Some items from around the NL Central…
- Gregory Polanco left Saturday’s game with another hamstring injury, and the Pirates outfielder was held out of today’s lineup after undergoing a “battery of tests,” manager Clint Hurdle told MLB.com’s Adam Berry and other reporters. The Bucs have an off-day on Monday, which could give Polanco time to recover and avoid his third hamstring-related DL placement of the season. In better injury news for the Pirates, Andrew McCutchen returned to the lineup as the DH today in Toronto, two days after leaving a game due to what appears to be a minor leg injury.
- The Brewers acquired Neil Walker as a second base upgrade, though GM David Stearns told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links) and other reporters that the team sees him as a “multi-positional” player who can handle spot duty at first or third base if necessary. The vast majority of Walker’s career has been played at the keystone, though he does have a bit of experience (17 career games at third, three games at first) at the other two positions, with five of those games coming this season with the Mets. Walker, in fact, is making his Brewers debut today at third base, filling in for Travis Shaw, who is sore after twice fouling balls off his lower right leg.
- Also, Stearns and Mets GM Sandy Alderson both hinted that it may be some months before the two teams determine the player to be named who will go to the Mets in return for Walker.
- Tommy Pham’s breakout season has been an enormous boost for the Cardinals, though Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Cards see Pham as a big part of their future. Dexter Fowler obviously isn’t going anywhere thanks to his big contract, while Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk are still important future pieces, though both have struggled and spent time in the minors this year. (Piscotty, of course, is also locked up in a contract extension.) Hochman suggests that Pham could be a big trade chip for the Cardinals in the offseason, which is certainly true given Pham’s excellent performance and his four remaining years of team control. In my opinion, I’d say that Pham is too valuable for the Cards to deal for anything less than a huge return, especially given the uncertainty around Piscotty and Grichuk.
- Even at the age of 42, the Cubs’ Koji Uehara has been a quality reliever this year, but “there’s concern that this could be the end of the road,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Uehara went on the disabled list Wednesday with a neck strain, though there aren’t any indications that it’s a major injury (via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune). Before his DL placement, Uehara allowed an earned run in four of his most recent six appearances. He still owns a palatable 3.55 ERA over 38 innings, though, with 10.66 K/9 against 2.61 BB/9. Uehara, whom the Cubs signed to a one-year, $6MM deal last winter, suggested prior to the season that he wanted to pitch through at least 2018, which would give him an even 10 seasons in Major League Baseball. This would match the 10 years he pitched professionally in his native Japan.