Nationals sign Chris Young to minor league deal

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I keep writing about how the Nationals have stockpiled lots of depth for part-time roles and Triple-A, and they keep stockpiling even more depth.

The latest is right-hander Chris Young, who agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. He’ll be showing up fashionably late, obviously.

Young has basically never been healthy, topping 175 innings once in nine years, but after missing most of 2009-2011 he came back to make 20 decent starts for the Mets last season. His average fastball clocked in at 85 miles per hour, which doesn’t fit his 6-foot-10 frame, but even at his peak Young worked in the high-80s and his career ERA is 3.79.

As far as no-risk pickups in mid-February go, he’s a pretty solid one.

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.