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Cubs activate Craig Kimbrel

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Two weeks ago today the Cubs placed closer Craig Kimbrel on the 10-day injured list due to inflammation in his right elbow. Today he was activated. He’ll be available for tonight’s game against the Cardinals in Chicago.

It’s been a lost season in multiple ways for Kimbrel. He was left unsigned until inking a three-year, $43 million contract on June 6. The lack of a spring training and a normal season routine may or may not have contributed to his injury woes, but it’s hard to see how it could’ve helped. As it was this was his second stint on the injured list. He was out with a knee injury between August 4-17 and has only tossed nine innings on the season.

He has a chance now to help the Cubs who are in a pitched battle for a playoff spot, either as NL Central champs — they currently trail the Cardinals by three games — or as an NL Wild Card rep.

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.