Josh Beckett cleared to begin throwing program

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Two months ago Josh Beckett underwent season-ending surgery to remove a rib that was putting pressure on a nerve and causing numbness in his hand. And now he’s ready to start throwing again.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Beckett is scheduled to begin a throwing program Wednesday and Beckett is very pleased with how his recovery has gone so far, saying: “I don’t think anyone was expecting for me to be where I’m at right now.”

Beckett told Hernandez that he’s hoping to do enough throwing to head into the offseason without any limitations, potentially setting him up to be ready for a full spring training. He’s under contract for $15.75 million next season in the final year of a four-year, $68 million contract, but at this point the Dodgers would probably view any contribution they get from Beckett as a bonus.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.