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 Posted: Wed May 10th, 2017 03:08 am
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Tony Gwynn, the late San Diego Padres icon, was honored Tuesday in his hometown of Poway, Calif., where an 11-foot statue of the affable Hall of Famer was unveiled as part of a memorial ceremony on what would've been his 57th birthday.

Family forever. #MrPadre pic.twitter.com/oC6mbQgQZF

— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 9, 2017
The statue, depicting a smiling Gwynn in a Padres uniform holding his daughter Anisha, was erected in front of the baseball field at Lake Poway, not far from the home he lived in for nearly three decades. Gwynn, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Padres, died in 2014 due to complications from oral cancer.

"Tony didn't like a lot of ceremony and didn’t like a lot of praise. He was a very humble person," said John Boggs, Gwynn's longtime friend and agent, according to NBC San Diego. "He would be very touched today and appreciative of this statue ceremony."

Gwynn, a 15-time All-Star and seven-time Silver Slugger award winner, won eight batting titles (career .338 average) while notching 3,141 hits over his two-decade career, and was inducted into Cooperstown in 1997 in his first year on the ballot (97.6 percent of the vote).

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 Posted: Wed May 10th, 2017 03:09 am
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Zach Britton's recovery timeline reportedly took a drastic turn for the worse Tuesday, as the Baltimore Orioles closer is now expected to miss 45-60 days with a forearm strain, an industry source told the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina.

The Orioles are apparently left hoping Britton will be back by the All-Star break.

Britton received a second opinion on the injury Monday from renowned Tommy John surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Despite the strain on the forearm muscle, the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow is structurally sound, and he is not expected to require surgery for the ailment.

According to Encina, Britton will report to the team's complex in Sarasota, though he will not throw for multiple weeks.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:26 am
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NEW YORK - San Francisco Giants closer Mark Melancon has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sore forearm, the latest setback for a struggling team that began the day with the worst record in the majors.

The move, retroactive to Saturday, was announced just a minute or two before the first pitch of Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets. San Francisco played a man short and plans to make a corresponding roster move before the series finale Wednesday afternoon.

The Giants say Melancon, who hasn't pitched since last Wednesday, has a mild right pronator strain. The 32-year-old right-hander, a three-time All-Star, is six for eight in save chances during his first season with San Francisco.

A free agent last offseason, Melancon signed a $62-million, four-year contract with the Giants to solidify the back end of their shaky bullpen. He is 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 11 appearances.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:27 am
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Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Kendrys Morales was forced to leave Tuesday's game against the Cleveland Indians with hamstring tightness. Manager John Gibbons said Morales will undergo an MRI on Wednesday, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Morales went 0-for-2 before being replaced by Steve Pearce in the bottom of the seventh. Morales grounded out to end the fourth inning. His spot in the lineup didn't come up again for a while because Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was in the middle of retiring 13 consecutive batters.

The designated hitter, who ostensibly replaced Edwin Encarnacion over the offseason, has been one of the Blue Jays' most productive hitters. He leads the team in home runs and RBIs with six and 20, respectively.

Toronto can ill afford another injury. With Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, J.A. Happ, and Aaron Sanchez already entrenched on the disabled list, the roster barely resembles the team that took the field on Opening Day. Any shot the Blue Jays have at rebounding into contention is connected to how healthy they can be.

Morales has stayed healthy for most of his career - save for the fluke broken leg he suffered in 2010 with the Angels - so the Blue Jays will hope his removal is simply precautionary.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:28 am
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New York Mets starter Matt Harvey is set to begin an in-house counseling program after serving a three-day suspension for failing to show up at Citi Field on Saturday, a source told the New York Post's Mike Puma.

The counseling is reportedly intended to address Harvey's off-field issues, including his decision to go out beyond a team-imposed curfew Friday night before golfing with friends the next morning and missing the game later that day.

Mets manager Terry Collins hadn't specifically stated that Harvey would undergo counseling, though he did hint the pitcher had plenty of help available in the organization.

"Matt has got a pretty good support group," Collins said. "There's a lot of people out there that are willing to help and I think he’s going to use them. I don't think he has to do it by himself anymore.

"I think he knows he's got people in his corner, no matter what their title is that are going to help him try to go down he right path and do the right things."


Though he wasn't scheduled to pitch Saturday, Harvey failed to notify the Mets that he wouldn't be at the ballpark that evening - later citing a migraine for his absence - which led to the club sending security staff to check on the hurler at his home later that night.

Harvey was then officially suspended on Sunday, and missed his scheduled start that day against the Miami Marlins.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:29 am
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OAKLAND, Calif. - The Los Angeles Angels are still hopeful of avoiding a disabled list stint for injured slugger Mike Trout.

