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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 08:07 pm
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lobo316
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Marco Estrada could turn out to be one of the most valuable trade chips for the Toronto Blue Jays should they fail to rebound from a slow start, but the right-hander's hope is to remain with the club.

"I don't like to think about that sort of stuff," Estrada said of his impending free agency when speaking on Sportsnet's Starting Lineup on Wednesday. "I keep saying the same thing. I want to come back. I want to play here in this city and be a Blue Jay but it's not always up to me. We'll see what happens. I'm not going to get into it but I know that time's coming."

Estrada is in the final season of a two-year, $26-million deal and could net the Blue Jays a nice return should they opt to deal him. The 33-year-old has been one of the most consistent starters for the club since arriving prior to the 2015 season and owns a 3.14 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 43 innings this year.

Should the Blue Jays trade Estrada, they could always re-sign him in the offseason similar to what the New York Yankees did with Aroldis Chapman last season.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 08:08 pm
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lobo316
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That's more like it, Joey.

Jose Bautista's early-season struggles have been well-chronicled, but it all came together - for one at-bat, at least - on Wednesday night. The Toronto Blue Jays star parked Danny Salazar's first-inning pitch some 391 feet into left field on a frozen rope for a three-run shot that put Toronto up 3-2.

It was Bautista's third homer of the season, but just the first one he's hit at his longtime home park of Rogers Centre since last year's American League wild-card game. Bautista's hit 137 of his 311 career homers in the building formerly known as SkyDome.

The six-time All-Star is in the midst of a career-worst campaign; he came into the game with an OPS of .553 and owns just seven extra-base hits.

Bautista's blast only temporarily gave the Blue Jays a lead, however, as the visitors from Cleveland struck back with a five-run third inning to take a 7-3 lead.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 08:10 pm
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lobo316
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The Chicago Cubs are on no sleep - NO sleep!

Before a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies dropped the reigning World Series champs to 17-17 on Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon lamented how poorly rested his club has been following two Sunday night games in an 11-day span - and the ensuing overnight travel - and last week's 13-inning and 18-inning odysseys.

"I sense sleep deprivation more than anything," Maddon told ESPN's Jesse Rogers. "Sleep deprivation has a lot to do with it. Right from the beginning of the year our schedule has been awkward. No one has had a chance to settle in."

Indeed, the Cubs - who were 25-8 on May 11 last year and ended up winning the National League Central by 17.5 games - haven't been more than four games above .500 at any point in 2017, and things have gotten especially bleak of late. With their offense scuffling hard (.604 OPS over the past week), the Cubs have lost five of their last six, and are currently mired in fourth in their division, albeit only 2.5 games back of first.

A lack of sleep may have contributed to Chicago's recent slide, but Miguel Montero, the club's veteran catcher, wasn't inclined to make excuses following Tuesday's 10-4 loss at Coors Field. (Ironically, he did note that his team needs to "wake up.")

"The reality is, we can't take anything for granted, and right now, I feel like we do," Montero said. "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."

Maddon, though, didn't quite share his catcher's assessment.

"I don't think anyone is taking anything for granted," Maddon said. "I love the word 'expectations,' I do, but on the flip side of that it's going to be a different path this year. It is. It just has to be. To this point we haven't pitched nearly as well, as starters. The biggest thing for me is defense. We haven't caught the ball with the regularity that we normally do. Those were our bedrocks of our performance.

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 08:11 pm
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lobo316
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Pete Mackanin has himself a new contract.

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Thursday they've signed their manager to a two-year deal through 2018 with a club option for 2019.

The 65-year-old Mackanin was first hired by the Phillies in 2009 as a bench coach and later fired in 2012.

He returned as third base coach in 2014 and was then appointed manager in June 2015 after Ryne Sandberg stepped down from the position.

Philadelphia is 13-19 under Mackanin this season and is 121-160 under the skipper overall.

Mackanin owns a 174-213 career big-league record after stints as manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2005), Cincinnati Reds (2007), and Phillies.

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 Posted: Fri May 12th, 2017 02:45 am
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lobo316
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The injuries just won't stop for the Toronto Blue Jays, as the team announced Thursday that left-hander Francisco Liriano has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

Right-hander Leonel Campos was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo in a corresponding move.

