Skip Schumaker cleared for minor league rehab games

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Cardinals utilityman Skip Schumaker could be ready to join the big league roster later this week.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 32-year-old is in the starting lineup, playing second base, Sunday at Triple-A Memphis. It’s his first minor league rehab game.

Schumaker has been on the disabled list since the start of the regular season because of a torn right oblique muscle that he suffered in mid-March.

He hit .283/.333/.351 with two homers and 38 RBI in 400 plate appearances last year for the World Series champs, and will provide a backup presence this summer at second base, left field, right field, and in center.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.