 10-day disabled list prior to Sunday afternoon's 10-2 loss to the Yankees.

Toronto also optioned right-hander Luis Santos to Triple-A Buffalo. As expected, the Blue Jays recalled lefty Thomas Pannone, and they also promoted right-hander Justin Shafer from Buffalo. Pannone tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief on Sunday, and Shafer added a scoreless frame in his big league debut.

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NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays officially placed right-hander Marcus Stroman on the 10-day disabled list prior to Sunday afternoon's 10-2 loss to the Yankees.

Toronto also optioned right-hander Luis Santos to Triple-A Buffalo. As expected, the Blue Jays recalled lefty Thomas Pannone, and they also promoted right-hander Justin Shafer from Buffalo. Pannone tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief on Sunday, and Shafer added a scoreless frame in his big league debut.

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The decision to place Stroman on the DL had been considered inevitable for the last couple of days. He was removed from Friday night's loss to the Yankees after four innings because of a blister issue on his right middle finger, marking his third consecutive start that was cut short by the injury.

Video: TOR@NYY: Shafer rings up Torres for first strikeout

"It has kind of been something I've prided myself on getting through, and I'm never one to bark about this being an issue, ever," Stroman said on Saturday. "I pride myself on being able to go out there and battle regardless of what I have going on, and I've gotten out there and I want to continue to go out there.

"I'm going to get through this, because that's who I am. But at this point right now I've just got to let it heal for a few days and kind of let that skin fully get back to being healthy."

Video: TB@TOR: Pannone K's Kiermaier for 1st MLB strikeout

The 24-year-old Pannone made his Major League debut earlier this month. He made three appearances out of the bullpen and allowed two runs over three innings. He is ranked Toronto's No. 27 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and he was 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts for the Bisons this season.

Shafer made 32 appearances out of Buffalo's bullpen this year, posting a 2.45 ERA while striking out 29 and walking 16 over 36 2/3 innings.

The blister is another setback in what has become a frustrating 2018 campaign for Stroman. He missed approximately six weeks earlier this year because of a right shoulder injury. The product of Duke returned in late June, but after back-to-back seasons with at least 200 innings, he currently only has 100 2/3.

"Way more frustrating," Stroman admitted. "I [worked really hard] to be back this year, to get my shoulder right, and it's finally getting to the point where it feels great and to have this pop up, it sucks. It's something I have to deal with, it's something I'll get through. I usually channel and turn adversity into a positive, always, so I'll get through this.

Video: MIN@TOR: Santos strikes out Grossman to end the frame

"I know who I am as a pitcher, I know how dominant I'm going to be in this game for many, many years to come, and it's just a matter of getting this right. I'll get through it, and I'll come out stronger, like I always do."

To make room on the 40-man roster for Shafer, right-hander Aaron Sanchez was placed on the 60-day DL. Sanchez has been out since June 22 with a contusion on his right middle finger, and the move is simply procedural because he is technically eligible to return later this week. Sanchez is currently on a rehab assignment, but he is expected to need at least one more start before coming off the DL.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Thomas Pannone, Luis Santos, Justin Shafer, Marcus Stroman

Braves activate LHP Freeman, option Allard

Reliever looks to regain command in return from shoulder injury
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Instead of sticking to their plan of giving Sam Freeman another Minor League rehab appearance, the Braves activated the left-handed reliever from the disabled list before Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Rockies.

Freeman returns to Atlanta's bullpen hoping to distance himself from the second-highest walk rate among qualified Major League relievers -- 6.13 walks per nine innings -- that led to a 5.45 ERA over 39 2/3 innings.

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ATLANTA -- Instead of sticking to their plan of giving Sam Freeman another Minor League rehab appearance, the Braves activated the left-handed reliever from the disabled list before Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Rockies.

Freeman returns to Atlanta's bullpen hoping to distance himself from the second-highest walk rate among qualified Major League relievers -- 6.13 walks per nine innings -- that led to a 5.45 ERA over 39 2/3 innings.

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Once Freeman allowed opponents to hit .327 with a .438 on-base percentage over 16 appearances from June 15 to July 28, the Braves placed him on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.

Freeman labored through an Aug. 12 rehab appearance for Class A Rome, but then he seemingly regained some arm strength during two appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett. He pitched around a walk in both of the scoreless innings he recorded for the Stripers.

Rookie Kolby Allard was optioned to Gwinnett to create a roster spot for Freeman, who produced a 2.55 ERA over 60 innings (58 appearances) for Atlanta last season.

Toussaint tunes up
Touki Toussaint prepped for a return to the Majors with nine strikeouts and one run allowed over six innings in Gwinnett's win over Buffalo on Saturday night. The Braves have not made an announcement, but it appears Toussaint will return to the Majors to start against the Marlins on Thursday or Friday.

