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On The Move presented by Penske

2018-19 free-agent class position by position

MLB.com

By now, you probably know the big names due to become free agents this offseason.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the headliners. There's also Patrick CorbinDallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. But what about the rest?

By now, you probably know the big names due to become free agents this offseason.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the headliners. There's also Patrick CorbinDallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. But what about the rest?

Below is a list of notable players who are on an expiring contract or have an opt-out clause, grouped by position -- using a player's most-played position in 2018 -- and ranked by '18 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Each player's 2019 seasonal age and '18 regular-season WAR total are included in parentheses next to his name. (WAR totals are from FanGraphs.)

Note: This doesn't include players with 2019 club options that are very likely to be picked up, such as Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner and Cole Hamels, meaning the list could grow if options aren't exercised.

Catchers
Yasmani Grandal (30 years old, 3.6 WAR)
Wilson Ramos (31, 2.4)
Kurt Suzuki (35, 2.0)
Martin Maldonado (32, 0.9)
Nick Hundley (35, 0.9)
Matt Wieters (33, 0.9)
A.J. Ellis (38, 0.8)
Devin Mesoraco (31, 0.7)
Jonathan Lucroy (33, 0.6)
Rene Rivera (35, 0.3)
Drew Butera (35, -0.3)
Jeff Mathis (36, -0.5)

First basemen
Steve Pearce (36 years old, 1.6 WAR)
Joe Mauer (36, 1.0)
Matt Adams (30, 0.8)
Mark Reynolds (35, 0.1)
Lucas Duda (32, 0.0)
Hanley Ramirez (35, -0.2)

Second basemen
Jed Lowrie (35 years old, 4.9 WAR)
Asdrubal Cabrera (33, 2.7)
Ian Kinsler (37, 2.3)
DJ LeMahieu (30, 2.0)
Daniel Descalso (32, 1.6)
Brian Dozier (32, 0.8)
Daniel Murphy (34, 0.8)
Andrew Romine (33, 0.1)
Neil Walker (33, 0.1)
Sean Rodriguez (34, 0.0)
Logan Forsythe (32, -0.2)

Third basemen
Eduardo Escobar (30 years old, 3.5 WAR)
Josh Donaldson (33, 1.3)
Adrian Beltre (40, 1.2)
Pablo Sandoval (32, 0.1)
Chase Headley (35, -0.4)
Danny Valencia (34, -0.4)
Jose Reyes (36, -0.9)
Luis Valbuena (33, -0.9)

Shortstops
Manny Machado (26 years old, 6.2 WAR)
Jose Iglesias (29, 2.5)
Elvis Andrus (30, 1.2) -- Can opt out of the four years and $58 million remaining on his contract.
Freddy Galvis (29, 1.2)
Jordy Mercer (32, 1.0)
Adeiny Hechavarria (30, 0.4)
Alcides Escobar (32, -0.3)
Eric Sogard (33, -0.8)

Left fielders
Michael Brantley (32 years old, 3.5 WAR)
Marwin Gonzalez (30, 1.6)
Curtis Granderson (38, 0.9)
Craig Gentry (35, 0.6)
Cameron Maybin (32, 0.5)
Matt Joyce (34, 0.2)
Gregor Blanco (35, -0.7)
Hunter Pence (36, -0.9)

Center fielders
A.J. Pollock (31 years old, 2.5 WAR)
Leonys Martin (31, 2.4)
Adam Jones (33, 0.5)
Rajai Davis (38, -0.2)
Austin Jackson (32, -1.0)

Right fielders
Bryce Harper (26 years old, 3.5 WAR)
Andrew McCutchen (32, 2.6)
Nick Markakis (35, 2.6)
Jason Heyward (29, 2.0) -- Can opt out of the five years and $106 million remaining on his contract.
Carlos Gonzalez (33, 1.7)
Jose Bautista (38, 1.0)
Jon Jay (33, 0.8)
Lonnie Chisenhall (30, 0.8)
Melky Cabrera (34, 0.4)
Carlos Gomez (33, -0.5)
Chris Young (35, -0.5)

Designated hitters
Nelson Cruz (38 years old, 2.5 WAR)
Evan Gattis (32, 0.0)
Pedro Alvarez (32, -0.2)

Starting pitchers
Patrick Corbin (29 years old, 6.3 WAR)
Dallas Keuchel (31, 3.6)
Clayton Kershaw (31, 3.5) -- Can opt out of the two years and $65 million remaining on his contract.
J.A. Happ (36, 3.2)
Charlie Morton (35, 3.1)
Lance Lynn (32, 2.9)
David Price (33, 2.7) -- Can opt out of the four years and $127 million remaining on his contract.
CC Sabathia (38, 2.5)
Anibal Sanchez (35, 2.4)
Nathan Eovaldi (29, 2.2)
Gio Gonzalez (33, 2.0)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (32, 2.0)
Trevor Cahill (31, 2.0)
Derek Holland (32, 2.0)
Clay Buchholz (34, 1.9)
Wade Miley (32, 1.5)
Matt Harvey (30, 1.4)
Jeremy Hellickson (32, 1.2)
Garrett Richards (32, 1.0)
Tyson Ross (32, 1.0)
Brett Anderson (31, 0.9)
Edwin Jackson (35, 0.7)
Adam Wainwright (37, 0.5) -- Reached agreement on one-year contract with Cardinals. (Oct. 11, 2018)
Marco Estrada (35, 0.5)
Francisco Liriano (35, 0.3)
Bartolo Colon (46, 0.2)
Jaime Garcia (32, 0.0)
Drew Pomeranz (30, -0.3)
Miguel Gonzalez (35, -0.3)
Chris Tillman (31, -0.4)
Hisashi Iwakuma (35, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.

