The Cubs are kicking the tires on James Shields

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David Kaplan of CSN Chicago.com reports the Cubs are “kicking the tires” on free agent James Shields.

Shields was reported to have several offers in hand already and at a point where he is going to make a decision at the end of this week, so they had best get kicking fast. If they do manage to add Shields, though, it will have represented a pretty big overall upgrade for their rotation this winter, what with the additions of Jon Lester and the return of Jason Hammel.

Also, if they add another pitcher, it could mean that Travis Wood — currently fifth on the Cubs’ depth chart — is the odd man out. To that end, Kaplan says that Chicago could trade Wood before spring training.

Max Scherzer (hamstring) leaves start vs. Mets after just 1 inning

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WASHINGTON — Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer left his start for the Nationals against the New York Mets after just 27 pitches Wednesday night due to a hamstring injury.

He was replaced in the top of the second by Erick Fedde.

Scherzer was not as sharp as usual at the outset Wednesday, going 2-0 counts against each of New York’s initial two batters, walking one and giving up a single to the other.

The Mets eventually went ahead in the first on Dominic Smith‘s sacrifice fly.

Scherzer entered the game with an 0-1 record and 2.84 ERA this season.