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Cubs place Brandon Morrow on disabled list with biceps inflammation

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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have placed closer Brandon Morrow on the 10-day disabled with inflammation in his right biceps. Manager Joe Maddon said he doesn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. He said, “Velocity was down last outing. I asked him about it after the game and could tell he was holding something back. Said it was just that time of year.”

Morrow, 33, has had an excellent season for the Cubs, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30 2/3 innings. The right-hander is under contract next year at $9 million and has a 2020 vesting option worth $12 million with a $3 million buyout.

Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop will likely handle save situations while Morrow is out.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.