Bill Baer

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 29: Jhonny Peralta #27 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against the Kansas City Royals in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on June 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Cardinals activate Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Moss from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that the club activated 3B/SS Jhonny Peralta and activated 1B/OF Brandon Moss from the 15-day disabled list. The club also added recently acquired reliever Zach Duke to the 25-man roster.

In order to create roster space, the Cardinals placed shortstop Aledmys Diaz on the 15-day disabled list and optioned pitcher Dean Kiekhefer and outfielder Randal Grichuk to Triple-A Memphis.

Losing Diaz is a pretty big deal for the Cardinals. He suffered a hairline fracture in his right thumb when he was hit by an Andrew Cashner pitch on Sunday. Diaz is in the running for the NL Rookie of the Year Award, batting .312/.376/.518 with 14 home runs, 57 RBI, and 64 runs scored in 401 plate appearances.

Peralta, who had been playing third base due to Diaz’s breakout season, will return to shortstop. He had been on the disabled list with renewed soreness in his surgically repaired thumb. In 120 PA this season, the veteran has a meager .221/.258/.416 triple-slash line with five home runs and 13 RBI.

Moss had been on the disabled list since July 5 with a sprained left ankle. He went 0-for-8 in three rehab games. He’ll try to improve on his .256/.344/.566 triple-slash line with 17 homers and 40 RBI in 250 PA.

The Cardinals acquired Duke ahead of Monday’s trade deadline, sending outfield prospect Charlie Tilson to the White Sox.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Tuesday’s action

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 31:  Starting pitcher Lance McCullers #43 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 31, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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There have been many factors in the Astros’ resurgence — they’re 24-13 since June 18 — but starter Lance McCullers is chief among them. His 2016 debut, on May 13, was a rough one as he gave up five runs and couldn’t complete the fifth inning. He pitched well in seven starts after that, putting up a 3.27 ERA until a blister caused him to miss a couple turns in the rotation.

McCullers returned on July 4 and has caught fire over five starts. He’s yielded exactly one run in four of them and he struck out double-digit batters in three of them. That includes a July 22 start against the Angels in which he pitched into the ninth inning, nearly registering his second career complete game.

McCullers, now 22, was selected by the Astros in the first round — 41st overall — in the 2012 draft. He ascended quickly through the minor leagues and he’s showed why over his first 35 career big league starts. He has a 3.21 ERA while averaging over a strikeout per inning pitched. McCullers’ 3.18 ERA this season is 12th best in the AL among starters who have logged at least 70 innings.

The Astros’ starting rotation has left a lot to be desired this year. Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, for example, has a 4.86 ERA. The rotation in aggregate has put up a 4.23 ERA, only slightly better than the league average (4.43). McCullers has been the backbone of that rotation and he could be the ace in the very near future.

On Tuesday night, the Astros host the Blue Jays. McCullers will take on knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Also of note during Tuesday’s action:

  • Shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia will debut for the Brewers
  • Outfield prospect Andrew Benintendi will be in uniform for the Red Sox (but will debut on Wednesday most likely)
  • The Rangers’ lineup will include new acquisitions Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran

The rest of Tuesday’s action…

San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Zach Eflin), 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish) @ Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (James Shields) @ Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez), 7:10 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Andriese), 7:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson) @ Cleveland Indians (Carlos Carrasco), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka) @ New York Mets (Jacob deGrom), 7:10 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole) @ Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz), 7:10 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) @ Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily), 7:10 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 8:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gra), 8:40 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 9:40 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea) @ Los Angeles Angels (Matt Shoemaker), 10:05 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (David Price) @ Seattle Mariners (Wade LeBlanc), 10:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies) @ San Diego Padres (Luis Perdomo), 10:10 PM EDT

Matt Kemp thanks San Diego fans, takes responsibility for shortcomings at The Players’ Tribune

Matt Kemp
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Braves acquired outfielder Matt Kemp from the Padres on Saturday for outfielder Hector Olivera in an exchange of bad contracts. Kemp left the Padres batting a slugging-heavy .262/.285/.489 with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances this season. While the 31-year-old Kemp’s arrival doesn’t change much for the Braves, who are out of contention, it did allow them some flexibility to pursue trading other outfielders like Nick Markakis and Jeff Francoeur, even if they didn’t materialize ahead of Monday’s 4 PM EDT non-waiver trade deadline. They could end up materializing by the August 31 waiver deadline.

Kemp penned a hello/goodbye column at The Players’ Tribune, detailing how he grew up a Braves fan and is excited to play for his childhood team. He also thanked fans in San Diego for treating him well since he arrived prior to the 2015 season.

The most interesting part of Kemp’s column was towards the end, where he takes responsibility for the way he has been perceived whether true or false.

To the city of Atlanta, and to all Braves fans worldwide, I want to make a vow to you before I even step into the box for my first at bat as a member of the team: After taking some time to reflect on my career, and the ups and downs I’ve experienced since my MVP-caliber season in 2011, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had begun to lose some of my love for the game. In so many ways, I got sidetracked from what I loved most about playing the game of baseball — having fun. I let a big contract, the Hollywood lifestyle, injuries and bad relationships tarnish the reputation I had worked so hard to establish. Sadly, I gained a reputation for being selfish, lazy and a bad teammate. While I may not agree with all the criticism I received in the past few years —and while I believe that a lot of it was unmerited — I take full responsibility for my shortcomings. And I promise you, Atlanta: Those days are gone.

The Matt Kemp of old — the kid who was the first at the park and the last to leave, the kid who would take cuts in the cage till his hands bled, the kid who would literally run through a wall for his teammates, the kid who was playing to win … not for a contract — that’s the kid who’s on his way to Atlanta. And the Braves of old will soon be the Braves of now.

Kemp didn’t owe anyone an explanation. But it’s big of him to take responsibility even while acknowledging that “a lot” of the cricticism was “unmerited.”