Pitching Notes: D-backs, Cubs, Verlander – MLB Trade Rumors

Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray is drawing interest from “a few teams” as a bullpen possibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes. The 28-year-old left-hander has only made three relief appearances in his career (none since his first season in 2014); however, after several respectable seasons as a starter, the soon-to-be free agent has tanked in 2020. He owns an awful 8.33 ERA/7.77 FIP with 8.33 BB/9 across 27 innings this year, though some clubs may have hope that Ray’s high-strikeout ways will lead to success in the bullpen during the stretch run of the season. That said, there’s no guarantee the Diamondbacks will move Ray before the Aug. 31 deadline, as they entered Monday a manageable two games back of a wild-card spot.

  • More on the Diamondbacks, who made righty Merrill Kelly a late scratch before his start Monday. It was easy to speculate on a potential trade when that happened, but it turns out Kelly is dealing with a nerve impingement in his pitching shoulder, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. The club has placed Kelly on the 10-day injured list as a result and recalled righty Riley Smith. Kelly has been quite effective this season, as MLBTR’s Steve Adams explained Monday, so losing him is a blow to the D-backs’ playoff hopes and perhaps a less-than-ideal development heading into the deadline.
  • Cubs southpaw Jose Quintana and righty Tyler Chatwood will come off the injured list Tuesday, Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Quintana, who has been out all season after undergoing left thumb surgery, will work from the bullpen upon his return. That’s relatively new territory for Quintana, who has totaled just four relief appearances out of 250 in his career. As Wittenmyer notes, though, Quintana could find himself back in a starting role soon if Chatwood or Alec Mills falters (Mills didn’t in a win over Detroit on Monday). Chatwood, who will start Tuesday, turned in a pair of great outings to open the season, but he went on the IL with a back issue after the Royals shellacked him for eight earned runs on 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings on Aug. 6. He’s now set to rejoin Mills, Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester in the Cubs’ rotation.
  • It has been nearly a month since the Astros shut down ace Justin Verlander because of a right forearm strain, but the reigning AL Cy Young winner continues to make progress in his recovery. Manager Dusty Baker issued an update on Verlander on Monday, saying to Mark Berman of Fox 26 and other reporters: “I think he threw 20 pitches yesterday. He said he felt pretty good. That’s a positive sign.” It’s still unknown whether Verlander will make it back this year, especially with only about a month remaining in the regular season. Houston has started 15-13 despite only one appearance from Verlander (and several other notable injuries), putting the team two games back of a wild-card spot.

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