Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Chicago Cubs
news

On The Move presented by Penske

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."

View Full Game Coverage

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."

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

"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.

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

"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

Buchholz no stranger to returning from injury

Veteran righty focused on getting healthy for Spring Training
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz, disappointed that his role as a key member of the D-backs' pitching staff has ended prematurely because of an injury, sounded resolute in his quest to get healthy and be ready for Spring Training next year.

"I just have to have the right frame of mind about it," he said. "I've done it before. That's a comfort, knowing that I have come back from something more severe, and done a good job. That's what I'm looking forward to."

View Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- Veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz, disappointed that his role as a key member of the D-backs' pitching staff has ended prematurely because of an injury, sounded resolute in his quest to get healthy and be ready for Spring Training next year.

"I just have to have the right frame of mind about it," he said. "I've done it before. That's a comfort, knowing that I have come back from something more severe, and done a good job. That's what I'm looking forward to."

View Full Game Coverage

The 34-year-old Buchholz was placed on the 60-day DL on Saturday, one day after the club announced the right-hander will be shut down for the rest of the year with a right elbow flexor strain. Right-handed reliever Randall Delgado was selected from Triple-A Reno and will join the D-backs bullpen.

Buchholz, who missed almost all of 2017 with the Phillies due to a partial tear in his right flexor tendon, will begin a series of PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments and plans to be ready to audition for a spot on a Major League starting staff, whether it's with the D-backs or elsewhere. Though unhappy that his season ended early, Buchholz listed a couple of reasons to be optimistic, including the realization that unlike his injury last year, this one doesn't require surgery.

"Last year, it pulled the bone off my elbow," he said. "It's not that. It's more muscle. It's probably some fatigue I'm dealing with."

Buchholz was having a nice season for Arizona after joining the team in mid-May. He made 16 starts, posting a 7-2 record and a 2.01 ERA while recording 81 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .220 batting average.

Video: ARI@COL: Buchholz gets scratched, Koch gets the nod

He cut his warmup session short last Thursday after 26 pitches, minutes before he was to start against the Colorado Rockies. He said he felt something in his arm around the fifth inning during his prior start, against the Braves on Sept. 8, but he didn't think much of it, especially since he pitched into the seventh inning. But he knew something was wrong early in his warmup routine in Colorado.

"I wish I would have done it a little bit sooner, given them a little more heads-up and notice," Buchholz said. "I wouldn't have been helping this club out, going out there feeling like that. That was the hardest thing to do."

Next on the docket for Buchholz is offer support to his teammates as they continue their playoff push. When the season is over, he'll concentrate on recovering and readying himself for next season.

"I'll root my team on and be here for them if they need anything," he said. "I'll head into the offseason, get strong and come back next year."

Whether that's with the D-backs will be decided in the offseason.

"Everybody knows how I feel about Clay, and the team knows what he's meant, and the organization knows what he's meant," manager Torey Lovullo said. "First thing is to get healthy."

Delgado, 28, has appeared in six games for the D-backs this season, allowing four earned runs over seven innings. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by Arizona on July 25, released on July 31, and re-signed with the club on a Minor League contract on Aug. 18.

With Reno, Delgado allowed four earned runs over 18 innings for a 2.00 ERA. He recorded a .169 batting average against with 14 strikeouts in 13 appearances (one start), including a 0.93 ERA and seven strikeouts in five games after returning to the organization.

He'll be used in a relief role, but will be eased back in as he shakes off any rust that may have developed after Reno's season ended Sept. 3.

"We're excited to have him back," Lovullo said. "Stuff-wise, he was trending toward the Randall we remember. He's going to get to the ball. We'll use him in different situations, maybe not in high-leverage right now, but different situations, to stop momentum and get big outs for us."

