Yankees believed to be frontrunners for Carlos Beltran

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Carlos Beltran has been linked to multiple teams, with the latest being the Mariners, but George King of the New York Post writes that the Yankees are the favorites to sign the 36-year-old switch-hitter.

King reports that Beltran wants a three-year deal and the Yankees are pushing for a two-year deal, but “the industry buzz is the sides will eventually find common ground.”

Robinson Cano is obviously the biggest domino in the Yankees’ offseason plans, but New York has already added catcher Brian McCann on a five-year, $85 million contract and is clearly active pursuing other big-money free agents.

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.