Matthews Jr. hitless in first game with Louisville

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The Reds handed outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. a contract last week and stuck him in Triple-A so that he could build some confidence and perhaps help the big league club in the long-run.  That was the plan, at least.

Matthews Jr. made his debut for the Louisville Bats on Saturday and you may be able to guess what happened.  Batting leadoff, he finished 0-for-6 with five strikeouts as the Bats fell to the Norfolk Tides 4-3.  Here’s the box score, in case you’re all in need of a good laugh.

The 35-year-old had a .190 batting average, a .260 on-base percentage and a .241 slugging percentage in 58 at-bats when the Mets released him in June, so the struggles should come as no surprise.  He’s washed up.  A shadow of his former self.  All that jazz.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.