Happy birthday to the legendary Willie Mays, who turns 92 years old today. All 22 seasons and 2992 games of Mays’ MLB career was spent in the National League, mostly with the New York/San Francisco Giants and then parts of his two last seasons back in the Big Apple with the Mets. Among players who played exclusively in the NL during their career, only Pete Rose and Stan Musial had more games in the Senior Circuit than Mays.
Let’s say hey to these items from around the NL….
- Michael Harris II made his return to the Braves’ lineup tonight, back in his customary spot in center field after missing Atlanta’s previous two games. There was some concern after Harris left Wednesday’s game with a jammed right knee, but he was able to avoid both the injured list and a significant layoff, even though he’ll at least temporarily be placing with a knee brace. Harris told The Athletic’s David O’Brien and other reporters that running with the brace won’t slow him down, though he is a little uncertain about how his sliding might be impacted. A lower back strain already sent Harris to the IL earlier this season, and today marks only the 13th game of 2023 for the reigning NL Rookie Of The Year.
- Padres outfielder Jose Azocar told reporters (including Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune) that he received a cortisone shot in his bothersome left elbow, but an MRI revealed only inflammation. Azocar was retroactively placed on the 10-day IL on May 3, and manager Bob Melvin thinks the outfielder might be able to resume baseball activities within a few days’ time. Azocar has a modest .244/.262/.293 slash line over 45 plate appearances, as the backup has made a few extra starts due to other injuries in the Padres’ outfield and the remaining games on Fernando Tatis Jr.’s suspension.
- Carlos Carrasco has hit another health setback, as Mets GM Billy Eppler and manager Buck Showalter told reporters (including Abbey Mastracco of the New York Daily News) that the right-hander is battling an illness. This has pushed back plans to start a rehab assignment for Carrasco this weekend, as the veteran continues to work his way back from a bone spur in his throwing elbow. Carrasco struggled to an 8.56 ERA over his first three starts and 13 2/3 innings before going on the IL.
- It has also been a tough road for Noah Syndergaard in 2023, as his Dodgers tenure has begun with a 6.32 ERA over his first six starts and 31 1/3 innings since signing a one-year, $13MM free agent deal. However, manager Dave Roberts told the Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett and other reporters that even as L.A. continues to juggle its rotation, the club isn’t considering removing Syndergaard from the starting five. The righty will get some extra time between starts, with Syndergaard projected for an eight-day break before his next scheduled outing on Tuesday. Both Michael Grove and Gavin Stone made some starts while Tony Gonsolin was on the injured list, but with Gonsolin now back and Grove now on the IL with a groin injury, the Dodgers will now stick with a normal five-man rotation. Roberts said that rather than keep Stone in the majors for another start and a brief shift to a six-man rotation, “there’s maybe a potential cost of getting guys out of their rhythm” given that Los Angeles also has an off-day on Thursday.