Mark Mulder retires

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Mark Mulder pitch.jpgThis may register as the least surprising news of the day, but Mark Mulder — former member of the “Big Three” in Oakland — has announced that he has officially retired.

I think the only person this may be news to is Mulder’s agent who, back in February, when reports of Mulder’s retirement first surfaced, said that Mulder was going to pitch again. But even at the time Mulder and his friends were basically admitting that he was done.  If he threw one pitch in anger between then and today I’d be shocked.

The Big Three of Mulder, Zito and Hudson were overlooked in general — some people think that those A’s teams won all of those games only because Billy Beane took all those walk (er, or something) — but Mulder may have been the most overlooked of the Big Three.

Hudson was
considered the ace and Zito got his gigantic contract, but Mulder was no slouch. He won 21 games in 2001, 19 in 2002 and pitched well in the playoffs. Sadly,
his shoulder went pop a year after joining the Cardinals. After a good
2005 season, 2006 was cut short, 2007 and 2008 were near total losses
for him. He didn’t pitch at all last year.

You can look at Mark Mulder and ask what could have been, but you can also look at what was and say that it wasn’t too damn bad. 

Have a nice retirement, Mark.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.