Cubs designate Rafael Soriano, James Russell for assignment

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From beat writer Patrick Mooney of

That move cleared up two 40-man roster spots for the Cubs’ first wave of September callups.

Russell, a 29-year-old left-handed specialist, was sporting a 5.29 ERA through 49 appearances this season for the Cubs. Soriano allowed eight hits and four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings with Chicago before landing on the disabled list August 4 with right shoulder inflammation. The 35-year-old right-hander will probably have to settle for another minor league contract this winter if he wants to continue his playing career.

Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.


Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.