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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 12:24 am
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lobo316



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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Royals pitcher Nate Karns will undergo surgery next week to remove a rib that's causing nerve pain in his forearm. He will miss the remainder of the season, though he expects to be ready by the time spring training rolls around.

Karns was acquired from the Mariners in the offseason and was off to a promising start in Kansas City when his forearm started hurting. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list May 24 while the Royals began trying to determine the source of his nerve discomfort.

After other therapies failed to ease the pain, Karns consulted a specialist in thoracic outlet syndrome, which is caused by muscles attached to the uppermost rib causing a compression of nerves.

The surgery Wednesday in Dallas will remove one of his ribs, alleviating some of that pressure.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 12:24 am
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The Washington Nationals' starting rotation took a hit Saturday, as manager Dusty Baker confirmed that right-hander Joe Ross will undergo Tommy John surgery Wednesday in Texas.

The 24-year-old will miss the rest of the season recovering from the ailment.

Ross' future status appeared ominous at best, as he was placed on the disabled list Friday with an elbow injury. His velocity dipped significantly to the mid-80s in his most recent start July 9, and he went on to last only 3 1/3 innings, giving up a home run and three earned runs.

Ross has been bitten by the injury bug often in his young career. He missed time last year with shoulder inflammation, being limited to 19 starts despite showing flashes of his upside.

He made five starts this year with the Nationals, combining to a 5.01 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, and allowed 16 home runs in 73 innings.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 12:26 am
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lobo316



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The San Francisco Giants swapped a couple of starters back and forth on the disabled list Saturday when they activated Madison Bumgarner and added Johnny Cueto, the team announced.

Bumgarner has been out of action for three months after a dirt bike accident, while Cueto has been dealing with blister issues.

"(I'm) ready to help contribute, like I should have been doing this whole time," Bumgarner told MLB.com this past weekend.

The 27-year-old Bumgarner will make the start Saturday against the San Diego Padres, his first appearance since April 19.

Cueto will head to the DL after lasting just four innings against the Padres on Friday.

He complained about blisters on the tips of his thumb, index finger, and middle finger on his pitching hand after the start.

"Of course I feel different now," Cueto told reporters, according to The Associated Press. "I think the best thing for me to do would be to take some time off. I'm not throwing very well and I don't want to hurt myself."

Before hitting the DL, the 31-year-old Dominican was 6-7 with a 4.59 ERA during 19 starts.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 12:26 am
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Add San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy to the list of people who suspect the league's blister epidemic is the result of different baseballs.

The longtime manager's take came after the Giants placed right-hander Johnny Cueto on the disabled list with a blister issue that forced him out of Friday's start.

"Yeah, I think there is (a link)," Bochy said, according to Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. "I think there’s enough evidence that they might be a little higher, the seams. Johnny, he’s pitched for a long time and for him to make a comment, and there’s times we’ve gripped a ball and there’s evidence the seams could be a little higher."

Bochy isn't the first to question the baseballs this season. Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman recently referred to the issue as a league-wide epidemic, after the right-hander, who said he's never had a blister in his life, was forced to leave a start early.


Stroman's comments led the league to investigate the issue, though it doesn't appear the topic will go away anytime soon.

Cueto, meanwhile, is expected to miss a minimum of two starts. It remains to be seen if he'll meet that timetable, as several pitchers, including the Blue Jays' Aaron Sanchez and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill, have endured extended absences with blister issues.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 04:59 pm
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The season hasn't gone how the Detroit Tigers hoped. Entering Saturday afternoon's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, they sported a 39-49 record, with postseason hopes rapidly evaporating by the day.

So, the team closed the door to reporters prior to game time and held a team meeting. Only players and coaches were allowed to enter the clubhouse, according to the Detroit Free Press' George Sipple.

When asked what was said after the meeting, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus' lips were sealed.

"None of your damn business," he told reporters.

"If it was your business, I would have invited you in to be in the meeting."

