USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NL CENTRAL - News and notes by John Perrotto

Chicago Cubs

Right-han­der Yu Darvish is out for the sea­son, but he at least is happy to fi­nally know the source of his el­bow pain.

An MRI taken last week re­vealed he has a stress re­ac­tion. He has been on the dis­abled list since May 21, di­ag­nosed with a strained right tri­ceps and an im­pinge­ment in his shoul­der.

Darvish made two re­hab starts with low Class A South Bend (In­di­ana) on June 25 and Aug. 19. He left the sec­ond out­ing after one in­ning.

“At first I was told it was a sim­ple tight­ness, but I al­ways knew there was some­thing else other than the tight­ness,” Darvish said. “With the di­ag­no­sis, I’m re­lieved to know what that some­thing is.”

Darvish, who does not need surgery, went 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA after sign­ing a six-year, $126 mil­lion con­tract as a free agent in Fe­bru­ary.

❚ Sec­ond base­man Daniel Mur­phy went 9-for-23 (.391) with two home runs and five RBI in his first five games after be­ing ac­quired from the Nationals in a trade Aug. 21. Javier Baez moved from sec­ond base to short­stop when Ad­di­son Rus­sell (sprained left mid­dle fin­ger) went on the dis­abled list.

Cincin­nati Reds

The Reds had high hopes for 25-year-old right-han­der Luis Castillo this year fol­low­ing a fine rookie sea­son.

In 2017, Castillo went 3-7 with a 3.12 ERA in 15 starts. But he is 7-11 with a 5.07 ERA in 26 starts this year, and his strug­gles re­turned Aug. 25 when the Cubs tagged him for five runs in 31⁄3 in­nings in a game at Chicago.

De­spite the rough out­ing, there are signs Castillo is re­gain­ing his rookie form. In his pre­vi­ous eight starts, he had a 2.96 ERA and gave up more than three runs just once.

“Some­times the hit­ters will let you know if you’re miss­ing with your spots and they take ad­van­tage of it,” in­terim man­ager Jim Rig­gle­man said. ❚ Right fielder Scott Schebler re­turned from the dis­abled list Aug. 25 after miss­ing nearly six weeks be­cause of a sprained right shoul­der. His re­hab as­sign­ment with Class AAA Louisville (Ken­tucky) was stopped Aug. 1 after seven games, then re­sumed Aug. 20 for four games at Class AA Pen­sacola (Florida).

Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers

Corey Knebel has gone from pitch­ing in the All-Star Game in 2017 to be­ing sent to the mi­nor leagues in the lat­ter stages of this sea­son.

The Brew­ers op­tioned their for­mer closer to Class AAA Colorado Springs (Colorado) on Aug. 24 to work on his pitch­ing me­chan­ics. The right-han­der was 0-2 with a 11.37 ERA in his last seven games and had a 7.24 ERA in 14 games since the All-Star break.

“This isn’t re­ally a de­mo­tion. It’s a break,” gen­eral man­ager David Stearns said. “Al­low him some time to re­ally work on some things in bullpen ses­sions. It’s re­ally tough for ac­tive re­lief pitch­ers at the ma­jor league level to do that dur­ing the nor­mal course of a sea­son be­cause they need to pitch in games ev­ery sin­gle night.”

Left-han­der Josh Hader and right-han­der Jeremy Jef­fress have been shar­ing the closer du­ties in re­cent weeks.

❚ Right-han­der Joakim So­ria, who had 16 saves for the White Sox this sea­son, was ac­ti­vated from the dis­abled list when Knebel was de­moted. So­ria had been side­lined for two weeks be­cause of a strained right thigh.

Pitts­burgh Pi­rates

Right-han­der Chris Archer doesn’t have much ex­pe­ri­ence hit­ting at the ma­jor league level. He spent his first seven sea­sons with the Rays in the Amer­i­can League, where the des­ig­nated hit­ter rule is in ef­fect, un­til be­ing traded to the Pi­rates on July 31.

Archer es­caped se­ri­ous in­jury dur­ing a bat­ting mishap Aug. 20 against the Braves. He fell back­ward while un­suc­cess­fully check­ing his swing dur­ing a strike­out and land­ing awk­wardly on his left leg, then left the game an in­ning later.

“The one thing that I’ve al­ways prided my­self in in this game is be­ing on the field, but I think it was the smart move,” Archer said of be­ing taken out.

Archer made his next start Aug. 26 but gave up six runs in four in­nings at Mil­wau­kee.

❚ Left-han­der Steven Brault was re­called from Class AAA In­di­anapo­lis on Aug. 20 and pitched a com­bined six score­less in­nings in his first two re­lief ap­pear­ances. He had a 4.93 ERA in his first 31 games.

St. Louis Car­di­nals

Bench coach Mike Shildt was a rel­a­tive un­known when he was pro­moted to in­terim man­ager after Mike Ma­theny was fired one day be­fore the start of the All-Star break.

Shildt joined the ma­jor league coach­ing staff last sea­son. Be­fore that he was a scout and mi­nor league coach and man­ager in the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

How­ever, he’s mak­ing a case to re­turn as man­ager. The Car­di­nals went 26-12 in Shildt’s first 38 games after com­pil­ing a 47-46 record un­der Ma­theny.

The hot streak pro­pelled the Car­di­nals to the top of the NL wild-card stand­ings.

“Shildt’s been re­ally good at let­ting us play our own game and let­ting us play the way we want to play. That’s the big­gest thing,” sec­ond base­man Kolten Wong said. “We have so many dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties and dif­fer­ent guys in this club­house. You just have to al­low peo­ple to be them­selves, and even­tu­ally peo­ple are go­ing to mesh.”

❚ First base­man-out­fielder Matt Adams was claimed off waivers from the Nationals on Aug. 21. He spent the first six years of his ca­reer with the Car­di­nals be­fore be­ing traded to the Braves in May 2017.

“That was one of the stranger in­nings you’ll ever see.”

Craig Coun­sell Brew­ers man­ager, after his team gave up four runs in one in­ning against the Reds with­out a ball leav­ing the in­field


Mike Shildt has led the Car­di­nals, whose key play­ers in­clude first base­man Matt Car­pen­ter, to a 26-12 record since he be­came in­terim man­ager in mid-July.

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