Done Deal: The Cubs trade Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians

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UPDATE:  Done deal, reports Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.  Kosuke Fukudome is an Indian.

11:04:  Multiple sources are now reporting that the Tribe would send two minor leaguers, as yet unidentified, put a pitcher and a position player to Chicago.  It’s also being reported that the Cubs will pick up all but $775,000 of the $4.5 million Fukudome is still owed for 2011. A deal is expected to be done before game time tonight.

10:01 AMKen Rosenthal tweets that the Indians are in “serious talks” for Cubs’ outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. Danny Knobler says “it’s very close to happening.”

Lots of barriers to something happening here. For one thing, money, in that Fukudome is owed over $4 million for the rest of the year and the Indians aren’t the habit of adding salary. For another thing, Fukudome has a no-trade clause. It’s limited, but I’m guessing one could make a lot of money betting on things like “a given player’s no-trade clause includes Cleveland.” Finally, his contract contains a clause that prohibits teams from offering him arbitration, so the Tribe won’t be able to get picks for him.  Of course, as was the case with Carlos Beltran, it’s an open question as whether offering him arbitration would have made sense anyway.

If they can get past all of that — and from the sound of it, they’re close to doing that — adding Fukudome to the Indians wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. He has gotten on base at a decent clip this year, and given how thin the Indians’ outfield is right now, he could be useful.

Jose Bautista is starting at third base for the first time in over four years

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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is getting a rare start at third base today. How rare is it? Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae notes that he last started at third base on April 14, 2013 against the Royals.

Bautista has played some third base already this year. On April 27 against the Cardinals, Bautista pinch-hit for third baseman Chris Coghlan and stayed in the game at the position. Last Saturday, Bautista moved from right field to third base as part of a handful of defensive switches. Overall, he’s played four defensive innings at the hot corner this season.

The Blue Jays have had to get creative at third base while Josh Donaldson has dealt with a calf injury. Darwin Barney and Chris Coghlan have drawn most of the starts at third base, but catcher Russell Martin started there on Sunday and tonight we’ll see Bautista there.

Braves’ bullpen hasn’t allowed a hit to last 54 batters, setting franchise record

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The Braves announced on Tuesday, citing Elias Sports, that the bullpen set a franchise record, preventing the last 54 batters faced from getting a hit.

The last reliever to allow a hit was Josh Collmenter to the first batter he faced against the Blue Jays last Thursday. Since then, the bullpen has logged 15 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings with a 10/4 K/BB ratio. Here are the logs since Collmenter gave up that hit.

Date Opp. Pitcher BF IP H R ER BB SO
May 18 vs. TOR Josh Collmenter 7 2.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 18 vs. TOR Ian Krol 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 19 vs. WAS Jason Motte 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 19 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Ian Krol 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Jason Motte 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 21 vs. WAS Luke Jackson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jason Motte 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 22 vs. PIT Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 22 vs. PIT Arodys Vizcaino 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jim Johnson 4 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 54 15.1 0 0 0 4 10

Despite the hot streak lately, the Braves’ bullpen still ranks in the middle of the pack in ERA at 4.07. Its 21.3 percent strikeout rate ranks 18th out of 30 teams and its 8.6 percent walk rate is ninth.