Corey Hart is “pretty close” to beginning rehab assignment

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Milwaukee first basemen have hit .188 with four homers and a .521 OPS this season, which is what happens when you primarily use light-hitting middle infielders like Alex Gonzalez and Yuniesky Betancourt there, but help is on the way.

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Corey Hart, who’s been sidelined all season following January knee surgery, has started traveling with the team in preparation for a minor-league rehab assignment in the not-too-distant future.

Hart is eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list tomorrow, which obviously isn’t happening, but the impending free agent told McCalvy that he’s “pretty close” and mostly just “waiting for the running stuff to get better.” Of course, “the running stuff” is sort of important even if Hart has been fine taking batting practice and fielding grounders.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.