AL West Notes: Verlander, García, Santos, Brash, Sasaki

A pair of Astros starting pitchers are making progress on their way back from injuries. Justin Verlander spoke to reporters (including Chandler Rome of The Athletic) after a successful batting practice session against live hitters on Monday. He believes his next step will be a minor league rehab assignment. Manager Joe Espada provided a similar update, telling Brian McTaggart of that his ace “should be ready to go out on a rehab assignment” as long as he “comes back tomorrow feeling well.” Espada suggested Verlander would need more than one rehab appearance before he can return to the Astros, but the skipper did not provide an exact timeline for the three-time Cy Young winner’s return. Verlander has recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him on the sidelines this spring. Still, he needs more time to build up his arm strength before pitching in an MLB game.

Meanwhile, Luis García has begun to throw off a mound, and Espada says the righty is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from a UCL injury (per Rome). The 27-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery last May. While he still has plenty of work to put in before he can return to the majors, the Astros are hopeful he can rejoin the rotation by July if all goes well (per Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle). Over 64 games (62 starts) from 2021-23, García pitched to a 3.63 ERA and 3.86 SIERA.

More news from around the AL West…

  • The Mariners received some good news today when reliever Gregory Santos’ MRI came back clean (per Adam Jude of the Seattle Times). He had been dealing with a flareup of inflammation in the strained lat that kept him out for all of spring training. According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, Santos needed the MRI to come back clean in order to resume his throwing program; the hard-throwing right-hander has now begun “light baseball activities” (per Jude). The Mariners have not yet provided a timeline for his return, but they are surely hoping to get him back sooner rather than later. Santos pitched to a 3.39 ERA and 3.32 SIERA in 60 games for the White Sox last season.
  • In other Mariners bullpen news, Matt Brash is making progress as he recovers from right elbow inflammation. While Mariners GM Justin Hollander would not provide an exact timeline for any of his injured arms, he suggested that Brash is the furthest along in his rehab (per Jude). Like Santos, Brash is a hard-throwing right-hander coming off a breakout year. In 78 games last season, he posted a 3.06 ERA and 2.86 SIERA, winning nine games and collecting 24 holds.
  • Eight teams recently sent representatives to watch NPB ace Roki Sasaki pitch in Japan. The Dodgers, Cardinals, Mets, and Yankees were previously reported to be four of those clubs, and now Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reveals that a scout from the Rangers was also in attendance. That leaves three remaining mystery teams present at Sasaki’s latest starts for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

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Title: AL West Notes: Verlander, García, Santos, Brash, Sasaki
Author: Leo Morgenstern

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