Kyle Schwarber struck out in eight consecutive plate appearances

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Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been better since returning from a stint in the minor leagues. Through June 21, he was hitting .171/.295/.378. Since then, he’s hitting .241/.327/.552. Problem is he’s still striking out a bunch. Entering Monday’s action, he had struck out 38 times in 98 plate appearances since being brought back up to the big leagues, and he had struck out in seven consecutive plate appearances.

Schwarber extended the streak to eight when he whiffed in his first at-bat of the night against Reds starter Asher Wojciechowski. Fortunately for him, Schwarber’s streak ended in the third inning when he was hit by a 3-2 Wojciechowski change-up.

Despite Schwarber’s two-week demotion, he still ranks 25th among all hitters (min. 350 PA) in total strikeouts at 114. His 31.6 percent strikeout rate ranks eighth in baseball.

Rays’ Yandy Díaz gets three-year, $24 million deal to avoid arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.