Said Delgado: "Mentally, I'm strong. I've been trying to do light stuff, go through a routine. I've been playing catch the last couple days. I feel good. I feel like I can compete right now."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Houston Astros, Randall Delgado

Judge returns to play defense; can't hit yet

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The roar swelled from the right-field grandstands when Aaron Judge ascended the dugout steps late on Friday evening, chomping on bubblegum as his 6-foot-7 frame lumbered toward the slugger's first assignment of defensive duty in seven weeks and a day.

As Judge acknowledged the robed customers in his Chambers and handed a ball off to the front row, the ovation spread throughout all of Yankee Stadium. No balls were hit near Judge during the final two innings of an 11-0 Yankees rout over the Blue Jays, but it still felt like an important occasion.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- The roar swelled from the right-field grandstands when Aaron Judge ascended the dugout steps late on Friday evening, chomping on bubblegum as his 6-foot-7 frame lumbered toward the slugger's first assignment of defensive duty in seven weeks and a day.

As Judge acknowledged the robed customers in his Chambers and handed a ball off to the front row, the ovation spread throughout all of Yankee Stadium. No balls were hit near Judge during the final two innings of an 11-0 Yankees rout over the Blue Jays, but it still felt like an important occasion.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: TOR@NYY: Judge, Boone on the outfielder's return

"Big time," Judge said. "Anytime I can get back on the field. I was nervous out there just standing in the outfield. I didn't even catch any balls. Just getting those jitters out of the way now it's good. When I get that first at-bat again, it'll be like I never left."

The Yankees activated Judge from the 10-day disabled list prior to Friday's game, though manager Aaron Boone said that Judge will not yet be permitted to bat in games. For the time being, Judge will continue his rehab from a right wrist fracture by seeing action as a pinch-runner or a defensive replacement.

Judge salutes fans, throws souvenirs in RF return

"If we can knock off a little bit of the rust with a baserunning situation or to get out in the field for a couple of innings, I think there's value in it," Boone said.

Judge assumed Aaron Hicks' place in the batting order while Brett Gardner moved from left field to center field. Andrew McCutchen moved from right to left field, marking his first career appearance at the position, and said he had marveled at getting to see Judge in action.

"I finally got to watch him and [Giancarlo] Stanton take batting practice," McCutchen said. "I saw some pretty impressive stuff. I know people who have been here all year, to them, it's probably normal. It's not normal. It was awesome."

Tweet from @Yankees: Welcome back, @TheJudge44 pic.twitter.com/fz3AeWCIiH

Judge may be crushing batting practice moonshots, but he has acknowledged that there continues to be discomfort in the wrist.

"It's still healing," Judge said. "It takes a while for the bone to heal. Once that heals, that'll be probably the offseason by the time it starts feeling 100 percent."

Video: Boone discusses Judge being activated from DL

Judge will continue to take batting practice over the weekend, and Boone said that Judge could be a full player by the end of the homestand. A trip to face pitching at the Yankees' Player Development complex in Tampa, Fla., is a strong possibility.

"I think once I start seeing some live pitching, no matter where it's at, I think that'll get me going," Judge said.

Judge was hitting .285/.398/.548 with 26 homers at the time of the injury, which he sustained on a hit-by-pitch from the Royals' Jakob Junis.

Judge took on-field batting practice all three days during the Yankees' visit to Target Field, and he made several one-hop throws to third base and home plate from right field on Wednesday afternoon. Those workouts in near-empty facilities didn't hold a candle to what Judge experienced on Friday.

"They turn Yankee Stadium alive; it's amazing what those fans do," Judge said. "We saw what they did in the playoffs last year. I was excited to be back out there with them and get ready for these last couple of games before the playoffs."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Tigers call up Kozma to provide infield depth

Iglesias moved to 60-day DL, likely out for rest of season
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Shortstop Jose Iglesias may have played his last game in a Tigers uniform.

Though he received a cortisone shot on Wednesday, Iglesias was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Friday afternoon to make room for infielder Pete Kozma, who was recalled from Triple-A Toledo. The move was announced prior to the opener of a three-game series against the American League Central-leading Indians at Progressive Field. Iglesias was placed on the 10-day DL on Aug. 30 with a lower abdominal strain and he did not travel with the team, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

View Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- Shortstop Jose Iglesias may have played his last game in a Tigers uniform.