Whatever was said, perhaps it had the desired effect, as the Tigers routed the Blue Jays 11-1 following a lights-out performance from starter Michael Fulmer, who allowed only one run on two hits over eight innings.

Or it was a blip. The Tigers' struggles have reportedly put plenty of players on the trade block and generated wild rumors involving Fulmer in the process.

The Tigers increasingly look like sellers as the July 31 trade deadline looms. They will look to salvage some positivity with a series win by defeating the Blue Jays again on Sunday afternoon.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 05:01 pm
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels have designated second baseman Danny Espinosa for assignment Sunday.

Espinosa was hitting .162 with just 14 extra-base hits and 19 RBIs in 77 games for the Angels this season, with his woes exacerbating team-wide struggles to generate offense.

The Angels rank third-to-last among American League teams in runs and batting average, and have scored four runs in two games since returning from the All-Star break despite getting two-time MVP Mike Trout back from a thumb injury.

If Espinosa is released, the Angels would be responsible for the rest of his $5,425,000 salary.

While Angels manager Mike Scioscia appreciated Espinosa's defensive presence, the offensive production was lacking.

''I think Danny brought some good things that helped us, but the offensive side, obviously, the struggles were obvious,'' Scioscia said.

''At that position we definitely need more of an offensive input. You would have to be really deep to absorb the lack of offensive production.''

The Angels will use a platoon of Nick Franklin and Cliff Pennington at second for the time being, though Scioscia did not rule out additional moves to address the position.

Espinosa, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Washington Nationals, was acquired by the Angels in a trade last December.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 05:01 pm
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The Oakland Athletics are tired of being gutted through free agency and, instead, appear devoted to building a sustainable, championship-caliber team.

After trading away Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals, vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane spoke about the Athletics' future and confirmed the organization is "absolutely" prepared to rebuild in order to keep its players - and fans - around for the long-term.

"The important end of the sentence is rebuilding and keeping them," Beane said, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is my 20th year on the job. There are only so many cycles that I can go through before I get as exasperated as everybody else. Finding players has never been an issue for us. Keeping them and ultimately keeping the faith and commitment from people who follow the team, that's got to be done by keeping them around. Again, I've been assured by ownership that that's what we're going to do as it parallels with the stadium."

Beane's proclamation is surprising when you factor in how the Athletics have operated the past several years. Though the club has had no trouble finding quality players, the issue has always been signing them to long-term deals.

A lot of that has to do with the quality of Oakland Coliseum, Beane said. Widely considered one of the worst in baseball, the Coliseum hasn't been renovated since 1995.

It's simple: Build it and they will come (or stay).

"We've never really committed to a full rebuild," Beane said. "I will say this, and I've had a lot of conversations with ownership: There is a real commitment to finding a stadium. That's not just lip service at this point, you've seen it."

With the domino to fall, expect to see several other moves in the next two weeks. Sonny Gray, Yonder Alonso, Jed Lowrie, and Rajai Davis are all players the Athletics could deal by July 31.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 05:02 pm
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The Atlanta Braves are at a crossroads.

Despite missing their best player in Freddie Freeman for a good chunk of the first half, the Braves are surprisingly playing .500 baseball and sit just six games back of a playoff berth. Yet the club is still obviously rebuilding, and at times have looked years away from being ready for prime time.

As a result, Atlanta's present remains unclear for the moment - something general manager John Coppolella seems to recognize as he prepares for the upcoming trade deadline.

"We're playing in every game," Coppolella told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN on Monday. "But we're not the main player.''

Should the Braves fizzle out of the race over the upcoming weeks - in particular, a tough 10-game stretch that starts Monday with a home series against the Cubs, followed by seven on the West Coast against the Dodgers and Arizona - Coppolella will be open to offers on veteran starter Jaime Garcia, and second baseman Brandon Phillips, according to Crasnick.

Both Garcia and Phillips were acquired this winter and are pending free agents who could bring back decent returns thanks to solid 2017 campaigns.

