The Aroldis Chapman Era begins on Sept. 1

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John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds will call up top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman from Triple-A Louisville on September 1.  Why not sooner?  Well, here’s what manager Dusty Baker told Fay and the Enquirer on Wednesday:

“Who do you take off (the roster)?” Baker said. “It would be somebody else who
pitched well. Everyone in the bullpen is throwing excellent. … That’s
not a good message to our guys here when you perform well and get sent
out. They’re looking over their shoulder for fear of getting sent out. I
want them looking at the prize at the end, not looking behind them.”

Chapman, of course, was inked to a five-year, $30 million contract in January.  He has spent most of 2010 as a starter, but the Reds shifted him to relief when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be needed in the rotation this season. 

The move, so far, has worked brilliantly.  The 22-year-old Chapman has fanned 41 batters and tallied a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings out of the bullpen.  He should give a nice shot of energy to the Reds down the stretch.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.