38-year-old Ramon Ortiz to step into Cubs rotation

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While Russ Ortiz is content in retirement, Ramon is still kicking around, and he’ll get a chance to step into the Cubs rotation in place of the injured Carlos Zambrano next week, the team announced today.

Ortiz made two starts and 14 relief appearances for the Dodgers last year, amassing a 6.30 ERA.  Prior to that, he hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2007.  He spent 2008 struggling in Japan.

Now 38, Ortiz is 6-3 with a 4.44 ERA and a 79/20 K/BB ratio in 95 1/3 innings as a member of Triple-A Iowa’s rotation this season.  The Cubs decided to give him a try rather than go back to youngster Casey Coleman.

Not that he should really care at all, but Ortiz could do more damage to his career numbers by continuing his comeback attempts.  As is, he’s still three games over .500 in his career at 85-82.  Plus, his ERA stands at 4.93.  If he struggles, he could join James Baldwin, Sidney Ponson, Glendon Rusch and Jose Lima as the only pitchers in major league history to throw at least 1,300 innings and post ERAs over 5.00.

Scott Feldman underwent season-ending knee surgery

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The Reds announced on Tuesday that starter Scott Feldman underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list with knee inflammation on Friday.

Feldman, 34, made 21 starts this season, posting a 4.77 ERA with a 93/35 K/BB ratio in 111 1/3 innings. He’s a free agent after the season but may have to settle for a minor league deal going into 2018 given his age and recent injury woes.

MLB to implement code of conduct for fans next year

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Following an embarrassing scene at Fenway Park earlier this year in which Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was taunted with racial slurs and had peanuts thrown at him, Major League Baseball will implement a universal code of conduct for fans at major league ballparks starting next season, ESPN’s Scott Lauber reports.

MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said, “We are working with the clubs on security and fan conduct initiatives at all of our ballparks. We will be issuing a league-wide fan code of conduct for the 2018 season.”

As Lauber notes, every team has its own code of conduct but some are more thorough than others. The Red Sox added “hate speech” to their code of conduct after the Jones incident and Major League Baseball, unsurprisingly, wants to make sure fans at every ballpark are clear on what behaviors will and will not be tolerated.

Since the Jones incident, Major League Baseball has been encouraging teams to be more inclusive, though Kennedy clarified that “there’s not been any directive or mandate.”