According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria began feeling discomfort in his left oblique before Saturday’s game against the Orioles.
But he didn’t ask out of the starting lineup and now it might cost him.
Longoria had to be lifted from the game at the start of the sixth inning and replaced at the hot corner by Sean Rodriguez. He told reporters in the clubhouse afterward that he doesn’t expect to miss more than a week of action, but Rays skipper Joe Maddon would not rule out a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
The Rays will probably hold off on a decision until team physicians evaluate the situation Sunday afternoon — with the help of an MRI and other medical tests, no doubt.
If Longo needs to sit out for a while, look for Ben Zobrist to continue drawing starts at second base and Rodriguez to fill in at third. Matt Joyce will remain the starter in right field.
UPDATE: Topkin heard from Rays manager Joe Maddon on Sunday that Longoria is headed for the disabled list and could miss up to three weeks. The Rays are likely to recall infielder Felipe Lopez from Triple-A Durham to provide depth in his absence.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.
Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.
Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”