If the Dodgers tank Don Mattingly will be the scapegoat

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Interesting article in the L.A. Times. Don Mattingly has an option year for 2014 and he recently asked the Dodgers to exercise it so that he’s not a lame duck this season. They said nopers:

“It was a 30-second conversation about the option, they said that wasn’t the plan for me or my coaches, it was a moot point, and I’m fine with that,” Mattingly said in a phone interview. “But you would have liked for them to pick up the extensions so the players could be shown confidence. You never want it to be like, after a couple of bad games, people are saying, ‘Oh, are they gonna change managers now?”

This is a $200 million+ team with a new ownership group and a monster TV deal getting inked soon. Everything is trending high expectations. So you have to figure if those expectations aren’t met, it’ll be Mattingly’s head which will roll first. Especially considering GM Ned Colletti had his contract extended.

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.