Jose Morales

Rockies acquire Jose Morales in minor swap with Twins


From the Twins’ official Twitter feed comes word that the club has traded catcher Jose Morales to the Rockies for young left-hander Paul Bargas.

Morales, 27, hit .194/.295/.250 with zero home runs, two doubles and seven RBI over 36 at-bats in 2010 for the Twins.  He will serve as a rarely-used backup in Colorado behind Chris Iannetta, who is finally getting a chance at real playing time.

Iannetta had 16 homers in 289 at-bats for the Rockies in 2009 and 18 homers with an 895 OPS back in 2008.  When given everyday looks, he has produced.  Now it’s time for him to produce over the course of an entire season.

Bargas was selected by Colorado in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.  He hasn’t climbed out of Single-A, but the 22-year-old posted a solid 3.59 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 67.2 innings this past year in the South Atlantic League and may have a future as a big league setup man if he continues to flash good numbers down on the farm.

The Twins appear comfortable with Drew Butera serving as Joe Mauer’s primary backup in 2011.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.