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Cubs, White Sox continue to play hot potato with Ian Clarkin

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Every offseason, there is a player or two who seem to keep bouncing around from team to team. Usually, different clubs are involved. In pitcher Ian Clarkin‘s case, he has oddly bounced between just the Cubs and White Sox throughout the offseason.

On November 20, the Cubs claimed him off waivers from the White Sox. The White Sox got him back six days later, claiming him off waivers from the Cubs. On January 8, the White Sox designated him for assignment. Today, the Cubs announced the club claimed him off waviers from the White Sox. Clarkin is essentially a hot potato the Cubs and White Sox keep passing to each other.

Clarkin, 23, hasn’t pitched in the majors yet, which is why the only picture we had of him was from 2012, when he pitched in an 18U tournament for the United States. The lefty was selected in the first round (33rd overall) of the 2013 draft by the Yankees. The Yankees packaged him with Tyler Clippard and Blake Rutherford when they acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox in July 2017.

This past season, Clarkin pitched 85 innings in the minors, 68 2/3 of which came with Double-A Birmingham. With Birmingham, he posted a 4.98 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 31 walks across 10 starts and eight relief appearances. Clarkin will open the 2019 season in the minors.

Zack Wheeler hits first career homer

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Mets starter Zack Wheeler wasn’t content with just dominating the Phillies on the mound Tuesday night in Queens. The 28-year-old decided to have himself a three-RBI night at the plate, too, including his first career home run.

With the Mets already leading 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Wheeler lifted a first-pitch Zach Eflin fastball out to left-center field, landing well beyond the 370-foot sign on the wall. Wheeler had previously helped his own cause, lacing a two-run double down the right field line off of Eflin in the second inning.

Wheeler entered the night with 22 hits in 194 career trips to the plate. Of his 22 hits, five went for extra bases (all doubles). On the mound, through six innings, Wheeler has held the Phillies scoreless on five hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.

Todd Frazier broke the game open in the fifth inning, hitting a grand slam off of Drew Anderson to push the Mets’ lead to 8-0. If the Phillies lose tonight, they will have lost five of their last six games.