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MLB roundup: Harper starts rehab assignment

The SportsXchange

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper began a rehab assignment Monday with Class A Potomac, collecting a single and a walk in his two plate appearances in Woodbridge, Va.

He exited the game against the Salem Red Sox after three innings, as was scheduled.

Harper, 21, will play at least seven games for Potomac and then be re-evaluated. He will be playing all three outfield positions during his rehab assignment.

The 2012 NL Rookie of the Year was hitting .289 with one home run and nine RBIs in 22 games this season before tearing a ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide into third base. He was placed on the disabled list April 27 and had surgery two days later.

Harper might rejoin the Nationals when they return home June 30 to play the Colorado Rockies.

---The Houston Astros are close to signing left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken, the top overall pick in the 2014 draft, according to reports.

The Astros could announce a deal with Aiken as early as Tuesday, MLB.com reported. The slot value for the No. 1 overall pick is $7,922,100.

This past season at Cathedral Catholic High School, the 17-year-old Aiken was 7-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 59 2/3 innings. He struck out 111 of the 228 batters he faced during his senior season.

---The Toronto Blue Jays placed infielder Brett Lawrie on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right index finger.

The Blue Jays also optioned catcher Erik Kratz to Triple-A Buffalo and recalled outfielders Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar from Buffalo.

Lawrie fractured his finger when he was hit by a pitch in the Blue Jays' 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. He is hitting .244 with a career-high 12 home runs and 38 RBIs this season.

---Taking the first step toward rebuilding their ailing rotation, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that left-hander Marco Gonzales would be called up to start Wednesday in Denver against the Colorado Rockies in his major league debut.

The Cardinals placed right-hander Michael Wacha (right shoulder stress reaction) and left-hander Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) on the 15-day disabled list.

Gonzales, a 22-year-old native of Fort Collins, Colo., is 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA through seven starts for Double-A Springfield (Mo.).

---San Diego Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner was scratched from his scheduled start Monday against the San Francisco Giants because of shoulder soreness.

Cuban defector Odrisamer Despaigne was recalled from Triple-A El Paso to start in Cashner's place.

---Colorado Rockies catcher Michael McKenry went on the bereavement list, and he will be away from the team for three days. The Rockies selected the contract of catcher Jackson Williams from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

---Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman, struck in the base of the left hand by a line drive Friday, is expected to make his scheduled start Wednesday. He threw a bullpen session Sunday, and the swelling was diminished.

---Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said left-hander Cliff Lee, on the disabled list since May 19 with a strained elbow, will throw in the bullpen again Tuesday. If all goes well Lee will pitch a simulated game Saturday.

Sandberg also said that outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. is expected to return from bereavement leave Tuesday, having left the club last week following the death of his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Sr.

---Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (right hamstring strain), who left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury after beating out a bunt in the third inning, had an MRI on Monday that revealed a mild strain that could keep him out about two days.
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