The reigning AL MVP was to sit out a fourth straight game for the first time as a regular major leaguer and miss his fifth game in six with a tight left hamstring. He planned to hit in the cage and play catch Tuesday and said he will test the leg running and doing work in the outfield Wednesday.

"I want to play but we've got to be smart," Trout said before he had spoken to manager Mike Scioscia. "They don't want me to go out there to run 50 percent. It's smart. It's definitely better. I'll take BP today."

Scioscia hadn't ruled out Trout pinch hitting Tuesday night against Oakland if all went smoothly during his pregame activities.

"Just take stock of exactly how everything feels. He feels much better just moving around, less stagnant from where he was a couple days ago, so that's a great sign," Scioscia said. "He's going to go through some paces before we feel he's comfortable to go out there on the field."

Trout's hamstring bothered him again during warmups Saturday, and the center fielder was a late scratch for a home game against the Astros. On Monday, general manager Billy Eppler said an MRI exam came back ''clean and normal.''

Scioscia will not rush Trout, who is riding a career-best hitting streak of 17 games and batting .355 with eight homers, 21 RBIs and five stolen bases.

Trout considered Tuesday's hitting session progress and an important step, but this layoff is testing his patience.

"It's not fun. You can just cheer on your guys, what more can you do?" he said. ''I eat seeds, chew some gum and go from there."

The Angels still would like to keep him off the DL.

"We sure hope so. We never anticipated this being a DL,'' Scioscia said. ''But we're going to know more today and then even more tomorrow as to exactly where this is. Right now we're past the point a little bit of being a backdated because you only go back three days. But we're going to give him all the time he needs because we just don't want him healthy we want him doing what he needs to do to be that special player."

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:30 am
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Matt Harvey's late night Friday could have been the result of a bad breakup.

Harvey returned to the New York Mets on Tuesday following a team-issued three-game suspension after he failed to show up to the ballpark Saturday. The right-hander apologized to his teammates, the organization, and Mets fans during a press conference and claimed he was embarrassed by his actions.

The 28-year-old admitted to being out past curfew Friday, and to golfing Saturday morning before suffering a migraine that kept him from going to the field that afternoon. The New York Daily News reported, however, that Harvey was upset and stayed out that night because his casual girlfriend, model Adriana Lima, was spotted with her ex-boyfriend, New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, early last week while Harvey and the Mets were in Atlanta.

"It's completely my fault," Harvey said during a press conference, though he did not mention any personal issues. "I'm extremely embarrassed by my actions."

He added: "There are things I have realized in the last couple days I need to be doing or should not be doing. One of those things I should be doing is putting myself in a better place to perform physically and be accountable for my work, and that’s something I’m committing to. I made a mistake. I apologized and all I can do is continue to work to be better and make sure it doesn’t happen again."

Harvey and Lima had reportedly been casually dating for a couple months.

Mets manager Terry Collins said he and the club are supportive of Harvey and hope they can move past the incident.

"Matt has got a pretty good support group," Collins said. "There's a lot of people out there that are willing to help and I think he’s going to use them. I don't think he has to do it by himself anymore."

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:31 am
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Already ravaged by injuries to James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, and Drew Smyly, the Seattle Mariners' rotation suffered another blow Wednesday, as the club has placed right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, general manager Jerry Dipoto announced.

Iwakuma, who had Tuesday's scheduled start pushed back after taking a line drive off his knee May 3, was tentatively slated to pitch Thursday's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, but will now miss at least one more turn through the rotation with a shoulder issue that has prompted the club to send him for an MRI.

"I'm being pretty optimistic about it," Iwakuma told MLB.com's Greg Johns through an interpreter. "I'll go back to Seattle for an MRI and see what they say."

With Iwakuma now ailing, too, Yovani Gallardo remains the only starter who opened the season in Seattle's rotation and isn't currently on the disabled list.

"Four out of five. I haven't (seen anything like it)," manager Scott Servais lamented. "But I've said many times early this year and I'll say it again. They keep playing our games. We have to play our schedule. We have to keep going.

"Our team is very resilient. The guys like each other, they play hard and keep grinding. Lately our bullpen has been really good to keep us in games and let our offense rally. Everybody just has to do their part."

Iwakuma, who turned 36 last month, is off to a mediocre start this season, having put up a career-worst 4.35 ERA (89 ERA+) and 1.26 WHIP over his first six starts while serving up seven homers and notching just 16 strikeouts in 31 innings.

