Matt Stairs sheds 40 pounds, makes Padres

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Officially the Padres haven’t announced their Opening Day roster yet, but MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer reports that Matt Stairs has made the team as a left-handed bench bat.
Stairs is one of my favorite players in part because he takes every swing like he’s trying to murder the baseball, in part because he’s fearlessly sported a curly mullet for most his career, and in part because I’m amused by a 42-year-old who loses 40 pounds on an offseason diet after playing 17 years as a fat guy.
Stairs has had a remarkable career given that he didn’t play regularly in the majors until age 29. He homered 27, 26, and 38 times in his first three full seasons, knocking in 100 runs in 1998 and 1999, and has an .858 lifetime OPS with 30 homers per 550 at-bats against right-handed pitching.
And if Stairs can homer for the Padres, he’ll become the first player in baseball history to go deep for 12 different teams. He’s also one pinch-hit homer away from tying Cliff Johnson’s all-time record of 20.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.