Toussaint allowed one run and two hits over six innings when he made his Major League debut against the Marlins last week. MLB Pipeline ranks him as baseball's 76th-best prospect and the seventh best in the Braves' system.

Prospect watch
Third baseman Austin Riley -- Atlanta's No. 4 prospect and 43rd overall -- hit .308 with a .922 OPS and 10 homers over 222 plate appearances for Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett before spraining his right knee on June 3. Over 146 plate appearances since returning from a month-long stint on the disabled list, he has batted .262 with a .717 OPS and just one home run.

Riley has also struck out once every 3.18 at-bats while with Mississippi and Gwinnett. His struggles have likely lessened the likelihood he will begin the 2019 season as Atlanta's third baseman. But at 21 years old, he still has plenty of time to live up to his tremendous potential.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Kolby Allard, Sam Freeman

Mariners recall Festa, send Bergman to Triple-A

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The usual September callup came a couple of weeks early for right-hander Matt Festa, the Mariners' No. 8 prospect, on Saturday.

Festa will join the Mariners for his second big league stint of 2018 after continuing to pitch well in relief for Double-A Arkansas. In a corresponding move, reliever Christian Bergman -- who threw 2 2/3 innings of relief in Friday's 11-1 loss -- was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

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SEATTLE -- The usual September callup came a couple of weeks early for right-hander Matt Festa, the Mariners' No. 8 prospect, on Saturday.

Festa will join the Mariners for his second big league stint of 2018 after continuing to pitch well in relief for Double-A Arkansas. In a corresponding move, reliever Christian Bergman -- who threw 2 2/3 innings of relief in Friday's 11-1 loss -- was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

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Manager Scott Servais wanted to bolster his bullpen in advance of two games in which he won't be turning to one of his regular starters. Erasmo Ramirez got the nod on Saturday for his second start since returning from the disabled list, and the Mariners announced that Roenis Elias will make Sunday's start.

"Just trying to keep as many fresh arms as we can in the bullpen," said Servais. "Erasmo goes tonight and tomorrow Elias will go. I don't know how far he's going to be able to go in the game, so we want to cover as much as we can here in the next few days."

Sunday's start initially belonged to Marco Gonzales, but Servais shuffled the rotation in order to get extra rest for the lefty, who has pitched 142 1/3 innings.

"You do have to keep the big picture," Servais said. "We need Marco to be fresh and to try to keep him as fresh as possible as we go down the stretch here. He's going to be key for us."

Elias is still on the 10-day DL with a triceps strain. He tossed 3 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs in a spot start vs. San Francisco as part of a 2018 campaign in which he's posted a 2.88 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Festa made his Major League debut with the Mariners right before the All-Star break in Colorado. He entered in the fifth inning, retiring two batters and allowing one inherited runner to score in a loss to the Rockies.

In 39 appearances with the Travelers, Festa posted a 2.70 ERA and converted 18 of 18 save opportunities, striking out 58 over 43 1/3 innings.

Video: Top Prospects: Matthew Festa, RHP, Mariners

Andreoli to the Orioles
Former Mariners outfielder John Andreoli was claimed off waivers by the Orioles on Saturday.

The Mariners designated Andreoli for assignment on Friday in order to make room on their 40-man roster for infielder Gordon Beckham, who was called up because of Jean Segura's paternity leave.

Seattle is very deep in the outfield, thanks to the acquisition of Cameron Maybin. The Mariners carry four outfielders on their 25-man roster -- Maybin, Mitch Haniger, Denard Span and Guillermo Heredia. They also have Ben Gamel -- who owns a .290/.360/.395 line in 200 at-bats with the Mariners this season -- stashed away in Triple-A.

In 89 games for Tacoma, Andreoli slashed .287/.397/.401. The Orioles optioned the 28-year-old to Triple-A Norfolk.

Video: SEA@OAK: Paxton exits after being hit with comebacker

Paxton progressing
James Paxton has not started throwing, but Servais said the lefty's range of motion is back to normal after he was struck on the forearm by a line drive in the first inning of Tuesday's start against the Athletics. Servais was hopeful that Paxton would start throwing within a few days.

"Hopefully he's not down too long," Servais said. "That's the big thing, the longer he's down, the longer it will take to get him back game-ready."

Daddy Jean

Segura was not in Saturday's lineup, using up the second of a maximum of three days of paternity leave. Servais said he was not sure whether Segura would play on Sunday.

Because Segura was not with the team, he missed Saturday's team photo. Instead, he posted a photo of newborn Jacob on Instagram.

David Gottlieb covers the Mariners for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DGottliebMLB.

