Red Sox hire Matt Stairs as television analyst

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Matt Stairs, who retired in August after being released by the Nationals in his 19th big-league season, has already found a new gig as a part-time television analyst for the Red Sox’s local broadcasts.

Stairs will serve as a studio analyst for NESN, which also hired Jenny Dell away from ESPN.com to replace Heidi Watney as their sideline reporter.

Stairs is from Canada, but the Red Sox are one of the 12 teams he played for–albeit for just 39 games in 1995–and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe notes that the 43-year-old has been coaching high school baseball in Maine.

“Swing really hard.” – what I imagine him telling every single hitter every single day.

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.