Relief pitchers
Adam Ottavino (33 years old, 2.0 WAR)
Jeurys Familia (29, 1.8)
David Robertson (34, 1.5)
Craig Kimbrel (31, 1.5)
Jesse Chavez (35, 1.2)
Oliver Perez (37, 1.1)
Tony Sipp (35, 0.9)
Zach Duke (36, 0.9)
Brad Brach (33, 0.7)
Joe Kelly (31, 0.7)
Sergio Romo (36, 0.5)
Jake Diekman (32, 0.5)
Justin Wilson (31, 0.5)
Tyler Clippard (34, 0.5)
Shawn Kelley (35, 0.5)
Andrew Miller (34, 0.4)
Kelvin Herrera (29,0.4)
Mark Melancon (34, 0.3) -- Can opt out of the two years and $28 million remaining on his contract.
Greg Holland (33, 0.3)
Tony Barnette (35, 0.3)
Aaron Loup (31, 0.3)
Jonny Venters (34, 0.3)
Adam Warren (31, 0.3)
John Axford (36, 0.2)
Bud Norris (34, 0.2)
Ryan Madson (38, 0.2)
Jeanmar Gomez (31, 0.2)
Zach Britton (31, 0.1)
Santiago Casilla (38, 0.1)
Cody Allen (30, 0.0)
Jorge De La Rosa (38, 0.0)
Fernando Salas (34, 0.0)
Zach McAllister (31, 0.0)
Blake Wood (33, 0.0)
Daniel Hudson (32, -0.1)
Jerry Blevins (35, -0.1)
Matt Belisle (39, -0.2)
AJ Ramos (32, -0.2)
Hector Santiago (31, -0.2)
Jim Johnson (36, -0.3)
Randall Delgado (29, -0.3)
Boone Logan (34, -0.3)
Peter Moylan (40, -0.4)
Junichi Tazawa (33, -0.5)
Blaine Boyer (37, -0.9)
Josh Tomlin (34, -1.3)
David Phelps (32, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.
Joaquin Benoit (41, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Nats get Barraclough in deal with Marlins

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals began revamping their bullpen on Wednesday, one of the vital keys for trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2018 season. The team acquired reliever Kyle Barraclough from the Marlins in exchange for international bonus money in their first step toward solidifying their relief core.

Barraclough had emerged as a strikeout artist in the Miami bullpen over his four big league seasons, with a 3.21 career ERA and an overall mark of 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He has made at least 60 appearances in each of the past three seasons and struck out 60 batters in 55 2/3 innings in 2018, although his ERA jumped to a career-high 4.20, largely the product of a rocky second half.

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals began revamping their bullpen on Wednesday, one of the vital keys for trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2018 season. The team acquired reliever Kyle Barraclough from the Marlins in exchange for international bonus money in their first step toward solidifying their relief core.

Barraclough had emerged as a strikeout artist in the Miami bullpen over his four big league seasons, with a 3.21 career ERA and an overall mark of 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He has made at least 60 appearances in each of the past three seasons and struck out 60 batters in 55 2/3 innings in 2018, although his ERA jumped to a career-high 4.20, largely the product of a rocky second half.

Barraclough allowed 19 runs in 8 2/3 innings in his first 12 appearances out of the All-Star break before settling down over the last couple of weeks of September. In the first half, Barraclough was dominant, however, posting a 1.28 ERA and being named June's National League Reliever of the Month. That's the form the Nationals hope they'll be getting.

Video: MIA@NYM: Barraclough strands the winning run on third

At some point this past summer, the Nats had one of their most formidable relief corps in team history, pairing four pitchers -- Sean Doolittle, Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler -- with vast high leverage experience who could still perform. They built a bullpen that would help carry them in the postseason; however, the team failed to even reach the goal. Kintzler and Madson were traded away midseason to the Cubs and Dodgers, respectively, while Doolittle and Herrera spent much of the second half on the disabled list.

Doolittle, who has a team option almost certain to be picked up, will likely be the only significant veteran reliever to return. That could put Barraclough in a position to play a major role in the bullpen if he can return to his form of the first half.

One thing is for certain -- this move is a signal that the bullpen will be a major point of emphasis for Washington this offseason.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Kyle Barraclough

Reds claim catcher Graterol off waivers

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- The Reds claimed catcher Juan Graterol off waivers from the Twins on Wednesday.

Graterol, 29, has appeared in 61 Major League games since his 2016 debut and has a .217 career average and 308 1/3 innings caught. In 2018, he appeared in four games with the Angels and Twins.

CINCINNATI -- The Reds claimed catcher Juan Graterol off waivers from the Twins on Wednesday.

