Seventh-round pick Trevor Gretzky signs with Cubs

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Trevor Gretzky, son of The Great One, has picked the Cubs over San Diego State, that according to Aztecs coach Tony Gwynn.

“We heard he signed with the Cubs on Monday,” Gwynn told the Toronto Sun on Thursday.

The Cubs have yet to confirm the signing, which is sure to be for considerably more than slot money.  MLB is often hesitant to improve such deals until just before the Aug. 15 deadline.

The largest bonus given to a seventh-round pick so far this year was $200,000 from the Mets to first baseman Cole Frenzel.  The Cubs might be in that same neighborhood with Gretzky.

Of course, unlike a lot of draft picks, Trevor Gretzky doesn’t really need the money.  As a first baseman at Oaks Christian in California, he wore the same number 99 his father did throughout his hockey career.  Since finances weren’t an issue, many thought he would choose college over the pros.

“Our scouts conveyed to him this wasn’t a PR move,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry told the Chicago Tribune last month. “There can be a burden having a famous father but we won’t make him feel like he’s Wayne Gretzky’s son. He’s his own young man. We wanted Trevor. Our scouts had him going a few rounds higher.”

At 6-foot-4, Trevor Gretzky gets pretty good reviews for his power potential, but he’s even more of a project than most high schoolers.  He probably won’t be assigned to a full-season league until 2013.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

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The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.