Shin-Soo Choo’s recovery from a fractured left thumb — and the subsequent surgery to repair that fracture — continues to run smoothly.
The Indians right fielder took between 50 and 60 swings in a cage this afternoon and is scheduled to participate in batting practice with his Tribe teammates Thursday at Boston’s Fenway Park.
And the news gets better.
According to beat writer Nick Camino of WTAM 1100, Indians manager Manny Acta told a radio program this evening that Choo is expected to return to the major league lineup in under 15 days.
The 29-year-old native of South Korea still has to make it through a lengthy minor league rehab assignment without experiencing a setback, but all of the early signs are good. Choo was batting just .244/.333/.353 with five home runs and 11 stolen bases in 306 plate appearances before the injury, but he still has an impressive .853 career OPS and could help the Indians turn it around in the race for the American League Central crown.
Rian Watt of Baseball Prospectus is hearing that a trade that would send Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs involves prospect Gleyber Torres and more going to the Yankees. He adds that the holdup in the trade talks is centered around a contract extension for Chapman, believed to be around four years in length and $60 million total. The deal may not be finalized if the Cubs don’t get him signed to an extension they like. In Watt’s words, “Package is set. Extension is not.”
We learned earlier on Sunday that the Yankees were working hard to trade Chapman, reportedly in contact with at least four teams. The Cubs were not believed to be the front runners but certainly upped the ante by offering Torres.
Torres, 19, is rated the Cubs’ #1 prospect and #24 overall in baseball by MLB Pipeline. The shortstop has spent the season with Single-A Myrtle Beach, batting .275/.359/.433 with nine home runs, 47 RBI, 62 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 409 plate appearances.
Torres is currently roadblocked at shortstop by Addison Russell, and 21-year-old Ian Happ is rated #3 in the Cubs’ system, so the club would be dealing from surplus.
Prior to Sunday afternoon’s game against the Mariners, the Blue Jays designated reliever Drew Storen for assignment and recalled reliever Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.
Storen, 28, had a nightmare of a time with the Jays, leaving with a 6.21 ERA and a 32/10 K/BB ratio over 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him in January from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Storen is owed the remainder of his $8.375 million salary, which makes it likelier that the right-hander will pass through waivers unclaimed. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the season.