Rick VandenHurk plans to sign with a “foreign club”

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From the Pirates’ official Twitter account comes word that the team has asked for release waivers on right-hander Rick VandenHurk for “the purpose of allowing him to sign with a foreign club.” We would guess that it’s a team from either Korea or Japan.

VandenHurk posted a promising 2.92 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 19 starts and two relief appearances last season at Triple-A Indianapolis, fanning 113 batters and issuing only 35 walks in 123 1/3 innings. But the Pirates weren’t going to give him much of a chance this season and he probably got a decent offer — maybe close to $1 million — overseas.

The 27-year-old Netherlands native was signed by the Marlins as an amateur free agent in 2002. He’s made 50 major league appearances (35 starts, 15 in relief) to the tune of a 6.08 career ERA and 1.63 career WHIP.

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.