Sure, Bobby Valentine would be interested in the Mariners' gig

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Because you can’t have a managerial opening without mentioning Bobby Valentine’s name, I give you Larry Stone on the M’s vacancy:

Valentine is not commenting, but friends of Valentine say that [the Mariners job] is a job that he would be greatly interested in . . . someone familiar with Valentine’s thinking said Valentine believes the
Mariners job “is among the most appealing jobs in baseball” despite the
current turmoil.

I’ve heard some people speculate that, because Valentine spent several years managing in Japan, and because the Mariners are owned by a Japanese company (Nintendo), that he’d be a natural.  Maybe so.  It’s worth noting, though, that Nintendo’s Japanese executives are really removed from the day-to-day operation of the team. Indeed, Geoff Baker tweeted yesterday that Nintendo’s CEO has never been to a Mariners game.  Team CEO Howard Lincoln and team President Chuck Armstrong call the shots.

And actually, it’s possible that Valentine’s history in Japan could work against him. After all, his tenure with Chiba Lotte ended when he and Japanese corporate ownership just couldn’t see eye to eye. It sounded to me like he was done dirty by the suits, but who’s to say that Nintendo’s bosses aren’t more inclined to agree with their side of the story?

All of that stuff notwithstanding, there are worse choices for the M’s than Bobby V. There are always worse choices than Bobby V.

(thanks to reader Evan A. for the heads up)

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.