However, if they survive, the Braves could pivot and seek out some immediate help with years of control remaining. Crasnick reports that the Braves like the Athletics' Sonny Gray, perhaps the most coveted arm still available this July, thanks to his two years of arbitration remaining. Though Crasnick added that other contenders, including the Brewers, Astros, and Indians may push harder to pry Gray out of Oakland.

Atlanta may have already been looking in the direction of acquiring established and controllable arms, as they reportedly offered a package to the White Sox that included top prospect Ozzie Albies for Jose Quintana before he was dealt to the Cubs.

The Braves have also been linked to at least one young position player with years of team control remaining in Texas Rangers utility man Jurickson Profar.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 05:18 pm
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The Baltimore Orioles could be sporting a very different roster by the time the July 31 trade deadline comes around.

A disastrous two months has plummeted the team to the bottom of the AL East standings, precipitating a move to become sellers instead of buyers at the deadline, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Neither outfielder Adam Jones nor third baseman Manny Machado are expected to be available, but the door could be open for just about anyone else. The most appealing trade target may be reliever Zach Britton, who still has another arbitration year after this one.

In fact, among the Orioles' cache of top-flight relief pitchers, only Mychal Givens is unlikely to be on the market. Instead, the likes of Brad Brach or Darren O'Day are more realistic options to be moved.

On May 20, the Orioles were sitting pretty with a 25-16 record. Since then, they've been abysmal, going 17-32. Postseason hopes haven't been completely dashed, but it will be an uphill climb to contention.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 05:18 pm
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Any doubts Chicago Cubs fans had about the heavy price paid for Jose Quintana were thoroughly and emphatically washed away on Sunday.

The newest Cubs starter was lights out on the road against a heavy-hitting Baltimore Orioles side. Quintana allowed just three hits in seven impressive innings and didn't walk a single batter. He also struck out 12, tying a franchise record for a debut set by former Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, who also fanned a dozen hitters in his first-ever start with the North Siders on April 3, 2011, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.

Perhaps more impressive, the 12 punchouts were also the most recorded in a game this season by any Cubs pitcher. Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jake Arrieta all shared the previous high of 10 strikeouts, with Lester and Lackey having done it twice this season, courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Quintana - who was acquired from the crosstown White Sox on Thursday in exchange for four Cubs prospects - now owns a 4.20 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 19 combined starts this season.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 05:19 pm
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The trade rumor that just won't go away, it seems inevitable at this point that Todd Frazier will be a member of the Boston Red Sox by the July 31 trade deadline.

The club is closing in on a trade for the Chicago White Sox third baseman, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. The development comes a day after it was reported that talks between both sides had intensified.

Though Frazier has been heavily linked to Boston, the club is still monitoring other upgrades at the position as the search is said to be "wide open", a source told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Boston's third base situation has fluctuated all year since the team decided to trade Travis Shaw to Milwaukee in hopes that a slimmer Pablo Sandoval would regain his form. Unfortunately that didn't happen, as Sandoval was designated for assignment after struggling to start the year.

Frazier would bring a much-needed power boost to a Red Sox team that hits well for average but is lacking in the home run department. He's projected to hit 29 home runs this season and has belted out 148 since 2012.

The 31-year-old, also an above average fielder with a career 3.3 UZR, will earn $12 million this year and will be a free agent at season's end.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 05:20 pm
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The Toronto Blue Jays, with their hopes of contending this season running out quickly, are still mired in last place in the American League East in mid-July.

While some teams can blame bad luck or misfortune for their poor spot in the standings, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons feels the team is rightly deserving of its disappointing ranking.

"Really, the way we've been playing, we're where we should be the way we've been playing in all phases of the game," Gibbons told Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith after Toronto lost 6-5 to the Detroit Tigers following a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 11th that also lost them the three-game series.

Gibbons' harsh assessment isn't entirely wrong.

The Blue Jays' once potent offense has completely evaporated this season, and the club has scored less runs this season than only four teams: the Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and the San Diego Padres after ranking ninth last season.

