Mike Matheny heading to St. Louis for back procedure

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Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will leave camp in Jupiter, Florida to head back to St. Louis for a procedure on his ailing back. MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch has the details:

The procedure, which is called a microdisectomy, will help alleviate the pain that has been caused by a ruptured disc. A fragment from the disc that is pressing against a nerve will be removed.

Matheny will miss the club’s games on Monday and Tuesday but is expected to return to Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday, which is an off day for the team.

In Matheny’s absence, bench coach Mike Aldrete will become the active manager. First base coach Chris Maloney takes Aldrete’s spot as bench coach, and Memphis Redbirds manager Ron Warner takes Maloney’s spot at first base.

Matheny, who has not only suffered from back problems but countless concussions as well, was in the news recently as an advocate for improving catcher safety.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.