Clay Buchholz scratched from final start due to back stiffness

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Clay Buchholz was scratched from his final start of the season today against the Yankees due to lower back stiffness, according to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com.

Because of last night’s rainout, Tim Wakefield will oppose Andy Pettitte in the first game of a day-night doubleheader this afternoon.

Buchholz said he felt his lower back “grab” at him during his normal throwing session Friday, but also admitted that his back has been an issue over the past several starts.

“I would like to throw another [game]. [The back soreness]
has been there for the last five or six starts. It might have something
to do with the cold weather. [Monday in Chicago] was the first cold game
I’ve pitched in a while, and I had a couple of innings I was in the
dugout a little bit longer and then cranked it back up to 100 percent
once I got off the bench. It was one of those that’s in a sensitive
spot.”

Buchholz, 26, wraps up the year with 17-7 record to go along with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP over 28 starts. There was a little bit of intrigue going into his final scheduled start of the season, not only because he had a chance at 18 wins, but also because he could have won the ERA title over Felix Hernandez. For instance, he would have passed King Felix if he managed to pitch five shutout innings. 

Ah well, doesn’t matter now. Still a pretty fantastic season for Buchholz.  

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.