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MLB Regular Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 06:07 pm
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lobo316
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Chris Bassitt, the former 16th-round pick who became a major part of the Oakland Athletics' pitching staff last year, will be out of commission for at least the next 12 months, as the club announced Thursday that the 27-year-old right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery.

Bassitt, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox last December, opened the 2016 campaign in Oakland's rotation after a strong showing in the second half of 2015, but landed on the disabled list last week due to an elbow strain. After an MRI revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament, Dr. Timothy Kremchek recommended Tommy John surgery for Bassitt, who is scheduled to have his UCL repaired Friday at Beacon Orthopedics.

Over parts of two seasons with Oakland, Bassitt owns a 4.18 ERA (95 ERA+) with a 1.38 WHIP in 18 starts and five relief appearances, managing 87 strikeouts while allowing just 10 home runs in 114 innings. This year, before landing on the disabled list, Bassitt posted a 6.11 ERA in five starts, though he allowed just six earned runs in his first 19 1/3 innings (2.79) ERA before his elbow issues surfaced.

Bassitt has since been replaced in the rotation by Jesse Hahn, who opened the year on the disabled list due to elbow inflammation and forearm tightness.

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 06:08 pm
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lobo316
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Jose Altuve's first-inning blast against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on Thursday was special. Not because he practically hit that ball to Arlington, though, or because it marked the sixth time already this year that Altuve has led off the first inning with a long ball.

No, this one was special because Dillon, a young Houston Astros fan battling cancer, had specifically requested a homer from Houston's inimitable second baseman only a couple hours earlier.

Delivering on his promise wasn't enough, though. Altuve - the beloved Venezuelan whose 5-foot-6 frame belies his abilities - decided to add a double and a pair of singles, as well, finishing 4-for-4 in another virtuoso performance that offered a silver lining in his club's 6-3 loss.

This kind of performance is becoming increasingly routine for Altuve, an All-Star three times in four full seasons with the Astros who has led the American League in batting average (2014), hits (2014, 2015), and stolen bases (2014, 2015). He already has five three-hit games this year and double-digit steals. On Wednesday night, Altuve finished a triple shy of the cycle.

On Friday, Altuve will celebrate his 26th birthday, and if Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais is lucky, the dynamic second baseman will get the night off as a gift from his skipper, A.J. Hinch.

"That little guy at (second base) is some kind of player," said Servais. "It's not a good feeling when you see him walking to the plate."

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 06:09 pm
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lobo316
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On Tuesday, having watched the Diamondbacks drop four of their previous five games, one Arizona sports columnist opined that another bad month "might make things very uncomfortable" for manager Chip Hale, whose club is now mired in fourth place in the National League West at 12-17.

Tony La Russa, the club's chief baseball officer, doesn't see it that way.

"There's no sense to that -€“ none," La Russa told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. "I have a lot of respect for (Arizona Republic columnist) Dan (Bickley). I don't know how he figured that. Maybe it's because of the expectations.

"But if you backed up five days, we're at .500, a (half-game) out of first place. We had a difficult three against Colorado. We've lost two in Miami. You take a snapshot when you take it. But no, the issue is not Chip Hale."

Though Hale - now in his second season as Arizona's manager - may be a convenient scapegoat, the Diamondbacks' most obvious problems are on the pitcher's mound. Through the first four weeks of the 2016 campaign, despite adding both Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller this offseason, the Diamondbacks rank among the bottom five in the NL in ERA (5.01), WHIP (1.46), and fielding independent pitching (4.51).

While the Diamondbacks have done a better job putting runs on the board as of late, meanwhile, their lineup has been middling overall, as Arizona ranks seventh in the NL this year in runs per game (4.48), OPS (.775), and weighted runs created plus (99).

So, La Russa said, directing criticism at Hale just doesn't make much sense.

"I believe in the talent and the character of the club. I definitely believe in the manager and the coaching staff," La Russa said.

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 06:36 pm
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Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery, reports Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, citing sources.

The 27-year-old was scheduled to start Friday, but the club scratched him citing dehydration and fatigue.

