Cubs give injured and slumping Aramis Ramirez some time off

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Aramis Ramirez’s walk-off homer last Monday provided some reason for optimism in the midst of a season-long slump, but he’s 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts since then and is now dealing with a thumb injury.
X-rays and an MRI exam both came back negative, but Ramirez was out of the lineup yesterday and is expected to miss several more games with what is being called a bone bruise between his left thumb and index finger.
Lou Piniella told the Chicago Tribune that a trip to the disabled list has “never been brought up,” but added that Ramirez “is going to get himself a little time off” because “he’s struggled at home plate” and “sometimes time heals wounds … you work and you work and sometimes it’s better to get away from it totally and just relax.”
In other words, it sounds like the stint on the bench is partly due to the injury and partly due to his .160 batting average. Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot will split time at third base until Ramirez returns, with Baker starting against lefties and Fontenot facing righties.

Red Sox prospect involved in serious auto accident

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Via WEEI.com comes a report that Red Sox minor league pitcher Kevin Steen was critically injured in a car crash on Wednesday night near Fort Myers.

The driver of the other car involved in the accident was killed. Steen is in the hospital in critical condition. It appears as though the other driver veered off the road, overcorrected and then crossed the center line, crashing into Steen’s SUV.

Steen, 20, is a starting pitcher. He was a ninth round pick of the Red Sox in 2014 out of Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He’s played three seasons in the Sox season and was about to begin his fourth.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.