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Pedro Strop thinks he’ll be back before the end of the season

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Cubs closer Pedro Strop strained his hamstring last week and, at the time, the club said that he’d miss the rest of the regular season. He’s not so sure. Yesterday he said that he expects to return to game action before the playoffs begin. Strop told reporters that “everything is pain-free.”

Strop took over as the closer from Brandon Morrow, whose season is definitely over. Since Strop went down Steve Cishek, Justin Wilson, Jesse Chavez, Jorge De La Rosa, and Carl Edwards Jr. are handling ninth-inning duties on a rotating basis.

Strop is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 57/21 in 59.2 innings on the year. Getting him back would be a big deal for Chicago as they get ready for the postseason.

Angels name Brad Ausmus new manager

Brad Ausmus
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Former MLB player and manager Brad Ausmus will manage the Angels in 2019, the team announced Sunday. His contract will extend through the 2021 season, though it’s not clear whether a club option exists for 2022. A formal press conference will be held on Monday at 1:00 PM PDT to introduce the new skipper.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler gave a statement following Ausmus’ hiring:

Ausmus, 49, was also considered for a managerial role with the Reds prior to their hiring of David Bell on Sunday. He’ll replace longtime manager Mike Scioscia, who finished his 19th and final campaign with the club on the last day of the 2018 season.

A former catcher and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Ausmus capped his 18-year MLB playing career in 2010. He managed the Tigers from 2014 to 2017, during which he guided the club to a 314-332 record and a postseason berth in 2014. After the Tigers declined to offer the skipper an extension in 2018, he was hired as a special assistant to the Angels’ general manager, and remained in that role for the duration of the regular season.