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ANAHEIM ANGELS
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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Signed 1B Russell Branyan. [5/26]
Placed 2B Howie Kendrick on 15-day disabled list. [5/26]

By signing Branyan, the Angels now have the potential to throw out some interesting lineups. Mark Trumbo and Kendrick have combined to start every game at first base, and Mike Scioscia could choose to give Branyan a few starts there, ideally against right-handed pitchers. The alternative is to let Bobby Abreu run free in left field while Branyan acts as the designated hitter.

Branyan needs to hit in order to have value, and he didn’t do too much hitting in Arizona while trapped inside of a three-way platoon at first base with Juan Miranda and Xavier Nady. The Angels have to hope a more consistent lineup spot will inspire Branyan’s bat, even if only to mimic his 2010 production.

CHICAGO CUBS
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 Chicago Cubs
Acquired SP Rodrigo Lopez from Braves for RP Ryan Buchter. [5/26]
Optioned RP Justin Berg to Triple-A Durham. [5/26]

The early read on Lopez’s situation with the Cubs is that he will be used in a swingman role. It’s easy to forget, but Lopez actually started 33 games for the Diamondbacks last season and tallied 200 innings pitched. The Cubs have Casey Coleman and Doug Davis starting games for them, so having another throwaway type to eat up whatever innings they leave on the table should come in handy every now and then.

Berg’s name is soon going to become its own term for roster management. To be “berged” means to be shuffled between the majors and Triple-A at the team’s convenience, as this is the third time the Cubs have optioned Berg to Iowa this season. There are worst fates in this game than being a middle reliever on the 40-man roster with various big league stints during a season, though, as you could be Buchter, who is now with his third organization. If you wonder why Buchter is so well-traveled, consider that he has walked 54 batters unintentionally in 71 Double-A innings pitched.

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pobothecat
5/27
I like this about the Braves. They care about their players. It becomes apparent that Minor and Teheran can handle the fill-in starts, they let Lopez move on to a better opportunity.