Seattle Mariners, John Andreoli, Matt Festa

Prospect in Fiers deal sent Tigers' way

MLB.com

One of the two players to be named later from the Tigers' trade of Mike Fiers to Oakland earlier this month was named on Saturday. Reliever Nolan Blackwood, a Texas League All-Star this season at Double-A Midland, was announced as part of the deal.

The 23-year-old Blackwood, a 6-foot-5 sidearmer, ranked 30th on MLB Pipeline's list of A's prospects. The former 14th-round Draft pick two years ago out of the University of Memphis posted a 6-3 record and 4.08 ERA in 39 appearances out of the Midland bullpen this season, including nine saves. He struck out 48 batters over 53 innings while allowing 60 hits and 16 walks. With just three homers allowed, Blackwood kept the ball in the park in a generally hitter-friendly league while also providing surprising velocity for his arm angle with a 91-93 mph fastball.

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One of the two players to be named later from the Tigers' trade of Mike Fiers to Oakland earlier this month was named on Saturday. Reliever Nolan Blackwood, a Texas League All-Star this season at Double-A Midland, was announced as part of the deal.

The 23-year-old Blackwood, a 6-foot-5 sidearmer, ranked 30th on MLB Pipeline's list of A's prospects. The former 14th-round Draft pick two years ago out of the University of Memphis posted a 6-3 record and 4.08 ERA in 39 appearances out of the Midland bullpen this season, including nine saves. He struck out 48 batters over 53 innings while allowing 60 hits and 16 walks. With just three homers allowed, Blackwood kept the ball in the park in a generally hitter-friendly league while also providing surprising velocity for his arm angle with a 91-93 mph fastball.

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Blackwood adds a deceptive bullpen arm that has its share of power relief prospects but could use some deceptive arms to complement them. Double-A Erie closer John Schreiber is one such arm on a similar trajectory, having risen from the Tigers' 15th-round pick in 2016 to success in Erie. Blackwood is expected to join him in Erie, where he'll likely finish out the season.

The Tigers and A's still have one more player to announce in that deal. Detroit will select from a list of players agreed upon when it reached the deal to send Fiers to Oakland two weeks ago.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers

Rodriguez joins rotation; Hellickson to DL

Milone moves to long relief; Herrera near return
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have been impressed by right-hander Jefry Rodriguez this season, from his handful of starts in the Majors to the way he has dominated the Minors lately. In his last start at Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday, he allowed just one unearned run in six innings and struck out 11. He also pitched well in his last start in the Majors on Aug. 7 against the Braves, giving up one run in five innings.

Those performances are reasons why the Nationals promoted Rodriguez to the rotation when they called him up to start Saturday's game vs. the Marlins and bumped Tommy Milone to the bullpen. Rodriguez, the Nationals' No. 11 prospect per MLB Pipeline, will take Jeremy Hellickson's spot in the club's rotation, as Hellickson was placed on the DL, retroactive to Thursday, with a right wrist sprain.

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WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have been impressed by right-hander Jefry Rodriguez this season, from his handful of starts in the Majors to the way he has dominated the Minors lately. In his last start at Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday, he allowed just one unearned run in six innings and struck out 11. He also pitched well in his last start in the Majors on Aug. 7 against the Braves, giving up one run in five innings.

Those performances are reasons why the Nationals promoted Rodriguez to the rotation when they called him up to start Saturday's game vs. the Marlins and bumped Tommy Milone to the bullpen. Rodriguez, the Nationals' No. 11 prospect per MLB Pipeline, will take Jeremy Hellickson's spot in the club's rotation, as Hellickson was placed on the DL, retroactive to Thursday, with a right wrist sprain.

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Hellickson, 31, is 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 18 starts for the Nationals. This will be his second stint on the disabled list this season.

Rodriguez has posted a 0.51 ERA with 19 strikeouts and six walks in his last three starts at Syracuse. Saturday was his fifth start for the Nationals.

"He's really attacking the strike zone and able to use his changeup a lot more," manager Dave Martinez said prior to the game. "He's getting confidence with his changeup, which allows his fastball to be that much better."

Milone slides into the bullpen as a long reliever to help provide length. His four appearances this year for the Nats have been all starts, but he has posted a 5.24 ERA.

Milone had been filling in for Stephen Strasburg in the Nats rotation, but Strasburg (neck) threw a bullpen session on Saturday and appears to be ready for his return from the DL. Although Martinez left open the possibility of Strasburg making a rehab start instead, the team has been planning for Strasburg to start Tuesday night against the division-rival Phillies at Nationals Park.

Herrea could be ready Tuesday
The Nats bullpen may get a much-needed jolt with the return of Kelvin Herrera, who could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. Herrera, who is on the DL with a right rotator cuff impingement, threw a 15-pitch simulated game Saturday afternoon and felt no discomfort in his shoulder.

