Aaron Altherr will head out to right field with Saunders pulled from the lineup. There's no word regarding the severity of Saunders' illness, so consider him day-to-day heading into Friday's game against the Braves.
Covey was making his first appearance since coming off the disabled list earlier this week. He had been a starter for the White Sox prior to going on the disabled list with an oblique injury, but appears to be a long reliever now. That could change after Thursday's starter, Reynaldo Lopez, left the game with an injury. Covey could return to the rotation, although the White Sox have some young prospect arms that could benefit from some major-league innings over the final few weeks of the season.
Garcia has played all 17 games since coming off the disabled list in late July. He's hit .271 (19-for-70) with seven extra-base hits, nine RBI and 10 runs scored during that stretch. He's been able to maintain numbers well above his career averages and could be a useful piece for fantasy owners down the stretch. He often bats leadoff, getting a maximum number of at-bats per game while hitting in front of the few threatening hitters in Chicago's lineup.
Hinch would only say that he "heard it went fine" while McCullers told reporters he would talk to the media in a couple of days after sitting down with the manager to determine the next step in his rehabilitation. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list for a second time this season in late July after a four-start stretch in which he posted a 9.64 ERA and 2.30 WHIP. Thursday's session was the second one for McCullers, who is expected to require multiple starts while on a rehab assignment. That schedule pushes his return to Houston out until September.
Cordoba hasn't started a game since July 26 despite remaining on the 25-man roster during that stretch. The 21-year-old's production tailed off after a hot start to the season, and he currently owns a disappointing .219/.293/.315 slash line in 208 plate appearances. The Padres' regular fourth outfielder, Matt Szczur, is away from the team on paternity leave, so Cordoba could see a rare start should any of the club's starting outfielders receive a maintenance day.
The 33-year-old has been solid in a long relief role for the Friars this season after being plucked off the scrap heap during spring training. Stammen has posted a 3.68 ERA with an 8.2 K/9 over 63.2 innings.
Mackanin will mix in playing time for Rupp and rookie Jorge Alfaro when the Phillies' other three starters are pitching. Rupp has started four of the last seven games behind the dish. The catching rotation will become a little more complicated next month when Knapp is expected to return from the disabled list and Alfaro will be able to remain with the team due to roster expansion.
Manager Bruce Bochy continues to ease Melancon back into action in a middle relief role after it was reported that his elbow isn't fully back to full strength. The 32-year-old has fired three scoreless innings while picking up two holds since being activated off the disabled. The Giants want to make sure their big-ticket signing this past offseason is completely healthy before handing him the keys to the ninth, but Sam Dyson's success in the role has made the process move slower than fantasy owners had hoped.
Velasquez has been sidelined since leaving his Aug. 10 start after the first inning due to numbness in his finger. The Phillies have not yet provided a timetable for his return. Mark Leiter is taking Velasquez's spot in the rotation while he is sidelined.
The veteran outfielder has gone 3-for-4 on stolen base attempts in his last seven contests after providing just five steals over his previous 87 games. Span's renaissance on the basepaths may be a result of some good-natured ribbing he received from teammate Buster Posey last week, who -- at the time -- had matched the former speedster's stolen base total, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Whether or not that is the real reason for the 30-year-old's recent jolt of speed is unclear, but the fact that Span is stealing bases again gives him a boost in value down the stretch.
Herrera missed his third straight game Thursday and said he continues to feel soreness in his left hamstring. The Phillies added Pedro Florimon to their roster Thursday to give the team an additional bench bat. Nick Williams will likely see most of the playing time in center field while Herrera is sidelined.
Dyson entered the game with very little margin for error nursing a one-run lead against a scrappy Phillies club that had already hit two home runs in the game. He responded by holding the Phillies without a hit, marking his fourth consecutive hitless appearance. Mark Melancon, who picked up the hold Thursday, is due to reclaim the closer's role in the near future, so this may have been one of Dyson's final cracks at a save this season.
It wasn't an overly impressive outing from Samardzija as he was touched up for a pair of home runs, but the Giants' bats bailed him out and scratched five runs across a tough Aaron Nola. Samardzija has been reliably average for the bulk of the season, going six-or-more innings in 21 of his 25 starts but also allowing three-or-more runs in 18 of those outings. Samardzija's best characteristic this year has been his ability to limit walks, as evidenced by his 1.3 BB/9 rate and 6.96 K:BB ratio entering Thursday. He's lined up to face the Brewers' Jimmy Nelson in Milwaukee on Tuesday for his next start.
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