Jeff Samardzija wins spot in Cubs rotation, Randy Wells demoted to minors

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Randy Wells is 29 years old and has started at least 23 games for the Cubs in each of the past three seasons, posting a 4.01 ERA in 500 innings overall, yet today they demoted him to the minors as part of the latest round of spring training cuts.

Sending down a veteran with that much big-league experience and some pretty decent career numbers is surprising and even more so when you consider that Wells is under contract for $2.7 million after avoiding arbitration with a one-year deal in mid-January.

Chicago’s rotation now looks to be Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad, and Jeff Samardzija, the latter of whom is 28 years old with five career starts in the majors.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.