He was initially scheduled to just throw a bullpen session, but Martinez wanted to see him face hitters to gauge his progress. Herrera had struggled during his tenure with the Nats, posting a 4.76 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP in 19 games before landing on the DL, but his return could help a bullpen short on reliable, healthy arms.

"I saw the ball today was coming out hot and had a lot of action," Martinez said. "Hopefully this is behind him, and come Tuesday or Wednesday, he's ready to go."

Gott optioned; Cordero promoted
The Nationals also swapped right-handed relievers on Saturday, optioning Trevor Gott to Syracuse while promoting Jimmy Cordero to the Majors. Cordero appeared in two games earlier this year for the Nats and has excelled at Triple-A Syracuse with a 1.96 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 46 innings without allowing a home run.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Tommy Milone, Jefry Rodriguez

Stroman headed to disabled list with blister

Blue Jays likely to promote Pannone; Gibbons glad to focus on team
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Marcus Stroman appears headed for the 10-day disabled list because of a lingering blister issue on his right middle finger.

Stroman was removed from Friday night's loss to the Yankees after four innings because of the blister. It was the third consecutive start was that cut short because of the injury, and now the Blue Jays have decided he needs an extended period of time to let it heal completely.

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NEW YORK -- Marcus Stroman appears headed for the 10-day disabled list because of a lingering blister issue on his right middle finger.

Stroman was removed from Friday night's loss to the Yankees after four innings because of the blister. It was the third consecutive start was that cut short because of the injury, and now the Blue Jays have decided he needs an extended period of time to let it heal completely.

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Toronto has yet to make an official roster move, but one is expected to happen before Sunday's series finale against the Yankees. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons all but confirmed that lefty Thomas Pannone will be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo and will start Wednesday vs. Baltimore.

Video: TOR@NYY: Stroman strikes out Stanton in the 1st

"It's been tough, it's something I've been battling," Stroman said Saturday morning. "It's pretty deep now. It's something I've never voiced how truly [bad] it was. I've kind of just always gotten through it and battled, and that's how I am. So hopefully just take a start here and let it heal over and then be back out there on the mound."

Pannone made his Major League debut earlier this month. He made three appearances out of the bullpen and allowed two runs over three innings. The 24-year-old is ranked Toronto's No. 27 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and he was 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts for the Bisons this season.

Video: TB@TOR: Pannone K's Kiermaier for 1st MLB strikeout

Normally, the Blue Jays would have considered bringing up another reliever or position player until Pannone is needed on Wednesday, but that won't be happening in this case. Pannone was optioned to the Minors on Wednesday, and he is not eligible to return to the Majors for 10 days unless he is replacing someone who is going on the DL.

"He would come to start Wednesday," Gibbons said of Pannone. "Because of the rules, we can't bring someone else first and then bring him up. ... I think he has looked good coming out of the 'pen a few times. I think everybody envisions [starting] is his role. I think it will be good for him."

Gibbons off the hot seat

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins confirmed on Friday afternoon that Gibbons will not be dismissed before the end of the regular season. Atkins said that he sat down with Gibbons earlier this week in Kansas City and made assurances that he will remain in place as manager for the rest of the 2018 campaign.

Atkins also admitted that Gibbons' situation will be "revisited" at the end of the year. Gibbons is signed through 2019 with a club option for '20, but a report from Sportsnet's Jeff Blair earlier this month suggested he was on the verge of being dismissed.

The report caused a bit of a hysteria away from the field, so Atkins felt it was necessary to sit down with Gibbons. The following day, Gibbons said he appreciated the discussion.

"That's good," Gibbons said. "We talked some things out, and I think that's the right way to do it. He does, too. We'll see where we're at at the end of the year.

"That can always become a distraction. It actually happens quite often in the game, and that's never a good thing. We're here to play baseball. The players need to be the focus. They're the show. Naturally, that's what happens in the game, you can't get away from it. But we'll put that to rest and see what happens at the end of the year."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman

Trade Talk: Harper, Phillies, Murphy, Yanks

MLB.com

The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, but the transaction wire could stay hot ahead of Aug. 31. That date is important because clubs acquiring new players via trade must have those players on their 40-man roster by then in order for that player (or players) to be eligible for its postseason roster. Teams can acquire players after Sept. 1, but those players would not be eligible to play with that team in the playoffs. 

Throughout August, it's not uncommon for high-profile players to be placed on waivers. In fact, most clubs will place a sizable portion of their Major League roster on waivers to gauge interest for their talent ahead of the offseason. 

The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, but the transaction wire could stay hot ahead of Aug. 31. That date is important because clubs acquiring new players via trade must have those players on their 40-man roster by then in order for that player (or players) to be eligible for its postseason roster. Teams can acquire players after Sept. 1, but those players would not be eligible to play with that team in the playoffs. 

