Yasiel Puig
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Reds, Cubs benches clear after Pedro Strop plunks Yasiel Puig

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Things got a bit testy during the last few innings of the Cubs’ 6-0 win over the Reds on Saturday, culminating in a benches-clearing face-off between Cubs reliever Pedro Strop and Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig.

In the bottom of the eighth, Strop stepped in for Steve Cishek to preserve the Cubs’ five-run lead. With two outs and zero runners on, he allowed a double to Eugenio Suárez, then hit Puig in the thigh with a 93.7-m.p.h. fastball. Puig stomped toward the mound to exchange words with Strop, flipping his bat and chucking his helmet before he reached the pitcher. He was restrained by Chicago backstop Willson Contreras and home plate umpire Mark Wegner, but the both Puig and Strop continued to jaw at each other until their teams’ respective benches and bullpens had emptied around them.

It was a fruitless fight; warnings were issued and both sides seemed to respect the umpires’ directives, at least to the extent that no ejections were deemed necessary.

In the ninth, however, tempers flared again after Dillon Maples plunked José Peraza. Reds manager David Bell emerged from the dugout to question the decision not to eject Maples but, instead of Maples, was ejected from the game himself. Any further disputes were soon tabled as the Cubs wrapped up their 6-0 win following Curt Casali‘s three-pitch swinging strikeout.

Cardinals sign Matt Wieters to one-year, $2 million deal

Matt Wieters
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Jon Heyman reports that the Cardinals and free agent catcher Matt Wieters have agreed on a one-year, $2 million deal. Wieters can earn an additional $1 million through incentives.

Wieters, 33, spent last season with the Cardinals as Yadier Molina‘s backup. In 67 games, the veteran hit .214/.268/.435 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI. While Wieters has left something to be desired offensively in recent years, he still plays solid defense behind the plate.

Wieters will once again serve as the backup to Molina. Catching prospect Andrew Knizner is expected to start the season at Triple-A Memphis.