Michael Cuddyer could begin rehab assignment in a week to 10 days

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Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer could begin a rehab assignment in a week to 10 days, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. Cuddyer has been on the disabled list since June 6 after suffering a broken left shoulder socket. He hasn’t been able to hit in the batting cage yet, but he has hit off a tee along with running and fielding drills.

Cuddyer, 35, is in the last year of a three-year, $31.5 million contract with the Rockies. He led the National League in batting average last season at .331 and went on the disabled list having similar success in 131 plate appearances, slashing .317/.366/.500. As the Rockies have a surplus of outfielders, as well as Nolan Arenado at third base and Justin Morneau at first base, they may not have interest in bringing the veteran back into the fold for the 2015 season. As a result, Cuddyer will likely be using the final month-plus to audition for a new suitor.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?