The Cardinals lead the NL Central by one game over the Reds. A link for each of the six teams:
- The $680MM deal to sell the Astros to Jim Crane's group "could be completed as early as next week," report Zachary Levine and Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. Ownership of the club could be tranferred to Crane "as early as July," they write. Crane is believed to prefer having an agreement in place before the June 6th draft, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Pirates reliever Jose Ascanio's rehab period ends today, reports Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the team must decide whether to add the out of options righty to the 25-man roster or risk losing him to another team. The 26-year-old has been battling shoulder and elbow injuries, but MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch wrote Monday that adding him to the big league bullpen is the most likely move.
- You read yesterday about the hug heard 'round the Midwest, as Cubs GM Jim Hendry embraced Albert Pujols before the game at Wrigley. The hug means next to nothing; as CSN's Patrick Mooney points out, Hendry has tons of connections throughout the industry. Still, it can't hurt to note that Cubs owner Tom Ricketts shook hands with the free agent to be as well.
- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has begun an "open-ended convalescence" in the words of Joe Strauss' source, as he recovers from shingles. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter says La Russa "will miss the rest of the team's current road trip and perhaps significantly more time."
- Despite allowing five runs and nine hits in six innings, Brewers offseason acquisition Shaun Marcum picked up his fourth win yesterday. Marcum is showing no ill effects from his springtime shoulder stiffness; his 4.17 K/BB ratio ranks sixth in the NL. With a strong season I can see him getting close to $10MM for 2012, his final arbitration year.
- Aroldis Chapman won't be sent to the minors to work out his issues, Reds manager Dusty Baker told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The hard-throwing lefty has allowed at least one run and two walks in each of his last three appearances.