Angels sign free agents Brennan Boesch and Carlos Pena to minor league contracts

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have signed outfielder Brennan Boesch and first baseman Carlos Pena to minor league contracts. Those deals carry invitations to major league spring training, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Boesch signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Yankees last winter but he was released in July after posting a rough .302 on-base percentage in 53 plate appearances. Pena jumped between the Astros and Royals, hitting .207/.321/.346 in 328 plate appearances.

Pena has a good shot at an Opening Day roster spot because he can spell Albert Pujols at first base on days that Pujols needs to DH. Boesch is more of a longshot given the talent in the Anaheim outfield.

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.