Trying to maintain his throwing arm in the midst of a 30-month stint with the U.S. Army often proved challenging for Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Chris Rowley. Fortunately, his company medic was willing to cooperate.

The first West Point graduate to reach the major leagues, Rowley pitched one-run ball over 5⅓ innings to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in his debut Saturday, leaving the field to a standing ovation.

“It still feels pretty surreal,” Rowley said Sunday. “I’m slowly processing it.’’

Working off a major league mound wasn’t an option for Rowley in the summer of 2015, when he was stationed in Bulgaria and Romania as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, aimed at reassuring NATO’s European allies in light of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. A first lieutenant, his job as a fire support officer in the field artillery branch was the priority, but Rowley and his medic still found time for the occasional game of catch.

“It was unusual,” Rowley said. “He played infield in high school so he wasn’t a catcher, but he did a fine job. I was just trying to keep the arm moving and do something to not lose anything.”

Rockies comeback

Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis will complete his comeback from chemotherapy for testicular cancer by starting Monday night’s game in Denver against Atlanta. … Major league RBI leader Nolan Arenado left the Rockies’ game in the fifth inning Sunday with a bruised left hand after being hit by an 88-mph fastball from Vance Worley. Following the game, Arenado said his hand was stiff and swollen, but X-rays were negative.

Harper has bruise

Star outfielder Bryce Harper has a significant bone bruise in his left knee but no ligament damage, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. Rizzo said the Nationals hope the star outfielder can return this season.

The 2015 NL MVP was injured Saturday when he slipped on first base. His recovery time is not clear.

Harper is batting .326 with 29 home runs and 87 RBI this season.

Jordan with Marlins

A person familiar with the situation says NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan has a small stake in Derek Jeter’s investment group that reached an agreement to buy the Miami Marlins.

The person confirmed Jordan’s role to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the parties involved have not commented.

Jordan already owns the NBA Charlotte Hornets.

A signed $1.2 billion agreement was submitted Saturday to Major League Baseball for Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to sell the franchise to a group that includes Jeter, the former New York Yankees captain. Venture capitalist Bruce Sherman of Naples, Fla., would be the controlling owner. Miami expects to close the deal in early October.