Passan reports the tear was found Thursday, and Richards will not return until the middle of 2017 if he decides to have the surgery.

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 06:40 pm
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The San Diego Padres remain the only team in Major League Baseball without a no-hitter to their credit, despite the best efforts of right-hander Colin Rea, who tossed 6 2/3 innings of hitless ball Thursday.

Rea held a powerful New York Mets offense without a knock until Yoenis Cespedes used a Padres shift against them in the seventh, smacking a grounder through the right side after San Diego lined up three infielders to the left of second base.

"I loved watching Colin chase (the no-hitter) for as long as he got the opportunity to chase it tonight," manager Andy Green told reporters in postgame comments. "It would've been great to go a little bit longer. Somebody should've just told me not to shift on Cespedes."

Green has successfully employed the same kind of shift on more than one occasion throughout the season, so the idea wasn't an unfamiliar one to the team. It just happened to come with unfortunate results.

"That's obviously tough," said first baseman Wil Myers, who was the only position player on the right side when the hit occurred. "Everybody out there knew what was going on. But that's the way the game goes sometimes. We leave a hole open and a good hitter exploits that."

Rea wound up lasting eight innings, allowing three hits and one run in the process, and despite losing his no-hitter to the shift, was appreciative of the good things it did for him throughout the contest.

"The shift came into play multiple times before that. It saved more hits tonight than we gave up," he explained.

Rea moved to 3-1 on the season, lowering his ERA to 3.82 with the sparkling performance.

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 09:17 pm
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Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is not only a fan of keeping the game fun, but he'd also like to see it make strides in expansion.

According to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi, Manfred spoke with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone of CSN Chicago on Thursday, where he said he'd "love to see" MLB expand after a new labor deal is finalized, and stadium situations in Tampa Bay and Oakland are resolved.

Manfred went on to name Montreal and Mexico City as front-runners for possible expansion sites, with the latter being of interest to the league, who are looking to break into new ground.

The idea of expanding into new cities is a much-talked about topic across baseball and after Montreal sold out two exhibition games between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox prior to the 2016 campaign, it makes sense.

Manfred thinks expanding to 32 teams in the near future is inevitable.

"I have said publicly that I think baseball's a growth sport, a growth business, that sooner or later growth businesses expand," Manfred told the Associated Press on April 21. "If we were to expand, I do think a city that makes sense geographically - meaning in terms of realistic travel distances and is outside of the 48 contiguous states - would be positive choice for us in terms of growing the game."

This wouldn't be Montreal's first dive into the MLB pool. The Expos were a member of the league from 1969-2004 before the franchise moved to Washington and took on the Nationals moniker.

After a 12-year hiatus, Mexico City hosted two spring games between the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres last January.

Portland has also been named as a potential expansion destination by Manfred in the past.

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 09:24 pm
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After getting off to an 0-9 start, the Minnesota Twins continue to maintain the worst record in the American League and sit a game behind the rebuilding Atlanta Braves for the worst record in baseball.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan has been patient with the club thus far, but thinks it may be time to make some changes.

"We’re not playing too well," Ryan told the Star Tribune. "Consequently, we are going to have to start making some difficult decisions for our players, whether it is their near future or distant. It is not going good enough for us to wait. We are going to have to make some decisions."

Minnesota has already reportedly placed pitchers Tommy Milone and Casey Fien on waivers Thursday after demoting Byron Buxton to the minors last week.

Ryan expects to look both within and outside the organization for ways to help turn things around before they get out of hand.

"I have always liked this team and the character on the club," Ryan explained. "We’ve got some veterans. We’ve got some middle-of-the-road guys, and we’ve got some young ones. I thought we would be OK, but we’re not. Right now we have to face reality. We’re in bad shape. We’re in a difficult spot, and we can’t let it keep going."

Minnesota finished last season behind only the reigning World Series champion Kansas City Royals in the American League Central with a 83-79 record.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2016 01:00 am
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NEW YORK (AP) Zika virus concerns have forced the Pirates-Marlins series out of Puerto Rico, with baseball saying the two games will instead be played this month in Miami.

Major League Baseball and the players' union made the announcement Friday. Pittsburgh and Miami will meet May 30-31 at Marlins Park.

