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Player Notes

  • Jason Heyward not in Cubs lineup on Saturday
    Jason Heyward is not in the Cubs starting lineup for Game 6 of the NLCS against the Dodgers on Saturday.

    Advice: With world-class left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the hill for the Dodgers, Heyward will take a seat on the pine in favor of Albert Almora Jr. Here's the full lineup for the Cubs as they look to defeat Clayton Kershaw and advance to the World Series: Dexter Fowler CF, Kris Bryant 3B, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Ben Zobrist LF, Javy Baez 2B, Willson Contreras C, Addison Russell SS, Albert Almora Jr RF, Kyle Hendricks P. 27 minutes ago
  • Kyle Schwarber could DH in World Series
    According to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, Kyle Schwarber could serve as the Cubs' designated hitter should they advance to the World Series.

    Advice: Schwarber will begin playing in the Arizona Fall League on Saturday. If he proves his health over the next couple of days there and the Cubs advance past the Dodgers, there's a very real possibility that Schwarber (who is the club's all-time leader in postseason home runs with five) could return. Today, 11:14 am
    60-Day DL
  • Ian Desmond not ruling out return to Nats
    According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, neither Ian Desmond nor the Nationals have ruled out a potential reunion this offseason.

    Advice: The Nationals are in the market for a right-handed power bat, preferably that could play center field, and Desmond certainly fits the bill as one of the top hitters on the market. After seven seasons with the Nats, Desmond left to sign a one-year deal with the Rangers last winter, rebuilding his value with a tremendous .285/.335/.446 slash line with 22 homers, 86 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Yesterday, 6:52 pm
  • Victorino doesn't consider himself retired
    Shane Victorino told Ryan Lawrence of that he wants to continue his playing career should the right opportunity present itself.

    Advice: "The game of baseball, and my love for the game," Victorino said. "It’s still there. I’d love the chance to come back and play, but that answer is not etched in stone." Victorino battled more injuries and was released from his minor league deal with the Cubs in May after a brief stint at Triple-A. He reportedly received multiple minor league contract offers after that but turned them down and spent time with family. Slated to turn 36 next month, Victorino would surely have to settle for a minor league deal this winter, and it remains to be seen whether he'll get an offer and situation he deems worthy of exploring. Yesterday, 7:48 am
    Not Active
  • Boras says Harper is feeling fine physically
    According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, agent Scott Boras said that his client Bryce Harper is "doing fine physically" and will soon begin normal offseason strength and conditioning.

    Advice: Harper missed five games in August due to a neck injury and also reportedly played through a shoulder injury this season. The Nationals shot down the reports about the shoulder, but Harper didn't deny it, which is telling. It also helps explain his decline at the plate this season. The 24-year-old saw his OPS drop from 1.109 to .814. The good news is that it sounds like he should be fine with some extended rest this winter. Thursday, 4:39 pm
  • Cain won't require surgery on wrist
    Lorenzo Cain won't require surgery on his left wrist.

    Advice: Cain was shut down early in September due to a Grade 2 wrist sprain. While the injury won't require surgery, he'll need around three months of rest before resuming baseball activities. Cain was also bothered by a hamstring injury this season, an issue which has popped up multiple times in his career. The Royals haven't decided whether he'll play right field or center field in 2017. Thursday, 4:23 pm
  • Schafer elects to become a free agent
    Logan Schafer has elected free agency.

    Advice: Schafer was outrighted off the Twins' 40-man roster earlier this week and had the option of testing the open market, so he took it. A career .214/.292/.318 hitter, the 30-year-old outfielder will likely have to settle for a minor league contract and invite to spring training leading into 2017. Thursday, 9:50 am
    Not Active
  • Tigers, Martinez unlikely for long-term deal
    Tigers GM Al Avila said he does not anticipate engaging in long-term contract negotiations this winter with outfielder J.D. Martinez.

