Peter Bourjos Cardinals

Peter Bourjos has been benched by the Cardinals

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Peter Bourjos began the season as the Cardinals’ primary center fielder, but then he slumped his way into fewer starts in favor of Jon Jay and now it looks like he’s been benched altogether.

St. Louis called up prospect Randal Grichuk and is now giving him some of the playing time previously reserved for Bourjos, with manager Mike Matheny explaining it to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch rather bluntly:

The assignment for us is to be honest, as open with him as possible. “We’ve got to get you going, but we’ve got to get our club going, too. If we have an opportunity to bring some player in who can get us a jolt we’re going to make a shot at it. Stay ready.”

Bourjos is hitting .160 with a .510 OPS in 20 games, which is bad enough that even his always excellent defense can’t make up for it.

Grichuk was acquired from the Angels, along with Bourjos, in the David Freese trade, so his now pushing Bourjos aside–in the short term, at least–is a weird little twist. His strike zone control and plate discipline leave a lot to be deserved, but Grichuk has 20-homer power and right now the Cardinals are desperate for some offense.

Oh, and there’s also this: Freese is hitting .188 for the Angels.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.