The union had asked Commissioner Rob Manfred to relocate the games after several players expressed fears about getting and possibly transmitting the Zika virus.

"After discussing the issue with all involved parties, and consulting with federal and Puerto Rican government officials at the highest levels, commissioner Manfred decided that the players who objected to the trip because of their specific family situations should not be forced to travel to Puerto Rico," read the joint statement released Friday. "Because too many regulars on both clubs fell into that category, commissioner Manfred had no choice but to relocate the games."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said Zika can cause a birth defect called microcephaly, where infants are born with unusually small heads. The virus is most often spread by mosquito bites, but it also can be spread through sexual intercourse.

The CDC had spoken to players and staff from the Pirates and Marlins about the potential risks.

Pittsburgh and the Marlins were originally scheduled to play the series in Miami when the original draft of the schedule was made last year. On Nov. 19, MLB said the games would be played in Puerto Rico, the homeland of Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente and many other big leaguers.

MLB has played several regular-season games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan in the past.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2016 01:01 am
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The struggling New York Yankees were dealt yet another blow Friday when starting pitcher CC Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 5, with a left groin strain.

Sabathia's injury couldn't come at a worse time for the last-place Yankees, who lost Alex Rodriguez to a hamstring strain Wednesday, and are mired in a deep season-long slump. Entering play Friday, the club had lost eight of its last 10 to fall seven games behind division-leader Boston.

The news also came at an unfortunate time for Sabathia, personally.

The embattled left-hander, who returned this season after entering a rehab center for alcohol problems last fall, turned in his best start of 2016 on Wednesday when he tossed seven scoreless innings to snap New York's six-game losing streak. Through five starts, Sabathia struck out 21 batters over 28 1/3 innings while managing a 3.81 ERA.

Manager Joe Girardi told reporters Friday that Sabathia first felt the injury during the fourth inning of Wednesday's win over Baltimore, and the strain was revealed in an MRI after the game.

In a corresponding move, the club selected veteran left-hander Phil Coke from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and signed him to a major-league contract. Selected in the 26th round of the 2002 draft, Coke played the first two seasons of his career in the Bronx, compiling a 3.74 ERA over 84 relief appearances.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2016 01:03 am
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The 2016 Major League Baseball campaign is just over a month old and more players have been suspended for performance-enhancing drug use than all of last season.

ESPN's Jayson Stark spoke with MLB officials who told him there are several explanations for the spike in suspensions, which includes more frequent testing, better technology, and increased use of the drug Turinabol.

Stark writes testing has increased by close to 3,000 more tests since 2014 as a result of the 2013 Biogenesis investigation which led to the suspensions of Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.

As per a May 4 report from "Outside the Lines," MLB is in the middle of processing several cases of positive PED tests, with at least one suspension expected to be announced in the next few days.

None of the players to be suspended are believed to be "big names," according to T.J. Quinn.

Eight suspensions have already been dished out so far this season, including Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello, and New York Mets right-hander Jenrry Mejia, who received a lifetime ban after his third drug violation.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2016 01:03 am
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The Los Angeles Angels' pitching woes went from bad to worse Friday after the club revealed that left-hander Andrew Heaney will rehab his ailing elbow in hopes of avoiding reconstructive surgery.

The news came just hours after it was reported that ace Garrett Richards is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the season.

"(He's) opting for conservative care like other pitchers have done," Angels general manager Billy Eppler told the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher on Friday.

Eppler noted that multiple doctors reviewed Heaney's medicals, and their findings ranged from "normal wear and tear" to "some degree of tear," according to Fletcher.

Heaney, 24, who was on the disabled list with what was listed as a strained flexor muscle, hasn't pitched in a game since April 5. Shortly after Richards' news was announced, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan that Heaney was rehabbing in order to avoid Tommy John surgery.

A potential loss of both Heaney and Richards for the long term would play a huge factor in the team's potential contention in the competitive American League West.

L.A. is already without veteran C.J Wilson, who's on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, as well as decreased velocity from Jered Weaver and the recent demotion of Matt Shoemaker.

