LEADING OFF: Mets banged up already, Cubs unis a big sell

A look at what's happening around the majors Saturday:

---

METS NEED TO MEND

The ailing Mets continue a series against NL East rival Washington while dealing with a wave of injuries. Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night, and first baseman Lucas Duda and infielder Wilmer Flores were placed on the disabled list. Yoenis Cespedes also is likely to miss the three-game series because of a hamstring injury, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was out of the lineup Friday with a hamstring problem and catcher Travis d'Arnaud was sidelined with a bruised right wrist. ''I've got a good team,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''They're only good when they're playing.'' DeGrom (0-0, 1.89 ERA) may start against the Nats and Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.33), with Sean Gilmartin ready as a backup plan.

THAT'S CUB

Big shocker here: fans are buying up Cubs jerseys in bulk after Chicago ended its 108-year title drought last fall. Kris Bryant has overtaken retired Red Sox slugger David Ortiz as the top jersey seller in the majors, and teammates Anthony Rizzo (second), Javier Baez (fourth) and Kyle Schwarber (fifth) are right behind him. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is third, the same position he held behind Ortiz and Mike Trout in the list released during last summer's All-Star break.

STILL SWINGING

Ryan Howard is expected to play his first game with Atlanta's Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett. The 2006 NL MVP signed a minor league deal with the Braves this month after spending 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. The 37-year-old had been working out in extended spring training after hitting .196 with 25 home runs and 59 RBIs in 112 games last year.

RESTED AND READY

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.89) pitches against Cincinnati coming off six days' rest. Despite losing about 2 mph off his fastball velocity from last season, Arrieta has pitched well this year, striking out 21 batters and walking five over 18 2/3 innings. He got a couple extra days to prepare this week after swapping start days with Jon Lester, a move that kept Arrieta from making consecutive appearances against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

PELFREY RETURNS

Mike Pelfrey is back in the majors to make a spot start with the White Sox after James Shields was put on the disabled list Friday. Pelfrey was 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA in 24 games last year with Detroit and has allowed five earned runs in six innings this season with Triple-A Charlotte. Chicago will face Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 2.33).

---

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLBbaseball

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.