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Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber catches a fly ball by New York Yankees' Chase Headley in foul territory during the 12th inning of an interleague baseball game Sunday, May 7, 2017 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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New 10-day disabled list gives teams more flexibility

Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber catches a fly ball by New York Yankees' Chase Headley in foul territory during the 12th inning of an interleague baseball game Sunday, May 7, 2017 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Baseball’s new 10-day disabled list seems to be quite a hit so far.

The 15-day DL timetable was reduced to 10 this season, and already the effects are fairly clear. Through April 30, there had been 177 instances of a player going on the 10-day DL, according to Major League Baseball. Last season, there were only 149 placements onto the 15-day DL through April 30.

“I think it’s a much better deal,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday. “It makes it easier to DL these guys who are in that 7-to-10 day area. It certainly allows you to be creative, too. If you want to send a pitcher down and get some help, you can do that, too.”

Keeping an injured player active is a waste of a roster spot, but in the past, teams might have been hesitant to use the DL if there was a good chance the player could return in under 15 days. Now that the DL requires only a 10-day absence, it’s a bit more palatable .

Those 177 DL placements through April 30 took up a total of 3,587 days — that does not count days spent on the DL before opening day. That’s an average of about 20 days per DL placement, so in many cases, there won’t be any real difference between a 15-day DL and a 10-day DL.

Still, the shorter DL can be a big help sometimes.

“Love it,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. “Now we can make some decisions that don’t handicap teams as much. I think it’s a great idea. It serves the player and the team in a positive way.”

Here are a few more developments from around baseball:

SLUGGERS

The Nationals owe much of their success in recent years to a pitching staff anchored by Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, but this season, Washington has been on another level offensively. It leads the majors with 194 runs, 31 more than second-place Cincinnati. The gap between the Nationals and Reds is as large as the gap between Cincinnati and 19th-ranked Baltimore, which has 132 runs.

Washington has been led, predictably, by Bryce Harper, who looks poised to make another run at the MVP if he can stay healthy. The big surprise for the Nats has been the hitting of Ryan Zimmerman, who has been a mainstay on the team for over a decade but who hadn’t posted great numbers with the bat in quite some time. His .435 average leads the majors by a wide margin, and he also tops the National League in home runs (13), RBIs (34) and hits (47).

BOUNCING BACK

While Toronto and San Francisco have struggled to improve after poor starts, the St. Louis Cardinals have dug themselves out of an early hole. After starting 3-9, the Cardinals have won 13 of 18 and are only a half-game behind first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central.

HIGHLIGHT

Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber, not exactly known for his defensive ability, went tumbling head first into the stands to catch a foul popup in Sunday night’s game against the New York Yankees. Schwarber disappeared momentarily but held his glove up to confirm to the umpire that he had the ball. Chicago went on to lose 5-4 in 18 innings in a game that included a major league-record 48 strikeouts.

LINE OF THE WEEK

Marwin Gonzalez, Astros, homered twice, including a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning, to lift Houston to an 8-7 victory over Texas on Tuesday night. Gonzalez is off to a terrific start this season, with nine home runs and a .686 slugging percentage so far.

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AP Sports Writer Joe Kay contributed to this report.

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