AROUND THE HORN

Cecil Whig - - INSIDEBASEBALL -

Sev­eral teams got boosts with the re­turn of key play­ers from the dis­abled list in early Septem­ber.

Mar­lins right fielder Gian­carlo Stan­ton made a sur­prise ap­pear­ance on Sept. 6, sin­gling in a pinch­hit ap­pear­ance. Stan­ton was thought to be fin­ished for the year af­ter an Aug. 13 groin in­jury. Stan­ton was limited to just two pinch-hit­ting ap­pear­ances over the next four games, and man­ager Don Mat­tingly said that would be his role for a while. Stan­ton is eas­ily the team’s best power hit­ter, but it could be too lit­tle, too late for a team with a 1.5 per­cent chance to make the play­offs, ac­cord­ing to ESPN.com, through games of Sept. 11. …

Texas has more or less clinched a play­off berth with­out two-and-a-half months of start­ing pitcher Colby Lewis, who gave up three earned runs, all on solo home runs, in his re­turn from the DL on Sept. 11. Lewis, who slots as the No. 3 starter, has a 3.31 ERA, which would be the best of his MLB ca­reer in sea­sons in which he’s thrown more than 100 in­nings. More im­por­tant, the Rangers’ No. 2 starter, Yu Darvish, who missed all of 2015, has been good since his re­turn from the DL on July 16. …

Bal­ti­more’s Chris Till­man, who per­haps means as much to his team as any pitcher in the AL, gave up one run in six in­nings against the Tigers in a Sept. 11 re­turn from a three-week DL stay. …

Detroit is still in the play­off pic­ture, but a lot will be de­ter­mined by how healthy start­ing pitcher Jor­dan Zim­mer­man can stay. Early re­turns weren’t en­cour­ag­ing. On Sept. 10, Zim­mer­man, who’s made just two starts since June 30 due to lat prob­lems, was rocked by the Ori­oles for six earned runs in an in­ning of work. …

The Blue Jays were strug­gling to know what to do with Aaron Sanchez; they’d tried to limit his in­nings af­ter the 24-year-old had al­ready ex­ceeded his sin­gle-sea­son high for in­nings at any level of pro­fes­sional ball. Dur­ing a Sept. 10 out­ing, Sanchez gave up six earned runs in 3.1 in­nings to Bos­ton and de­vel­oped a blis­ter on his fin­ger, per­haps mak­ing that de­ci­sion eas­ier. …

The good news for Wash­ing­ton is that pitcher Stephen Stras­burg’s UCL was ex­am­ined, and re­ports were clean. But, he was di­ag­nosed with a flexor mass strain, the same in­jury that ended Cliff Lee’s ca­reer. Wash­ing­ton is hold­ing out hope that Stras­burg pitches again, but he’s al­ready had four DL stints in his past two sea­sons. …

The Mets’ Steven Matz has also had his re­turn from the DL pushed back. Matz has had shoul­der is­sues, and the Mets hope to have him throw­ing off a mound soon.

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