UPDATE: Takashi Saito to have shoulder examined Monday

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UPDATE: Bad news for the Bravos. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Takashi Saito will fly back to Atlanta tomorrow in order to have his ailing shoulder examined on Monday.

Rosenthal speculates that more will be asked of rookie right-hander Craig Kimbrel in his absence. Kimbrel, a 22-year-old flamethrower, had a 1.62 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett this season, but he also averaged 5.7 BB/9.

10:10 AM: Takashi Saito was forced to leave last night’s game against the Mets due to shoulder soreness, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Saito, who struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth, said he felt pain on his final two pitches before exiting.

“I am concerned because I still don’t know what’s wrong yet,” Saito said
through his interpreter. “”It’s more inside [the shoulder], so I can’t
really say if it’s the front or the back. It’s inside…. The pain isn’t
the same [as earlier in the season], but it might be related.”

The Braves have handled Saito carefully since he dealt with some pain in his shoulder around the All-Star break, using him in back-to-back games only twice during the second half of the season. The 40-year-old right-hander has a 2.52 ERA and 69/14 K/BB ratio over 53 2/3 innings this season, and including last night’s appearance, he hasn’t allowed a run in his last 15 2/3 innings, dating back to late-July.

According to the Associated Press, Braves manager Bobby Cox said Saito is day to day, however there’s a pretty good chance the Braves won’t have one of their key arms for next week’s series against the Phillies. 

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.