Graterol, 29, has appeared in 61 Major League games since his 2016 debut and has a .217 career average and 308 1/3 innings caught. In 2018, he appeared in four games with the Angels and Twins.

Over 58 games at Triple-A this season, Graterol batted .301/.330/.354.

Cincinnati previously claimed Graterol on Nov. 28, 2016, from the Angels but he never played a game for the Reds. The move began a whirlwind of transactions that saw the catcher claimed by the D-backs, the Angels and the Blue Jays before being traded back to the Angels in January 2017.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Juan Graterol

Marlins trade Barraclough to Nats, eye Cuban stars

Miami deals reliever for international bonus-pool value
MLB.com

MIAMI -- The Marlins continued to get a head start on the Hot Stove season on Wednesday, dealing right-hander Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money. It was the Marlins' second trade in four days to build up more international dollars for their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-handed prospect Ryan Lillie to the Reds, also for international pool money, on Saturday. Before the two deals, the Marlins had $4.3 million in their international allotment, the second most of any team. Only the Orioles, at $6.7 million, have more. How much that gap has narrowed isn't yet known.

MIAMI -- The Marlins continued to get a head start on the Hot Stove season on Wednesday, dealing right-hander Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money. It was the Marlins' second trade in four days to build up more international dollars for their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-handed prospect Ryan Lillie to the Reds, also for international pool money, on Saturday. Before the two deals, the Marlins had $4.3 million in their international allotment, the second most of any team. Only the Orioles, at $6.7 million, have more. How much that gap has narrowed isn't yet known.

Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and Victor Jr., 18, are both outfielders. Gaston is a 16-year-old right-hander. Victor Victor Mesa is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the top international player on the market, and Gaston is ranked 16th. Major League Baseball recently cleared the three players as free agents, and on Friday they had a showcase in front of about 75 scouts at Marlins Park.

Barraclough, 28, had an uneven and perplexing 2018, going 1-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 61 appearances. He saved 10 of 17 chances. The right-hander became the Marlins' closer in the first half and had a 1.28 ERA in 42 1/3 innings before the All-Star break. In June, he was named the National League Reliever of the Month, not allowing a run and allowing just two hits in 11 2/3 innings. But in the second half, his ERA ballooned to 13.50 in 13 1/3 innings and was 1-for-5 in save chances.

The Marlins acquired Barraclough from the Cardinals in 2015, and in four seasons, he is 15-12 with a 3.21 ERA with 11 saves in 27 chances. The Marlins entertained trade possibilities for him at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July. The 28-year-old is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason.

With Barraclough's departure, right-hander Drew Steckenrider is the Marlins' projected closer heading into the Hot Stove season.

Ziegler retires
Former Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler announced his retirement on Wednesday, his 39th birthday. The right-handed submarine-style pitcher opened the season as Miami's closer, but was dealt to the D-backs in July for right-hander Tommy Eveld, who currently is pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Ziegler signed a two-year contract with the Marlins in December 2016.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Kyle Barraclough

Hembree replaces Wright on Red Sox roster

Cora opts to start Nunez at third base over Devers
MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox were forced to make a significant adjustment to their unpredictable bullpen Saturday prior to Game 2 of the American League Division Series, as knuckleballer Steven Wright had to be taken off the roster due to injury. He was replaced by righty reliever Heath Hembree.

The move is effective for the remainder of the series. Major League Rule 40(a) dictates that Wright will also be unavailable to pitch in the AL Championship Series should Boston make it that far, though he could return if Boston qualifies for the World Series.

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BOSTON -- The Red Sox were forced to make a significant adjustment to their unpredictable bullpen Saturday prior to Game 2 of the American League Division Series, as knuckleballer Steven Wright had to be taken off the roster due to injury. He was replaced by righty reliever Heath Hembree.

The move is effective for the remainder of the series. Major League Rule 40(a) dictates that Wright will also be unavailable to pitch in the AL Championship Series should Boston make it that far, though he could return if Boston qualifies for the World Series.

View Full Game Coverage

:: ALDS schedule and results ::

Wright felt soreness in his left knee during pregame warmups on Friday and underwent an MRI, which revealed inflammation and a loose body. In May of 2017, Wright underwent a cartilage restoration procedure on that same knee.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said it's too early to know if Wright will be back for a potential World Series.

The development is stinging for this series, as Cora planned on leaning on Wright heavily. The righty was dominant after coming back from the disabled list in September, giving up just one earned run in 10 outings.

In fact, Cora admitted Saturday that Wright likely would have been the first one out of the bullpen when Chris Sale came out of the Game 1 victory on Friday night. Sale left with a 5-0 lead, and Boston barely hung on, 5-4.

Without Wright, the Red Sox had to scramble and use Game 3 starter Rick Porcello to get the first two outs in the eighth. In fact, Cora said he would use Porcello again if necessary in Game 2. If that's the case, the righty would likely have his start pushed back to Game 4.

Another pitcher who will likely get more responsibility in light of Wright's absence is lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who spent most of the season in the starting rotation, going 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA. Though consistency has always been an issue for Rodriguez, he has some of the best pure stuff on the staff.

