Freddy Sanchez finally inching closer to return

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Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Freddy Sanchez will begin a minor-league rehab assignment “no later than Tuesday” of next week.
Sanchez has been playing extended spring training games in Arizona, but manager Bruce Bochy speculated that he’ll need about 30 at-bats on the rehab stint before potentially rejoining the Giants.
Acquired from the Pirates in the middle of last season, Sanchez has played just 25 games for the Giants because of shoulder and knee injuries. Despite missing time and posting a measly .619 OPS down the stretch last season the Giants inked him to a two-year, $12 million contract in late October.
In addition to the injuries Sanchez is 32 years old and hasn’t had an above-average OPS since 2007, so the contract is obviously looking like a mistake right now. Juan Uribe, Mark DeRosa, and Matt Downs have done very well filling in for Sanchez at second base, combining to hit .308 with an .859 OPS that ranks sixth among all MLB teams for the position.

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.