castro, rizzo getty

Dale Sveum suggests that Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo could be sent to Triple-A Iowa

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Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has the story:

Could the Cubs send Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo back to the minors for more grooming?

It doesn’t seem possible considering their status as part of the core of the rebuild, not to mention the seven-year contract extension Castro received last year.

But before Sunday’s finale against Milwaukee, manager Dale Sveum, who lost his voice shouting at ump Chris Guccione on Friday, hinted it was indeed possible.

“If people keep playing like that, you have to find options,” Sveum told reporters on Sunday afternoon. “Give people playing time at Triple-A to figure this stuff out. … The bottom line is you have to perform. Whether you need more development or you decide all those kind of things. There’s still that accountability. … Many, many people throughout the history of the game (have been demoted back to the minor leagues).”

Castro, 23, entered play Sunday batting .304 with an .802 OPS, but he has struggled defensively at shortstop. Rizzo, who’s also 23, is hitting .190 with a .299 on-base percentage through 67 plate appearances.

All that said, this feels like more of an attempt at a wake up call by Sveum than any real threat.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.