Video: BOS@NYY Gm2: Wright on injury, removal from roster

"He was important anyway," said Cora. "Now we have to map it out to see how we're going to use him, because obviously he can give us multiple innings if something happens, you know? We've got to be smart. We only have one long guy in the bullpen. How we're going to maneuver that, it's going to be very important for us."

Hembree was essentially the last cut when the Red Sox submitted their original roster for the ALDS on Friday. After being an invaluable setup man for Boston for the first few months of the season, particularly in stranding inherited runners, Hembree struggled in the second half, recording a 5.03 ERA while blowing three saves.

Hembree also allowed five home runs in 19 2/3 innings after the All-Star break, and he could now be called upon to face a Yankees lineup that knocked an MLB-record 265 homers in the regular season.

Video: BOS@ATL: Hembree K's Albies, gets out of jam in 7th

"Although he struggled with his slider, we feel his fastball can make a difference," said Cora. "We'll see how we use him. Obviously throughout the season, he was coming in with situations with runners on. I don't know where we're going to go, but we still feel like 97 mph with life up in the zone is OK with this team."

Boston's bullpen remains the biggest question mark in the series. Cora said that closer Craig Kimbrel, who got four outs on Friday, will generally be a "full go" by the eighth inning.

Video: Must C Conclusion: Kimbrel's 4-out save closes Game 1

Devers sits against righty

A day after Cora said he was leaning toward starting third baseman Rafael Devers against righty Masahiro Tanaka for Game 2, he instead went to Eduardo Nunez for the second straight game. Interestingly, Devers is 4-for-10 lifetime against Tanaka while Nunez is 4-for-17.

Defense played a factor. Though Devers has superior range to Nunez, he also led the Majors with 24 errors.

"Offensively [Devers has] been swinging the bat well, but as far as what we have, it's not like a big difference the way Nuney is swinging the bat. He's been putting up good at-bats," Cora said. "Tanaka, reverse splits but not that much. Actually, righties are hitting better. Then, obviously, we feel pretty good about Nuney at third base.

Video: BOS@NYY: Nunez makes a diving stop, nabs Stanton

"I know the kid has more range and he can make the great play, but there's something with the routine play that throughout the season, we didn't see it, obviously. With David pitching, there's a lot of ground balls to that side so I just went with him."

Bird is the word

Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was quite amused by the bird that was making the rounds in the outfield throughout Game 1.

"Yeah, he befriended quite a few of us," Bradley said. "I honestly don't think he cared where we were. He was just going to enjoy the grass seeding that was down there. He mixed it up -- he went from left, center to right. He enjoyed himself."

Video: NYY@BOS Gm1: A bird gets in on the action at Fenway

When Bradley tried to make a diving catch on a sinking liner by Aaron Judge, the bird was within a few feet of him.

"I'm just glad that on that -- I actually thought about it before the inning even started; he was directly in front of me. I'm like, 'What are you doing?' I just got a feeling it's going to be a ball hit right there, and I'm going to have to dive," Bradley said. "I'm telling you, four plays later -- actually, it was two batters later, Aaron hits a ball right there. And I'm like, the first thing off the bat I can think about is, man, that bird is about to get hit."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Rafael Devers, Heath Hembree, Eduardo Nunez, Steven Wright

Mets activate David Wright from disabled list

Captain: 'To say it's a good feeling is an understatement'
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Throughout the past month, as he watched the Mets' games in Flushing and elsewhere, David Wright typically sat on the dugout bench in a blue hooded sweatshirt. He did not put on his uniform top because he was not technically a member of the team; since May 28, 2016, Wright has spent each of the Mets' 433 games on the disabled list.

That changed Tuesday, when the Mets activated their captain from the 60-day DL for the final six games of his career. For the first time in more than two years, Wright slipped a Mets jersey over his shoulders for a game.

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NEW YORK -- Throughout the past month, as he watched the Mets' games in Flushing and elsewhere, David Wright typically sat on the dugout bench in a blue hooded sweatshirt. He did not put on his uniform top because he was not technically a member of the team; since May 28, 2016, Wright has spent each of the Mets' 433 games on the disabled list.

That changed Tuesday, when the Mets activated their captain from the 60-day DL for the final six games of his career. For the first time in more than two years, Wright slipped a Mets jersey over his shoulders for a game.

View Full Game Coverage

"To say it's a good feeling is an understatement," Wright said. "It's been a long time coming … a lot of time, a lot of hard work, so to be able to suit up and go out there, and just the opportunity to get the chance to play means the world to me."

15 stats that explain Wright's greatness

It is a chance that, for at least parts of the past two years, Wright was not sure he would have again. Since his last big league game, Wright has undergone neck, back and shoulder surgeries, beseeching his body again and again to do things it refused to do. Only recently, as he played in a dozen rehab games for two Mets Minor League affiliates, did Wright acknowledge privately that his condition is not going to improve.

Video: ATL@NYM: Wright activated from the 60-day DL

That prompted him and the Mets to reach an agreement in which they would activate him this week for six final games, including a start at third base Saturday against the Marlins. In that contest, Wright will play alongside Jose Reyes, his constant companion on the left side of the Mets' infield from 2004-11.

