A’s activate Daric Barton from disabled list, designate Brandon Allen for assignment

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Brandon Allen went from Opening Day first baseman to designated for assignment in the span of four games, as the A’s dropped him from the 40-man roster today to make room for Daric Barton’s return from the disabled list.

Now that he’s recovered from September shoulder surgery Barton figures to be Oakland’s primary first baseman and the A’s somewhat surprisingly decided to keep Kila Ka’aihue rather than Allen.

Allen is too old to be considered a prospect and high strikeout totals make him unlike to post good batting averages, but he’s hit .286 with 59 homers and a .959 OPS in 253 games at Triple-A.

Oakland has 10 days to either trade him or waive him, and Allen would seemingly be a worthwhile flier for a handful of teams.

Yu Darvish suffers setback during rehab start

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Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.

Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.

Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”

Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.