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MLB Regular Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sun Sep 11th, 2016 06:36 am
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lobo316



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Sometimes it helps to get it all out.

With the team rapidly losing its grip on the AL East standings, the Toronto Blue Jays held a players-only meeting Saturday morning to air out some concerns within the confines of the clubhouse.

Slugger Edwin Encarnacion didn't reveal exactly what was said in the meeting by the squad's most veteran players, but did admit the team needs to start playing with a higher sense of urgency.

"We can't wait two more weeks, we have to do it now if we want to win. We've got to turn things around," he told Sportsnet's Shi Davidi. "It’s now or never."

Manager John Gibbons, who wasn't involved in the discussions, lauded his team for taking it upon themselves to sort out any issues as the club tries to bounce back from a 13-3 drubbing at the hands of their division rivals, the Boston Red Sox, a day earlier.

"I think it's good, they just wanted to talk some things out," Gibbons told Davidi. "That's usually typical."

Toronto is currently mired in a four-game losing streak, a slide that has seen them lose their hold on the top spot in the division to the Red Sox and a guaranteed place in the ALDS.

It's the first time the club has dropped four straight since May 15-18.

Now, the Blue Jays sit only a game ahead of both the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers in the wild-card race, while the New York Yankees - who swept the Blue Jays in their three-game series earlier in the week - have catapulted themselves to only a game back of a wild-card spot.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 11th, 2016 06:37 am
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lobo316



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Yet another member of the Los Angeles Dodgers' injury ward is about to return to action.

The Dodgers announced Saturday that outfielder Andre Ethier - who's missed the entire season to date with a broken leg suffered in the spring - has been activated from the 60-day disabled list and will be active for Saturday night's game against the Miami Marlins.

Pitcher Casey Fien was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

Ethier fractured his right tibia when he fouled a pitch off his shin during a spring-training game in late March. Initially estimated to miss only 10-14 weeks, the injury has now kept him out for most of the season. His only other game action this year came in the form of a nine-game rehab stint, during which he hit .290/.343/.419 and scored seven runs at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

The 34-year-old has spent his entire 10-year career with the Dodgers, though he was the subject of trade rumors during the winter. Ethier owns a career .286/.359/.464 slash line, with 159 home runs and 301 doubles across 5,361 career plate appearances.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 11th, 2016 06:38 am
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lobo316



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Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill is six outs away from history Saturday after Yasiel Puig's spectacular catch in left field kept his perfect game intact against the Miami Marlins through seven innings.

Puig, making his first start in left since 2013, chased down Marin Prado's deep drive and lunged for the incredible grab to preserve the perfecto. Hill was at 89 pitches, 62 of which were thrown for strikes, and leading 5-0 entering the eighth inning.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 11th, 2016 06:46 am
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lobo316



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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins have placed third baseman Trevor Plouffe on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique.

Plouffe got hurt on Wednesday against Kansas City.

The 30-year-old Plouffe also missed 32 games this season with a fractured left rib; last year, he played in a career-high 152 games. He was batting .277 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 26 games since being reinstated Aug. 8.

The Twins announced the move Saturday.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2016 05:53 pm
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lobo316



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In what may have been his final game at Rogers Centre, David Ortiz said goodbye to Toronto the only way he knows how.

With the Red Sox trailing by one, Ortiz smacked a three-run blast - his 41st home run at Rogers Centre, most at any road stadium - during the sixth-inning of Sunday's win over the Blue Jays.

Despite Ortiz's impressive numbers against his rivals from across the border, he gave the hometown fans nothing but respect after his final regular-season game in the city.

"Fans here in Canada are like the fans we have at home," Ortiz told reporters, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne. "They are cheering for their ball club, supporting it. As a player that's what you want to see. When you see that, you take the game to the next level."

With the game-winning blast, Ortiz passed Jimmie Foxx for 18th on the all-time home runs list with 535. He also broke Dave Winfield's record for most RBIs (110) for a player aged 40 and over, set in 1992 as a member of the Blue Jays.

The homer left Ortiz one shy of tying Mickey Mantle for 17th all time.

