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Japan All-Star Series roster announced

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In September, MLB and the MLBPA announced that, in a renewal of a century-old tradition, major leaguers will be heading to Japan for an All-Star barnstorming tour that will be called, appropriately enough, Japan All-Star Series.

The All-Star Series will be played in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagoya, with an exhibition game played against the Yomiuri Giants on November 8th, followed by three games against a Japanese All-Star team in Tokyo from November 9-11, one game in Hiroshima on November 13 and two games in Nagoya on November 14-15. MLB Network will provide live telecasts of the games from November 9-15.

While a few participants were announced in September, this morning the full roster was released:

Pitching and the infield seem a tad weak. The catching trio and the outfielders, however, are pretty spiffy. Not a bad team overall.

Don Mattingly will be the team’s manager. His coaches will Henry Blanco (WSH, Bullpen coach); Fredi González (MIA, Base coach); Edgar Martinez (SEA, Hitting coach); Hideki Matsui (Base coach); Hensley Meulens (SF, Bench coach); Brent Strom (HOU, Pitching coach).

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.