First, the good news.
According to the Braves’ official Twitter account, catcher Brian McCann has been activated from the disabled list and will return to Atlanta’s starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs.
He went 2-for-6 with a home run and two RBI in a two-game minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett. The All-Star backstop wound up missing 18 days with a strained left oblique muscle.
McCann, 27, is batting .306/.375/.514 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 55 RBI through 373 plate appearances this season for the National League Wild Card-leading Braves. He should have no trouble picking up where he left off.
Now, the sour news.
According to the same official Braves tweet, right-hander Tommy Hanson has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. The move was made retroactive to August 7, so he probably won’t be out long, but the news arrives as further confirmation that the 24-year-old ace is having physical problems.
Hanson has registered a sparkling 3.60 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 130 innings this year, but his July ERA was a bloated 4.58 and he allowed seven runs on eight hits in his only August start. Maybe the rest will help.
The Braves activated reliever Scott Linebrink from the disabled list and optioned Anthony Varvaro back to Triple-A Gwinnett in corresponding roster moves. Atlanta currently leads the Wild Card by five games.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.