Report: Cubs “on the fringes” for free agent outfielder Michael Bourn

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UPDATE: So much for that. Carrie Muskat, who covers the Cubs for MLB.com, writes that Bourn to the Cubs is “not happening.” Could this be a case of Bourn’s agent, Scott Boras, making a last-ditch effort to create a market for his client?

8:06 PM: There’s been plenty of chatter over the past couple of weeks about a possible match between the Mets and Michael Bourn, but otherwise the market for the free agent outfielder has been eerily quiet. However, it seems there is one potential landing spot that has flown under the radar.

The Cubs currently project to begin the season with Alfonso Soriano in left field, David DeJesus in center field and a platoon of Nate Schierholtz and Scott Hairston in right field. If the Cubs were to swoop in and sign Bourn, they could move DeJesus into a corner and try to find a suitor for Soriano, who still has two years and $36 million left on his contract. Of course, they’d have to eat a big portion of his remaining contract to make that happen and Soriano has the ability to veto any deal.

While FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has also listed the Cubs as a possibility, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times doesn’t see Bourn coming at a steep enough discount to be a realistic fit.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.