Top 10 moments of David Wright's career

What Wright does before then remains in question. While team officials have noted they would like to give him at least one pinch-hit opportunity during the week, assistant general manager John Ricco said on Tuesday that, out of respect for the Braves' pursuit of home-field advantage in the National League playoffs, the Mets will not use Wright in any game that is close. That could mean Wright's first appearance in a game will not occur until Friday against the Marlins.

If the Mets do use Wright before Saturday, he said he "would like a little bit of a heads-up just because it takes me a little while to get going, and I want to make sure I'm prepared physically."

"I'm going to be so nervous about just trying to make the plays and make some contact that I hope there's not any time for anything else," Wright said, referring to his emotions. "I'm real nervous, I'll tell you that. I'm real excited. I've already got the butterflies going. So it's going to be a weird, yet really fulfilling feeling."

Video: MLB Central on David Wright starting his final game

The Mets will open the Citi Field gates a half hour earlier than usual on Saturday, at 4:30 p.m. ET, to allow fans to watch Wright take batting practice.

"I'll take it all in while I'm out there as much as I can, and try to savor these emotions and savor these feelings," Wright said. "I've never really allowed myself to do it, and I'm going to try to do it as best as I can."

The Mets' all-time leader in hits (1,777), RBIs (970) and runs (949), and a career .296/.376/.491 hitter, Wright ranks in the Top 10 in franchise history in just about every meaningful offensive category. Since he returned to the clubhouse earlier this month, he has received accolades from the Red Sox -- Dustin Pedroia gave him a No. 5 panel from the Green Monster scoreboard -- the Phillies and the Nationals. Assuredly, the Mets have a significant tribute planned for Wright, who became the fourth captain in franchise history in 2013.

It will be, in Wright's estimation, a "unique" end to his career.

Video: The Rundown: David Wright's career as a Met

"Unique because it's been so long since I've played," Wright said. "Unique because I've understood the work and the time and the effort that's gone in to trying to get my body as good as it's going to get, knowing that there are some things that just aren't going to be right. … You think you can play forever and with me, unfortunately, my body is just not allowing that to happen. That is a unique feeling.

"All in all, it's nice to accomplish … being activated, but at the same time I want to put on as good of a show as I possibly can."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, David Wright

McCullers returns from disabled list

MLB.com

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. was reinstated from the disabled list on Monday, and the club also recalled lefty Reymin Guduan from Triple-A.

The 24-year-old will be available to pitch out of relief in Houston's series against Toronto. McCullers completed his third and final simulated game on Friday at the club's Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. 

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Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. was reinstated from the disabled list on Monday, and the club also recalled lefty Reymin Guduan from Triple-A.

The 24-year-old will be available to pitch out of relief in Houston's series against Toronto. McCullers completed his third and final simulated game on Friday at the club's Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. 

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"I felt good over the three times I was out there," McCullers said. "There were some ups and downs, but that's part of getting back into pitching shape. I was happy with the way my body responded each time, and the way I looked and felt the last time [on Friday]. I want to pitch again."

On Friday, McCullers threw around 25 pitches, amounting to 1 1/3 innings. He said he was pleased with his breaking ball, worked on his fastball and changeup, and he was landing the pitches in the zone to both right-handed and left-handed batters. No Major League starting pitcher throws his curveball at a higher rate than McCullers.

McCullers, a 2017 All-Star, had been on the disabled list since Aug. 5 with a muscle strain in his right forearm. He is 10-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 22 starts with Houston, and he has 138 strikeouts in 126 innings.

Houston Astros, Lance McCullers Jr.

Twins call up Graterol to bolster catching depth

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- With Mitch Garver not expected to catch again this season after suffering a concussion on a foul tip Sept. 12, the Twins purchased the contract of catcher Juan Graterol from Triple-A Rochester on Saturday.

Graterol was on vacation in Miami with his family when he got the news he'd be called up to join the Twins on Saturday and said he was excited about his change of plans.

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OAKLAND -- With Mitch Garver not expected to catch again this season after suffering a concussion on a foul tip Sept. 12, the Twins purchased the contract of catcher Juan Graterol from Triple-A Rochester on Saturday.

Graterol was on vacation in Miami with his family when he got the news he'd be called up to join the Twins on Saturday and said he was excited about his change of plans.

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"I was a little surprised, to be honest with you," Graterol said. "You never know what's going to happen in this game. I think my wife is even more excited than me. I'm really happy. It's a new chapter in my career, having fun with these guys."

Graterol, 29, has Major League experience, hitting .222/.225/.283 with six doubles and 13 RBIs in 58 games with the Angels from 2016-18. He was released by the Angels on June 24, only to sign with Minnesota four days later. Graterol hit .284/.317/.336 with six doubles and 10 RBIs in 34 games with Rochester.

He's not expected to see much action over the final week of the season, but the Twins are down to two healthy catchers in Willians Astudillo and Chris Gimenez and have a doubleheader Friday.

"It's just a bit of protection on the bench in terms of numbers more than anything," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You hopefully don't have to get in that spot, but we're limited. Just having another body that could go out there if needed I thought was worthwhile. He's scheduled to go play in Venezuela this winter, so he's been doing some baseball things, and we got him here, so that's a good thing for us."

Graterol had actually planned to fly to his native Venezuela on Monday to get ready for the winter ball season, but will now push that back until after next week. For now, Graterol is happy to have an opportunity to be in the big leagues, even if it's only for the final nine games of the year.