Though he received a cortisone shot on Wednesday, Iglesias was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Friday afternoon to make room for infielder Pete Kozma, who was recalled from Triple-A Toledo. The move was announced prior to the opener of a three-game series against the American League Central-leading Indians at Progressive Field. Iglesias was placed on the 10-day DL on Aug. 30 with a lower abdominal strain and he did not travel with the team, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

View Full Game Coverage

"More than likely, he's done for the season," Gardenhire said.

Iglesias has been the club's everyday shortstop since 2013, when he was acquired from the Red Sox. The seven-year veteran made his debut with Boston in 2011 and he is poised to become a free agent at the end of the season. The 28-year-old Iglesias is hitting .269/.310/.389, not far off from his .270 career average with a .678 OPS.

However, what's impressed Gardenhire -- in his first year as the Tigers' manager -- most about Iglesias is his defensive ability.

"I've seen him from the other side for a few other ballclubs, but finally getting to watch him actually play shortstop, I didn't realize how good he is," Gardenhire said. "He can really do some things. So that's been fun to watch him go about his business. He's done a really good job."

It's unclear if Iglesias wishes to sign another contract with the Tigers.

"We know what we're doing as an organization," Gardenhire said. "He's had a [heck] of a year, [but] that's going to be up to the bosses up there. We have backup plans, it's called young kids."

Video: DET@SEA: Kozma dives, fires to first for terrific out

Kozma gives the club additional shortstop depth in the absence of Iglesias and utility man Niko Goodrum, who exited Wednesday's game against the Astros. Goodrum has been day to day with a right quad contusion. With no clear timetable for his return, Ronny Rodriguez is the only other option at shortstop, besides Kozma.

Tigers prospects Willie Castro and Sergio Alcantara could have been brought up along with Kozma, but Gardenhire said the club was reluctant to call up prospects without Major League experience. Outfielder JaCoby Jones played the middle infield spots coming up through the Minors, but Gardenhire said Jones would play there only in an "emergency."

Kozma, 30, appeared in 15 games for the Tigers prior to Friday, hitting .175/.195/.300 in 40 at-bats. The seven-year Major League veteran spent most of this season with the Mudhens, slashing .203/.260/.295 with a home run, two triples and 18 doubles in 83 games.

"He's played in the big leagues as a shortstop and anywhere in the infield, and he can pick it," Gardenhire said. "We desperately needed that after [Goodrum] got hurt. We're very limited. He's the kind of guy that's been there and done that. We like him.

"We know he's not going to bring a lot to the table with the bat, but he can put it in play and he knows how to do a lot of things, but more than anything else solidify shortstop so we can catch our breath right now."

Indians set to honor V-Mart
Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez will be honored by the Indians during a pregame ceremony on Saturday in celebration of his 17-year career. Martinez announced earlier this year that 2018 will be his final season in the Majors. Martinez was first signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1996, and he was in the Tribe's organization until 2009, spending parts of eight MLB seasons in Cleveland since his debut in 2002.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Detroit Tigers, Jose Iglesias, Pete Kozma

Harper and Machado in Philly in '19? Why not?

MLB.com

Will Bryce Harper or Manny Machado end up in Philadelphia next season? Why not both?

According to a report from Fancred's Jon Heyman on Friday, multiple rival executives think the Phillies might be able to land both of the biggest superstar free agents on the market this offseason.

Will Bryce Harper or Manny Machado end up in Philadelphia next season? Why not both?

According to a report from Fancred's Jon Heyman on Friday, multiple rival executives think the Phillies might be able to land both of the biggest superstar free agents on the market this offseason.

Philadelphia has come up plenty of times as a potential destination for Harper and Machado. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki has previously reported that Philadelphia will target both players when they hit free agency after this season, and that the club could sign both.

