Mike Leake could return from hamstring strain on Sunday

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July 31 trade deadline pickup Mike Leake made only one start for the Giants before landing on the 15-day disabled list August 3 because of a left hamstring strain. But everything appears to be trending in the right direction now with that injury.

According to Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com, the right-hander made it through a bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis without issue and could return to the Giants’ starting rotation for Sunday Night Baseball at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

Leake, 27, owns a cool 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 95/36 K/BB ratio over 143 innings (22 starts) this season between Cincinnati and San Francisco. He can become a free agent in November.

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.