LEADING OFF: Cubs’ Stroman coming off COVID list vs Dbacks
A look at what’s happening around the majors on Thursday:
STRO’S A GO
Marcus Stroman (1-3, 5.13 ERA) is set to come off the COVID-19 injured list and start for the Cubs against Arizona. The right-hander hasn’t pitched since May 1, when he delivered seven scoreless innings against Milwaukee in his best start since signing a $71 million, three-year deal with Chicago in the offseason.
He’ll oppose Zac Gallen (2-0, 1.05) in the opener of a four-game series at Wrigley Field. Gallen held Chicago to two hits and a run over six innings in his previous start Saturday.
Phillies slugger Bryce Harper may not play right field again until late July as he recovers from a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow.
The reigning NL MVP sat out a third straight game Wednesday but is hoping to possibly return as the designated hitter for Thursday’s game against San Diego. He had the injection Sunday because of a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his throwing elbow that’s forced him into the role of designated hitter.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday that doctors said Harper should not throw for at least six weeks.
The 29-year-old star is batting .305 with nine home runs, 14 doubles, 27 RBIs, and an .634 slugging percentage.
A LUCKY LOSS
Astros pitcher Jake Odorizzi will be sidelined indefinitely with damage to tendons and ligaments in his left ankle, but he’s feeling fortunate his Achilles tendon is unharmed.
The 32-year-old right-hander feared a serious injury to the Achilles tendon when he heard a pop in his ankle Monday against Boston. He collapsed after throwing a pitch and taking a step toward first on a ground ball and was stretchered off.
“I think the stretcher made it worse than it actually was,” Odorizzi said Wednesday. “It was just a quick, loud pop. I heard it and felt it, so I kind of thought it was the worst-case scenario.”
Odorizzi is 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA and 21 strikeouts in seven starts this season.
A FINAL BITE OF THE APPLE
Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina make their last scheduled appearance in New York when the Cardinals finish a four-game series against the Mets — although it’s possible neither will be in the afternoon lineup after playing Wednesday night.
The longtime stars plan to retire after this year, and this week marks the Cardinals’ only visit to the Big Apple during the regular season. There’s always a chance of postseason trip, too.
“It’s always fun playing here,” Pujols said. “There’s a lot of great memories.”
The 42-year-old slugger received some warm applause during introductions at Citi Field and before his first at-bat of the series Wednesday night. He grounded a two-run single against Max Scherzer that deflected off first base for his 3,313th hit, tying Eddie Collins for 10th place on the career list.
Pujols later passed Collins with a broken-bat single in the fourth, and then stole second base without a throw. Paul Molitor is next on the hit list at 3,319.
Pujols and Molina were teammates on the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series championship team that defeated the Mets in Game 7 of the NLCS at old Shea Stadium on Molina’s tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning.
“Obviously, a great history going back and forth with the Cardinals, coming though here,” Pujols said. “I think although it’s not in the same division, we almost felt like it was always a rivalry. … Those are great memories that you’re obviously going to take with you.”
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