Orioles showing interest in bringing back reliever Jim Johnson

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MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the Orioles are showing “definite interest” in a reunion with current free agent reliever Jim Johnson. Kubatko says it would be a surprise if the Orioles don’t get a deal done with the right-hander.

Johnson was acquired by the Athletics in a trade with the Orioles last December. His time in Oakland did not go well, as he was given a $10 million salary to avoid arbitration but posted a 7.14 ERA with a 28/23 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings.

As the Orioles’ closer in 2012 and ’13, Johnson led the league in saves with 51 and 50, respectively.

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.