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John Lackey plans to pitch in 2018

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When John Lackey exited after a 1-2-3 fifth inning in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Dodgers last month, many assumed that marked his final appearance in the major leagues. The now 39-year-old was expected to retire.

Lackey is not retiring and intends to pitch in 2018, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. He’s a free agent, so he will be looking for major league deals heading into spring training.

Lackey finished the 2017 regular season with a 4.59 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio in 170 2/3 innings across 30 starts and one relief appearance with the Cubs. He led the National League, allowing 36 home runs. Pitching, however, is always in demand so Lackey should still draw some interest despite his age and declining numbers.

Braves claim Grant Dayton off waivers from Dodgers

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The Braves claimed lefty reliever Grant Dayton off waivers from the Dodgers, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dayton, 29, underwent Tommy John surgery back in August and is almost certainly out for the entire 2018 season. The Braves, obviously, are making a longer-term play here by acquiring him, as he is under team control through 2022.

Over parts of two seasons in the majors, Dayton has a 3.42 career ERA with 59 strikeouts and 18 walks in 50 innings.