Throughout August, it's not uncommon for high-profile players to be placed on waivers. In fact, most clubs will place a sizable portion of their Major League roster on waivers to gauge interest for their talent ahead of the offseason. 

When a waiver claim is placed, the player's original club has three options:
• Work out a standard trade with the claiming club within 48 hours
• Allow the player -- and all money remaining on his contract -- to go to the claiming club with no return
• Pull the player back off waivers

A player who is pulled back off waivers can be placed on trade waivers a second time, but at that point the waiver request becomes irrevocable. If a player passes through waivers unclaimed, he can then be traded to any club, free of restriction (though all 40-man-roster players in the trade must clear waivers before being dealt).

Glossary: Trade Waivers & Aug. 31 'Deadline'

With that in mind, here is the latest trade buzz: 

Rosenthal: Harper, Murphy placed on waiver wire 
Aug. 18: It's worth reiterating: Most players are placed on waivers at this time of year. But MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that the Nationals placed two of their biggest stars -- Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy -- on revocable trade waivers Friday, and that could be noteworthy given the team's current position. 

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Nationals put a number of players on revocable trade waivers yesterday, including Harper and Murphy, sources tell The Athletic. Team���s intentions not clear; virtually every player goes on waivers as matter of procedure this time of year. Nats 7 games out in NL East, 5 1/2 in WC.

Harper and Murphy are both potential free agents this winter, and many saw the 2018 season as one of the last remaining years in the Nationals' current window for title contention. General manager Mike Rizzo publicly declared at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline that Harper "is not going anywhere" and that he believed in his team, and so it remains unlikely that the superstar will be moved by Aug. 31. Murphy, who has been red-hot in recent weeks as he regains full strength in his knees, could be a more likely trade candidate -- particuarly for an AL contender who could utilize his bat in a designated hitter role. Rosenthal reports that Harper is owed approximately $5 million for the remainder of the season, while Murphy is owed roughly $4 million. 

On Friday, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported in an article for Fancred Sports that at least one rival general manager believes Harper will end up with the NL East rival Phillies, though that move may need to wait for the offseason when Harper tests the free agency waters. 

Will Yankees chase bat on trade market?
Aug. 17: MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted Thursday in an article for Fancred Sports that the Yankees sit just a few million dollars below the luxury-tax threshold and are reserving that money "in case there are any more rotation solutions that crop up."

However, the Yankees' offense might be a more pressing issue, even with ace right-hander Luis Severino struggling and lefty CC Sabathia going on the disabled list with a right knee injury earlier this week.

The Yankees scored just two runs while losing their past two games to the Rays, who used four pitchers Wednesday and six Thursday. Since Aaron Judge was placed on the DL with a fractured right wrist on July 27, New York has a .736 OPS, which ranks 14th in the Majors during that time.

Judge said he is feeling better since he had a cortisone shot in his wrist earlier this week, but there's a chance he won't be back until September. And while Gary Sanchez (right groin strain) is closer to a return, he is hitting just .188/.283/.416 this season.

The Orioles' Adam Jones and the Blue Jays' Curtis Granderson, who have both cleared waivers, have been mentioned as potential trade targets for the Yankees, but Jones has the power to veto any deal due to his 10-and-5 rights, and Granderson might not be a significant upgrade.

Another name the Yanks could consider? Impending free agent Daniel Murphy, should the Nats decide to sell. As ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted Thursday, Murphy would be a great fit for an American League club, as he could be used at the designated-hitter spot. New York could also play him at first base in place of Greg Bird, who is carrying a .698 OPS this season.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: WAS now 9 games out of 1st in NL East, 7 games out in WC. If the Nats start selling off pieces, you'd have to believe there could be real interest in Daniel Murphy, who is blistering hot -- hitting .392 in his last 30 games, with a .578 SLG. Great fit for AL teams w/DH; NYY/1B.

After missing all of April and May while recovering from right knee surgery and posting a .491 OPS with one homer in his first 21 games, Murphy has produced a 1.007 OPS with five home runs in his past 32 contests.

Donaldson getting closer to return?
Aug. 16: With just over two weeks to go before the end of August, Josh Donaldson is still rehabbing from a left calf injury that has kept him out since late May. But the Blue Jays third baseman could be nearing his return.

Donaldson posted a video of himself running the bases with the caption "Getting closer!!" on his Instagram account Wednesday.

Tweet from @AaronBenRose: #BlueJays Josh Donaldson back running the bases 👀 Says he's "getting closer" on his Instagram (tos_bor20)������������������ pic.twitter.com/eHOsedmnDw

If he can return from the disabled list and prove to be even a fraction of the player he was from 2015-17, the 32-year-old could be an attractive trade candidate before Aug. 31.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman broke down the market for Donaldson in an article for Fancred Sports earlier this month and listed the Indians, Cardinals, Braves, Cubs and Red Sox as potential landing spots for the impending free agent.

