Matt Szczur

Phillies to sign Matt Szczur, according to sources

Phillies to sign Matt Szczur, according to sources

The Phillies are about to sign a player with a resume chock-full of impressive — and important — accomplishments.

According to sources, Matt Szczur, the 30-year-old outfielder from South Jersey, has agreed to sign a minor-league contract with the Phils. The deal will include an invite to major-league spring training camp.

Szczur — pronounced SEE-zur — has spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres. He is a product of Lower Cape May Regional High School and Villanova University. He was a two-sport star at Villanova.

On the football field, Szczur was a dynamic receiver and return specialist for Villanova’s 2009 NCAA FCS national championship team. He racked up 270 all-purpose yards in the title game win over Montana and was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.

On the baseball field, Szczur was an all-Big East player and a fifth-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2010. He played in 107 games for the Cubs team that won the World Series in 2016.

Szczur’s accomplishments extend beyond the playing field.

Off the field, he did something extraordinary when he took time off from his junior year baseball season at Villanova in 2010 to donate bone marrow that ultimately helped save the life of a young girl from Ukraine who had battled leukemia. Szczur’s life-saving gift started with his involvement in the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation. Talley was Szczur’s football coach at Villanova. Szczur has subsequently started his own charitable enterprise, the Szcz The Day Foundation.

Szczur hit .259 with five homers and 24 RBIs in 185 at-bats for the World Series champion Cubs in 2016. He was traded to San Diego in 2017. He spent parts of that season and the 2018 season in the majors with that club. He signed a minor-league deal with Arizona last season and hit .322 with eight homers, 28 RBIs and a .967 OPS in 44 games at Triple A Reno. His season was shortened by a quad injury.

The Phillies are set at the corner outfield spots with Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper and Adam Haseley is going to get a chance to hold down the center field spot with Roman Quinn in the picture as well. Szczur will give the Phillies some outfield depth and his ability to play center field is a plus. He is an excellent defender at all three outfield positions and could push for a spot on the big club as active rosters will expand from 25 to 26 men in 2020.

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MLB Notes: Cubs cut Villanova product Matt Szczur

MLB Notes: Cubs cut Villanova product Matt Szczur

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have designated reserve outfielder Matt Szczur for assignment to make room for left-hander Rob Zastryzny.

Szczur was drafted by the Cubs in 2010 and made his major league debut in 2014. He likely will attract some interest on the open market, so he could be headed out of town via trade.

Zastryzny was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. He was 0-1 with a save and a 6.88 ERA in seven relief appearances in the minors.

The move gives manager Joe Maddon another option for his overworked bullpen.

Zastryzny was available for Saturday night's game against the New York Yankees. He made his big league debut last year and went 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in eight appearances.

Orioles: Closer Britton on DL with forearm strain
BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Zach Britton is back on the disabled list with a left forearm strain -- the same injury that recently sidelined him for two weeks.

Britton came off the 10-day disabled list Tuesday and appeared in two games before feeling discomfort in his pitching arm. He had an MRI on Friday and was placed on the 10-day DL on Saturday.

The left-hander acknowledged that he probably came back too soon.

Britton helped Baltimore reach the playoffs last season by converting all 47 of his save chances and compiling a 0.54 ERA. This year, he's 5 for 5 in save opportunities with a 1.00 ERA.

He intends to visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, an orthopedist based in Los Angeles, on Monday.

Mets: Plawecki says sex toy in photo team tweeted was a prank
NEW YORK -- Kevin Plawecki was driving home from Citi Field when his phone buzzed. The New York Mets had tweeted a photograph of T.J. Rivera wearing the star-of-the-game crown in their clubhouse after a victory over Miami, and the background included Plawecki's locker -- and a clearly visible sex toy.

"Somebody said check the internet, and it just kind of blew up from there," the backup catcher said Saturday. "I've got nothing to do with it, I know that. I didn't know about it. It's not mine. Nothing to do with that thing."

Plawecki said the toy was gone Saturday and he did not know what happened to it.

"There are some good pranksters on this team," he said. "It's definitely awkward. It's weird, but at the same it is kind of funny, but by no means does it reflect who I am as a person."

Plawecki said he was not making an effort to find out who left the toy in his locker Friday night.

Mets manager Terry Collins referenced the prank in his pregame news conference.

"This going out with that other photo?" he told someone snapping a shot. "Just wanted to make sure."

Red Sox: Price could rejoin team by end of May
MINNEAPOLIS -- Boston ace David Price could return to the rotation by the end of May, provided his continues to feel good in his recovery from a strained left elbow.

Price, who was 17-9 last season and pitched a major-league leading 230 innings, has been doing well throwing simulated games, and manager John Farrell said Saturday that his next simulated session -- scheduled for Tuesday -- would ideally be his last before beginning a rehab assignment.

"At that point, provided he continues to feel as he's doing, we'd look at a game after that," Farrell said before Boston's game at Minnesota, adding he thinks Price could work up to four innings in his first appearance.

Price could make that first rehab appearance as early as next weekend, and Farrell said he would make "more than a couple of starts." If all goes well, he could potentially rejoin the team for a month-end series against the Chicago White Sox.

In the meantime, Farrell said Price has been treating the simulated sessions "as a game day."

Mets: Syndergaard return unlikely until after All-Star break
NEW YORK -- Mets star pitcher Noah Syndergaard has been told not to throw for six weeks, making it likely he won't return to the mound for New York until after the All-Star break.

Syndergaard partially tore a muscle behind his arm against Washington last weekend, and he spoke Saturday for the first time since he traveled to Los Angeles and was examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Syndergaard and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said once the pitcher resumes throwing, he will need lengthy period to build up his arm, equivalent to a spring training,

Alderson says "realistically it's going to take a while" and "it's going to be much later in the season." Alderson says Syndergaard could be put on the 60-day disabled list.

"His work days have been very good."