Liriano's trip to the DL comes a day after an outing that pushed his ERA to 6.35. He allowed seven runs on five hits and three walks over two-plus innings against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on Wednesday. The former All-Star has issued at least three walks in five of his seven starts this year, and his average fastball velocity - 92.22 miles per hour - is down nearly two ticks from a season ago.

"I'm just going through a tough time right now," Liriano told Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling following his club's come-from-behind, 8-7 victory Wednesday night. "I'm trying to find a way to find out what it is and find a way to get better every start and try to go deeper. I don't know. I'm just going through a tough situation right now. But you’ve got to stay positive and try to find a way to get better."

Liriano now joins fellow starters J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list, though the Blue Jays' coterie of injured players also includes Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, and Kendrys Morales.

Mike Bolsinger, who made his first start of the year for Toronto on Tuesday, will take the ball in place of Liriano on Monday against Atlanta, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.

Last edited on Fri May 12th, 2017 02:46 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Sat May 13th, 2017 01:07 am
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Is Buck Showalter trying to put out the fire between his Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox, or is he stoking the flames?

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo says the Orioles skipper had some extremely high praise for Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts when the teams were in the midst of their contentious feud last week.

"Mookie Betts might be the best player in our league," Showalter told Cafardo.

Whether Showalter means all of Major League Baseball, or simply the American League, he's saying Betts may be better than his own star in Manny Machado as well as All-World baseball destroyer Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. And if he thinks Betts is better than Trout, then he thinks he's the best player in the world.

While the suggestion may instantly raise some eyebrows, and ultimately doesn't pass the smell test, Betts has plenty of superlatives due to him. Earlier this season, Betts struck out for the first time in 129 plate appearances dating back to last September. On a related note, he leads all qualified hitters in strikeout percentage.

Even though he has only five home runs so far, after hitting 31 in 2016, he raised this season's batting average to .311 following a 2-for-3 performance against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. He hit a game-winning home run in the top of the ninth inning, drew a pair of walks, and also hit a double in the game.

Overall, he was Boston's best hitter in the three-game set against the Brewers. He went a combined 7-for-11 with two home runs, three doubles, and four walks while scoring four runs and driving in eight.

Ironically, Betts hasn't had much success against Showalter's Orioles this season, batting only .200 with two extra-base hits in nine games. Showalter likely realizes that's a small sample size, and even if you think Showalter's crazy to overlook Trout, he can't be faulted for recognizing how difficult an out Betts has been.

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 Posted: Sat May 13th, 2017 01:14 am
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lobo316
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The Milwaukee Brewers have placed outfielder Ryan Braun on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left calf, the team announced Friday.

In a corresponding move, infielder Eric Sogard was called up from Triple-A.

Braun recently returned to the lineup after sitting out five games with an assortment of ailments. After admitting he had a variety of arm-related issues, he underwent an MRI on May 5 which came back clean.

The banged up 33-year-old's latest injury, though, was deemed serious enough for a stint on the DL.

It's unfortunate news for the Brewers, as Braun has been, as per usual, a steady contributor early this year, hitting .287/.374/.574 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs.

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 Posted: Sat May 13th, 2017 01:15 am
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lobo316
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The New York Mets placed closer Jeurys Familia on the 10-day disabled list Friday, one day after it was announced that he's dealing with an arterial blood clot in his right shoulder. The move is retroactive to May 11.

In a corresponding move, first baseman Lucas Duda was activated from the DL after missing three weeks with an elbow injury. Duda will start at first base and hit seventh when the Mets visit Milwaukee on Friday night.

It's not immediately clear how long Familia will be sidelined, or what the next steps may be. The Mets revealed Thursday that the 27-year-old will be examined in St. Louis by Dr. Robert Thompson, who operated on teammate Matt Harvey last season when the starter was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome.

Familia, who saved an MLB-best 51 games for the Mets one year ago, owns a 3.86 ERA and three saves in 9 1/3 innings pitched this season.

As the carousel of injuries in Queens continues to turn, Familia is the 10th different Mets player to land on the DL this season, and is now one of eight members of the team currently out with an injury - a list that already included stars Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring), Noah Syndergaard (lat), and David Wright (neck).

