Earlier this week Royals left-hander Bruce Chen described himself as being in “constant pain” because of a swollen disk in his back, but planned to pitch through the pain. He won’t get a chance to do that, however, as the Royals have placed him on the disabled list.
Chen posted a 7.45 ERA in four starts this season and isn’t exactly an ace even when he’s healthy, so there was little reason for the Royals to keep trotting him out there every fifth day at obviously less than 100 percent.
Danny Duffy will step into Chen’s rotation spot and it’s entirely possible that by the time the 37-year-old southpaw is ready to return from the DL the Royals will want to stick with the 25-year-old southpaw anyway. Of course, they re-signed Chen to a two-year contract just months ago, so maybe not.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.