Making such a big splash would certainly make the Phillies a favorite to contend for a playoff spot in the National League East in 2019. The team's rebuild has accelerated faster than expected -- the Phils entered Friday 74-71 and in second place in the division -- and Harper and Machado are two of the top position players in the game. Adding either one, let alone both, could be the difference-making piece for a postseason push.

The Phillies have shown they're willing to spend in the offseason, having brought in big-ticket free agents Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana this past offseason to complement their core of homegrown young stars like Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins. Even with the deals they handed out to Arrieta and Santana, the Phils still have a relatively low payroll and plenty of room to add another marquee player or two entering 2019.

The 25-year-old Harper is hitting .247/.388/.503 with 33 home runs and 94 RBIs for the Nationals this season. Machado, who's 26, is hitting .302/.374/.545 with 34 homers and 93 RBIs between the Orioles and Dodgers.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

Guerra, one of 4 callups, to get look at SS

'He's elite defensively,' Green says of 22-year-old
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The Padres recalled four players from Triple-A before Tuesday's game against the Mariners -- moves that mostly served to reinforce the bullpen now that El Paso's season has come to an end.

But shortstop Javy Guerra -- the lone position player to earn a callup -- is a particularly intriguing roster option entering the 2019 season.

View Full Game Coverage

SEATTLE -- The Padres recalled four players from Triple-A before Tuesday's game against the Mariners -- moves that mostly served to reinforce the bullpen now that El Paso's season has come to an end.

But shortstop Javy Guerra -- the lone position player to earn a callup -- is a particularly intriguing roster option entering the 2019 season.

View Full Game Coverage

Guerra was joined by right-handers Kazuhisa Makita and Colten Brewer and left-hander Brad Wieck in being promoted Tuesday. Over three seasons in the Padres' system, Guerra still hasn't quite pieced it together offensively.

He arrived in the Craig Kimbrel trade prior to the 2016 season as a very highly touted prospect. But Guerra has batted .217 at three different levels since then, and his Minor League strikeout rate has hovered around 33 percent.

Video: SD@ELP: Guerra plates Bousfield on a fielder's choice

Still, there's a noteworthy vacancy at shortstop in San Diego for the start of next season. Freddy Galvis is set to become a free agent and top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., ranked No. 2 in baseball by MLB Pipeline, is coming off thumb surgery and probably destined to start next year in the Minors.

The Padres have some decisions to make this offseason, and Guerra could factor prominently.

The first question that must be answered is whether to bring back Galvis -- a decision that could hinge on his contract demands and the rest of the league's interest. If the answer is no, the Padres would likely need a stopgap before Tatis' arrival. That's where Guerra could factor in.

In any case, Guerra's glove makes him a roster possibility regardless of how the Padres decide to play it this offseason.

"He's elite defensively at shortstop," said manager Andy Green. "... When you can defend that position, you tend to find some sort of role in the big leagues. For him, that's his primary asset, and his versatility -- we'll test that in time, too."

Guerra is going to get sporadic starts at shortstop -- meaning time on the bench for Galvis, who has started every game there this season. Luis Urias, MLB Pipeline's top-ranked second-base prospect, is likely to start at shortstop, too.

Galvis is the owner of the Majors' longest consecutive games played streak at 309, and Green noted that he'd do everything in his power to get Galvis into those games. But it's clear the Padres have one eye on their future at the position.

At the plate, Guerra hasn't been stupendous this year, but his .774 second-half OPS was a jump of 172 points from the first half. The Padres don't need Guerra to set the world on fire offensively to be a valuable contributor. They'd just like him to hold his own.

"For him, it's just a progression of trusting himself, not thinking too much in the batter's box and cutting loose on the pitches he can hit," Green said. "We'll just try to keep it from being overly complicated."

Guerra struck out in two pinch-hit at-bats in May during a brief callup.