While his career stats against Toronto are impressive, Ortiz's farewell season has been one to remember across the league. He's hit .315/.403/.622 with 32 home runs and 110 RBIs, and has the league's second-highest wRC+ with 161, trailing only Mike Trout.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2016 05:54 pm
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lobo316



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Boston Red Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel became the quickest closer in major-league history to reach 250 saves, converting his 25th of the year Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 28-year-old recorded 250 career saves in 403 appearances, which is the fastest since former Red Sox Jonathan Papelbon, who previously held the record (250 saves in 451 appearances).

Kimbrel, a five-time All-Star, led the majors in saves from 2011 to 2014 and is currently sixth on the active all-time saves list.

Kimbrel has 25 saves for the Red Sox this season with a 2.71 ERA and 71 strikeouts.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2016 05:55 pm
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lobo316



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David Ortiz never seems to stop coming up big for the Boston Red Sox.

The legend continued building his resume in one of the great farewell seasons of all time when he took Toronto Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit deep to right field at Rogers Centre in the sixth inning. The three-run blast put the Red Sox back on top 10-8 in the pivotal AL East battle; they'd eventually hold on for a wild 11-8 victory to take the series.

Ortiz's homer was also notable from a personal standpoint. The 40-year-old's three RBIs on the play upped his season total to 110, breaking Dave Winfield's record for single-season runs batted in by a hitter aged 40 or over. Winfield drove in 108 with the Blue Jays in 1992 during his age-40 season.

The homer was also the 535th of Ortiz's legendary career, moving him past Jimmie Foxx and into sole possession of 18th place all time. He's now just one homer shy of tying Mickey Mantle for 17th.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2016 05:56 pm
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lobo316



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The Oakland Athletics released designated hitter Billy Butler on Sunday, the team announced.

Butler was involved in a clubhouse altercation in August with teammate Danny Valencia that resulted in Butler being sent to the disabled list with a concussion.

The 30-year-old briefly addressed the media before leaving Oakland's clubhouse and told reporters he doesn't believe the fight with Valencia is behind the release.

"I don’t think that incident played into it at all," Butler said, according to John Hickey of The Mercury News. "This opportunity gives me a chance to find the right fit for me. And I appreciate them for doing it when they did."



Athletics general manager David Forst later confirmed Butler's suspicion, admitting a subpar offensive performance, rather than the conflict, was the reasoning.

“Obviously he didn't perform last year up to what we expected and coming into this year it was tough for him to get going," Forst told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "We made some moves that took away some of his opportunities. ... He obviously still has the ability, it just wasn’t going to be a fit here."

"With three weeks left, it was a good time to turn the page."

Signed to a three-year, $30-million contract by the Athletics in 2014, Butler slashed a combined .258/.325/.394 in two seasons with Oakland.

He's slated to earn approximately $11.67 million in 2017.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2016 05:57 pm
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lobo316



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ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves have placed catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Pierzynski, 39, wouldn't say after Saturday night's 10-inning victory over the Mets if he's played his last game.

''I don't know the answer to that question,'' he said. ''It's been discussed, obviously, but I don't know.''

He was not at the ballpark Sunday, but his jersey still hung in his locker and his name plate was in place. None of Pierzynski's belongings had been removed.

If he's played his last game with the Braves, Pierzynski made it memorable. He tagged out Wilmer Flores in a collision near the plate and singled in the 10th.

Pierzynski got plenty of uncustomary attention after a routine game for Atlanta, the NL's worst team. Teammates splashed him with water. His young children came out on the field, cigars were passed out and the ball he singled was authenticated.

Pierzynski, in his 16th full season, is hitting just .219 with two homers and 23 RBIs in 247 at-bats.

The Braves selected catcher Blake Lalli from Triple-A Gwinnett to replace Pierzynski.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2016 05:58 pm
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lobo316



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John Gibbons clearly has some issues with the men in blue this season. He's also not been shy in letting the umpires know when he thinks they screwed up.

Gibbons' ejection for arguing a replay review during the ninth inning of Sunday's 11-8 loss to the Boston Red Sox was the eighth time this season the Toronto Blue Jays manager has been run from a game. That tied a franchise record for ejections in a single season, which he now shares with Hall of Famer Bobby Cox - the all-time leader in this category. Cox was tossed out of eight games while piloting the Blue Jays in 1985.

Earlier this year, Gibbons was tossed from three games in five days. The 54-year-old also served a suspension for returning to the field during his club's infamous brawl with the Texas Rangers in May.

