Great: the union is cool with adding playoff teams

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I’ll take “Things to which I’m viscerally opposed for $500, Alex”

The new head of the players’ union says his members are open to adding more wild-card teams for 2012 and possibly extending the division series to a best-of-seven . . . There is sentiment among a substantial segment of the players to consider expanding the playoffs,” Weiner said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his first World Series since replacing Donald Fehr as union head . . . “We have less teams than any other sport,” he said last month. “We certainly haven’t abused anything.”

Was anyone crying out for the Red Sox and Padres in this year’s playoffs? And that’s just if you add one wild card team. If you want to avoid a play-in thing — yay! Braves vs. Padres and yet another Yankees-Red Sox series! — you’d get the White Sox and the Cardinals. Great for White Sox and Cardinals fans, I suppose, but I think they each pretty much established over the course of 162 games that they did not earn the right to play anymore.

I’m all for making the current Division Series seven games, but  adding more teams is a horrible idea.  Less is more. Baseball’s regular season and its playoffs are better than the other sports specifically because they don’t let everyone and their fatally-flawed brothers in.

There is no competitive argument for adding playoff teams, and several against it. The only argument in favor of doing so is increased revenue.  And while everyone wants increased revenue, that, in and of itself, is no basis for doing anything worth a damn.

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.