Here is the latest out of the National League Central:

  • Reds right-hander Sonny Gray will make his 2021 debut Friday or Saturday, manager David Bell told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic and other reporters. The Reds have gone without Gray because of a back injury, depriving them of one of their best starters. Their Gray-less rotation has received quality work across a combined six starts from Wade Miley, Jeff Hoffman and Tyler Mahle. On the other hand, ace Luis Castillo has been surprisingly inconsistent.
  • Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks wasn’t feeling well heading into Tuesday’s start, so the Cubs made him a late scratch against Milwaukee and gave the ball to Alec Mills instead. The team said it scratched Hendricks “out of an abundance of caution,” which is understandable when considering the Cubs’ current health situation. They’ve sent four players to the COVID list this week, and coaches Craig Driver and Chris Young have tested positive for the virus in recent days.
  • Lefty Kwang Hyun Kim will join the Cardinals’ rotation on Saturday in his first appearance of 2021, while righty Daniel Ponce de Leon will move to their bullpen, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Kim, who began dealing with back problems last month, was an eminently valuable part of the Cardinals’ pitching staff as a rookie in 2020. Across eight appearances (seven starts) and 39 innings, Kim notched a miserly 1.62 ERA. Some of his other numbers weren’t nearly as impressive (examples: 7.8 percent K-BB ratio, 5.00 SIERA), but he helped his cause by tamping down hard contact and keeping the ball on the ground at a 50 percent clip.
  • Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain exited their game versus Chicago with “left quad discomfort,” Adam McCalvy of tweets. The Brewers shifted Jackie Bradley Jr. to center and brought in Billy McKinney to handle left when Cain departed. Cain also dealt with a quad issue (on his right side) in spring training, but that didn’t prevent him from debuting on time this season. It remains to be seen whether this will cost him any time.