Jordan Schafer leaves Astros camp to see hand specialist

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Jordan Schafer, who injured his left hand making a catch in the outfield on March 18 and hasn’t played since, has left Astros camp to be examined by a hand specialist in Atlanta.

Schafer has a long history of left hand injuries that have stalled his career in past seasons and Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the injury did not respond well following a weekend batting practice session.

For now he’s been diagnosed with a sprain, but Schafer told McTaggart that he believes the injury is nerve-related. So far at least the Astros haven’t ruled him out for Opening Day and if healthy he’ll be the starting center fielder.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.