The single-season record for managerial ejections is held by legendary New York Giants skipper John McGraw, who was tossed from 13 contests in 1905.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 02:17 am
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lobo316



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If Danny Salazar pitches again this season, he'll be doing so in October.

The Cleveland Indians announced Monday that the right-hander sustained a mild flexor strain and will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right arm Tuesday. He'll be unable to throw for at least 10 days following the procedure, and will be sidelined for at least three-to-four weeks.

Salazar underwent an MRI on Monday which confirmed the diagnosis, though there was no damage found to his ulnar collateral ligament.

Salazar left his last start Friday after just four innings when he felt tightness in his forearm. At the time, the Indians called the move a precaution, but it was later revealed he'd miss at least one start.

The 26-year-old got off to a stellar start this season before elbow inflammation sent him to the disabled list for several weeks in August. Since his return from that injury Aug. 18, Salazar's posted a 6.75 ERA over five starts.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 02:18 am
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lobo316



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Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang and Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales have been named MLB's Players of the Week.

Kang was on fire, slashing .522/.593/1.087 with four home runs and 10 RBIs while collecting 12 hits. In 84 games this year, Kang is batting .267/.350/.535 with 18 homers and 51 RBIs.

Morales continued his hitting ways, earning his second Player of the Week award this season.

This past week, Morales batted .409/.500/1.091 while belting five homers and driving in 14 runs.

In his second season with the Royals, Morales is slashing .259/.327/.466 with 27 homers, the most he's had since hitting 34 in 2009.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 02:26 am
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lobo316



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Joey Votto is putting together a second half for the history books.

The Cincinnati Reds first baseman, who struggled during the early part of the season, has been on fire in the second half, owning a .418 batting average in 182 at-bats since the All-Star break. If he's able to keep it up for the next few weeks, Votto will become the first player since Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 to hit .400 in the second half.

Hitting .400 in the latter half has been done 29 times since 1913, but only six times since the All-Star Game - now regarded as the unofficial dividing line between the halves - debuted in 1933.

"I watched George Brett on television flirting with .400 all season (in 1980)," Reds manager Brian Price told reporters, including Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, on Sunday. "I can't imagine it looked that dissimilar to what Joey's doing now, but over the course of an entire season."

Votto's in-season turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. At the end of May the 33-year-old was hitting just .213/.330/.404 with an uncharacteristically high 57 strikeouts. Since then, however, he's hitting .376/.491/.597, has walked 72 times to 56 strikeouts, and has taken over the league lead in both on-base percentage and bases on balls.

Though he clearly has the ability to reach the magic mark, Votto's insistent he's not thinking about what would be a historic feat if he can sustain his pace for the rest of September. He'll need to hit .342 over his final 21 contests in order to pull it off.

"I'm trying to do as well as I can. It's not something I'm thinking about at all. It's pretty unlikely. We'll see," Votto said.

"In my experience, all players feel a responsibility to do the best they can. I'm just one of the guys."

Price, who was a coach with the Seattle Mariners in 2004 and watched Ichiro's stellar second half up close, has a very different view of the situation. He's simply in awe of what his first baseman is doing at the plate.

"It's special when you see this type of productivity over this period of time," Price said. "I don't want to take it for granted. I think it's easy to do that when you're around it every day. The numbers don't lie. He's having an unbelievable second half.

"I don't even know how to explain it," he added.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 02:31 am
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lobo316



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If the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to make a run at the NL's second wild-card spot, they'll have to do so without Josh Harrison.

The club announced Monday that the second baseman was diagnosed with a right groin strain and will miss the next four-to-six weeks - likely ending his season.

Harrison departed Saturday's game while running to second in the sixth inning and was forced to leave. He was originally diagnosed with right groin discomfort, but the Pirates believe the injury was more than a day-to-day situation.

In 131 games, Harrison is hitting .283/.311/.388 with four home runs, 25 doubles, and 19 stolen bases.

The Pirates enter a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies sitting six games back of the second wild-card spot.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 02:54 am
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Benlen



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lobo316 wrote: The Oakland Athletics released designated hitter Billy Butler on Sunday, the team announced.

Signed to a three-year, $30-million contract by the Athletics in 2014, Butler slashed a combined .258/.325/.394 in two seasons with Oakland.

He's slated to earn approximately $11.67 million in 2017.

Another stupid move by A's management. They rather give Butler all that money than keep Josh Donaldson.



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