Phillies looking for left-handed bench bat, but will Jim Thome or Jason Giambi get to them on waivers?

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Last week the Phillies signed Jack Cust to a minor-league contract as a potential left-handed bench bat, but Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that they’re still looking to add a lefty swinging veteran for the stretch run.

Jim Thome would be the most obvious solution, as he played for the Phillies from 2003 to 2005 and remains very productive in a part-time role for the Twins at age 41, with Minnesota perhaps open to trading the future Hall of Famer after he reached 600 homers Monday.

Another, similar option is Jason Giambi, who said last month that he’d be interested in re-signing with the Rockies for next season even if they traded him this year. Giambi has hit very well in a limited role behind Todd Helton.

They would both represent significant upgrades over Ross Gload and Brian Schneider while giving manager Charlie Manuel a late-inning weapon in the playoffs. Of course, Brookover speculates that other NL teams would put claims in on Thome or Giambi just to block the Phillies from potentially dealing for them, in which case calling up Cust or recalling Dominic Brown might be their best option.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.