Cubs scratch Jon Lester from start with “dead arm”

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Gearing up for the first season of a six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs, left-hander Jon Lester has been scratched from his scheduled Saturday start with what the team is calling a “dead arm period.”

“Dead arm” is the phrase pitchers and teams tend to use when something clearly isn’t right but there also isn’t a clearcut injury to be found, so it’s typically viewed as relatively minor until proven otherwise. In this case Cubs manager Joe Maddon expressed confidence that Lester will be able to take his next turn in the rotation and make the Opening Day start as planned.

Lester has basically been injury free for the bulk of his career, starting 31 or more games every season since 2008. That includes 32 starts and 220 innings for the Red Sox last year.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”