Reds finalize deal with Gary Matthews Jr.

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The Reds did what we’ve been expecting them to do for a week on Thursday, finalizing a minor league deal with veteran outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. and sticking him in Triple-A Louisville.  This according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.

Matthews Jr. was released by the Mets in mid-June after posting a .190 batting average, .260 on-base percentage and .241 slugging percentage over his first 58 at-bats.  It’s no surprise that he struggled in New York, and it won’t be surprising when he fails to perform for the Reds.  He’s just not a very good baseball player these days, and hasn’t been for a while.  Measure it any way you want. 

But Reds GM Walt Jocketty doesn’t seem to agree:

“In the past, he showed that if he plays a lot, he’s a better
player.  He hasn’t had that
opportunity with the Angels or Mets the last couple of years.”

Wait, Walt, are you saying the Reds are going to give him that opportunity?  To play  “a lot?”  Have fun with this one, Cincinnati fans.

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.