Darwin Barney out for opener because of gashed knee

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As first reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney has been ruled out for the first game of the regular season — Monday vs. the Pirates — due to a deep cut on his left knee that required five stitches.

Barney suffered the gash Saturday during an exhibition game in Houston while trying to track down a foul pop-up along the first-base boundary wall. There’s a chance he could be placed on the disabled list. Brent Lillibridge is expected to fill in.

Barney registered a weak .254/.299/.354 batting line across 588 plate appearances last season for Chicago, but the 27-year-old won Gold Glove honors for his excellent defense at second base.

Dodgers feel optimistic about Corey Seager’s return in the World Series

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The Dodgers pulled through the five-game Championship Series without Corey Seager, but they’re counting down the days until their prized slugger/shortstop can make his first World Series appearance. He still has a ways to go before he can return to the field, however. Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reports that while Seager has been hitting off a tee, taking soft toss and running the curves of the infield, he’ll need to practice hitting in a simulated game before he can rejoin the team next Tuesday.

The 23-year-old infielder went 3-for-15 with a triple and two RBI in the NLDS earlier this month. He was sidelined in Game 3 of the series after making a bad slide into second base and sustaining a lower back strain. Although he’s made fairly rapid progress in his recovery over the last two weeks, he’s not back at 100% just yet, and Roberts said he won’t make a final decision on his status until it gets closer to game time. Even if Seager makes a successful return to his starting position, the Dodgers may not get the same .295/.375/.479 hitter they relied on during the regular season.

Provided that everything goes smoothly over the next two days, though, there’s a decent chance Seager will find his way to the infield — or, at the very least, to the plate. “We’re very optimistic,” Roberts said Saturday. “Corey doesn’t want to be denied.”