"I'm just here to help the team and do my job," Graterol said. "I want to show these guys I can still play baseball. In the future, you never know what's going to happen. In this business, sometimes it's crazy, you know. You could be playing in Triple-A and then up in the big leagues the next day. After three years with the Angels, it's kind of different with all the new people and everything. But I'm just trying to get to know everybody."

Worth noting

Miguel Sano underwent an MRI exam on his left knee Friday, but it revealed no structural damage. He suffered the injury on a slide Sept. 4 and returned to the lineup Tuesday, only to head back to Minnesota on Wednesday to get his knee checked out. There's a chance he could return this season but the Twins are still trying to find out more about the injury.

"We didn't learn anything new," Molitor said. "We tried to eliminate things that might be sources or causes of the aggravation that he continues to feel. A little bit of a puzzle that we haven't been able to solve yet in terms of the discomfort he continues to experience. We're hoping with treatment and maybe a little bit more rest, we'll be in a better place come Tuesday."

• Second baseman Logan Forsythe's sore left knee is improving, but he wasn't able to return to the lineup Saturday. He's likely to remain out of action until the Twins return home to Target Field on Tuesday.

"Improved today," Molitor said. "Obviously not to the level that he's in the lineup. But it was a good step forward compared to how he felt yesterday."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Juan Graterol

Meadows called up by Rays, not in lineup

Playing time for highly touted outfielder may be scarce
MLB.com

TORONTO -- As expected, the Rays called up Austin Meadows prior to the team's four-game series in Toronto. But playing time may be scarce for 23-year-old outfielder, who was not in the starting lineup in Thursday night's 9-8 loss at Rogers Centre. He pinch-hit with the bases empty in the top of the ninth and grounded out to first.

"Right now, I think the lane is a little blocked, with the way we're playing," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I tried to express that to him, but he's a huge part of our future."

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TORONTO -- As expected, the Rays called up Austin Meadows prior to the team's four-game series in Toronto. But playing time may be scarce for 23-year-old outfielder, who was not in the starting lineup in Thursday night's 9-8 loss at Rogers Centre. He pinch-hit with the bases empty in the top of the ninth and grounded out to first.

"Right now, I think the lane is a little blocked, with the way we're playing," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I tried to express that to him, but he's a huge part of our future."

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Meadows came over from the Pirates along with Tyler Glasnow as part of the package for starter Chris Archer. He entered the season as the 45th-ranked prospect and the No. 1 prospect in the Pirates' organization, according to MLB Pipeline.

Since the trade, Meadows has been phenomenal at Triple-A Durham. He hit .344 with 10 homers in 27 games and led the team to a National Championship appearance.

"We feel it's about time for him to kind of cut loose and open up on his Major League career," Cash said.

However, the path to playing time appears blocked for Meadows. Outfielders Kevin Kiermaier, Mallex Smith and Tommy Pham are still expected to get the bulk of the work.

"Right now, [he] is going to impact us off the bench," Cash said. "Whether it's with his speed, his legs, or obviously, his bat."

Meadows' bat caught the attention of Kiermaier earlier this year, when the two played during Spring Training.

"That dude rakes," Kiermaier said. "I don't think he needs any of my help, but I'm here to give him any pointers or tips that he needs from the defensive side."

Regardless of his playing time, Meadows is just looking forward to helping the team down the stretch.

"It's great, everyone is very welcoming here," Meadows said. "I know that the team is rolling right now ... [and] just to be able to be a part of that, it's an exciting feeling."

Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Tampa Bay Rays, Austin Meadows

Strop confident he'll return by end of season

MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Cubs reliever Pedro Strop, who has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain since Thursday, is continuing to make progress and said Wednesday he expects to return to game action by the end of the regular season.

"Everything is pain-free. We're not trying to do too much," Strop said. "We're letting that thing heal. We're going to do whatever is possible to do."

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PHOENIX -- Cubs reliever Pedro Strop, who has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain since Thursday, is continuing to make progress and said Wednesday he expects to return to game action by the end of the regular season.

"Everything is pain-free. We're not trying to do too much," Strop said. "We're letting that thing heal. We're going to do whatever is possible to do."

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon will continue to sort out the bullpen in the final 10 games. With Strop and Brandon Morrow both injured, left-hander Justin Wilson may be the leader as far as closer options.

"I still believe it's Justin," Maddon said. "But look at the acquisitions, [Jesse] Chavez and [Jorge] De La Rosa, look what they've done for us down there."

Chavez has a 1.44 ERA with three saves in 27 games with the Cubs, while De La Rosa has a 1.59 ERA and one save in 13 appearances. Wilson had 13 saves with the Tigers last season, but none since he was acquired by the Cubs.

Video: CIN@CHC: Quintana retires Barnhart to end the threat

Q ready for South Siders
Jose Quintana will open the Cubs' final road trip, but he'll be doing it in Chicago when they face his former team, the White Sox, in a three-game Interleague series, starting Friday.

"I knew one day, I'd go back to pitch there," said Quintana, who has a 22-27 record and 3.59 ERA in 84 games at Guaranteed Rate Field. "I'm excited. I pitched a long time there and I have fresh memories. It'll be good to be back. I'm just going to try to do my job and win a game."

