As first reported by Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have made a change at closer.
Kyuji Fujikawa, who was signed to a two-year, $9.5 million free agent contract this winter after spending the last 12 seasons in Japan, will be Chicago’s new ninth-inning man. He struggled mightily in Saturday night’s late loss to the Braves, allowing three earned runs in the eighth inning, but the Cubs still feel that he will be a big upgrade over Carlos Marmol.
Marmol has surrendered six hits, two walks and five earned runs over 1 2/3 innings this season. He will serve as a mop-up man until he gets himself right.
If Fujikawa can’t cut it, the Cubs will probably try either Shawn Camp or James Russell next.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.