Anthony Rizzo on track to return to the Cubs’ lineup on Monday

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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took ground balls today and is expected to be activated on Monday, per a report from MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. Rizzo has been sidelined since August 26 with a mild lower back strain. Manager Rick Renteria has been cautious with Rizzo and it even appeared as if the first baseman wouldn’t return, but he has progressed well in recent days.

Rizzo, 25, is in the process of a breakout season for the Cubs, hitting .278/.375/.514 with 30 home runs and 71 RBI. Before Rizzo, Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee were the only Cubs to hit 30 homers in a season dating back to 2007. Lee was the last Cub to post a .275/.375/.500 line or better as well. Rizzo joined the Cubs in January 2012 in the Andrew Cashner trade with the Padres.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.