Mike Leake scratched from start with hamstring strain

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The Giants announced this evening that recently-acquired right-hander Mike Leake has been scratched from Friday’s start against the Cubs due to a mild left hamstring strain. Ryan Vogelsong will get the assignment in his place.

Leake came over from the Reds before the trade deadline in exchange for right-hander Keury Mella and first baseman Adam Duvall. The 27-year-old took the loss in his first start with San Francisco last Sunday after allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Rangers. According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, Leake suffered the injury during normal conditioning drills and the hope is that he’ll only have to miss one start.

This will be Vogelsong’s first start since the All-Star break. The 38-year-old has posted a 4.16 ERA and 75/43 K/BB ratio in 101 2/3 innings over 16 starts and eight relief appearances this season.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.