Jason Hammel leaves start with tight left hamstring

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Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel threw only 12 pitches in a flawless top of the first inning Wednesday night against the rival Cardinals, but Clayton Richard was spotted warming up in the bottom half of the first and took the mound in the top of the second. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com has the reason

Hammel’s next scheduled start isn’t until after the All-Star break, so he shouldn’t miss a rotation turn. But the Cubs need all the wins they can get against the division-leading Cardinals and Hammel obviously gave them a much better chance Wednesday than Richard, who allowed two runs in his first frame. Hammel boasts a 2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 105/18 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 total innings this season for third-place Chicago.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”