Giants look to bolster rotation with Penny

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It’s worked out well for the Cardinals, so now the Giants will try to give their rotation a boost by picking up one of Boston’s castoffs. In this case, it’s Brad Penny, who went 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA in his first and possibly last stint in the American League.
Penny’s lack of success wasn’t velocity related. According to Baseball Info Solutions data, he’s averaging 94.0 mph with his fastball, tying him with Felix Hernandez for the eighth-best mark in baseball. The problem is that he couldn’t come up with a second pitch to keep hitters even a little off balance. His usually reliable curveball let him down in a huge way against American League hitters, forcing him to try a slider occasionally of late. That seemed to be working better for him, though he still gave up eight runs to the Yankees in his final start with the team.
Odds are that things will go a whole lot better for Penny back in the NL. He’s more familiar with the hitters, and he should get more defensive support from the Giants than he was from the Red Sox. He’s not going to dominate unless he rediscovers his curve, but he should be a big upgrade from Joe Martinez in the fifth spot in San Francisco’s rotation. He’ll also have a month to see if he can unseat Jonathan Sanchez from the postseason rotation should the Giants claim the wild card or the NL West.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.