Pirates place Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce on 15-day DL

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The Pirates’ lineup got a little lighter Monday, with both Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce joining Pedro Alvarez (quad) on the disabled list.

Doumit suffered a sprained left ankle when Carlos Pena slid into him at home plate in Sunday’s game aganist the Cubs.

Pearce, who had been getting most of the starts at third base with Alvarez on the shelf, left Saturday’s game with a sore calf.

When the Pirates chose not to replace Pearce before Sunday’s game, they were left with no real alternative but to bat Brandon Wood and Ronny Cedeno with the tying run on base in the ninth inning Sunday against Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. Of course, they ended up losing that one. The miracle of the game was that Wood actually hit a weak groundout instead of striking out.

With Doumit out, the Pirates will turn to Dusty Brown as the backup catcher.  Chris Snyder will get more playing time behind the plate.

Pearce’s replacement on the roster is infielder Josh Harrison.  A 5-foot-8 utilityman, he’ll make his major league debut after hitting .321/.361/.455 in 134 at-bats for Triple-A Indianapolis.

Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.