Ryan Dempster won’t be back until after the All-Star break

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At the outset, please note that as of this week, anything that will or will not happen until “after the All-Star” break is no longer really scary. Because the All-Star break is less than two weeks from now. Seems crazy early and stuff, but it’s where we are.  The upshot: “until after the All-Star break” is now merely descriptive and informative, not scary.

Anyway: Ryan Dempster won’t be back until after the All-Star break. He was originally eligible to come back this past Sunday and, as recently as a couple of days ago, the Cubs thought he’d miss only one start.  But I guess his strained right lat muscle is still not 100%.

No sense rushing him. He needs to be healthy for the end of July — and the trade deadline — not the beginning.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.