Cubs exploring trade targets for center field

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More from Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:



The Cubs clearly aren’t blown away by any of the center fielders on the free
agent market, preferring to explore trades. One name to file away is Fernando Perez.




Perez, who turns 27 in April, owns a
.289/.375/.402 batting line in parts of six minor league seasons with
the Rays organization. A switch-hitter, Perez is blessed with supreme
speed — 199 stolen bases in 584 minor league games — but he has yet to find a real opportunity on the major league
level. He was limited to just 35 games between the minors and the
majors last season due to a broken left wrist suffered during an attempted diving catch in spring
training. He underwent surgery on his left shoulder in October, an injury likely caused by the same play, but
he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2010 season.




It would be a nice move for general
manager Jim Hendry in the sense that the Cubs wouldn’t have to add much
payroll to an already bloated outfield, but since Perez is under team
control through 2013, it would probably cost them a premium prospect. The club remains linked to Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel in free agency.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.