Cubs expected to call up Javier Baez on September 1

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Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com has the news:

The Cubs are planning to make Javier Baez part of their first wave of September call-ups.

“There’s a lot of things he can do to help you win right now,” manager Joe Maddon said Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Baez batted just .169/.227/.324 and racked up a whopping 95 strikeouts in 52 games last season for the Cubs, but he’s made great strides with his plate approach this year on the farm and he could slide his way into regular playing time in Chicago if he hits well out of the gate. Baez entered play Saturday with a .316/.380/.530 slash line, 13 home runs, 60 RBI, and 17 stolen bases through 67 games at Triple-A Iowa. And he hit a sixth-inning single on Saturday night against the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Giants to extend his current hitting streak to 15 games.

Baez is projected to get starts at third base, shortstop, and second base initially. He probably fits best at second, where Starlin Castro and Tommy La Stella have been splitting time since Addison Russell was moved to short. Baez, 22, was ranked a top-10 prospect by MLB.com, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus ahead of the 2014 season. He’s been buried somewhat by some other younger Cubs who have graduated and been able to contribute right away, but the kid’s future still shines bright.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.