Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of the final home stretch for the MLB regular season. Over the weekend, the Cardinals expanded their lead in the NL Central, and Justin Verlander strengthened his case for the AL Cy Young Award with a no-hitter over the Toronto Blue Jays, but there have been plenty of other stories from over the weekend and the last week that have affected teams throughout baseball. Let’s take a look at a few:
Indians Activate Carrasco
Sometimes baseball can be about more than just the games on the field, and for Indians hurler Carlos Carrasco, it has been something positive in his life that he has been working towards returning to. Carrasco had been shut down since May after he was diagnosed with leukemia before returning to the Indians on Sunday.
While Carrasco won’t be able to stretch out enough to be a starter this season, he still can help the Indians in short stints out of the bullpen for the playoff push. In his 12 starts this season, Carrasco is 4-6 with a 4.98 ERA. In 65 innings, he has allowed 74 hits, 36 earned runs, 14 home runs and struck out 70 versus 11 walks.
While he may not be able to enjoy his starter role, it is certainly amazing just to see Carrasco back in an Indians uniform.
Naquin Suffers Torn ACL
While the activation of Carrasco is certainly good news, it is not all positive for the Tribe. The Cleveland Indians have been facing adversity all year long and will have to continue to do so if they want to make the playoffs. After already having lost Jose Ramirez, now the Indians will be without Tyler Naquin, who has been lost for the season after tearing his ACL.
On the season, Naquin is hitting .288/.325/.467 with 10 home runs, 34 runs batted in and 34 runs scored in just 274 at-bats. He has had a really solid second half of the season but will now have to watch from the sidelines.
The Indians currently sit in second place in the AL Central behind the Minnesota Twins. At 79-58, they sit 5.5 games back. Despite having fallen behind the Twins, they do sit in the second Wild Card spot, but they are just half-game ahead of the Oakland A’s, so they have some work to do still.
Brewers Release Jeffress
Not only has Jeremy Jeffress decided to shut it down for the rest of the season after battling a strained left hip, but he will also be shutting it down unemployed. The Milwaukee Brewers have decided to release the veteran reliever. Just last season, Jeffress was 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA. In 76.2 innings, he allowed 49 hits, 11 earned runs and struck out 89 versus 27 walks.
This season was completely different, though, as he was 3-4 with a 5.02 ERA. While there is no doubt that there is not a more volatile position in baseball than the reliever spot, it was still somewhat shocking to see Jeffress released outright. The team still had a club option, so if they thought he could get healthy, they could have kept him for next season. Instead, it appears they have decided to move on and open a 40-man roster spot. If he can regain health, it seems very likely that Jeffress will be able to latch on with a big-league club this offseason.
Zobrist Back Up With The Cubs
Just in time for him to be eligible for the postseason, the Chicago Cubs have activated Ben Zobrist from the restricted list. In corresponding moves, the Cubs have optioned David Bote to the minors, where he will have to stay for at least 10 days before being able to be reinstated with roster expansions. Furthermore, the Cubs have designated Mark Zagunis for assignment.
In just 83 at-bats this season, Zobrist is hitting .241/.343/.253 with 10 runs batted in and 12 runs scored. Last season, the utilityman had nine home runs, 58 runs batted in and 67 runs scored. Zobrist has missed time as he has dealt with personal matters, most notably his divorce from his wife. Still, despite his advanced age, the Cubs are hoping that he can help them as they push for the playoffs down the stretch.
Red Sox Sign Chacin
To say that it has been a rough season for the defending champion Boston Red Sox is beyond an understatement. At 74-63, they currently sit 15.5 games behind the New York Yankees for the top spot in the AL East. They also sit five games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second Wild Card spot.
Still, they are trying to help their team both now and in the future and are taking a flyer on recently released Jhoulys Chacin. While they signed him to a minor league contract, it is likely that Chacin will get a chance quickly with the Red Sox, particularly due to their instability in the rotation.
This season with the Brewers, Chacin made 19 appearances, going 3-10 with a 5.79 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. In 88 2/3 innings, he allowed 99 hits, 57 earned runs, 19 home runs and struck out 80 versus 39 walks.
Still, he is only a year removed from a 15-8 season with a 3.50 ERA. For the Red Sox, they hope that they might have found a hidden gem. If not, it didn’t cost them much.