Report: Brewers to acquire Shaun Marcum from Jays

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Update: The Jays are expected to acquire 2008 first-round pick Brett Lawrie in return for Marcum. Lawrie, a 20-year-old second baseman, hit .285/.346/.449 as one of the youngest players in the Southern League last year. The Brewers’ No. 1 prospect, he’ll be a candidate to push Aaron Hill to third base in 2012, or he could shift to third base himself.

Perhaps looking to pick up some additional talent to use in a Zack Greinke trade, the Jays are close to sending right-hander Shaun Marcum to the Brewers, the Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt reports.

Marcum missed 2009 following Tommy John surgery, but he bounced back to go 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 31 starts last season. He’s 37-25 with a 3.85 ERA lifetime and he’s still two years away from free agency, so he’s an awfully valuable property. He’ll probably make just $4 million or so next year in arbitration.

No word on the return yet, but longtime prospect Mat Gamel is a logical choice to be included. The 25-year-old has been unable to establish himself in Milwaukee, but he has a very promising bat. The trouble has been finiding a position for him. He’s a subpar third baseman, though he would be an upgrade from Edwin Encarnacion with the glove. He’s also worked out at first base and in the outfield.

2009 first-round pick Eric Arnett, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and RHP Jeremy Jeffress are some other possibilities to be included.

If it gets done, it will be the second deal in a week between the two teams. The Jays recently picked up reliever Carlos Villanueva from the Brewers for a player to be named.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.