We mentioned yesterday that Zack Greinke is making progress from a fractured rib, but the Brewers are also close to seeing an importance piece of their everyday lineup return.
Corey Hart will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Nashville, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Hart has been sidelined since the early part of spring training due to a strained left oblique.
Hart hopes to return as soon as April 25 against the Reds, though Brewers manager Ron Roenicke believes he will need at least a week in the minors.
“He’s probably going to need a week,” said Roenicke. “He’s not going to play every day. We wouldn’t want to do too much too fast at this point.”
Brewers right fielders have combined to bat just .233/.298/.419 with a .716 OPS over 43 at-bats during Hart’s absence.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.