LEADING OFF: Familia returns, Valdez back in majors
A look at what's happening all around the majors Thursday:
BACK IN THE BULLPEN
All-Star closer Jeurys Familia returns to the Mets after sitting out the first 15 games of the season while serving a domestic violence suspension. He could provide a nice lift for an overworked bullpen. New York relievers were 0-4 with a 7.15 ERA during the team's four-game losing streak heading into Wednesday night against Philadelphia. The bullpen's five losses overall were tied for most in the majors. ''We're going to add a nice piece tomorrow,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''I think they'll settle down and they'll start to get into the roles they're accustomed to, and hopefully we pitch better.'' Collins said he would like to get Familia into a game right away, but the right-hander might be eased back in with a setup role at first. Familia led the majors last year with a club-record 51 saves in 56 chances.
BACK IN THE BATTING ORDER
Houston shortstop Carlos Correa expects to be in the lineup Thursday after missing three straight games because of a bruised right hand.
Correa, who was hit by a pitch in Saturday's game against Oakland, took batting practice and fielded ground balls prior to Wednesday's game against the Angels. He said he took around 25 swings.
''I want to be back out there,'' Correa said. ''It's still a little sore, but tomorrow I'll be ready and ready to be back in action.''
Houston manager A.J. Hinch said Correa is still day to day.
''He's got some questions to answer but things are pointing in the right direction,'' Hinch said. ''Today is a big day for him to get into baseball again.''
Correa was hitting .234 with one home run before the injury and in an 0-for-9 slump. Alex Bregman has filled in at shortstop during Correa's absence.
Atlanta outfielder Matt Kemp, sidelined by right hamstring tightness, could be activated from the disabled list for Thursday's game against Washington and Stephen Strasburg. Kemp was to play for Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday night in an injury rehabilitation assignment.
BEEN A LONG TIME
Cesar Valdez, a 32-year-old right-hander, returns to the big leagues for the first time since 2010 when he pitches for Oakland against Seattle. Valdez is making a spot start in place of Kendall Graveman, who is on the disabled list because of a strained right shoulder. Valdez was 1-2 with a 7.65 ERA in two starts and seven relief appearances for Arizona in 2010. He was traded to Pittsburgh that December to complete the deal that sent pitcher Zach Duke to the Diamondbacks, and his contract was bought by Florida in July 2011 and by Toronto later that month. He was released by Toronto after two days, played several years in Mexico, spent 2016 in Houston's organization and signed with the Athletics during the offseason.
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