A really good manager isn’t as important to his team as The Best Player in Baseball is to his, but like Albert Pujols, Charlie Manuel has set a deadline for negotiations to extend his expiring contract: Opening Day. After that, he doesn’t want it to be a distraction.
I wouldn’t exactly view this as dire. Indeed, I’ll be shocked if Manuel wasn’t locked up to an extension within the next couple of weeks. I mean really: someone identify a single knock on the guy. You can’t. That is, unless you count him getting that restraining order against me because my man-crush on him is getting a bit too uncomfortable. But that’s more my issue than the Phillies’.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.