Their heralded infield defense has also fallen off slightly in 2017 as defensive superstars Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki - who combined for just 23 errors in 2016 - are already at 14 this season.

Finally, while their rotation's 3.64 ERA is currently the fourth best in MLB, their bullpen is ranked 22nd with a 4.11 ERA.

If the Blue Jays do decide to waive the white flag and sell off their stars, however, the Milwaukee Brewers may be one of the first to call as the club is reportedly interested in acquiring starter J.A. Happ.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 17th, 2017 09:28 pm
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With the trade deadline inching closer, the struggling Detroit Tigers have reportedly changed their tune when it comes to potentially trading Justin Verlander.

Sources told Jon Morosi of the MLB Network on Monday that the Tigers are now open to including some cash in a deal for Verlander to offset the remainder of his contract, which is set to pay him a guaranteed $56-million over the next two seasons and potentially another $22-million as part of a 2020 vesting option.

Verlander's onerous contract has been a roadblock in trade discussions. Detroit has previously been said to be looking for a "big, big, big" return for the former AL MVP, while not retaining any of his remaining salary as part of the transaction. An earlier report from Morosi stated that the Tigers are unlikely to find a new home for the 34-year-old without eating "a large portion" of the contract.

Speculation about a potential trade of Verlander, as well as other high-priced veterans, has grown in recent days. General manager Al Avila added fuel to the fire Monday when he told the MLB Network that he expects to begin dealing shortly.


Although it's been reported that Verlander is not being actively shopped by the Tigers, he's nonetheless been linked to at least one contending club in the Los Angeles Dodgers.

At least one other club with a dire need for starting pitching, the New York Yankees, do not appear to be interested in Verlander even if Detroit is now willing to add money into a trade, Morosi added Monday.

The 34-year-old Verlander has regressed this season after a from a second-place finish in Cy Young voting last year. Verlander owns a 4.66 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 103 strikeouts over 19 starts this season.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 18th, 2017 09:15 pm
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Look up injury-prone in the dictionary & you'll see Bird's picture.




Greg Bird's injury-riddled season has taken another lousy turn, as the New York Yankees announced Monday the 24-year-old will undergo surgery on his troublesome right ankle, sidelining him a further six weeks.

After missing the entire 2016 season following shoulder surgery, Bird has played just 31 games this summer - 19 of them with the Yankees - due to knee and ankle issues, and the club has decided that surgery is necessary to resolve the latter, as a cortisone shot couldn't quash the lingering discomfort.

In late June, Yankees manager Joe Girardi expressed skepticism that Bird would make it back this season, though he applauded the oft-injured first baseman for doing "everything we've asked" to get back on the field.

"I'm doing everything I can to get back," Bird said earlier this month, according to MLB.com's Matthew Martell. "That's pretty much all I know. I love (the game) and I want to play with these guys. I would hope people see that, but obviously I've just got to take care of what I can take care of."

Over parts of two seasons in the majors, Bird, a fifth-round pick in the 2011 draft, has hit .217/.316/.438 (102 OPS+) with 12 home runs, 12 doubles, and a 30.4 percent strikeout rate in 65 games.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 18th, 2017 09:24 pm
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For the times they are a-changin'.

With the San Francisco Giants in their worst state in over a decade, the club saw its sellout streak end at 530 games Monday at AT&T Park against the Cleveland Indians.

530 consecutive sellouts: the longest streak in NL history. An incredible accomplishment thanks to the best fans in baseball.#SFGiants pic.twitter.com/KKnWrTYprK

— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 18, 2017
It stands as the longest streak in National League history and ranks second only to the Boston Red Sox (794 straight) for longest in league history, according to Bleacher Report's Scott Miller.

The announced attendance was 39,538.

The Giants, currently on pace to lose 94 games, ranked third in the league in average home attendance (41,574) prior to Monday's game. In fact, the Giants haven't slotted below the top 10 in attendance since 2008.

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