Red Sox “are open to trading” shortstop Marco Scutaro

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Marco Scutaro had a solid first season in Boston after signing a two-year, $12.5 million contract as a free agent last winter, basically duplicating his career numbers by hitting .275/.333/.388 despite playing through multiple injuries.

He was signed in large part because of Jed Lowrie’s uncertain injury status, but now that Lowrie is healthy again Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox “are opening to trading Scutaro for the right part.”

Scutaro is owed $5 million in 2011, with a $6.5 million option or $1.5 million buyout for 2012, which suddenly looks like a very reasonable contract in what is a very weak market for free agent shortstops. However, while the Red Sox’s odds of cashing in Scutaro for good value are helped by the weak market, trading him without bringing in another shortstop option would be placing an awful lot of faith in Lowrie staying healthy.

Lowrie was fantastic after joining the team in mid-July, hitting .287/.381/.526 in 197 plate appearances, and at 26 years old has likely reasserted himself as Boston’s long-term shortstop, but he’s played a total of 87 games in the past two seasons and the Red Sox typically like to stockpile depth as much as any team. Plus, with Dustin Pedroia coming back from a broken foot having both Scutaro and Lowrie is hardly overkill.

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.