Scott Baker will make his Cubs debut as a starter Sunday

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After initially saying they planned to use him as a reliever the Cubs have switched course and will give Scott Baker a start Sunday against the Brewers.

It’ll be Baker’s first game action in the majors since 2011, as he missed all of last season and nearly all of this season following Tommy John elbow surgery.

He wasn’t very effective while rehabbing in the minors, posting a 5.46 ERA and 16/10 K/BB ratio in 30 innings while allowing opponents to hit .297 and reports of Baker’s velocity had him working mostly in the mid-80s. In other words, it might get ugly Sunday.

Report: White Sox acquire Yonder Alonso from Indians

Yonder Alonso
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The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.

Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.

While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.