Gerrit Cole (triceps) threw 15 fastballs off a mound for the first time Sunday. He will throw a few more bullpen sessions on the upcoming road trip before the team lays out a rehab assignment schedule.
Cole last pitched on June 10th against the Cardinals in which he was removed after two innings due to his triceps injury. While this is certainly good news that he was able to throw on Sunday without issue there is still a ways to go before he is back on the mound as the Pirates will be in no rush to activate him until he is 100 percent.
If Cain begins his rehab assignment July 1, the earliest he would return would likely be right after the All-Star break. It looks like fantasy players can probably expect him back towards the end of July. Cain had been throwing well before suffering his injury, but his value is still confined to deep leagues until he proves it was not a fluke.
As per usual, Jaso will sit with the Pirates facing a lefty. Jordy Mercer will lead off once again, with David Freese batting second and playing first base. Mercer has a .976 OPS against lefties this season, and Freese's is 1.009, so both could make strong DFS plays against Francisco Liriano.
Walker was scratched from Friday's start with tendinitis in his foot, but it looks like he will avoid the disabled list. Walker will face the Orioles Thursday, and you may want to bench Walker anyway, as Baltimore has a .349 wOBA against righties, second-best in MLB.
Polanco pinch-hit Sunday, so he shouldn't be out of the lineup too much longer despite missing his fourth consecutive start. Sean Rodriguez will bat seventh and play right field with Polanco out. Rodriguez is 3-for-6 in his career against Dodgers' starter Scott Kazmir, which could make him a solid DFS play.
Cole has been out since June 10, and the closer we get to the All-Star break, the more likely it is the Pirates will simply hold him out until after the break as a precaution. If you own Cole, all you can do is wait and hope for the best.
Escobar hasn't played since June 23, and if he were to miss a few more games, a back-dated DL stint could make some sense. If you own Escobar in a weekly league you still have to consider benching him, but it certainly sounds like he will return to the lineup sometime this week. Jefry Marte should continue to see increased playing time while Escobar is out.
The Knicks already have a center who can protect the rim and shoot threes in Kristaps Porzingis and signing a center who will force Porzingis to play power forward and Carmelo Anthony to play small forward is a huge blunder considering the Knicks have no shooting guard and zero depth. Noah would be a good fit in the offense and in the locker room, but both he and the Knicks would probably be better off if he signs someplace else.
Pederson will sit against a lefty for the second time in three days, and it looks like he is in a pretty strict platoon at this point. Trayce Thompson will play centerfield and bat third. Thompson is hitless in his last 15 at-bats, so use him in DFS at your own risk.
Utley will sit again with a lefty on the mound, with Enrique Hernandez leading off and Howie Kendrick moving to second base. Hernandez hit a home run in his only at-bat against Francisco Liriano, and he could make an excellent DFS play Monday.