Dealt to the Cubs in July 2017, this will be Quintana's first game against the White Sox.

"I played with them for a long time," he said. "It's exciting."

Schwarber might return Friday
Maddon is hoping Kyle Schwarber can play Friday. He did not accompany the team to Arizona, remaining home to rehab a sore back.

"I have not heard anything bad," Maddon said. "The plan before we left was to get Schwarbs ready for first game against the White Sox."

Cubs add Webster to bullpen
The Cubs selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Allen Webster and he joined the bullpen mix on Wednesday, getting a chance in the eighth inning against the D-backs. Webster gave up a two-run homer to Jeff Mathis with two outs in the eighth.

This is the first time he's been on a big league roster since 2015. The right-hander had a 1.13 ERA with three saves and 11 strikeouts with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa from Aug. 11-Sept. 2. He signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs in early March. For the season, he posted a 2.65 ERA in 17 outings.

"When the season ended, I went home for a couple days," Webster said. "Then they called and told me just in case to stay in shape. I've stayed in shape at home. I came out here to the Spring Training complex last week."

He was able to work out at home with some other players who were preparing for winter ball. Webster had thought his season was over.

"I did for a few days and then they told me to keep going and I picked it back up and stayed in shape," he said. "I had a lot of smiles yesterday when they told me."

To make room for Webster on the 40-man roster, Morrow was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Worth noting
• Shortstop Nico Hoerner, the Cubs' first-round pick in this year's Draft, has been getting ready for the Arizona Fall League by working out at the team's facility in Mesa. Hoerner was shut down in July because of an injury to ligaments in his left elbow. The 24th player selected overall, he will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL, which opens play Oct. 9.

• Maddon will wear a replica football jersey of former St. Louis Cardinals kicker Jim Bakken on the flight back to Chicago. Maddon grew up a fan of the Cardinals since the days of quarterback Jim Hart, lineman Dan Dierdorf, wide receiver Mel Gray and running back Terry Metcalf in the 1970s. Maddon was a kicker (and quarterback) at Hazleton High School. An Arizona Cardinals representative presented Maddon with the jersey on Tuesday at Chase Field.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Pedro Strop, Allen Webster

Rays will recall Meadows, 3 more on Thursday

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Rookie outfielder Austin Meadows is among the Rays' four additional callups from Triple-A Durham the club plans to make on Thursday, after which he will make his debut with Tampa Bay.

Meadows was the key piece, along with right-hander Tyler Glasnow, acquired in the non-waiver Trade Deadline deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pirates. Right-handers Chih-Wei Hu and Austin Pruitt and left-hander Hoby Milner will also be recalled.

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ARLINGTON -- Rookie outfielder Austin Meadows is among the Rays' four additional callups from Triple-A Durham the club plans to make on Thursday, after which he will make his debut with Tampa Bay.

Meadows was the key piece, along with right-hander Tyler Glasnow, acquired in the non-waiver Trade Deadline deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pirates. Right-handers Chih-Wei Hu and Austin Pruitt and left-hander Hoby Milner will also be recalled.

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Tweet from @RaysBaseball: The following four players will be recalled tomorrow and join us in Toronto.OF Austin MeadowsLH Hoby MilnerRH Austin PruittRH Chih-Wei Hu

Durham's season concluded after Tuesday night's 14-4 loss to Memphis in the Triple-A National Championship Game, a rematch of last season's contest.

Meadows batted .302 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs in 36 games for Durham this season. He played in 49 games for the Pirates earlier this year, hitting .292/.327/.468 with five home runs and 13 RBIs during his first stint in the Majors.

Video: Austin Meadows named NL Rookie of the Month for May

"Very excited to see him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I know what our staff feels about him, and the impact that he had down there in Durham for the month and a half that he was there. Excited to get him up here."

With a crowded outfield that includes Mallex Smith, Tommy Pham, Carlos Gomez and Kevin Kiermaier, Cash said Meadows likely won't see much regular playing time, but he will receive some opportunities down the stretch.

"It'll be challenging, there's no doubt," Cash said. "We'll just see how these next couple games shake out and go from there."

Rays beat
• Tampa Bay is 22-5 since Aug. 19, the best record in the Majors over that stretch. The club also has an MLB-best 2.65 ERA in that span. The Rays, however, still remain 5 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League.

"We need help, there's no doubt about that," Cash said. "But I like the way the guys have continued to go about their business day to day. That's very cliche, but sometimes you just have to go with that. Control what we can control. We've got a chance to do something special, and that's find a way to win three games in a row on the road."

• Kiermaier received a regular day off and was not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's series finale. Kiermaier is batting .396 (19-for-48) with nine extra-base hits and 11 runs scored in his last 13 games.

Wesley Dotson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.

Tampa Bay Rays, Austin Meadows

Johnson receives first big league callup at 28

Angels add to middle-infield depth; Fletcher may not return this season
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- After playing his last game of the season with Triple-A Salt Lake on Sept. 3, Sherman Johnson switched out of baseball mode. He went back home to Tampa, Fla., to begin his offseason, putting the Majors far from his mind.

