Jake Arrieta close to rejoining Cubs’ starting rotation

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MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that starter Jake Arrieta will need at least one more rehab start with Double-A Tennessee before rejoining the Cubs’ rotation. Arrieta showed up to spring training with a sore shoulder and has been behind schedule ever since.

Arrieta has made two rehab starts to date. On April 5, he allowed an unearned run in three innings of work. On Thursday, he tossed 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, striking out four and walking two.

Muskat said Cubs manager Rick Renteria received positive reports on Arrieta’s Thursday start. Once Arrieta is healthy enough to rejoin the rotation, he’ll displace Carlos Villanueva.

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.