Jhonny Peralta’s fill-in? Aledmys Diaz announces candidacy with four-hit game

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Jhonny Peralta‘s torn thumb ligament means the Cardinals are in need of a new starting shortstop for at least the first month of the season and possibly much longer. Jedd Gyorko going from utility man to starter is an obvious possibility, but don’t count out 25-year-old prospect Aledmys Diaz getting the job.

Diaz went 4-for-4 with two doubles today against the Twins and afterward manager Mike Matheny sure seemed impressed. When asked by Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com if it was worth putting a lot of stock in Diaz’s performance, Matheny replied: “Why wouldn’t you? You have young player who plays the position and had a great game.”

Diaz spent last season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .278 with 13 homers and a .784 OPS in 116 games. Those are certainly solid overall numbers for a 24-year-old shortstop and within that production Diaz had a huge stretch run in which he hit .376 in August and September.

A few more big games and he might convince Matheny and company to leave Gyorko in a bench role.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.