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News & Analysis

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

Willson Contreras heads back home with Cubs to face Marlins

August 5, 2022, 6:25 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

On July 26, Willson Contreras grew emotional when faced with the possibility of his last home game with the Chicago Cubs.

At the time, it seemed a trade was inevitable, but when Tuesday's frenzied trade deadline passed, Contreras was not headed to a new team.

Instead of introducing himself to a new fanbase, Contreras will return to Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon when the Cubs host the Miami Marlins in the opener of a three-game series.

Contreras, a pending free agent, was viewed as the top catcher on the trade market. During his final at-bat in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 26, he saluted the fans while scouts from other teams were in the stands. Cubs All-Star outfielder Ian Happ was also expected to be dealt, and he and Contreras shared an embrace in the dugout.

Instead of selling them off as the Cubs did with Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant last season, the front office did not get an offer it deemed acceptable for the two.

"It's going to be fun," Contreras said of staying in Chicago. "It's going to be good."

At the time of his ovation, the Cubs were completing their sixth consecutive win. Now they are returning from a 1-6 road trip through San Francisco and St. Louis and attempting to break a four-game skid after getting swept in a doubleheader against the Cardinals on Thursday.

"I know that I said goodbye because I assumed that I was getting traded, but it didn't happen," Contreras said. "I'm glad that I get to go back to Wrigley Field where everything started and get to play in front of the best fanbase in baseball."

Miami was two games under .500 following a 3-2 road win over the Pirates on July 14 but has lost 12 of 17 since. During that stretch, the Marlins have been blanked five times and scored three runs or fewer 13 times. They also have lost lineup mainstays Jazz Chisholm Jr., Brian Anderson and Jorge Soler to the injured list.

"We haven't really got clicking, but we were hanging in there, hung in through the road trip, but lost a lot of guys and then came back in the Mets series and just kind of got manhandled," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said earlier this week.

"That's kind of an eye-opener when you play a really good team and you just get manhandled, and you see where you're stacking up at that moment with the team that you have and guys that you're missing," Mattingly said.

The Marlins are coming off one of their best games of late, when they recorded a 3-0 win over the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday to snap a five-game skid. Ace Sandy Alcantara fired a six-hitter, Luke Williams had three hits and stole a career-high three bases, and Jesus Aguilar homered.

The Marlins did not name a starting pitcher for Friday, but it could be right-hander Edward Cabrera (2-1, 3.45 ERA), who was recalled from a rehab assignment at Triple-A Jacksonville during Thursday's off day.

Cabrera would be making his fourth major league start of the season and first since June 12 at Houston, three days before he landed on the injured list due to right elbow tendinitis.

Cabrera has never opposed the Cubs.

Chicago will counter with left-hander Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86 ERA), who is coming off one of his shortest starts of the season. He allowed four runs, all unearned, in 3 2/3 innings on July 28 at San Francisco. Steele had lasted at least five innings in nine straight starts prior to facing the Giants.

Steele will be facing the Marlins for the first time.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals, Cubs to play London series in 2023

August 4, 2022, 4:31 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will square off in a two-game series in London in 2023, Major League Baseball announced Thursday in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The teams will play June 24-25 next year at London Stadium as part of the new MLB World Tour. It will be the second series played in Europe following the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees series at London Stadium in June 2019.

The Cubs last played overseas in Tokyo in 2000, while the Cardinals last played internationally in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2019.

MLB and the union have committed to playing 24 regular-season games and 16 exhibition games in Asia, Mexico and Latin America, and Europe through the 2026 season.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins

Marlins put Avisail Garcia on IL, activate Garrett Cooper

August 3, 2022, 8:45 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins placed outfielder Avisail Garcia on the 10-day injured list and activated fellow first baseman/designated hitter Garrett Cooper on Wednesday.

Garcia, 31, has a left hamstring strain. Cooper, 31, had been on the IL since July 26 with a right wrist contusion.

Garcia is batting .232 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 88 games in his first season with Miami. The 2017 All-Star is a career .266 hitter with 134 home runs and 505 RBIs in 1,039 games with five teams.

Cooper was struck in the right wrist by a pitch in a 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 23. He made one rehab appearance at Class-A Jupiter and walked, singled and scored a run.

Cooper made the 2022 National League All-Star team and is hitting .279 with seven home runs, 21 doubles and 40 RBIs in 84 games this season. He is a career .281 hitter with 37 homers and 151 RBIs in 323 games with the New York Yankees (2017) and Marlins.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays

Blue Jays land RHPs Zach Pop, Anthony Bass from Marlins

August 2, 2022, 6:19 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired right-handed relievers Zach Pop and Anthony Bass from the Miami Marlins on Tuesday for infield prospect Jordan Groshans, multiple outlets reported.

