Pablo Sandoval leads Venezuelan Winter League team to title

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As noted by the Associated Press, third baseman Pablo Sandoval led his Venezuelan Winter League team — Navegantes del Magallanes — to an 11-9 win on Wednesday night in the final game of the league’s championship series. It was the first league title for Navegantes del Magallanes since 2002.

Sandoval batted .300 with three home runs and nine RBI in the seven-game series, earning MVP honors. He told reporters afterward that it felt “very special to be champion” in his native country’s premier league.

“This time I did everything I could so that the Giants would let me play, to take this team to the title. It’s a dream come true,” Sandoval said Wednesday. “I feel very happy to have contributed and to have been selected as MVP.”

Sandoval was named the World Series MVP in October when the Giants took down the Tigers.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.