LEADING OFF: Stanton back to hit, Strasburg returns

A look at what's happening all around the majors Wednesday:

STANTON RETURNS

The Marlins are getting a key reinforcement for their postseason push – sort of. Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton was activated Tuesday, just three weeks after his season was thought to be over because of a badly strained groin. The catch is that Stanton is only going to pinch hit. Of course, Miami won't complain about getting their big bat back for key situations.

STRASBURG'S STRUGGLES

Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.59) will return after missing a few weeks with a sore elbow and tries to slow his recent slide when Washington faces Atlanta. Strasburg allowed 19 runs over his final three starts before being shelved, including nine over 1 2/3 innings in a loss to Colorado last time out. The struggles likely took Strasburg out of the running for the NL Cy Young Award, though he and the Nationals still looked poised to win the NL East.

IMPRESSIVE HEAT

Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard (12-8, 2.56) faces Reds righty Anthony DeSclafani (8-2, 2.93) in a battle of pitchers with sub-three ERAs. Syndergaard leads all qualified major league starters in average fastball velocity at 98 mph – the next closest entering Tuesday was Kansas City's Yordano Ventura at 95.9.

VIRGIN VOYAGE

Jharel Cotton will become the third pitcher from the Virgin Islands to pitch in the majors when he debuts with Oakland against the Angels. The right-hander follows Al McBean and Elrod Hendricks as big leaguers from St. Thomas. Cotton was acquired from the Dodgers in a package for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick this season and had a 2.82 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Nashville after the trade.

BACK TO BROCK

Rookie Brock Stewart (0-2, 7.94) gets another start with the Dodgers, this time against Arizona. The right-hander rocketed from Class A to the majors this season and broke through with five dominant innings in his last start, a 1-0 win over the majors-leading Chicago Cubs. Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray (7-12, 4.46) shut out the Dodgers over seven innings when he last faced them on July 17.