Brad Ausmus announces retirement after 18 seasons

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As expected, Brad Ausmus announced his retirement yesterday after 18 seasons in the majors and over 15,000 innings logged behind the plate, saying: “I’m ready to stop playing. I just don’t feel like I cant contribute every day.”
Ausmus struggled to stay healthy in two seasons as Russell Martin’s backup with the Dodgers, but was once among the most durable catchers in baseball. He started at least 100 games and caught at least 1,000 innings every season from 1997 to 2006, winning three Gold Glove awards and making his lone All-Star team in 1999.
A former 47th-round pick and Dartmouth graduate, Ausmus earned a reputation for being one of the smartest players in baseball and has long been viewed as a potential manager. He served as the Dodgers’ acting manager Friday and told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times that he may have managerial aspirations at some point.
Ausmus ranks 13th all time among catchers with 7,101 plate appearances spread over 1,971 games for four different teams, with his best seasons coming for the Tigers in 1999 when he hit .275/.365/.415 while setting career-highs in on-base percentage (.365), slugging percentage (.415), OPS (.779), homers (9), doubles (25), and RBIs (54).

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.