Kennedy's season likely finished
An MRI on the left knee of rookie righty Brett Kennedy revealed "serious tendinitis," according to Green, and it appears as though Kennedy's season could be over prematurely.

"We're still trying to work through what the best course of action is for him, but I'd say starting again this year is probably somewhat in jeopardy for him," Green said.

In six starts since his mid-August callup, Kennedy posted a 6.75 ERA. He picked up his first career victory with six shutout frames against the Rockies on Aug. 31. But he struggled in his next start Friday night in Cincinnati. Kennedy allowed four runs in 1 2/3 frames and had trouble with his landing leg -- prompting the Padres to take a look at his ailing left knee.

Video: COL@SD: Kennedy tosses 6 scoreless innings vs. Rox

Worth noting
• When Wieck appears in a game, it'll mark the big league debut for the 26-year-old left-hander. He owns a 2.53 ERA in 46 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A this season, and he's found a groove lately, too. Wieck has pitched 11 innings since the start of August, and he's allowed just one run on six hits while striking out 22.

"It doesn't matter where I'm at or who I'm throwing against," Wieck said. "It's just about staying focused on what you're doing and your own gameplan and plan of attack."

Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia will split time behind the plate over the next three weeks, and the Padres view their trip to Seattle as a chance to get both bats in the lineup. Hedges made his second career start at designated hitter on Tuesday night.

"We're committed here to giving our DH at-bats to our catchers," Green said. "Those two guys right now are very intriguing bats. ... It's no secret we're splitting time back there behind the plate, so the opportunity to get those guys extra at-bats is good."

Video: Must C Classic: Mejia hits 2 HRs in 1st Padres start

• Green acknowledged that Tuesday's moves most likely represent the last of the Padres' September callups. The roster currently sits at 33 players.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Javy Guerra

Reds recall righty Reyes for bullpen

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- The Reds added another pitcher to their expanded roster on Tuesday when right-hander Jesus Reyes was recalled from Double-A Pensacola.

Reyes has had a couple of promotions previously but has appeared in only one big league game for the Reds, working two scoreless innings vs. the Nationals on Aug. 4.

View Full Game Coverage

CINCINNATI -- The Reds added another pitcher to their expanded roster on Tuesday when right-hander Jesus Reyes was recalled from Double-A Pensacola.

Reyes has had a couple of promotions previously but has appeared in only one big league game for the Reds, working two scoreless innings vs. the Nationals on Aug. 4.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: CIN@WSH: Reyes induces double play in MLB debut

Over 38 games, including six starts, combined for Triple-A Louisville and Pensacola, Reyes was 2-10 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.

Reds and Daytona extend affiliation
The Reds and Class A Advanced Daytona announced a two-year extension of their player development contract that will take them through the 2020 season. Daytona and the Reds have been affiliated for the past four seasons.

Daytona has reached the Florida State League postseason twice, including its reaching the finals this season.

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, Jesus Reyes

Abreu back, and looking to make some history

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Jose Abreu returned to the White Sox lineup Monday for the first time since Aug. 20 after recovering from surgery to relieve pain caused by testicular torsion. The White Sox first baseman called the extended absence bittersweet.

"The toughest part was not being with the team, not being with the guys in the clubhouse or on the field," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "At the same time, I had the opportunity to spend time with my wife and kid. I usually don't have that much time during the season and those 15 days were good."

View Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- Jose Abreu returned to the White Sox lineup Monday for the first time since Aug. 20 after recovering from surgery to relieve pain caused by testicular torsion. The White Sox first baseman called the extended absence bittersweet.

"The toughest part was not being with the team, not being with the guys in the clubhouse or on the field," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "At the same time, I had the opportunity to spend time with my wife and kid. I usually don't have that much time during the season and those 15 days were good."

View Full Game Coverage

Abreu needs three homers to become the ninth player in Major League history with at least 25 homers in his first five seasons. He was trying to join Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols as the only players to begin their careers with at least five consecutive seasons of 25 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs, but the medical setback makes that RBI target nearly impossible.

