Yu Darvish has yet to resume throwing after getting a cortisone shot in his arm last week, but according to Cubs president Theo Epstein, that doesn’t mean the club is likely to go out and try to acquire a frontline starter prior to the July 31st trade deadline. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com compiled quotes from Epstein about the club’s deadline stance that leave little room for interpretation. “There’s no way we’re going to go out and acquire starters the caliber of a locked-in Kyle Hendricks or a locked-in Jose Quintana. The majority of our answers lie within, that’s for sure,” he said. Of course, he later added that the club is “still in the mode of assessing”; it’s not difficult to imagine that things could change quickly if the rotation doesn’t turn itself around. In regards to Darvish’s status, Epstein said the club doesn’t want to push him too hard in an effort to get him back on the field. ’It’s not about rushing. Just get back out there. Get back in your routine. Get back in your work. Then, as this plays, we’ll get you back out there. Of course, we want you back sooner rather than later, but if biology’s not going to permit it, it’s not going to permit it.” Beyond Darvish, the Cubs have gotten disappointing performances from Hendricks, Quintana and offseason signee Tyler Chatwood on the year.
More from around the National League…
- In Muskat’s piece, Kris Bryant also gets a mention. The former MVP reportedly had a good day in the batting cages on Friday and is nearing a return from the DL. Bryant’s been sidelined since June 23rd with shoulder inflammation, and the Cubs have anxiously been hoping to get him healthy again and back in the lineup. P.J. Mooney of The Athletic reports on Twitter that Bryant is heading to the Cubs’ AA affiliate to begin his rehab assignment; he’ll be joined by lefty Brian Duensing. Mooney also notes that righty Anthony Bass is headed to the DL due to an illness; fellow righty James Norwood will take his place, making his first trip to the big leagues.
- The Padres still believe in the offensive potential of elite defensive backstop Austin Hedges, says AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. But they’re more than happy with the value he’s providing them with from behind the plate. Manager Andy Green had this to say on the subject: “We’re patient on the offensive side, because we see the value on the defensive side.” Hedges was right at the Mendoza line on the season with a .200 average entering play today, and his OPS sat south of .600 as well.
- Breakout Dodgers slugger Max Muncy has been tearing it up this season, with an ISO of .347 to go with an 18.9% walk rate. But he almost didn’t play baseball at all this year, as Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports chronicles. Following his release by the A’s last season, Muncy was looking into how many classes it would take to complete his business degree. “You start experiencing failure and you don’t know if you’re as good as you thought you were. Mentally I wasn’t doing as good as I should have been. And then, last year was a chance for me to regroup and recover and focus on myself,” Muncy said. “I could just focus on baseball, remembering how much I love the game and how much I liked playing it. For me, that was the biggest thing.” Now, of course, things have turned around to an extraordinary level, and Muncy is practically a lock for his first All-Star selection.