LEADING OFF: Familia returns, Valdez back in majors
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
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 skid that ended with a 5-4 win Wednesday night against Philadelphia. ''We're going to add a nice piece,'' 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.
ON THE MEND
Houston shortstop Carlos Correa expects to be in the lineup after missing three games because of a bruised right hand. Correa, hit by a pitch Saturday against Oakland, took batting practice and fielded grounders Wednesday. 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.'' Astros 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 explained. Correa was in an 0-for-9 slump and hitting .234 with one home run before the injury. Alex Bregman has filled in at shortstop.
READY OR NOT?
Atlanta outfielder Matt Kemp, sidelined by right hamstring tightness, could be activated from the disabled list in time to face 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, 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. Valdez 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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