Skip Schumaker diagnosed with torn oblique muscle

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An MRI exam revealed that Skip Schumaker has a torn right oblique muscle, making it all but certain that he’ll begin the season on the disabled list.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals won’t have a timetable for his return until getting more information tomorrow, but general manager John Mozeliak admitted that it’s “highly unlikely” Schumaker will be on the Opening Day roster.

And considering how even minor oblique injuries tend to linger, a tear could easily sideline Schumaker for much of April.

Schumaker was slated to be used primarily in the outfield, so Shane Robinson, Matt Carpenter, and Adron Chambers are the leading in-house options to replace him and Rule 5 pick Erik Komatsu could also get a look.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.