In a corresponding move, the Mariners recalled reliever Sam Gaviglio from Triple-A Tacoma.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:32 am
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A controversial weekend which included him receiving a three-game suspension for breaking curfew on Friday and no-showing a game on Saturday apparently didn't earn New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey any sympathy from his teammates.

"He wants to be Derek Jeter,” an anonymous teammate of Harvey's told Marc Carig of Newsday. "To do that, you’ve got to show up."

Jeter, a legend in New York City after a remarkable 20-year career, appeared in more than 2,700 games for the Yankees and was never linked to any kind of major off-the-field issues. Meanwhile, this latest string of incidents isn't the first time Harvey has faced scrutiny over his behavior, and he's only been in the league for five seasons.

In 2015, Harvey was late for team workouts in advance of the postseason because of what he explained was slow traffic. He was not suspended, but did receive a $500 fine, according to Carig's sources.

''Obviously, today was not the greatest. I know we had a mandatory workout. And the last thing I ever want to do is not be here for my team,'' Harvey said at the time. ''Basically, there's no excuse. I screwed up. I wasn't here. I showed up a little late.''

After Harvey received his most recent three-game suspension, a different teammate of his claimed he was glad there was finally "a sense of accountability," and was pleased action was taken, although it wasn't surprising to him that the pitcher would do something like this.

"You could see all of this coming," a teammate of Harvey's told Carig.

Harvey has already served his three-game suspension and is reportedly set to undergo in-house counselling. He is scheduled to make his next start Friday at Miller Park versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:34 am
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With teams carrying more and more bullpen arms, a diminished role for pinch-hitters was to be expected. But Dusty Baker, the Washington Nationals' old-school manager, doesn't go for fads.

Including Tuesday night's bomb against the Baltimore Orioles, Nats first baseman Adam Lind has three pinch-hit homers on the season.

Lind is now in the hunt for the all-time record of seven single-season pinch-hit home runs held by Dave Hansen (2000) and Craig Wilson (2001) - a feat that's lacked notoriety since Matt Stairs fell two dingers shy of the mark in 2009 when he hit five for the Philadelphia Phillies.

While Baker, 67, is often maligned for his archaic strategies, it's no surprise he's bucking the trend with his deployment of Lind as a pinch-hit specialist.

Over the past 15 seasons, just two players have hit five or more pinch-hit home runs in one year, due partially to the fact that pinch-hit specialists are being relied upon less.

From 2002-2010 - as far back as FanGraphs' split leaderboards go - the average number of players with 50 or more pinch-hit at-bats was nine. In 2001, Lenny Harris set the single-season record with 83 at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

But since 2011, the number of players with 50 or more pinch-hit at-bats per season has dwindled to just five on average.

Prorated over a full season, Lind's 13 pinch-hits through the team's first 33 games puts him on pace to reach 64.

Lind's odds of reaching seven pinch-hit homers are aided by the reality he's blocked at fist base by the red-hot Ryan Zimmerman. Lind also lacks positional flexibility, and is unlikely to be squeezed into the lineup in another spot, save for an emergency.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:35 am
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The Chicago Cubs looked like anything but the defending World Series champions on Tuesday following a 10-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a doubleheader.

It was Chicago's 16th loss of the season, and it sparked some testy feelings from veteran catcher Miguel Montero, who said the Cubs need to "wake up."

"The reality is, we can't take anything for granted, and right now, I feel like we do," Montero told Jesse Rogers of ESPN after the Game 1 loss. "Honestly, we're just not playing at our highest level. We have to shake it up, wake up. This will be a good wake-up call for us. We either come to play the right way or we're going to have a short season."

The loss was Chicago's fourth in a row, although the losing streak later ended thanks to an 8-1 victory in the second game of the twin bill. Even though the split gives the Cubs a chance to win their first series since April 24-26 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Montero was obviously upset, which was warranted, considering the Cubs sit third in the National League Central and didn't lose their 16th game until June 5 last season.

"I think we played sloppy today," Montero added on Tuesday. "We've been playing sloppy. We all did. Simple as that. We have to change that."

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:41 am
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.@KPILLAR4 specializes in the ridiculous.pic.twitter.com/6wanInxev8
— MLB (@MLB) May 9, 2017
Kevin Pillar has dropped a lot of jaws with his glove during his career, but his catch Monday night at Rogers Centre might be the best one he's ever made.
The Toronto Blue Jays center fielder robbed Cleveland Indians third basemanJose Ramirez of extra bases - and likely two RBIs - with a leaping, over-the-shoulder grab to end the top of the sixth inning.
"It's one of the best plays I've seen in a long time - probably ever," Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor told MLB.com's Keegan Matheson. "He's one of the best out there. They call him Superman for a reason."
Ramirez scorched the ball off the bat, as it traveled 388 feet at 101 mph.
"I'm not surprised," added Edwin Encarnacion, Pillar's former teammate. "I've been watching him for the last four years. The way he's been doing that is unbelievable."








