Skip Schumaker hoping to be available if Cardinals reach World Series

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In removing Skip Schumaker from the NLCS roster because of an oblique injury the Cardinals initially expected him to miss the remainder of the playoffs, but now the utility man is hoping to be available if they reach the World Series.

“There’s been a lot of improvement from then to now,” Schumaker told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “I wouldn’t have been as optimistic two days ago, or even yesterday, but if it continues to improve at this rate I think there’s a very good chance.”

Of course, Strauss notes that Schumaker “has yet to swing or throw since injuring himself” in Game 5 of the NLDS, so he’s far from a sure thing unless Tony La Russa decides to go the same route Jim Leyland did by playing a clearly still-injured Delmon Young.

In his absence the Cardinals started Ryan Theriot at second base in Game 1 and Nick Punto at second base in Game 2, with Jon Jay playing center field in both games.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.