Heyman pegged the Indians -- who will have the first chance among those teams to claim Donaldson off waivers -- as the most likely of the five to acquire the third baseman.

While the Tribe has American League MVP candidate Jose Ramirez at the hot corner, it can shift him to second base and move Jason Kipnis to the outfield to help out a group that has been decimated by injuries and lost recent acquisition Leonys Martin to the disabled list with a bacterial infection last week.

Video: IT on Josh Donaldson's ability to help a playoff team

Jones reportedly clears revocable waivers, now eligible to be traded anywhere
Aug. 16: Adam Jones has passed through revocable waivers unclaimed, sources told MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, making the Orioles outfielder eligible to be traded to any of the other 29 teams.

Of course, a deal remains unlikely, as Jones used his 10-and-5 rights to veto a trade to the Phillies prior to the July 31 non-waiver Deadline, with family, friends and his community programs in Baltimore among the major reasons why, per Heyman.

Philadelphia's plan to have Jones platoon with lefty-swinging Nick Williams in right field may also have been a factor in Jones' refusal to approve a deal there, though the veteran hasn't indicated whether that is the case.

According to Heyman, the O's recently approached the Yankees to gauge their interest in Jones with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Clint Frazier on the disabled list, but New York is close to the luxury-tax threshold and would like to save that money in case any additional rotation solutions arise.

The Indians are another potential landing spot for Jones, as they are missing Leonys Martin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin, and have received lackluster production from Melky Cabrera (.695 OPS), Brandon Guyer (.663 OPS), Rajai Davis (.601 OPS) and Greg Allen (.580 OPS).

Video: BAL@NYY: Jones on invoking no-trade clause with O's

With Nelson unlikely to return, will Brewers trade for starter?
Aug. 15: The Brewers have held out hope that Jimmy Nelson, who has missed this entire season while recovering from right shoulder surgery, would be a solution to the club's rotation problems after coming off the disabled list. But general manager David Stearns and manager Craig Counsell acknowledged Wednesday that Nelson is unlikely to pitch for the team this year.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Craig Counsell on Jimmy Nelson: ���Jimmy pitching for us this year is unlikely. And that���s not due to a setback of any nature, that���s just due to the pace of his rehab right now.��� pic.twitter.com/lPiSozK3F8

Faced with that reality, Stearns is keeping open the possibility of swinging a trade for a starter.

"There's still a lot of waiver activity," Stearns said. "Guys are getting through. Tough to handicap at this point, but we're looking, and if there's something that makes sense that we think materially impacts this team, we'll do it."

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Stearns on prospect of trading for starter before Sept. 1: "There's still a lot of waiver activity. Guys are getting through. Tough to handicap at this point, but we're looking, and if there's something that makes sense that we think materially impacts this team, we'll do it."

The Brewers were one of the more active teams on the trade market before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring reliever Joakim Soria, third baseman Mike Moustakas and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

They also reportedly discussed deals for a number of starters, including the Mets' Zack Wheeler and the Reds' Matt Harvey, but ultimately didn't come away with any of them.

Milwaukee is unlikely to have a chance to trade for Wheeler at this point, but Harvey, Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada and White Sox right-hander James Shields could be available.

The question, of course, is whether any of those hurlers represents a significant upgrade over Zach Davies, who is nearing the conclusion of his rehab assignment.

Cutch, Holland among top August trade candidates
Aug. 14: The market has been relatively quiet since the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, with Mike Fiers, Fernando Rodney and Justin Bour representing the biggest names to have been moved in August. But as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote Tuesday, trade season is far from over.

And though they are still in the thick of the National League postseason race, the Giants could be an interesting team to watch. San Francisco entered Tuesday with a 60-60 record, putting it five games out in the NL West and 6 1/2 behind in the NL Wild Card chase. However, the Giants will need to leapfrog three other teams to win the division and six teams to grab the second NL Wild Card spot.

Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen and left-hander Derek Holland each made Feinsand's list of 10 August trade candidates. Both players are set to become free agents this offseason.

Feinsand notes that the Blue Jays could be active on the trade market before Aug. 31 as well, with third baseman Josh Donaldson, outfielder Curtis Granderson and right-hander Marco Estrada among Toronto's most likely candidates to be dealt.

Reds right-hander Matt Harvey, White Sox right-hander James Shields, Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, Rays right-hander Sergio Romo and Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias also made Feinsand's list. More >

Granderson reportedly clears revocable waivers
Aug. 14: Blue Jays outfielder Curtis Granderson, who was one of the 10 August trade candidates MLB.com's Mark Feinsand broke down Tuesday, has cleared revocable waivers and is free to be dealt anywhere, reports Robert Murray of The Athletic. 

