Miguel Montero insisted last week that he could play through a left sprained thumb and sure enough the Cubs have activated the veteran catcher from the disabled list one day after he hit a grand slam at Double-A.
Montero has been out since July 11 and returns after just four minor-league rehab games, but how much action he’ll see behind the plate is unclear because of rookie phenom Kyle Schwarber’s emergence in his absence.
Schwarber, who came into the season as one of the top 20 prospects in baseball and crushed Double-A and Triple-A pitching before being called up, has hit .342 with six homers and a 1.061 OPS in 25 games for the Cubs.
Schwarber’s defense behind the plate is considered raw and the Cubs have given him some time in left field to keep his bat in the lineup, but it seems clear that Montero (and veteran backup David Ross) will see fewer starts behind the plate than they did before Schwarber’s arrival.
Montero is owed $14 million in both 2016 and 2017, and while his .729 OPS this season and .761 career OPS can’t compare to Schwarber’s offensive potential it’s above-average production for a catcher.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.