Cardinals hoping to have Brad Penny back in the rotation by mid-June

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Kyle Lohse was back in the Cardinals’ clubhouse yesterday following forearm surgery that’s expected to sideline him for at least two months, but general manager John Mozeliak said the team is unlikely to pursue a veteran replacement for the rotation in part because they expect Brad Penny to return soon.
Penny is on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his upper back and has yet to resume throwing, but Mozeliak told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he could rejoin the rotation as soon as the middle of this month.
Penny looked like another scrap-heap success story for pitching coach Dave Duncan when he started 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA, but he then lost four straight games while falling back into his old fastball-reliant habits and was placed on the DL following back-to-back ugly outings. However, in nine total starts he’s 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 35/9 K/BB ratio in 55.2 innings.
While the Cardinals hope Lohse can pitch again this season and wait for Penny to return, Triple-A call-ups P.J. Walters and Adam Ottavino have been forced into action as the fourth and fifth starters behind Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Jaime Garcia. As a group St. Louis’ rotation leads the NL with a 2.97 ERA, and San Diego (3.12) and San Francisco (3.26) are the only other teams below 3.60.

Last night was the highest rated World Series Game 1 since 2009

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians hits a three-run home run during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball and Fox won’t openly root for any specific team to make the World Series. But you can bet they’re pretty happy with the Cubs making it thanks to the ratings they’re delivering.

The Indians win over the Chicago in Game 1 last night drew a 12.6 overnight rating. That means, on average, 12.6 percent of the TVs in the largest 56 markets were tuned in to the game. That’s the best World Series first game rating since 2009 when the Phillies-Yankees game drew a 13.8 overnight rating. Last night’s rating was up 20% from last year’s 10.5 between the Royals-Mets and up 58% from the Giants-Royals in 2014.

Now the rooting, however quiet it may be, will continue: for the Cubs to make a series out of this so as to keep the magic numbers coming.

Twins hire Rangers assistant Thad Levine to be their new GM

BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
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Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine has been hired as the Twins’ next General Manager. It has not been made official, but multiple outlets are reporting the hire. Levine will join Derek Falvey, who was named the Twins’ new president of baseball operations last month.

Levine has been the Rangers assistant GM since the 2005 season, working as GM Jon Daniels’ second in command. He’ll still be second in command in Minnesota, but with an elevated title as is the style of the day. He previously worked with the Rockies. He has, according to various reports, been conversant in statistical analysis as well as traditional scouting and player development. As is also the style of the day.