Bill Baer

Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber hits a single off Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Carlos Contreras in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 4-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Kyle Schwarber will undergo knee surgery this week

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon told the media that outfielder Kyle Schwarber will undergo surgery on his left knee this week, per CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Schwarber suffered a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee as a result of an outfield collision with teammate Dexter Fowler in Arizona on April 7. The initial thought was that Schwarber suffered an ankle injury, but it unfortunately turned out to be much more serious.

Schwarber, 23, was looking towards his first full season in the majors after debuting on June 16 last year. He quickly became one of the league’s most feared sluggers, blasting 16 home runs with an .842 OPS in 273 plate appearances. He played in the outfield, caught occasionally, and served as a DH during interleague games in American League ballparks.

Jorge Soler has seen most of the playing time in left field in Schwarber’s absence.

Diamondbacks option Socrates Brito to Triple-A Reno

Arizona Diamondbacks' Socrates Brito watches his RBI double against the Los Angeles Angels during third inning of a spring baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz., Tuesday, March 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
AP Photo/Chris Carlson
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The Diamondbacks announced that outfielder Socrates Brito has been optioned to Triple-A Reno and pitcher Tyler Wagner has been recalled.

Brito, 23, had a good spring, hitting .306 in 72 at-bats. The performance helped him get semi-regular playing time in center field after A.J. Pollock suffered a fractured elbow. However, Brito struggled at the plate, hitting .226 in 31 trips to the plate.

Chris Owings shared the position with Brito in Pollock’s absence and didn’t fare any better, racking up only six singles in 30 plate appearances. The D-Backs have reportedly had interest in free agent Michael Bourn. If Owings can’t figure things out soon, he may force the club’s hand into looking for help elsewhere.

The difference between left field and right field

Los Angeles Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun cannot reach a ball hit for a double by Baltimore Orioles' J.J. Hardy during the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Eno Sarris and David Laurila of FanGraphs spoke to a handful of players and coaches about the differences in playing left field versus right field. Both outfield corners, some think they would play similarly, but as the quotes illustrate, there is a lot of nuance.

To me, the most interesting observation was made by Athletics outfielder Chris Coghlan:

“In right field, third base and everything is in front of you. Everything you’re going to get, the play is in front of you. When I’m in left, it’s harder to see where the runner is at and you have to go at how fast you think he is mentally. You have to guess out of the box, and be a play ahead. If Albert Pujols hits one to my right in left field, I still have a chance to get him, where if Mike Trout does it…”

Coghlan also mentioned that some stadiums are tougher in right field than in left, or vice versa. He says left field at Fenway Park is easy, as you just need to learn how to play caroms off of the Green Monster. Wrigley Field is difficult in right field during day games because the sun is always in your eyes and it’s 350 feet down the line.

Good stuff by Sarris and Laurila. Check out their article for all of the quotes.

Cardinals activate Ruben Tejada from the disabled list

St. Louis Cardinals' Ruben Tejada runs for first base after hitting a single during the seventh inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, March 20, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
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The Cardinals announced that shortstop Ruben Tejada has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and infielder Greg Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.

Tejada, 26, suffered a left quad strain in March, shortly after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Cardinals. The Mets had released him a few days prior, and Tejada was to fill in for the injured Jhonny Peralta.

In Tejada’s absence, the Cardinals have used Aledmys Diaz, Jedd Gyorko, and Garcia at shortstop and it has worked — at least offensively. The Cardinals’ 1.018 OPS accumulated by their shortstops is second best in the league behind the Rockies. However, their shortstops have also committed six errors as a unit, leading the league and doubling the total of the Marlins in second place.

Diaz is still in the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Monday against the Cubs.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Monday’s action

New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard delivers to a Kansas City Royals batter during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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We have a short slate of games today, as many teams are traveling to begin new series on Tuesday. The Blue Jays already beat the Red Sox earlier this afternoon, but there’s seven games left on the docket. The one I’ll be watching tonight at 7:05 PM EST — and I’d be watching this even if I weren’t a Phillies fan — is the Mets/Phillies game, which features the flamethrowing Noah Syndergaard opposing beautiful curve ball creator Jerad Eickhoff. Odds are we’re in for a low-scoring game, even if it is at Citizens Bank Park.

MLB.com’s Mike Petriello explained today that Syndergaard is the current leader in fastball velocity and perceived fastball velocity. What that means is not only is Syndergaard’s fastball the fastest by traditional measurements, but when one takes into account where the pitcher releases the ball, Syndergaard’s fastball is still the fastest. Some pitchers can gain or lose velocity based on how they deliver the ball. For instance, Joel Peralta doesn’t get much extension when he throws the ball, so his fastball isn’t as fast as the radar gun reads, because it’s covering more distance. Carter Capps, because of his funky delivery, releases the ball much further out, so his fastball actually looks faster as it’s covering less ground.

Eickhoff was one of the six players the Phillies received from the Rangers last year in exchange for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. He impressed last year, finishing with a 2.65 ERA over eight starts, and has continued the success in two starts to begin the 2016 season, yielding only two earned runs in 12 innings. Eickhoff’s curve is a thing of beauty, which you can see in this highlight video of his most recent start against the Padres. Of the 12 strikeouts the right-hander has accumulated this season, nine of them (75%) have come on the curve. He had 49 strikeouts last year, 29 of which (59%) were finished with a curve.

The rest of Monday’s action…

Colorado Rockies (Jordan Lyles) @ Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily), 7:10 PM EST

Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EST

Chicago Cubs (John Lackey) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Mike Leake), 8:09 PM EST

Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago) @ Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon), 8:10 PM EST

Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson) @ Minnesota Twins (Phil Hughes), 8:10 PM EST

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy), 10:15 PM EST