    Advice: Martinez is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2017 season and will be looking for big-time money in any sort of extension talks with the Tigers after registering a combined .898 OPS over the last three years. Avila said the team needs to get younger and cut some payroll: "I don’t foresee any talks of a long-term contract at this point," the GM told reporters in his season-wrapping presser. "Sitting here today, we’re not thinking that way right now. Can’t say we wouldn’t be thinking about that down the road." Thursday, 9:07 am
  • Jose Bautista doubles in ALCS Game 5
    Jose Bautista went 2-for-4 with a double in Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Indians in Game 5 of the ALCS.

    Advice: Bautista's ninth-inning double off Cody Allen was his first extra-base hit of the series. Too little, too late. The veteran outfielder did not drive in a run in the ALCS. This could well have been Bautista's final game in a Blue Jays uniform. The free agent to-be is coming off a 2016 season in which he slashed .244/.366/.452 with 22 homers and 69 RBI over 423 at-bats. Wednesday, 4:05 pm
  • Dodgers keep lineup the same for NLCS Game 4
    Andrew Toles will again start in left field and bat eighth for Game 4 of the NLCS against the Cubs on Wednesday.

    Advice: Same lineup the Dodgers have been tossing out there since Game 2. They are looking to push the Cubs to the brink of elimination and will trot out southpaw Julio Urias to aid that cause, opposed by veteran hurler John Lackey. The Dodgers lineup for Game 4: Chase Utley 2B, Corey Seager SS, Justin Turner 3B, Adrian Gonzalez 1B, Josh Reddick RF, Joc Pederson CF, Yasmani Grandal, Andrew Toles LF, Julio Urías P. Wednesday, 2:13 pm
  • Bell expected to see time between 1B/OF
    The Pirates expect Josh Bell to be ready for infield and outfield duties when he reports to spring training.

    Advice: Bell, 24, hit .273/.368/.406 with three homers and 19 RBI over 152 plate appearances as a rookie this year while splitting time between first base and right field. The Pirates could end up trading an outfielder and John Jaso is also being prepped to play other positions, but Bell plans to be ready for all possible outcomes. "That's going to be my main focus, making sure I'm more versatile next year," said Bell. "You have a few guys in every lineup that can play all over the field. Those guys are your most valuable players. I hope to be one of those guys next year." Wednesday, 10:23 am
    Player Note
    Josh Bell Pit - 1B,OF
  • Ramirez hitting fifth in Game 5 of ALCS
    Jose Ramirez will hit fifth in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

    Advice: Marco Estrada is on the hill for Toronto, so Indians manager Terry Francona is using his standard lineup against right-handers. The only change is that Carlos Santana is at first base while Mike Napoli will DH. Ramirez has just one hit in 13 at-bats during the ALCS. The full lineup for Cleveland: Santana 1B, Jason Kipnis 2B, Francisco Lindor SS, Napoli DH, Ramirez 3B, Lonnie Chisenhall RF, Coco Crisp LF, Tyler Naquin CF, Roberto Perez C. Ryan Merritt is starting for Cleveland as they try to punch their ticket to the World Series. Wednesday, 9:53 am
    Player Note
    José Ramírez Cle - 2B,3B,SS,OF
  • Saunders out, Upton in for ALCS Game 5
    Michael Saunders is out of the lineup for Game 5 of the ALCS against the Indians on Wednesday.

    Advice: Saunders had good numbers against lefties during the regular season, but he's sitting against Ryan Merritt while Melvin Upton will start out of the DH spot. Jose Bautista is not the defender that Upton is, but he remains in right field. The other notable change is that Darwin Barney will play over Ryan Goins at second base. The full lineup for Toronto as they attempt to keep their season alive: Bautista RF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Edwin Encarnacion 1B, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Russell Martin C, Upton DH, Ezequiel Carrera LF, Kevin Pillar CF, Barney 2B. Marco Estrada will start for Toronto. Wednesday, 9:42 am
  • Blanco suggests time with Giants is over
    Gregor Blanco thanked the Giants organization in a message posted to his personal Instagram page Tuesday.

