Reds talking to A’s about deal for closer Andrew Bailey

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Cincinnati is preparing for Francisco Cordero’s departure via free agency by talking to Oakland about closer Andrew Bailey, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

Earlier this month there were reports about the A’s shopping nearly everyone on the roster as they wait to hear back about the likelihood of a new ballpark. That apparently includes Gio Gonzalez, who’s one of the few pieces on the team more valuable than Bailey.

Olney doesn’t mention any players the A’s are asking for in return, but Yonder Alonso would be a pretty good guess.

Bailey has been sidelined by injuries in each of the past two seasons, but the former Rookie of the Year winner has posted ERAs of 1.84, 1.47, and 3.24 in his three seasons and is under team control through 2014.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.