Utilityman Ryan Freel opts for retirement

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ryan freel.jpg34-year-old Ryan Freel has chosen to retire after playing in nine games in the independent Atlantic League, according to Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat.
After the Reds dumped his contract following the 2008 season, Freel washed out in the Orioles, Cubs and Royals organizations last year, hitting .193/.290/.216 in 88 at-bats.
While he never established himself at any position, Freel was a very valuable player for the Reds from 2004-06. He hit between .270-.280 with OBPs in the .360-.380 range all three seasons and stole a total of 110 bases.
Freel, though, had big problems staying healthy after 2006. It was certainly in part due to his reckless style of play on the field, yet there were also concerns about how he was handling his affairs off the field. Freel was charged with DUI in 2005, and he was arrested in 2006 on disorderly intoxication charges.
Freel finishes his career with a .258/.354/.369 line and 143 steals in 1,983 at-bats.

Jon Lester to miss one or two starts

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Jon Lester had a terrible outing yesterday, allowing nine runs — seven earned — and leaving the game before he could complete two innings.Lester entered the afternoon with a 3.99 ERA. He exited with a 4.37 ERA. Later the Cubs said that Lester was suffering from left lat tightness.

The Cubs are now saying that Lester will miss 1-2 starts. They are sending him to see Dr. Stephen Gryzlo for a more in-depth exam, and it’s possible Gryzlo will determine the injury is more serious, but at the moment the assessment seems cautiously optimistic.

Mike Montgomery will fill in for Lester for the time being.

Adam Wainwright ain’t right

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Adam Wainwright was knocked out of yesterday’s game against the Pirates, allowing five runs on seven hits in three innings. For the second straight start his velocity suffered as well, with his fastball sitting in the mid-80s. This is not the Adam Wainwright the Cardinals are accustomed to and not the one they need. So they’re going to try to figure out what’s wrong. Wainwright, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports, is headed back to St. Louis to meet with team doctors about his arm.

One wonders if this isn’t one start too late, given his struggles in his last outing and given that he said after that outing that he’s dealing with some pain on the outside of his elbow/triceps area. He did say, in the team’s defense, that that is a problem he’s dealt with in the past and that it has always gone away on its own. Still, it hasn’t always been accompanied by a velocity reduction, so this could be more worrisome. Also in the Cards’ defense: Wainwright is a 12-year veteran who has a way better handle on his own body than some kid might, so it’s understandable that they gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Still: concerning. The Cardinals are in a dogfight for the NL central and, while 2017 Adam Wainwright isn’t the same pitcher he used to be, having him around for the stretch would be preferable.