    Advice: "Thanks for everything San Francisco this is my home and always will be," read the message, which also included a collage of photographs. The 32-year-old outfielder is due to become a free agent five days after the World Series and it sounds like neither side is anticipating a return. Blanco batted just .224/.309/.311 with one home run and 18 RBI in 106 games this season for the Giants. Tuesday, 1:57 pm
  • Crisp starting in left field for ALCS Game 4
    Coco Crisp will start in left field and bat seventh in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

    Advice: The Indians are sticking with the same lineup they used in Game 3 on Monday. Crisp is 1-for-4 with a walk during the series and made an important catch in Monday's victory. Here's the full lineup for Cleveland as they go for the series sweep: Carlos Santana DH, Jason Kipnis 2B, Francisco Lindor SS, Mike Napoli 1B, Jose Ramirez 3B, Lonnie Chisenhall RF, Crisp LF, Tyler Naquin CF, Roberto Perez C. Corey Kluber will start on short rest in Game 4 for Cleveland while Aaron Sanchez will get the call for Toronto. Tuesday, 9:42 am
  • Carrera batting seventh in ALCS Game 4
    Ezequiel Carrera will bat seventh in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Indians on Tuesday.

    Advice: The only change from Game 3 is that Carrera and Kevin Pillar have been flip-flopped in the order. Here's the full lineup for Game 4 as the Blue Jays attempt to avoid a sweep: Jose Bautista RF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Edwin Encarnacion 1B, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Russell Martin C, Michael Saunders DH, Carrera LF, Pillar CF, Ryan Goins 2B. Aaron Sanchez will start for Toronto while Corey Kluber will go on short rest for Cleveland. Tuesday, 9:32 am
  • Napoli plates a pair as Indians go up 3-0
    Mike Napoli had an RBI double and a solo homer Monday in the Indians' ALCS Game 3 victory over the Blue Jays.

    Advice: Napoli entered the night having gone hitless in his last 25 at-bats against right-handed pitching dating back to the regular season, but he got to Marcus Stroman with a two-bagger in the first inning and then hit a long homer against him in the fourth. The first baseman became the fifth player in baseball history to go deep for four different teams in the postseason. Monday, 8:47 pm
    Player Note
    Mike Napoli Cle - 1B,OF
  • Tyler Naquin in center field for Game 3
    Tyler Naquin is starting in center field and batting eighth for the Indians in Monday's ALCS Game 3.

    Advice: The Indians are sticking with their regular lineup against right-handers with the Blue Jays throwing Marcus Stroman. Their full batting order looks like this: Carlos Santana DH, Jason Kipnis 2B, Francisco Lindor SS, Mike Napoli 1B, Jose Ramirez 3B, Lonnie Chisenhall RF, Coco Crisp LF, Naquin CF, Roberto Perez C. Monday, 1:13 pm
  • Kalish elects to become free agent
    Ryan Kalish has elected to become a free agent.

    Advice: Kalish logged just 10 plate appearances at the major league level in 2016, all in May with the Cubs. The 28-year-old outfielder is a .245/.297/.349 career hitter. Monday, 8:32 am
    Not Active
  • Andre Ethier whacks pinch-hit homer in Game 1
    Andre Ethier crushed a solo home run in the Dodgers' loss to the Cubs Saturday in Game 1 of the NLCS.

    Advice: Ethier only saw one at-bat on Saturday but he certainly made it count. Pinch-hitting for Kenta Maeda in the fourth inning, Ethier stepped in against Jon Lester and quickly took him deep for a home run. To be fair to Lester, Ethier got a ton of help from the wind. It looked like a lazy fly when Ethier hit it, but the ball kept carrying and somehow landed over the fence in left-center field. Despite struggling against lefties, Ethier is now 3-for-5 in his career against Jon Lester. He’ll continue to platoon with Yasiel Puig in right field. Saturday, 9:08 pm
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