The Blue Jays are bolstering a bullpen that ranked 10th in the American League with a 3.89 ERA heading into play Tuesday.

Pop, a 25-year-old native of Canada, has a 3.60 ERA in 18 relief appearances this season for the Marlins. He is 3-0 with a 3.98 ERA in 68 outings with the Marlins over the past two seasons.

Bass, 34, has a 1.41 ERA in 45 relief appearances this season for the Marlins. He is 14-28 with a 3.98 ERA and 15 saves over 11 seasons with seven different clubs.

Groshans, 22, was considered the Blue Jays' No. 4 overall prospect by He reached Triple-A for the first time this season and is batting .247 with one home run and 24 RBIs over 72 games on two separate minor league levels. He was the No. 12 overall draft pick by Toronto in 2018.

--Field Level Media

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs

Reports: Yankees acquire RHP Scott Effross from Cubs

August 1, 2022, 4:58 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are acquiring reliever Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs, multiple outlets reported Monday.

The 28-year-old right-hander is 1-4 with a 2.66 ERA, one save and 13 holds in 47 games (one start) this season.

Effross has struck out 50 batters and walked 11 in 44 innings.

In exchange, the Cubs will receive minor league right-hander Hayden Wesneski, ranked as the Yankees' No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Wesneski, 24, was a sixth-round pick by New York in 2019. He is 6-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 19 starts this season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, striking out 83 batters and walking 28 in 89 2/3 innings.

Effross will join a Yankees bullpen that lost right-hander Chad Green to Tommy John surgery in May and right-hander Michael King to a broken elbow in July.

--Field Level Media

Syndication: The Des Moines Register

Giants acquire INF Dixon Machado from Cubs

July 31, 2022, 8:33 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants acquired infielder Dixon Machado from the Chicago Cubs on Sunday in exchange for right-hander Raynel Espinal.

Machado, 30, last appeared in a major league game in 2018 with the Detroit Tigers. He was batting .312 with two home runs and 31 RBIs in 86 games for Triple-A Iowa this season. He played the 2020 and 2021 seasons in Japan.

In 172 games with the Tigers from 2015-18, Machado batted .227 with a .579 OPS and two home runs with 37 RBIs.

Espinal, 30, has just one game of major league experience, with the Boston Red Sox last season. He is 5-5 with a 5.29 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts) at Triple-A Sacramento this season.

Also, infielder/outfielder Zach McKinstry reported to the Cubs after recently being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs optioned first baseman/outfielder Alfonso Rivas to Iowa.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

Reports: Dodgers acquire RHP Chris Martin from Cubs

July 30, 2022, 5:55 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired veteran reliever Chris Martin from the Chicago Cubs, multiple media outlets reported on Saturday.

The 36-year-old right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.31 ERA and six holds in 34 appearances out of the bullpen in 2022.

Martin has struck out 40 batters, walked four and allowed five home runs in 31 1/3 innings.

He is 6-15 with seven saves and a 4.10 ERA in 244 games (no starts) over parts of seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Cubs.

There was no immediate word on a return for the Cubs.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals

Marlins’ Daniel Castano exits after liner to head

July 28, 2022, 5:49 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins left-hander Daniel Castano left Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Reds after taking a 104-mph line drive to the head.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Reds third baseman Donovan Solano drilled a 1-1 pitch that ricocheted off the left side of Castano's head and was caught for an out by Marlins third baseman Joey Wendle.

Castano dropped to his knees and remained down for a spell before walking off on his own power.

Jeff Brigham came on to replace Castano.

Castano had given up a run on two hits before leaving.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates

Marlins RHP Max Meyer having Tommy John surgery

July 28, 2022, 4:22 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Right-hander Max Meyer, one of the Miami Marlins' top pitching prospects, will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL.

Meyer made his MLB debut on July 16 but left his start on Saturday with elbow discomfort after just 10 pitches. An MRI on Monday revealed the tear.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters the decision for surgery was made after Meyer saw "a number of doctors."

Meyer, the Marlins' No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 draft, is the No. 20 overall prospect in the majors, according to MLB Pipeline. Right-hander Eury Perez is Miami's top prospect and No. 13, per the Pipeline.

