Health Notes: Gray, Murphy, Flaherty, Soroka

The Twins announced this morning that Sonny Gray has been activated from the injured list to start today’s game against the A’s, with Cole Sands optioned out in a corresponding move. Gray has been out of action since April 16, when he left a start in the second inning due to a right hamstring strain. Acquired from the Reds as the Twins’ biggest rotation pickup of the offseason, Gray has made just a pair of starts with his new club. Despite his three-week absence, Minnesota has gotten excellent production out of their starting staff thus far. Twins starters rank sixth in MLB in ERA (3.12) and eighth in strikeout/walk rate differential (17.1 percentage points). Joe RyanBailey OberChris ArcherChris Paddack and highly-regarded prospect Josh Winder each have an ERA of 3.26 or lower; Dylan Bundy is currently on the COVID-19 injured list, but the Twins could have an interesting call on how the rotation should be comprised once Bundy returns.

Some other injury updates around the league:

  • Mariners catcher Tom Murphy left last night’s game against the Rays after dislocating his shoulder on a tag attempt at home plate. After the game, skipper Scott Servais said Murphy will be out for a while (via Corey Brock of the Athletic). The team will presumably provide a more specific timetable in the coming days, but it’s all but certain he’ll head to the injured list before tonight’s contest. The M’s optioned Opening Day backstop Cal Raleigh to Triple-A last week, and it’s likely he’ll be recalled to pair with Luis Torrens behind the dish. Murphy had been off to an excellent start to the year, reaching base in 18 of his first 42 plate appearances.
  • Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty is set to throw a bullpen session before tonight’s game against the Giants, tweets Katie Woo of the Athletic. She notes that it’s Flaherty’s first bullpen work since he was shut down from throwing in Spring Training due to shoulder bursitis. It’s obviously a notable step in the righty’s recovery timeline, but manager Oli Marmol cautioned the club was prepared for a “pretty lengthy (rehab) progression” and still doesn’t have a target date for his return. Flaherty missed a month last season because of a shoulder strain (in addition to a longer absence on account of an oblique issue), so it’s wholly unsurprising the team is proceeding with caution. St. Louis has managed an impressive 3.15 rotation ERA — albeit with more pedestrian peripherals — in the absence of arguably their top starter.
  • Braves right-hander Mike Soroka hasn’t thrown an MLB pitch since August 2020, the result of successive Achilles ruptures that have sidetracked a fantastic start to his young career. The most recent of his surgeries occurred last June and came with an estimated year-long recovery timeline, and he opened this season on the injured list. Soroka remains on track in his rehab, he and manager Brian Snitker informed reporters yesterday (via Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Mark Bowman of The right-hander has thrown off a mound without issue around five times, and he’s soon to begin pitcher-fielding practice. The club is still hoping he can make it back to the majors shortly after the All-Star Break, and Toscano notes they’re not considering transitioning him to relief to expedite his return.

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