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Strasburg returns to the mound today

September 6, 2011

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Stephen Strasburg will make his first major league start in more than a year today when the Washington Nationals host the Dodgers. The 23-year-old righthander, who underwent Tommy John surgery last Sept. 3, completed six rehab starts in the minor leagues in preparation for his much-anticipated return to the majors. However, the forecast calls for heavy rain, and even a delay would probably scuttle the Strasburg plans and disappoint what is expected to be one of the few sold-out crowds at Nationals Park this season. “If he warms up and it rains, we’ll probably have to do it another day,’’ Washington manager Davey Johnson said yesterday. Strasburg’s elbow popped while he was pitching against the Phillies Aug. 21, 2010, ending his rookie season with a 5-3 record and a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts . . . Marlins ace Josh Johnson threw off a mound for the first time in more than two months. The righthander, on the disabled list since May 21 with shoulder inflammation, previously threw off a mound in late June. If all goes well, Johnson said he could pitch in a simulated game before the season ends. Also, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez will undergo a CT scan to determine the type of surgery he’ll have to repair his left shoulder. The shoulder has popped out of its socket several times, including last Tuesday in a rehab game with Single A Jupiter. Ramirez also underwent left shoulder surgery in October 2007.

Sizemore activated from disabled list The Indians activated three-time All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore from the DL, and hope to have second baseman Jason Kipnis back this week. Kipnis hasn’t played since straining a hamstring Aug. 14. Sizemore had abdominal surgery July 21. He opened the season on the DL as he recovered from surgery on his left knee in May 2010. He then hurt his right knee and sustained a hernia on the same play while sliding into a base in May . . . The Phillies activated righthander Joe Blanton after he missed 3 1/2 months with an elbow injury. Blanton, who began the season as the No. 5 starter, will pitch out of the bullpen . . . The Cubs activated righthander Andrew Cashner, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since straining his right rotator cuff April 5 in his only outing of the season . . . Will Middlebrooks and Dan Butler hit home runs to lead the Pawtucket Red Sox to a 7-3 victory over Rochester in their regular-season finale at McCoy Stadium. Starter Greg Smith allowed three hits in six innings to pick up the win for the PawSox, who open the International League playoffs tomorrow at Lehigh Valley.

Spain bows at European Championship Having already qualified for the second round before its game, Turkey beat Spain, 65-57, to hand the defending champion its first loss of the European Championship in Siauliai, Lithuania. Spain did not use Lakers center Pau Gasol, who was resting a twisted ankle, and scored only 2 points in the final quarter. His brother, Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, scored 12 points for Spain. Turkey advanced when Britain, behind a double-double by Bulls forward Luol Deng (28 points, 14 rebounds), beat Poland, 88-81, in Group A. Spain, Turkey, and Lithuania made it through from that group. Greece advanced by beating and eliminating Croatia, 74-69, in Group C.

Argentina undefeated; Sosa breaks leg Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets scored 22 points as Argentina beat Canada, 79-53, to remain the only unbeaten team in the second round of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament for the Americas in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Brazil also won on a day marred by a serious injury to former Louisville guard Edgar Sosa of Dominican Republic. With 37.9 seconds left in Dominican Republic’s 92-68 victory over Panama, Sosa broke his right leg and he is expected to be out for at least six months. Sosa was injured when he fell among a pack of players under the basket. Players from both teams were near tears as they gathered around him following the fall. Both of Sosa’s lower right leg bones appeared to have snapped, leaving his leg bent at a grotesque angle. Luis Flores had 17 points for Dominican Republic (3-1), which is coached by Kentucky’s John Calipari. Carlos Delfino of the Bucks added 17 points for Argentina (4-0), while Manu Ginobili of the Spurs had 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Kelly Olynyk led Canada (1-3).

Edsall leads Maryland over Miami Nick Ferrara kicked a 32-yard field goal to put Maryland ahead with 1:39 left and Danny O’Brien threw for 348 yards and a touchdown as former UConn coach Randy Edsall led host Maryland to a 32-24 win over shorthanded Miami. The Hurricanes were playing their initial game under Al Golden without eight suspended players, including quarterback Jacory Harris, linebacker Sean Spence, and defensive linemen Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo. Stephen Morris capably filled in for Harris, going 19 for 28 for 195 yards and running for a touchdown. But on a fourth and 4 in the final minute, the sophomore threw an interception that Cameron Chism took 54 yards to put the game out of reach with 39 seconds remaining . . . Currency Swap edged long shot Trinniberg by three-quarters of a length in the $250,000 Hopeful Stakes for 2-year-olds at Saratoga (N.Y.) Race Course. Rajiv Maragh rode the Terri Pompay-trained Currency Swap, who ran 7 furlongs in 1 minute 26.18 seconds over a sloppy racetrack and earned $150,000 for owners Klaravich Stable and William H. Lawrence . . . Omar Bravo scored on a penalty kick in the second minute of stoppage time, giving Sporting Kansas City a 2-2 draw with visiting Los Angeles in Major League Soccer. The goal came after David Beckham was shown a yellow card for arguing the spot of the kick.