LEADING OFF: Darvish, Cole return from DL; Cueto in SD again

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DARVISH RETURNS: Yu Darvish makes his second return from injury this season when the slumping Rangers face the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Darvish has been sidelined since June 8 because of right shoulder pain, but is coming off two minor league rehab appearances. He's 2-0 with a 2.87 ERA in three outings after a late start to his season following 2015 Tommy John surgery. The Japanese right-hander is expected to throw 85-90 pitches for AL West-leading Texas, which has dropped eight of 10.

BUC IS BACK: Pirates ace Gerrit Cole (5-4) comes off the disabled list to start in Washington. The 25-year-old righty hasn't pitched since June 10 because of a strained right triceps. Cole, fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting last year, didn't know if there would be any limitations on him in his first start back. "I'm just excited to not sit on the sidelines all of the time," he said. "I'm sure they'll take it inning by inning, see how the game is unfolding." To open a spot in the rotation, Pittsburgh moved struggling lefty Jonathon Niese to the bullpen Friday.

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A WINNER?: The Houston Astros scheduled a news conference for Saturday amid reports the club has signed Cuban free agent infielder Yulieski Gurriel. The team had no official comment Friday night about the move, which was first reported by MLB.com. Gurriel defected from Cuba in February and has been one of the most sought-after international free agents. "Until things are official, I'm not going to comment on it," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said in Seattle. "I will say that we worked him out, we had interest in him. We've been all over the background check and things like that. We'll have to wait for the official announcement."

STAY RIGHT HERE: Johnny Cueto (13-1, 2.47 ERA) makes his second consecutive start in San Diego, hoping for a better result this time when he pitches for the Giants against the Padres. Cueto was the starter and loser for the National League in Tuesday's All-Star Game at Petco Park, where he gave up three runs and five hits — including two homers — over 1 2/3 innings against the AL.

BIG MAC: Brandon McCarthy tries to win his third straight start since returning from Tommy John surgery when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit Archie Bradley (3-5) and Arizona. McCarthy has a 2.70 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 10 innings. He has permitted only five hits.

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