The Cubs non-tendered Ian Stewart in October before bringing him back on a one-year, $2 million contract with the chance to compete for the starting third base job, but he’s going to be a bit behind this spring.
According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Stewart will miss 10-14 days after an MRI revealed a mild-to-moderate strain of his left quad. He suffered the injury while rounding first base during Wednesday’s intrasquad game.
Stewart, who turns 28 in April, batted .201/.292/.335 with five home runs and a .627 OPS in 55 games last season prior to undergoing surgery on his left wrist in July. The Cubs can pay him a termination fee of $500,000 at the end of spring training if he doesn’t make the team. Luis Valbuena would be the starting third baseman in that case, which isn’t exactly a good thing.
The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement.
Saunders, of course, played for the Blue Jays in 2015 and 2016, putting up a line of .250/.336/.461 in 594 plate appearances. It was his good play in the first half of 2016, in fact, which earned him an All-Star spot and, presumably, made the Phillies think he was worth the $9 million deal they gave him over the offseason. That didn’t work out, as he hit .205/.257/.360 over 61 games and was released last week.
The Phillies will pay the rest of that $9 million. The Jays will see if he has anything in the tank to help them out.
The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a right pronator strain.
This is the same injury that sent him to the disabled list last month. He came back from that quickly, but it can’t be great that this is happening again. You have to assume he’ll miss more time given the recurrence of trouble. He’s going to get an MRI too. Sam Dyson is expected to serve as the Giants’ closer while Melancon is sidelined.
Melancon has a 4.35 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances this year. He signed a four-year, $62 million deal with San Francisco last December.