When Abreu first felt the severe pain at home and found out about the surgery, it looked as if his 2018 season had come to a close. So now, he's simply happy to be back in action.

"Everybody knows I was feeling good with my offense before the injury happened," Abreu said. "Now I just want to think about the things I can do on a daily basis. We have 18 or 20 games left, and I want to take advantage of every single game.

"That was another test, another challenge in life. I had to face it. I did, and I feel stronger. I'm just grateful for all the people who helped me through that process, through the recovery and helped me to come back. I'm just glad."

Jones close to a return
Look for Nate Jones to return to the White Sox active roster sometime during this road trip and potentially during this series against the Royals. The right-hander, sidelined since June 12 with a pronator strain, threw one scoreless inning for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem during its playoff contest last Wednesday and then threw live batting practice to a group that included Abreu on Saturday.

The results were positive. And while there was soreness, Jones said it was nothing out of the ordinary.

"It's awesome to get guys in there and get back to the little adrenaline rush facing big league hitters and whatnot. It went well," Jones said. "I threw a lot of strikes with all the pitches. I even mixed some righty-on-righty changeups. I threw strikes, and everything is feeling good. I think we are getting close."

Video: Nate Jones is a hard-throwing righty out of the 'pen

Jones said it was important to come back and help his team over the last few weeks of the season. But it also was important to show the White Sox or another team that he's healthy, back and can pitch.

Covey gets the nod
Dylan Covey returns to the White Sox starting rotation Tuesday night, taking the place of Michael Kopech, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list and figures to have Tommy John surgery to repair a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. Covey has a 4-10 record with a 5.87 ERA over 17 starts this season, but he has a 2.25 ERA over six relief appearances.

Regardless of the role, Covey feels more comfortable in comparison to his 2017 rookie campaign, in which he finished 0-7 with a 7.71 ERA.

"This year it has still been a little bit of a struggle, but last year I was being thrown out there and it was just like trying to take a breath of air," said Covey during a recent interview. "This year I have the stuff, and I have the ability.

"It's just learning for me where I need to throw my stuff and in what situations. So I still feel really confident and really comfortable. I think that I need to do a better job of taking control of just how I attack hitters on the mound."

Video: BOS@CWS: Covey strikes out Kinsler looking in the 4th

White Sox manager Rick Renteria indicated Covey would stay in the rotation for the remainder of September, although Hector Santiago also is available for that role.

Third to first
• Advanced Rookie Great Falls will face Grand Junction in the best-of-three Pioneer League championship series. Game 1 is set for Tuesday with a first pitch of 7:40 p.m. CT at Grand Junction. Great Falls will host Game 2 on Thursday at 8 p.m. CT, and a winner-take-all Game 3 on Saturday at 8 p.m. CT. The Voyagers lost to Ogden in the 2017 championship series.

Matt Davidson, who did not start Monday, is tied with Albert Belle (1998) and Jose Valentin (2003) with eight home runs in a season against the Royals. These three games mark the last '18 matchup between the two.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu

Dodgers recall former phenom Julio Urias

Left-hander will work out of the bullpen in low-leverage situations
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that one-time top pitching prospect Julio Urias, recalled on Monday, will initially be limited to one-inning, low-leverage usage in his first Major League action since last year's left shoulder capsule surgery.

Considering the potential alternative, the 22-year-old Urias is fine with that.

View Full Game Coverage

CINCINNATI -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that one-time top pitching prospect Julio Urias, recalled on Monday, will initially be limited to one-inning, low-leverage usage in his first Major League action since last year's left shoulder capsule surgery.

Considering the potential alternative, the 22-year-old Urias is fine with that.

View Full Game Coverage

"I can't lie. There was a time when I thought there was a possibility I would never come back to a Major League mound," said Urias. "Thank God, he helped me get here."

