Rays release Erik Bedard

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Erik Bedard has said throughout spring training that he wouldn’t accept an assignment to Triple-A if he didn’t win a spot in the Rays’ rotation and sure enough after choosing rookie Jake Odorizzi for the fifth-starter job Tampa Bay released Bedard.

He might still end up at Triple-A, or at least that’s what manager Joe Maddon is hoping for. Bedard will go looking for a big-league gig elsewhere and, assuming the 35-year-old left-hander can’t find one this close to Opening Day, the Rays would welcome him back on another minor-league deal to provide some organizational rotation depth.

Bedard had a 4.78 ERA over the previous two seasons, but 256 strikeouts in 277 innings during that time suggest he still has a little something left in the tank.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.