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Phillies send Domonic Brown to minors, activate Placido Polanco from disabled list

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The Phillies just made it official, sending outfielder Domonic Brown and right-hander Andrew Carpenter to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. These moves cleared the way for the newly-acquired Hunter Pence to be added to the active roster and for third baseman Placido Polanco to return from the disabled list.

We already talked about the Brown demotion this morning, but the plan is for him to play everyday in the minor leagues, presumably until rosters expand in September. The 23-year-old has looked a little shaky defensively, but has held his own offensively with a .728 OPS and 34/25 K/BB ratio over 209 plate appearances this season.

Polanco hasn’t played since July 4 due to lower back inflammation. The 35-year-old was hitless over six at-bats in two rehab games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but the Phillies were obviously more focused on the condition of his back than the results. They’re hopeful some rest and a recent epidural injection will make a difference, as he is batting just .216/.276/.261 with two homers and a .537 OPS since the start of May.

UPDATE: Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the plan is for Brown to play left field for the foreseeable future, as there will be an opening there when Raul Ibanez becomes a free agent following the season. He is starting in left field (hat-tip to the comments section) for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this evening.

The Astros are calling up infield prospect Alex Bregman

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros and the U.S. Team is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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After Sunday’s win against the Angels, the Astros announced that the club is calling up infield prospect Alex Bregman. Danny Worth has been designated for assignment to create room on the roster.

Bregman, 22, is considered the Astros’ best prospect and #18 overall in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. He hit .297/.415/.559 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI with Double-A Corpus Christi before being promoted to Triple-A Fresno. In 18 games with Fresno, Bregman hit .333/.373/.641 with six home runs and 15 RBI.

Bregman doesn’t have an obvious positional opening with the Astros, particularly since the club also signed Yulieski Gourriel. As a result, Bregman played some third base and, recently, left field. So the Astros may have him play at a handful of positions, even giving the middle infield regulars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa a breather every so often.

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09:  Aroldis Chapman #54 of the New York Yankees pitches in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium on May 9, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The Yankees are believed to be close to trading closer Aroldis Chapman, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Saturday. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported on Sunday that owner Hal Steinbrenner hasn’t given authorization to sell “top guys,” which would include Chapman. The Yankees told other clubs they’re holding onto reliever Andrew Miller.

The Nationals and Indians have been the most aggressive in pursuit of Chapman. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported on Sunday that the Indians “have the best names on the table” for Chapman. ESPN’s Keith Law reported that the Nationals were offering prospects Erick Fedde and Koda Glover along with another unnamed prospect.

The Giants and Cubs have also been reported to have interest in acquiring Chapman. CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic didn’t sense that the Giants are in the “final mix” for Chapman, and the Cubs are more interested in Miller than Chapman, Heyman reported.

Since returning to the Yankees, Chapman has recorded 20 saves in 21 chances with a 2.01 ERA and a 44/8 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings. Chapman will become eligible for free agency after the season. In the event Chapman is traded, Miller will likely move into the closer’s role with Dellin Betances setting up the eighth inning.

[Content note: The following will contain descriptions of an incident during which Chapman allegedly assaulted his girlfriend.]

Chapman, 28, served a 30-game suspension beginning at the start of the regular season due to an offseason incident during which he allegedly choked his girlfriend and fired off eight gunshots in his garage. The police didn’t file official charges.