ESPN.com’s Keith Law rates Padres as top farm system

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Keith Law published his annual farm system rankings over at ESPN.com and has the Padres in the top spot, noting that “there are so many prospects here with high floors, players who would be top-10 or top-five in other systems but are 11-20 here.”

After the Padres at No. 1 he has the Rays, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Royals filling out the top five.

His rankings are behind the ESPN.com paywall, so you’ll have to pony up to read them and his team-by-team analysis in full, but Law also has the White Sox dead last and says Chicago “is not particularly close to No. 29, either.” And that’s after general manager Ken Williams did a mini-rebuild by trading away Sergio Santos and Carlos Quentin.

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.