Dexter Fowler doesn’t think giving up switch-hitting is the answer

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Slumping center fielder Dexter Fowler probably would have been sent down by the Rockies last week if not for a strained abdominal muscle that put him on the disabled list instead, but he doesn’t believe that quitting switch-hitting will give his flailing career a boost.

The 25-year-old Fowler, in his third full season with the Rockies, is a natural right-handed hitter.  In his career, he’s hit .282/.369/.414 as a righty and .243/.339/.380 hitter as a lefty.

MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reported that Jim Tracy is on board with Fowler as a switch-hitter for now, but believes a change might be inevitable if Fowler’s numbers continue to go south.  Fowler posted a .770 OPS as a rookie last year and a .757 mark last season, but he’s down to .688 at the moment.

Fowler has also been a disaster away from Coors Field in his career, with an OPS nearly 200 points lower on the road.  He’s hit .225/.313/.333 in 172 career away games.

The Rockies opted to move Carlos Gonzalez back to center field when Fowler landed on the DL, and expectations are that Fowler is in for a lengthy rehab assignment before he makes it back to Denver.  If Fowler doesn’t excel at Triple-A, he’ll probably be optioned to the minors for a spell.

Cubs sign Drew Smyly to a two-year, $10 million contract

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday evening that the club signed pitcher Drew Smyly to a two-year contract. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the contract is for $10 million total and allows Smyly to earn another $7 million with performance bonuses. Smyly was non-tendered by the Mariners at the beginning of the month and became a free agent.

Smyly, 28, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in late June. He’s expected to miss, at minimum, the first half of the 2018 season. The Cubs are hoping he can contribute to a playoff push in the latter half of the season as well as in 2019.

Smyly didn’t pitch at all in 2017. When he was healthy the season prior, he made 30 starts for the Rays and put up a 4.88 ERA and a 167/49 K/BB ratio in 175 1/3 innings.