Via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:
While the Cubs keep their eye on the pitching market as they mull a buyer’s approach for the trade deadline, one of their biggest targets heading into June is play-anywhere hitter Ben Zobrist of the Oakland Athletics, according to multiple sources.
Zobrist is capable of playing all over the diamond, so he’s a fit for just about every contending team. But the 34-year-old has a direct connection to Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who managed Zobrist when he was with the Rays, and Wittenmyer notes that Chicago actually tried to acquire Zobrist over the winter.
If the A’s go into early sell mode — their record right now is 19-33 — this could come together quickly.
Zobrist is scheduled to become a free agent five days after the conclusion of the 2015 World Series.
Bryce Harper was scratched from the Nationals’ starting lineup Saturday due to a sore back, but it’s no big deal. Here is Washington’s batting order for Sunday’s series finale in Cincinnati …
Harper, 22, owns an absurd 1.201 OPS with 18 home runs and 43 RBI through 48 games this season.
In case you missed it, Astros ace Dallas Keuchel twirled a gem Saturday against the White Sox …
Keuchel now has a ridiculous 1.76 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 81 2/3 innings this season. He is legit.
Andrew McCutchen found an enthusiastic Pirates fan in San Diego after Saturday night’s 5-2 win …
Reds ace Johnny Cueto was scratched from a start last week after experiencing stiffness in his right elbow, but an MRI taken Tuesday afternoon came up clean and the hope is that he will be able to return to the starting rotation this Sunday for the club’s series finale against the visiting Nationals.
That would be 11 day of rest between starts for the 29-year-old right-hander. He has registered a 3.03 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 60/12 K/BB ratio in 65 1/3 innings this season for the Reds, who are in fourth place in the National League Central standings with a record of 19-27.
If he’s healthy, Cueto will be a massive trade chip this summer for Cincinnati.
He owns a 2.53 ERA (153 ERA+) in 742 2/3 innings since the beginning of the 2011 season.