Tweet from @ByRobertMurray: #BlueJays' Curtis Granderson has cleared revocable trade waivers, source tells The Athletic. He's free to be traded anywhere.

Granderson, who can become a free agent this offseason, owns a solid .766 OPS against right-handers in 2018. He also has extensive postseason experience, having played in the playoffs in seven seasons.

Granderson, 37, was part of an August trade just last season, going from the Mets to the Dodgers after passing through waivers unclaimed earlier in the month. More >

Bruce could be odd man out of Mets' outfield
Aug. 14: Jay Bruce is a name to monitor this month as the Mets could look to deal from their outfield surplus. Trading Bruce would open up time at the corners for Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.

Bruce is nearing a return from a right hip injury that's sidelined him since June 17. Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested Monday that Bruce could be dealt if he show's he's healthy before the end of the month, pointing to the Giants, Mariners, Rockies, Indians and Tigers as potential trade partners for the Mets.

Bruce has a five-team no-trade clause of the Orioles, Mariners, Rays, Blue Jays and A's, per Sherman, and two years, $28 million remaining on his contract after this season. He's batting .212/.292/.613 with three homers and 17 RBIs through 62 games this season.

Will Dodgers look to trade market to bolster injury-plagued bullpen?
Aug. 14: The Dodgers are down another reliever, with John Axford set to join Kenley Jansen, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia and Daniel Hudson on the disabled list after suffering a fractured tibia when he was hit by a comebacker Sunday.

While Los Angeles recently moved starters Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to the bullpen to help out its beleaguered relief corps, it's possible the club will look to swing an August trade for some bullpen help.

The problem? There might not be many attractive options available.

Sergio Romo, Jim Johnson and Tyler Clippard pitch for AL teams, meaning the Dodgers will be one of the last clubs that has a chance to claim them, based on the waiver-priority rules. Those hurlers might not even make it out of the AL before being claimed, as was the case with Fernando Rodney, who was traded to the A's last Thursday after being snagged off waivers from the Twins.

As for NL relievers, pitchers such as Bud Norris, Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen, Jared Hughes and David Hernandez also have a good chance of being claimed before the Dodgers have the opportunity to grab them.

Tigers southpaw Francisco Liriano reportedly cleared waivers already, but he's unlikely to draw interest as anything more than a lefty specialist. Liriano has held same-sided hitters to a .567 OPS since the outset of 2017, but right-handed batters have posted an .849 mark against him in that time.

Video: LAD@COL: Friedman provides update on Jansen

Marlins remain open to trading more veterans
Aug. 13: While the Marlins have traded Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Cameron Maybin, Brad Ziegler and Justin Bour in less than nine months, they might not be done dealing.

According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, the Marlins remain open to moving some veterans before Aug. 31, with infielder/outfielder Derek Dietrich, second baseman Starlin Castro and right-hander Dan Straily among the most likely candidates to be dealt.

Dietrich could draw more suitors than the other two, as he has considerable experience at three positions (2B, 3B, LF), owns a 116 OPS+ over the past four seasons and is controllable through 2020. Per Jackson, the Cubs and Indians inquired about the 29-year-old during July.

Meanwhile, Jackson writes that "no team expressed serious interest" in Castro, who is owed nearly $12 million in '19 and has a team option for $16 million with a $1 million buyout for '20, before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And though the A's discussed a Straily trade with the Marlins last month, Oakland has since acquired Mike Fiers from the Tigers.

The 29-year-old Straily has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility remaining after this one before he can become a free agent, which helps his trade value. But teams may be hesitant to give up notable prospects for a pitcher who has recorded a lifetime 4.27 ERA with a 4.81 FIP (4.42 ERA, 5.40 FIP in '18).

Leury singles against KC in return from DL

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Prior to Friday night's 9-3 win over the Royals, the White Sox reinstated outfielder Leury Garcia from the 10-day disabled list.

Garcia went 1-for-3 with a single after replacing Avisail Garcia, who was lifted by manager Rick Renteria for not hustling, in right field in the third inning of the series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Prior to Friday night's 9-3 win over the Royals, the White Sox reinstated outfielder Leury Garcia from the 10-day disabled list.

Garcia went 1-for-3 with a single after replacing Avisail Garcia, who was lifted by manager Rick Renteria for not hustling, in right field in the third inning of the series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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Leury Garcia, 27, was placed on the DL on Aug. 6 with a strained left hamstring he sustained on Aug. 5 against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

He is batting .280 (67-239) with seven doubles, four triples, four home runs, 31 RBIs, 23 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 74 games this season.

