Giants designate infielder Matt Downs for assignment

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The Giants cleared a spot on their 25-man roster early this morning by designating infielder Matt Downs for assignment, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.  That will allow outfielder Cody Ross, who was picked up for cash considerations in a waiver deal Sunday, to join the big league team.

As Baggarly himself pointed out this weekend, the Giants only meant to claim Ross off waivers in order to block him from the Padres, who San Francisco is chasing in the National League West.  But the Fish jumped at the chance to unload the 29-year-old’s contract and now the outfield in San Fran is quite crowded.

Ross will join a shuffle that already includes Andres Torres, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz.  Needless to say, there won’t be much playing time available.

Downs, 26, is likely to pass through waivers with ease and head back to Triple-A Fresno.  He batted .244/.318/.372 with a home run and seven RBI in 78 at-bats this season for the big-league Giants.

Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.

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.