Heaney, a former Miami Marlins first-round draft choice has only made one start for the Angels this season, after making 18 in 2015, and owns a career ERA of 4.09 in 26 appearances, 24 of which have been starts.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2016 01:04 am
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Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the team announced.

The club did not provide a timetable for recovery, though the Boston Red Sox revealed last week that Pablo Sandoval would miss the remainder of the season after undergoing a similar procedure.

Mesoraco was placed on the disabled list Monday after tests showed damage to his left labrum, the latest in a series of ongoing issues plaguing the former All-Star catcher. The 27-year-old also battled sore quadriceps during April and has appeared in just 16 of the Reds' first 25 games.

An All-Star in 2014, Mesoraco was trying to work his way back into an everyday role this summer after undergoing season-ending hip surgery last June. In 23 games last season, he struggled to a .178/.275/.244 slash line with just two RBIs.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2016 05:25 am
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The reeling New York Yankees suffered yet another blow Friday night, as center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury will undergo an MRI after leaving his club's series opener against the Boston Red Sox with tightness in his right hip.

Ellsbury appeared to hurt himself while attempting to steal first in the bottom of the first inning, wincing and grabbing his hip after beating the throw from Christian Vazquez and eventually limping home on a double from Brian McCann. After scoring, the 32-year-old immediately headed to the clubhouse, and was replaced in center field by Aaron Hicks - he moved over from right - in the top of the second.

Ellsbury, who managed a .695 OPS in 26 games prior to Friday's contest at Yankee Stadium, dealt with problems in his right hip last year, missing a couple games in August after hurting himself diving for a ball.

If his hip problems are more serious this time around, though, the Yankees could be in trouble. Earlier this week, Alex Rodriguez landed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, and the club announced Friday morning that left-hander C.C. Sabathia will miss at least the next 15 days with a groin issue.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2016 06:10 am
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Things are a mess in Anaheim right now.

Absent from the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, the Angels have endured a familiar, dispiriting start to the 2016 campaign, stumbling to a 13-15 record with an aging roster overflowing with bloated contracts. Albert Pujols is hitting .198. Jered Weaver's fastball can't break a pane of glass. Their farm system is a mess, too, and Garrett Richards looks poised for Tommy John surgery.

Still, bleak as it is, general manager Billy Eppler made one thing perfectly clear Friday: Mike Trout isn't going anywhere.

"We have no intent or desire to consider moving Mike Trout -€“ he's not moving," Eppler told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. "He's an impact player, a huge piece in a championship core."

Impact player? Talk about an understatement. In more than a century of Major League Baseball, no player has ever been as good as Trout at the same stage in his career. Trout, already an All-Star four times and MVP once, compiled more WAR through his age-23 season than any player ever, and is off to another sublime start this year, hitting .317/.400/.596 (181 wRC+) with seven homers in his first 28 games.

Nevertheless, Eppler said, even though Trout - who has five years and about $138 million left on his deal - would command perhaps an unprecedented haul in a trade, the first-year GM isn't ready to start the rebuild.

"This team was up against a lot of adversity last year and fought to the end," Eppler said. "We've got a lot of character, a lot of the same guys on the club. They will not back down from a fight."

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 Posted: Sun May 8th, 2016 08:15 am
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Bartolo Colon electrified the baseball world on Saturday when the 42-year-old pitcher hit the first home run of his 19-year career off of San Diego Padres starter James Shields.
After fans lit up social media with reactions, memes, slow-motion videos, and general praise for "Big Sexy," the Elias Sports Bureau revealed Colon's blast also made history.
Colon's dinger made him the oldest player ever to hit his first career home run (42 years, 349 days), unseating Randy Johnson as the previous holder.
The Dominican hurler is the fifth-oldest pitcher to hit a home run since 1913. Philadelphia Athletics hurler Jack Quinn, who homered at age 46 in 1930, holds the record. He's also just the third Mets player over age 42 to hit a home run, joining Willie Mays and Julio Franco, according to ESPN Stats.
Colon, however, will need a few more seasons in the big leagues if he wants to surpass Franco (47) as the oldest player to ever hit a long ball in MLB history.








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