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Cubs closer Pedro Strop injures hamstring

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Cubs reliever Pedro Strop injured his left hamstring while running the bases in the 10th inning of yesterday’s victory over the Nationals.

Strop was trying to beat out a double play ball while hitting for himself after the Cubs took the lead. Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon said afterward that you can’t fault an athlete for trying to compete at 100% effort, and that’s true, but absolutely no one would’ve criticized him for going 50% there. Strop is needed on the mound, not beating out throws to first base. Tough break all around.

Strop will get an MRI but he said after the game that he thinks he’ll be out at least a couple of weeks. That definitely hurts a Cubs bullpen that was already down a man due to the injured Brandon Morrow, whose closer job Strop had assumed in second half. Now it’ll be Carl Edwards or Steve Cishek handling the ninth inning. Or, as the playoffs lead to quick hooks for pitchers, handing much earlier innings.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.