Ivan Rodriguez, perhaps the greatest Texas Ranger of all, returns to his original home team for the stretch run. The Astros traded the veteran to Texas for three prospects (one named, two not) so that Taylor Teagarden could have a veteran backup with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the DL. Pudge is no longer the offensive threat he was even three years ago, much less in his prime, hitting like a veteran backup catcher. On the other hand, what does this say about where Houston is heading? Houston had made an impressive run to get to into the NL Central mix, only to deal away someone who had been helping keep the Astros staff intact and checking the running game. J. R. Towles gets one more shot to become the starter they envisioned back in 2007, I guess. [ESPN]
Who did Houston get? Matt Nevarez has looked solid at Hickory (A), with 50Ks in just 35 innings, and finally appears to be harnessing his control. Nevarez is 22, signed four years ago after being drafted in the 10th round out of high school.
Look for Dodger starter Hiroki Kuroda to get a DL stint to recover from post-concussion elements. [ESPN]
John Smoltz might be a Cardinal? No team has done more in the last four weeks to upgrade the team than St. Louis. [ESPN/FoxSports]
Meanwhile, FoxSports thinks that the Dodgers, in need of a starter, might consider Vincente Padilla. [FoxSports]
I haven’t found the article – admitting that I haven’t searched too much – but I read in the Chicago Tribune that Carlos Zambrano admitted that his back problems start with poor conditioning… So, while he’s on the DL, Big Z is battling the bulge, too. Meanwhile, another Carlos Cubbie – Carlos Marmol, finally gets a shot at the closer role – despite his on/off season. I checked this out yesterday – Kevin Gregg was AWESOME in the month of July, only to fall flat in August (for the second year in a row, by the way). [FoxSports]
Another pitcher with a bad back isn’t ready to return, and that’s Boston’s Tim Wakefield. Look for him to rehab for at least two or three more starts. [ESPN]
Stephen Strasburg isn’t going to be ready to pitch for at least a month, so don’t look for him to pitch in Washington in 2009 – and he’ll likely spend a year in the minors after that. Word on the street is that the Nationals will not unnecessarily race him to the majors, despite his major league paycheck. [ESPN]
Fun stuff? Check out Rob Neyer’s blog on ESPN…
Welcome Back! Tampa’s Chad Bradford returns from the DL (officially), costing Reid Brignac a roster spot. KC’s Kyle Farnsworth returns from his DL stint.
Hurry Back! Houston’s Mike Hampton heads to the DL with a shoulder strain. Met Alex Cora heads to the DL with sprains in BOTH thumbs. Wow. White Sox Hero Dewayne Wise has a strained right shoulder and gets some time off.