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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:21 am
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OUCH 😬😬😬! Chris Iannetta exits after getting hit in the face by the pitch! pic.twitter.com/hGpfpyLXbv
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 13, 2017
Chris Iannetta left Friday's game between the Arizona Diamondbacks andPittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning after being hit in the face by a 93-mph fastball from reliever Johnny Barbato.
The Diamondbacks announced he was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.
"He was up walking around. Everything was OK," manager Torey Lovullo said after the game, according to ESPN. "Anytime there's head trauma, anytime a pitch hits you in that area, you are never comfortable until a diagnosis is made, so we're using every precaution possible to make sure he's OK."
On a 1-2 count, Barbato lost control of his pitch that sailed high and inside on Iannetta, who couldn't react in time to avoid the impact. The Diamondbacks catcher appeared to be conscious following the incident, though he was seen bleeding from the face before leaving the field.
He was replaced by pinch runner Chris Herrmann at first base.






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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:23 am
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lobo316
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Matt Harvey's attempt to leave a lasting impression on the New York Mets faithful fell short Friday in his first start back from a three-day suspension and, as is always the case in the Big Apple, the tabloids chastised him afterward:

Newsday's Saturday Back Page
Harvey doesn't have it in first start back, allows 3 HRs@NewsdaySports @APSE_sportmedia @MarcCarig @DPLennon pic.twitter.com/eDhfnDngsD

— Joe Manniello (@joe_manniello) May 13, 2017
Our @NYDNSports back page: Matt Harvey gets lit up as Mets fall to Brewers in first game back from suspension. https://t.co/6k5dBFDxrv pic.twitter.com/pPYfy9OVjd

— Tom Biersdorfer (@TomBiersdorfer) May 13, 2017
Harvey was shelled against the Milwaukee Brewers, issuing three home runs (including back-to-back bombs) and struggled with his command, walking five batters in five innings.

"Location, when you miss down over the plate and you're behind in counts, you're going to give up home runs," Harvey said, according to ESPN's Bradford Doolittle. "They're professional hitters. It's what they do. I think there is a lot of work to be done. We'll start tomorrow and try to get things back on the right track."

The lackluster performance came after a bit of controversy involving the 28-year-old who was suspended by the team for failing to show up to the ballpark a week ago.

The drama ensued when he admitted to being out late the night before, partying in celebration of Cinco De Mayo. He later said he suffered a migraine while playing golf hours before the Saturday game.

Harvey's next start is against the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road.

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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:24 am
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lobo316
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Things just went from bad to worse in Seattle.

The Mariners announced Saturday that right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is expected to be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. The Japanese pitcher was initially placed on the 10-day DL on May 10.

The veteran admitted to being optimistic over the injury before undergoing an MRI that revealed shoulder inflammation. Unfortunately for Iwakuma, his return is not going to be imminent.

Prior to his injury, Iwakuma was struggling on the mound. In six starts this season, the 36-year-old performed to a 4.35 ERA with an inflated 6.26 FIP - second-worst in the league among starters this year.

The Mariners' decimated rotation has forced the team to rely on inexperienced starters Chase De Jong and Christian Bergman. To make matters increasingly bleak, ace Felix Hernandez reportedly felt discomfort in his injured shoulder while throwing Friday and will be re-evaluated at a later date.

Aside from Iwakuma and Hernandez, the Mariners are also without James Paxton and Drew Smyly. Of the bunch, Paxton appears to be the closest to a return, as the left-hander threw from 60 feet on Friday with no issues.

In the meantime, it's expected the Mariners will continue to rely on Yovani Gallardo, Ariel Miranda, De Jong, and Bergman.

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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:25 am
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lobo316
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That's one way to make a statement.

The Washington Nationals have avoided arbitration early with star outfielder Bryce Harper, agreeing to a deal for the 2018 season, the team announced Saturday.

The deal is worth $21.65 million, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. It's the largest one-year contract in league history for an arbitration-eligible player. In addition, Harper will be awarded a $1-million bonus if he wins the MVP Award next year.

Harper's deal comes exactly four months after he and the Nationals avoided arbitration for this season, agreeing to a one-year, $13.625-million deal in January.

"It's huge. We're able to go into the offseason and worry about other things," Harper said, according to MASN Sports' Mark Zuckerman.