Johnson was playing video games earlier this week when he received a call from the Angels' front office that caught him completely off guard. After seven seasons in the Minors, the 28-year-old infielder was receiving his first big league callup with the Halos.

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OAKLAND -- After playing his last game of the season with Triple-A Salt Lake on Sept. 3, Sherman Johnson switched out of baseball mode. He went back home to Tampa, Fla., to begin his offseason, putting the Majors far from his mind.

Johnson was playing video games earlier this week when he received a call from the Angels' front office that caught him completely off guard. After seven seasons in the Minors, the 28-year-old infielder was receiving his first big league callup with the Halos.

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"I kind of didn't believe it at first," Johnson said before Tuesday's series opener against the A's. "That was the last thing that I thought would happen, in my head."

With rookie second baseman David Fletcher out with a left hamstring strain, the Angels decided to bolster their middle-infield depth by calling up Johnson. To clear a spot for Johnson on the 40-man roster, the Angels transferred right-hander Nick Tropeano (shoulder inflammation) to the 60-day disabled list.

A 14th-round Draft pick by the Angels in 2012, the left-handed-hitting Johnson batted .251 with a .755 OPS, four home runs and 20 RBIs in 66 games between Triple-A Salt Lake and Double-A Mobile this season.

Johnson said he appreciated the chance to look back on his long road to the Majors during his cross-country flight from Florida to California.

"You try not to let the frustration get to you," Johnson said. "Just try to keep playing, keep going. Keep getting better every day. That's all you can really focus on at that point. It's definitely a good feeling to be able to reflect. I had a long flight from Florida here, so I got to think about all those times in the Minor Leagues and at Triple-A. It's definitely rewarding."

The Angels have 37 players on their active roster.

Worth noting
• Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels are unsure if Fletcher will play again this season after injuring his hamstring on Sunday.

"These things usually have a mind of their own," Scioscia said. "We're going to keep looking at it on a day-to-day basis to see where he is, but we're not going to rush anything or run him out there in a game and put him at risk. We'll see how it goes."

• Left-hander Tyler Skaggs was activated off the disabled list and started against the A's on Tuesday. Skaggs had not pitched for the Angels since Aug. 11 due to a left adductor strain.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels

Heyward activated off DL, will be eased back

Cubs outfielder 'good to go' from right hamstring injury
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The Cubs activated Jason Heyward from the disabled list prior their game Sunday against the Reds at Wrigley Field.

Heyward was not in the starting lineup, though manager Joe Maddon said the veteran right fielder was available off the bench.

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CHICAGO -- The Cubs activated Jason Heyward from the disabled list prior their game Sunday against the Reds at Wrigley Field.

Heyward was not in the starting lineup, though manager Joe Maddon said the veteran right fielder was available off the bench.

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"He's good to go," Maddon said. "[We're] still being cautious, but he's good to go."

The Cubs plan on easing Heyward back from his DL stint for a right hamstring strain, similar to how they handled Addison Russell when he came off the disabled list at the start of September. Russell returned as a defensive replacement and late-innings substitute for a few games before starting at shortstop.

Maddon said the lefty-swinging Heyward will also be out of the lineup Monday night at Arizona with the D-backs starting left-hander Patrick Corbin. Once again, Heyward will be available to pinch-hit and play defense later in the game. As long as nothing goes wrong in his return, Heyward should be back in the Cubs' lineup soon.

Heyward, 29, already has made an immediate impact on the Cubs upon his return from the DL this season. After missing time in May with a concussion, Heyward came off the DL and batted .336 with an .885 OPS in 36 games from May 18 through June.

"You realize how important he's been by his absence," Maddon said. "And now he's rested. In perverse ways, sometimes these things actually work in your favor."

Starters emerging late in season
Starting pitching had been among the Cubs' biggest questions through the first four months of the season, with Yu Darvish's injuries, Tyler Chatwood's lack of command and Jose Quintana's inconsistency.

Then came the deal for Cole Hamels, who immediately became the Cubs' most reliable starter.

"We were just five [innings] or less with a lot of guys," Maddon said. "Of course, Cole getting here has kind of righted the ship. What he's done has kind of inspired the rest of the group."

Jon Lester is pitching as well as he had during the first half of the season after a five-start midseason funk. And Quintana is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball -- 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his five outings before his start Sunday vs. the Reds.

Video: CIN@CHC: Lester strikes out 9 over 7 scoreless frames

The success of the starters could hardly come at a more optimal time for the Cubs, with their bullpen somewhat gassed and their two closers this season, Brandon Morrow and his replacement, Pedro Strop, on the disabled list.

"As they're able to continue to do this," Maddon said, "then this bullpen can catch the breath that they need right now."

Video: CIN@CHC: Hamels strikes out 7 over 6 2/3 innings

Worth noting
Kyle Schwarber will not travel to Arizona for the Cubs' three-game series with the D-backs. Arizona has two left-handed pitchers scheduled to start in the series, and Maddon said it made more sense to give Schwarber a few more days before getting back in the lineup. There's a good chance he could return as the designated hitter for the Cubs' weekend series against the White Sox on the South Side.

Tommy La Stella was scratched from the lineup due to lower back tightness. He is considered day to day.

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs, Jason Heyward