If Cubs get to World Series, injured slugger could make surprise return


If Cubs get to World Series, injured slugger could make surprise return

As if the possibility of clinching their first National League pennant in 71 years didn’t create enough drama and excitement in Wrigleyville, the Cubs have sent Kyle Schwarber to the Arizona Fall League, hoping he can add another chapter to his October legend.
Schwarber earned this chance after beating every expectation in his recovery from major surgery on his left knee in April. The Cubs haven’t ruled anything in or out – and still need to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers one more time this weekend – but they want to see how he responds on Saturday with the Mesa Solar Sox and ultimately decide if he would be a viable designated-hitter option for the World Series.
Schwarber gained clearance on Monday from Dr. Daniel Cooper, the head team physician for the Dallas Cowboys who reconstructed his ACL and repaired his LCL after a devastating outfield collision during the first week of the regular season. Schwarber immediately phoned president of baseball operations Theo Epstein after the six-month checkup.   
“I wasn’t expecting the call,” Epstein said. “We got news that was beyond better than we could have expected by any reasonable standard. 
“He asked for a chance to do this. And with as hard as Kyle has worked and as much as this means to him – and potentially to us – we wanted to give him that opportunity.”


Giants sign veteran pitcher Kevin Gausman to one-year, $9M contract


Giants sign veteran pitcher Kevin Gausman to one-year, $9M contract

The Giants added to their rotation Tuesday by signing veteran free-agent pitcher Kevin Gausman, the team announced. 

San Francisco signed Gausman to a one-year, $9 million contract, but NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported he can earn an extra $1 million in bonuses.

Gausman, who turns 29 years old in January, was the No. 4 pick on the 2012 MLB Draft but has bounced around to multiple teams. He went 3-9 with a 5.72 ERA between the Braves and Reds last season. 

The right-hander was both a starter and reliever in 2019. He started 17 games while coming out of the bullpen in another 14. Gausman went 3-8 with a 6.37 ERA as a starter and 0-1 with a 3.10 ERA out of the 'pen. 

But Giants manager Gabe Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the plan is to use Gausman as a starter.

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Zaidi expressed a desire to add pitching at the Winter Meetings, and he has done that in Gausman -- a former top prospect who has experience starting and relieving. 

Giants make bet on Kevin Gausman's upside, add him to rotation mix


Giants make bet on Kevin Gausman's upside, add him to rotation mix

SAN DIEGO -- On the first day of the Winter Meetings, Farhan Zaidi said he was confident the Giants would leave San Diego with another starting pitcher. He didn't wait much longer to get that done. 

The Giants signed right-hander Kevin Gausman to a one-year deal that will pay the 29-year-old $9 million and includes another $1 million in performance bonuses for games started. Gausman, 29, pitched both in the rotation and out of the bullpen last season for the Braves and Reds, but manager Gabe Kapler said the Giants signed Gausman to fill a rotation spot.

"The work that he did in the Cincinnati bullpen was exciting to all of us," Kapler said. "Specifically, he brought back his slider, but he really started to execute his fastball and attack the strike zone and he had success."The Giants are hopeful those adjustments can now carry over to starting. Gausman was the fourth overall pick by the Orioles in the 2012 Draft but has never quite lived up to that hype. He has a 4.30 ERA in 191 career games but has had stretches of sustained dominance. 

When he was acquired by the Braves in 2018, Gausman posted a 2.87 ERA in 10 starts down the stretch. He struggled at the start of 2019 but found new life in the Cincinnati bullpen in the second half, with a 4.03 ERA in 15 appearances and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings. 

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Gausman is someone the Giants tried to acquire last year and that Scott Harris and Kapler had both liked at their previous spots. 

"He's obviously been a starter his whole career and that's obviously a need of ours, too," Zaidi said. 

Zaidi said the Giants are still discussing deals with other rotation options, but for now Gausman joins a group that includes Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Tyler Beede, Logan Webb and Tyler Anderson, the lone left-hander of that collection. 

The Giants hope they can unlock something in Gausman and get him to a consistent point as a starter, but if that doesn't work, they already have the blueprint. Drew Pomeranz was signed to a one-year deal last offseason but pitched his way out of the rotation. When his velocity ticked up in the bullpen, Zaidi flipped him for Mauricio Dubon.