Meyer, 23, is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in his first two MLB starts.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles at a date to be announced. Meyer is done for the rest of this season and will miss the majority of 2023.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets

Marlins 1B/DH Garrett Cooper (wrist contusion) lands on IL

July 26, 2022, 9:26 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins placed Garrett Cooper on the 10-day injured list Tuesday due to a right wrist contusion and recalled infielder Lewin Diaz from Triple-A Jacksonville in a corresponding move.

Cooper was hit by a pitch in the right wrist while pinch-hitting during Saturday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has not played since.

The 31-year-old has split his time between first base (44 starts) and designated hitter (36) this season. He was named to the National League All-Star team as a replacement selection and is batting .279 on the year with seven home runs, 40 RBIs and a career-high 21 doubles.

Diaz, 25, played in three major league games for Miami earlier this year and has made 57 big-league appearances in three seasons with the club. He is a career .187 hitter with eight home runs and 16 RBIs. All eight homers and 13 of his RBIs came in 2021 (40 games).

Diaz was in the lineup for Miami's game Tuesday at the Cincinnati Reds. He will bat fifth and play first base.

--Field Level Media

MLB: San Diego Padres at Chicago Cubs

RHP Matt Swarmer clears waivers, remains with Cubs

July 25, 2022, 7:16 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Right-hand pitcher Matt Swarmer, who has pitched in 11 games with the Chicago Cubs this season, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa.

Swarmer, 28, made his major league debut May 30 and was 2-3 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 appearances (five starts). He had a 2.89 ERA over his last six appearances, all in relief, after recording a 5.84 mark in five games as a starter.

Swarmer was designated for assignment on July 16 when left-hander Steven Brault had his contract selected by the Cubs from Iowa.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Game Two-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

Cubs release LHP Daniel Norris

July 23, 2022, 11:28 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs released left-hander Daniel Norris prior to Saturday night's road game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Cubs designated Norris for assignment last Sunday.

The 29-year-old was a disappointing 0-4 with a 6.90 ERA in 27 appearances (one start). He struck out 43 in 30 innings but walked 21.

The nine-year veteran was in his first season with Chicago after previously playing for the Toronto Blue Jays (2014-15), Detroit Tigers (2015-21) and Milwaukee Brewers (2021).

Norris is 20-38 with a 4.77 ERA in 194 career appearances (84 starts).

--Field Level Media

Former OF Dwight Smith dies at 58

July 23, 2022, 12:36 AM

Former Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves outfielder Dwight Smith died on Friday. He was 58.

No immediate cause of death was provided by either team.

Smith finished second in the 1989 National League Rookie of the Year balloting behind teammate Jerome Walton, helping the Cubs reach the postseason. He batted .324 with nine home runs and 52 RBIs in 109 games.

He spent five seasons with the Cubs before leaving as a free agent and signing with the then-California Angels prior to the 1994 season. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles 2 1/2 months into the season.

Smith then spent his final two seasons with the Braves, and was a member of the team's 1995 World Series championship team.

Smith finished with a .275 career batting average in 813 games. He hit 46 homers and 20 triples and drove in 226 runs.

Smith's son, Dwight Jr., spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays (2017-18) and Orioles (2019-20). He batted .248 with 17 homers and 68 RBIs in 169 games.

The younger Smith, 29, currently plays for the Lexington Legends of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He took leave from the team on Wednesday for the second time this month.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies

Report: Marlins' Jazz Chisholm Jr. (back) has stress fracture

July 22, 2022, 5:16 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

A CT scan on Miami Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. revealed a stress fracture in his back, multiple outlets reported Friday.

The injury is expected to sideline the 24-year-old All-Star for approximately six weeks, per the reports.

Chisholm landed on the 10-day injured list on June 29 and was not available to play in Tuesday's All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

He sustained the injury in a June 28 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He experienced discomfort in his first at-bat and was removed from the contest.

Chisholm has been the Marlins' top offensive weapon, leading the team in home runs (14) and RBIs (45). He is batting .254 with 12 steals in 60 games.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Miami Marlins

Marlins put Jimmy Yacabonis on IL, recall Max Meyer for debut

July 16, 2022, 6:34 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins placed right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis on the 15-day injured list Saturday with a left groin strain.

The move, which is retroactive to Wednesday, comes on the same day Miami activated right-hander Max Meyer to make his major league debut against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

Meyer, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2020 draft out of the University of Minnesota.

In 12 starts this year at Triple-A Jacksonville, Meyer went 3-4 with a 3.72 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 19 walks in 58 innings.

Yacabonis, 30, is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in nine relief appearances this season with the Marlins.

He is 4-6 with a 5.80 ERA in 66 games (12 starts) for the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and Marlins.

--Field Level Media