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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.

Giants sign Drew Smyly to one-year deal

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The Giants announced on Thursday that the club inked pitcher Drew Smyly to a one-year contract. As Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area notes, the contract is of the major league variety.

Smyly, 30, split last season between the Rangers and Phillies with a stint with the Brewers in between. He did not appear in a major league game with the Brewers. In aggregate, Smyly posted a 6.24 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 55 walks over 114 innings.

Smyly will vie for a spot at the back of the Giants’ starting rotation. If he doesn’t make the cut, he could work out of the bullpen. Pitching in the spacious confines of Oracle Park should help Smyly, who gave up 19 homers in Texas and 13 in Philly last season in more hitter-friendly parks.