Urias had a 5.40 ERA in 11 rehab appearances at three levels, with 19 strikeouts but also seven walks in 11 2/3 innings. He pitched twice in the playoffs for Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowing two earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Between appearances, Urias was given anywhere from two to five days between appearances, but said he was rebounding quicker after his two appearances with OKC in the last week. Roberts said Urias probably would not be used on back-to-back days.

Urias said he feels 100 percent physically. Two years ago, Urias was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline. Management still views Urias as a starting pitcher long term, but his slow recovery this year made a relief role the lone option.

In 2016, the then-20-year-old Urias went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA for the Dodgers during the regular season, then had mixed results in two postseason appearances. He was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA with the Dodgers last year and was sent to Triple-A just before suffering his injury and having surgery on June 27.

"We just felt as an organization, what better time than now?" Roberts said of the timing of his recall from OKC, which was eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend.

"I'm very proud of him. As a young player to have so much fanfare and ability and expectation and to go through that injury and battle through adversity and find your way back to the big leagues is a credit to him and his fight and the training staff in the Minor Leagues."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Julio Urias

Garrett reinstated from disabled list

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Reds left-handed reliever Amir Garrett was reinstated on Monday after going on the 10-day disabled list on Aug. 29 with a bone bruise in his left foot.

"I was just locating my pitches. I felt good and I feel good," Garrett said on Sunday, a day after he threw 25 pitches to a hitter in the cage. "It went very well. ... I feel like I am ready."

Over his 58 appearances this season, Garrett is 1-2 with a 4.21 ERA in 57 2/3 innings and has prevented 31 of 39 inherited runners from scoring.

View Full Game Coverage

CINCINNATI -- Reds left-handed reliever Amir Garrett was reinstated on Monday after going on the 10-day disabled list on Aug. 29 with a bone bruise in his left foot.

"I was just locating my pitches. I felt good and I feel good," Garrett said on Sunday, a day after he threw 25 pitches to a hitter in the cage. "It went very well. ... I feel like I am ready."

Over his 58 appearances this season, Garrett is 1-2 with a 4.21 ERA in 57 2/3 innings and has prevented 31 of 39 inherited runners from scoring.

View Full Game Coverage

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, Amir Garrett

Kennedy lifted from DL to make start vs. Twins

MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals announced that right-hander Ian Kennedy has been activated from the disabled list and will start in the club's series finale vs. the Twins on Sunday.

Kennedy has been sidelined for nearly two months with a strained left oblique and hasn't made a Major League start since July 10, when he faced the Twins at Target Field. He has made two rehab starts recently: one at Triple-A Omaha on Aug. 29, and another with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Monday.

View Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals announced that right-hander Ian Kennedy has been activated from the disabled list and will start in the club's series finale vs. the Twins on Sunday.

Kennedy has been sidelined for nearly two months with a strained left oblique and hasn't made a Major League start since July 10, when he faced the Twins at Target Field. He has made two rehab starts recently: one at Triple-A Omaha on Aug. 29, and another with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Monday.

View Full Game Coverage

In his 12th season, Kennedy, 33, is 1-8 with a 5.13 ERA in 18 starts. His best start of the season came on June 12, when he tossed eight scoreless innings and held the Reds to three hits while striking out five.

Royals manager Ned Yost said on Friday that Kansas City will go with a six-man rotation for the foreseeable future after the club announced on Tuesday that Danny Duffy is out for the season due to a left shoulder impingement.

The first time that sixth slot in the rotation comes around will be Tuesday, but Yost has not officially announced who will start that day. On Friday, he said it will be either Glenn Sparkman or Eric Skoglund.

Jakob Junis will start on Monday and Brad Keller will start on Wednesday, each on seven days of rest, but Yost does not plan to shuffle his rotation.

"I'm gonna keep everybody on line," Yost said on Saturday. "That's why we're going to a sixth [starter], just giving everybody a little bit of an extra break. We won't have one for just about the rest of the year. We've got one more off-day. We've gotta run the rest of the month without an off-day, really."

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Kansas City Royals, Ian Kennedy