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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 09:03 pm
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Ron Fowler, the San Diego Padres executive chairman, sounded off on struggling starter Jered Weaver - who is now on a "short leash" - Wednesday morning on The Mighty 1090AM.

Fowler's radio appearance followed a Weaver start on Tuesday afternoon in which the 34-year-old veteran managed to go just three innings and forfeit seven earned runs against the Texas Rangers.

"We’ve had several performances from Jered that have been not very good," Fowler was quoted saying by Dennis Lin of the San Diego Tribune. "We’re hoping there’s something left, but the last several performances don’t give us much cause to be positive."

Tuesday's affair against the Rangers was the last of a three-game stretch from Weaver in which he allowed a total of 22 runs - 17 earned - over just 12 2/3 innings.

It's not the first time Fowler has sounded off on his under-performing players. Fowler took exception to Matt Kemp's parting shots last season, calling them "a bunch of b.s."

Weaver signed a one-year deal with the Padres this offseason worth $3 million after a season with the Los Angeles Angels in which he posted a 5.06 ERA and 5.62 FIP over 31 starts. By FanGraphs' WAR, he was the second-worst qualified starter in all of baseball last season, behind only James Shields.

Weaver has been dealing with diminished velocity over the past few seasons. His fastball is averaging 83 mph so far this season - second-slowest to only the knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 09:05 pm
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Francisco Lindor is one of a group of exciting young shortstops throughout Major League Baseball. He hits, he runs, he fields his position with slickness and grace. The Cleveland Indians - and their fans - hope he stays in Ohio for many years to come.

This may be tricky. The team reportedly offered Lindor an extension before the 2017 season worth around $100 million, but he rejected it. Under team control through 2021, it's understandable that the team would want to lock him up beyond then.

Team owner Paul Dolan said he's aware the team's initial offer wasn't enough, the Cleveland Jewish News' Ed Carroll reports. As of now, he's unsure what will get the job done.

"I know what is not enough, we tried," Dolan said. "I don't know. We love Lindor."

The Indians locked up versatile infielder/outfielder Jose Ramirez to a five-year, $26-million extension in late March. It wasn't long after that news of the team's attempts to hold onto Lindor began to surface.

It's clear why the Indians would want to keep him. Lindor has a .303/.355/.467 slash line with 35 home runs and 32 stolen bases over 289 career games while playing expert defense at a difficult position. For these same reasons, it makes sense for Lindor to hold out and boost his value even further.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 09:06 pm
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The Los Angeles Dodgers' outfield corps has taken a major hit.

Andrew Toles, who's emerged as the team's primary left fielder early this season, suffered a torn right ACL during Tuesday's contest against Pittsburgh, and the Dodgers confirmed Wednesday that he'll miss the remainder of 2017. Toles will undergo surgery to repair the injury in two weeks' time, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

Outfielder Scott Van Slyke was recalled from Triple-A by Los Angeles as part of a series of roster moves that saw Toles officially land on the DL.

Toles suffered the injury while trying to run down Andrew McCutchen's fly ball in the left-field corner during the seventh inning of Tuesday's game in a failed attempt to preserve starter Julio Urias' no-hitter. After failing to make the catch, Toles' knee appeared to buckle on the warning track as he slammed into the fence.

Although he left the field under his own power, an MRI on Wednesday confirmed the Dodgers' fears of an ACL tear. X-rays initially taken after the injury showed no damage to any other part of his knee.

"I'm frustrated for all of us, but mostly for Andrew," manager Dave Roberts told DiGiovanna on Wednesday. "He's such a great young man, a big part of what we're trying to do, and he adds so much to our club. For this unfortunate thing to happen, it's disappointing."

Toles, who turns 25 later this month, made his big-league debut with the Dodgers last July and emerged as a critical weapon for the eventual NL West champions down the stretch and into the playoffs. This year, he appeared in 31 games for the club, primarily in left field, and hit .271/.314/.458 with five homers, three doubles, 17 runs scored, and an OPS+ of 105 across 102 plate appearances.

Toles' season-ending injury may have opened up a permanent spot in the lineup for Cody Bellinger. Bellinger, who plays both first base and left field, has hit .320/.393/.680 over his first 13 big-league games; although he's primarily been filling in at first for the injured Adrian Gonzalez, the 21-year-old prospect could easily shift to the outfield on a full-time basis once Gonzalez returns to action.

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