Chicago White Sox, Leury Garcia

Zamora called, makes MLB debut; Wahl to DL

Lefty fans 2 in scoreless 1 1/3; MRI shows no structural damage for Nimmo
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- When Daniel Zamora jogged out of the Mets' bullpen for the first time in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Phillies, he became the franchise-record-tying 54th player the Mets used this season. Moving another player through their roster turnstile, the Mets called up the left-handed Zamora from Double-A Binghamton earlier Friday for his big league debut.

To make room for Zamora, the Mets placed fellow reliever Bobby Wahl on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Zamora, 25, posted a 3.48 ERA with two saves in 40 games for Binghamton, after the team acquired him for lefty Josh Smoker in January.

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PHILADELPHIA -- When Daniel Zamora jogged out of the Mets' bullpen for the first time in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Phillies, he became the franchise-record-tying 54th player the Mets used this season. Moving another player through their roster turnstile, the Mets called up the left-handed Zamora from Double-A Binghamton earlier Friday for his big league debut.

To make room for Zamora, the Mets placed fellow reliever Bobby Wahl on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Zamora, 25, posted a 3.48 ERA with two saves in 40 games for Binghamton, after the team acquired him for lefty Josh Smoker in January.

View Full Game Coverage

"I'm just trying to throw strikes, and compete and go after guys," said Zamora, who struck out two of the four Phillies he faced in his debut, also walking a batter and inducing a double play. "That's the main thing I do. As long as I throw strikes and get ahead, I'm usually pretty successful."

Video: Zamora talks about being called up by Mets

Following Zamora's final game at Binghamton, manager Luis Rojas called him to break the news, asking if the left-hander's pregnant wife could meet him in Philadelphia. (She could not, but Zamora's parents and other friends did.)

That break comes at the expense of Wahl, one of two players the Mets received from the A's last month for Jeurys Familia. Wahl's injury occurred in his seventh appearance with the Mets, as he fielded a bunt in Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader against the Phillies.

"I honestly don't know," Wahl said when asked if he believes the rest of his season is in jeopardy. "I'm just going to take it a day at a time, and hopefully I can get back out there. At the end of the day, that's what I want to do. I'm here to pitch."

Video: NYM@PHI: Wahl shaken up after Quinn's bunt single

The Mets set their original franchise record for players in a season with 54 in 1967. They stand a strong chance of breaking that mark by September, when they expect a wave of callups.

Healing Nimmo
Outfielder Brandon Nimmo received another dose of good news Friday, when an MRI revealed no structural damage in his left hand. X-rays taken on the hand Thursday revealed nothing amiss after a Ranger Suarez fastball struck Nimmo on his left index finger, but the Mets sent him for an MRI to make sure the initial tests did not overlook any small fractures.

Although Nimmo was out of Friday's starting lineup, he could return as soon as Saturday.

"It was just a blow to the index finger," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said, "and he's going to be able to play as tolerated."

Video: NYM@PHI: Nimmo on leaving game after injuring finger

No Alonso
Mets officials continue to hint that the club's second-ranked prospect Peter Alonso is unlikely to be called up before the end of the season. Though the Mets could add Alonso when rosters expand in September, that would force them to put him on the 40-man roster earlier than necessary. The team is wary of doing so after losing Chasen Bradford and Matt Reynolds to waiver claims due to a roster jam last winter, and being forced to trade Smoker.

Offensively, Alonso has nothing left to prove in the Minors, where he is batting .283 with 30 home runs and a .962 OPS in 116 games split between the organization's two top levels. Although the Mets still want Alonso to demonstrate improvement at first base, they recently named him their Triple-A Las Vegas Defensive Player of the Month.

One first baseman who should earn a callup down the stretch is Dominic Smith. But the Mets are currently using Wilmer Flores and Jose Bautista at first base in the big leagues instead of Smith, preferring to have the latter receive outfield reps every day at Triple-A. Smith has just six home runs in 77 games at Las Vegas.

Hello, Jerry
Despite making headlines earlier this week due to his bat -- he recorded his first career hit and RBI during Thursday's 24-4 rout of the Phillies -- Jerry Blevins has also been one of the Mets' most valuable relievers in August. Entering Friday's play, he had strung together 11 consecutive scoreless appearances, holding opposing hitters to a .301 OPS over that stretch.

Video: NYM@PHI: Blevins singles off Kingery for 1st hit

A source said the Mets have been in touch with multiple teams regarding a potential trade of Blevins, who can be moved if he clears waivers. But a rival evaluator said the Mets would be unlikely to receive anything more than salary relief in return for Blevins, who is making $7 million and can be a free agent after the season.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Jerry Blevins, Brandon Nimmo, Bobby Wahl, Daniel Zamora