While the agreement represents an enormous step toward solidifying Harper's future in Washington, he's still eligible to join the free-agent class of 2019, which could feature an abundance of stars (Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado, and Josh Donaldson, to name a few).

With one MVP Award already to his name, the 24-year-old has performed at that level again this season after a disappointing 2015 campaign. He's hit .372/.496/.717 with 10 home runs, 29 RBIs, and a ridiculous 1.213 OPS before play began Saturday.

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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:26 am
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Logan Morrison hits a home run to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd!!! #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/LXGfeAKsMK

— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 13, 2017
Chris Sale's torrid stretch of dominance continues as he baffles hitters, but Logan Morrison and Kevin Kiermaier were able to do something no left-handed hitters had accomplished before Saturday.

Morrison's solo home run in the second inning marked the first time a lefty had gone deep off Sale this season. Before that blast, lefty batters were a combined 3-20 against him, with no extra-base hits and no RBIs, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Kiermaier decided one lefty going deep off Sale wasn't enough, as the defensively savvy outfielder followed Morrison's lead with a two-run bomb to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 3-2 lead at the time.

Kevin Kiermaier crushes a home run over the wall in right-center to bring home two runs and give the Rays a 3-2 lead in the 5th!!! #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/1nNPboylAF

— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 13, 2017

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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:27 am
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The Philadelphia Phillies are once again open to dealing right-hander Jeremy Hellickson after failing to pull the trigger on a trade last season.

Hellickson is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and the Phillies' front office has reportedly made it known they will listen to trade offers for the starter, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

The 30-year-old enjoyed a career year with the Phillies last season and drew interest from a number of clubs - including the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, San Francisco Giants, and Detroit Tigers - but the club opted to stand pat, having not received the top prospect they coveted.

Hellickson instead accepted the club's one-year qualifying offer over the winter, making him the highest-paid player on the team at $17.2 million.

The Phillies are unable to extend a qualifying offer to Hellickson again due to the new collective bargaining agreement, increasing the likelihood that he will be dealt this season.

Hellickson's enjoyed another strong start to the season, going 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA and 1.09 WHIP across seven starts.

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 Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:29 am
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lobo316
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In 1973, Detroit Tigers slugger Norm Cash famously walked to the plate to face baseball's strikeout king, Nolan Ryan - who was in the midst of throwing his second of seven no-hitters - while brandishing a table leg instead of his bat. When the umpire instructed Cash to use a regular, legal bat, he supposedly replied: "Why not? I won't hit him (Ryan) anyway."

American League hitters may want to try Cash's table-leg trick when hitting against Chris Sale in 2017 - because the way Sale's going right now, including Saturday's performance, he's just going to strike them all out anyway.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander made more history Saturday with another double-digit strikeout performance, striking out 12 in seven innings to lead Boston to a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. It's Sale's seventh consecutive 10-K start of the year, which ties him with Ryan (1977), Randy Johnson (2001), and Pedro Martinez (1999) for the second-longest streak of double-digit strikeout games in a single season.

Chris Sale K's 10+ in 7th straight game, matching streaks by Pedro, Big Unit & Nolan Ryan.

Sale & Pedro also have separate 8-game streaks. pic.twitter.com/8O1Oijwx9W

— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) May 13, 2017
If Sale strikes out 10 in an eighth consecutive start - his next outing is scheduled for Thursday in Oakland - he'll tie the major-league record that he already shares with Martinez. Sale previously recorded eight straight starts of 10-plus strikeouts with the White Sox from May 23-June 30, 2015, while Martinez did it in a Red Sox uniform from Aug. 19-Sept. 27, 1999 - his second streak of seven 10-K starts that season.

The double-digit strikeout game wasn't the only bit of history Sale made on Saturday afternoon. He's now struck out 85 batters through his first eight starts as a member of the Red Sox. That moved him into a tie with the Hall of Fame southpaw Johnson for the most strikeouts in a pitcher's first eight outings with a new team since 1893 (when the mound was moved to 60 feet, 6 inches), according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Johnson set that record in his first eight starts for the Houston Astros in August of 1998, after being traded there at that season's deadline.

Sale's 2017 strikeout-to-walk ratio now sits at a ridiculous 6.54-to-1, just a shade higher than his career-best of 6.52-to-1 in 2015.

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