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Ben Zobrist provides pre-game spread for Single-A South Bend

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Cubs utilityman Ben Zobrist has been away from the team since early May. It was later revealed to be because of a messy divorce. Zobrist, however, began a rehab assignment with Single-A South Bend over the weekend. He’s expected to need most or all of the month of August to get back into game shape.

Per the team’s Twitter, Zobrist provided the pre-game spread — a bunch of food from McDonald’s.

It a really nice gesture from Zobrist. You see this from time to time when well-known veterans get sent on rehab assignments in the minors. Major leaguers, with their guaranteed contracts and minimum $555,000 salaries, do a nice thing for the minor leaguers who don’t have those luxuries. Yu Darvish, for example, bought steak and lobster for South Bend on a rehab assignment last year.

It would be nice if minor leaguers didn’t have to rely on the kindness of veteran players and locals to afford to eat. Zobrist essentially subsidized the Cubs’ frugality. The Cubs — valued by Forbes at $3.1 billion earlier this year — should be paying for that spread, not one of its players. Let’s not forget that Major League Baseball lobbied to have language in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 changed so that minor league players could not qualify as seasonal workers, which would mean they are not owed a minimum wage and overtime pay. With more take-home pay, minor leaguers could afford to go to grocery stores and, for example, buy the ingredients to make a salad or just buy a pre-made salad.

Due to relative cheapness and ubiquity, unhealthy fast food is a major part of minor leaguers’ diets. One would think a billion-dollar business like a major league team would want to ensure that its investments — minor league players — have the highest chance of yielding big returns by providing them healthy food options. Alas, that is not the case for most organizations.

On a night full of letdowns, Yankees’ defense let them down the most

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Game 4 of the ALCS was a gigantic letdown for the Yankees for myriad reasons. They lost, first and foremost, 8-3 to the Astros to fall behind three games to one. Their fans continued to act boorishly. CC Sabathia exited with an injury, likely the final time he’ll pitch in his career. The offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown of the night, though, was the Yankees’ defense. They committed four errors, their highest total in a postseason game since committing five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.

Make no mistake: the two three-run home runs hit by George Springer and Carlos Correa, given up by Masahiro and Chad Green respectively, were the big blows in the game. But the errors contributed to the loss and were downright demoralizing.

The first error came at the start of the top of the sixth inning, when Alex Bregman hit a cue shot to first baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu couldn’t read the bounce and the ball clanked off of his knee, allowing Bregman to reach safely. He would score later in the inning on Correa’s blast.

The Yankees committed two errors in the top of the eighth, leading to a run. Yuli Gurriel hit another grounder to LeMahieu, which he couldn’t handle. That not only allowed Gurriel to reach safely, but Bregman — who led off with a double — moved to third base. He would score when second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn’t handle a Yordan Álvarez grounder.

Error number four occurred when Altuve hit a grounder to Torres to lead off the top of the ninth. The ball skipped right under his glove. Facing Michael Brantley, Jonathan Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch which advanced Altuve to second base. Brantley followed up with a line drive single to left field, plating Altuve for another run. Loaisiga would throw another wild pitch facing Bregman but that one didn’t come back to haunt him.

The Yankees can’t control injuries, the behavior of their fans, or how good the Astros’ pitching is on any given night. They can control the quality of their defense. On Thursday, it was a farce, and now they’re staring down the barrel of having to win three consecutive games against the Astros to stave off elimination.