Theo Epstein says Cubs aren’t considering trading Starlin Castro

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported earlier this afternoon that the Cubs are open to moving everyone outside of right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Yes, even 22-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro. Naturally there’s been quite a bit of conversation about the report, irrational and otherwise, but Cubs president Theo Epstein went out of his way to address the situation tonight.

According to Doug Padilla and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, Epstein confirmed that the Cubs are not considering moving Castro.

“Starlin Castro is the type of player we’re looking to build around,” Epstein said Thursday. “There has been no trade consideration with him, whatsoever.”

Padilla and Levine also go back to a quote from earlier in the week where Epstein said that he doesn’t believe in any player being “untouchable,” but that there are certain core pieces that you “would have to be completely blown away” to move. If that doesn’t describe Castro, I’m not sure what does.

And so, while it’s fun to make up dream trade scenarios, it’s much more likely that Castro is part of the next winning team in Chicago than suiting up for another team later this summer.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.