Hunter Pence to undergo precautionary MRI for patellar tendinitis

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The Phillies have dropped four games in a row, including a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Nationals today. Big deal. Now here’s something to potentially worry about.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Hunter Pence has patellar tendinitis in his left knee and will undergo a precautionary MRI tomorrow.

Pence left the first game of today’s doubleheader in the sixth inning with the injury, which Charlie Manuel said was the result of “sliding or something.” He was held out of the lineup for the second game, but downplayed the situation in comments to Salisbury, saying that the knee was “a little tight” and that they were “just trying to be smart.” The Phillies have already clinched their division and home field advantage, so they can afford to play it safe here, but we’ll soon learn if there is legitimate reason for concern.

Pence is batting .317/.386/.541 with nine home runs, 28 RBI and a .927 OPS over 47 games since being acquired from the Astros at the trade deadline.

UPDATE: Pence tells Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he has played with the injury all season and that he doesn’t believe it’s serious.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.