Former No. 1 overall pick Bryan Bullington is headed to Japan

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Bryan Bullington finally notched his first big-league win with eight shutout innings against the Yankees on August 15, eight years after the Pirates selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, but now it looks like that may prove to be his only major-league victory.

Designated for assignment by the Royals last week, Bullington has signed with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and the 30-year-old right-hander leaves behind a career record of 1-9 with a 5.62 ERA in 81.2 innings as a major leaguer.

Bullington is one of just three pitchers selected No. 1 overall to win fewer than 15 games in the majors. The other two are Stephen Strasburg, whose career is on hold following elbow surgery, and Brien Taylor, whose career was ruined by a shoulder injury in the minors.

Bullington was picked one spot ahead of B.J. Upton in 2002, but the third (Chris Gruler), fourth (Adam Loewen), and fifth (Clint Everts) picks that year have also made essentially zero impact in the majors.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.