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lobo316



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Gary Sanchez's sophomore season has come to an early and sudden halt.
The New York Yankees announced that the young catcher has been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a right biceps strain in Saturday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game that the team will "evaluate him in a couple of days," and added that Sanchez may undergo additional tests in New York. There's no timetable for his return.
Girardi added that the Yankees will recall catcher Kyle Higashioka from Triple-A to fill Sanchez's roster spot, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Higashioka will be active for Sunday's series finale in Baltimore.
Sanchez appeared to suffer the injury while taking a swing against Kevin Gausman in the fifth inning. He was then replaced in the at-bat by backup catcher Austin Romine. The 24-year-old phenom told ESPN's Marly Rivera that he felt his arm "pull" on the swing, and will visit a doctor early next week.
Sanchez was off to a slow start through his first four games of 2017, hitting just .167 (3-for-18) with one home run and three strikeouts.

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Melvin Upton Jr. appears to have found a new home in the National League, as the 32-year-old reportedly agreed to a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Upton, who became a free agent Sunday when he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays, is expected to report to the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento, according to Feinsand.

He struggled to find his bat in spring training with the Blue Jays, slashing .194/.216/.472 in 36 exhibition at-bats. Unwilling to name Upton to their Opening Day roster, Toronto wasn't able to find a trade partner for the struggling outfielder, opting to release him instead.

Once his new deal is finalized, it will be the second time in three seasons that Upton will ply his trade in California. The veteran played 179 games with the San Diego Padres from 2015-16 before being traded to the Blue Jays last July.

In 12 seasons, he has slashed .243/.321/.402 with 164 home runs in stints with the Blue Jays, Padres, Atlanta Braves, and Tampa Bay Rays.

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Crap. He's a member of my rotation on my fantasy league.






The Houston Astros announced right-hander Collin McHugh will be shut down from throwing for six weeks after being diagnosed with posterior impingement of his right elbow.

McHugh had attempted to pitch in a Triple-A rehab game Thursday, but left after just one inning with discomfort in his elbow and was evaluated by team doctors Friday.

He's not expected to undergo surgery for the setback, however, as an MRI revealed that McHugh's ulnar collateral ligament appears to be normal.

Prior to the injury, McHugh was expected to shore up the middle of the Astros' rotation behind Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. In a team-high 33 starts for Houston last season, McHugh crafted a 4.34 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 184 2/3 innings. He also led the Astros in wins with 13.

McHugh had opened the 2017 season on the 10-day disabled list due to right shoulder tendinitis.

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Carlos Beltran helped his Hall of Fame case Friday night by tying one of baseball's greats in the record books.

The 39-year-old veteran and Houston Astros slugger drew even with New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio for 49th on baseball's all-time RBIs list with 1,537 in the club's 5-1 loss to Kansas City, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle.

He's now six RBIs short of Harry Heilmann who sits in 47th place with 1,543.

Among active players, Beltran ranks fourth in all-time RBIs behind Albert Pujols (1,817), Adrian Beltre (1,571), and Miguel Cabrera (1,553).

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The family and I went to the Astros game yesterday against the royals and it seemed like both teams were playing with an infield shift on every at bat. I haven't followed baseball in years so it got me wondering does every infield play some type of a shift batter to batter nowadays?

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Franchise wrote: The family and I went to the Astros game yesterday against the royals and it seemed like both teams were playing with an infield shift on every at bat. I haven't followed baseball in years so it got me wondering does every infield play some type of a shift batter to batter nowadays?
Pretty much.  Some teams do it more than others, but it's gotten pretty extreme.

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srossi wrote: Franchise wrote: The family and I went to the Astros game yesterday against the royals and it seemed like both teams were playing with an infield shift on every at bat. I haven't followed baseball in years so it got me wondering does every infield play some type of a shift batter to batter nowadays?
Pretty much.  Some teams do it more than others, but it's gotten pretty extreme.


And as a result of the numerous shifts, batters try to hit the ball hard, over the infield, and strikeouts are up. Hitters would rather strikeout than hit a ground ball. 

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Rob Manfred just wants to go fast. The problem is relief pitchers.

After New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard left his first start of the regular season on April 3, the game became a chess game of relievers. Between the Mets and Atlanta Braves, seven relief pitchers were used to finish three innings. This is not optimal for MLB commissioner Manfred, according to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.

"I've got nothing against relief pitchers," Manfred said, "but they do two things to the game: They slow the game down and our relievers have become so dominant at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game."

Manfred's desire to speed up baseball can be tracked to the installation of the automatic intentional walk - though how much time that saves may be negligible. Another potential rule change would be to limit how many relievers a team can use in a single inning, though that doesn't seem likely in the near future.

"We have to accept the game is changing, maybe faster than some of us would like," he said. "Our job is how best to manage the change. My first priority is the dead time issue, especially late in the game, which we have started to address with changes such as limiting the instant replay time, waiving of the four-pitch intentional walk and (still being negotiated) limiting mound visits. After that, there may have to be a next round of changes which could affect the competition (like the limiting of relievers in one inning), some of which may not be realistic."

If such a drastic change were implemented, it would alter late-inning strategy like using lefty specialists, possibly eliminating it entirely. It would also potentially curb spending on relievers in the offseason, as well as overall roster construction.

With complete games waning in regularity - there were only 83 in 2016 - relievers have seen their roles and importance expand since the early 1980s. Gone are the days of starting pitchers throwing 300 innings in a single season.

There is no indication a reliever cap would take place anytime soon, but Manfred is committed to speed up baseball. He makes no mention, however, of providing players with horses to patrol the outfield or implementing an automatic strikeout to counter the auto-walk rule. Until another rule change is imminent, every game will go by its own set of variables.

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Otis Nixon, the 58-year-old former MLB outfielder who hadn't seen been since Saturday morning and was reported missing by his girlfriend, has been located and is safe, Woodstock Police announced Monday afternoon.

Nixon left his home around 10 a.m. Saturday to go play golf, but never showed up to his tee time. On Sunday, his girlfriend reported him missing to the police in Woodstock, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, and detectives managed to locate him after receiving a "decent number" of tips, according to Meris Lutz and Ken Sugiura from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Nixon, who spent parts of 17 seasons in the majors and helped the Atlanta Braves to consecutive National League pennants in the early nineties, battled drug issues throughout his career and has dealt with several legal problems since retiring. In 2013, Nixon was arrested after deputies allegedly found a crack pipe and crack rock in his truck following a traffic stop, and two years later he was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and permitting an unlicensed person to drive.

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lobo316 wrote: srossi wrote: Franchise wrote: The family and I went to the Astros game yesterday against the royals and it seemed like both teams were playing with an infield shift on every at bat. I haven't followed baseball in years so it got me wondering does every infield play some type of a shift batter to batter nowadays?
Pretty much.  Some teams do it more than others, but it's gotten pretty extreme.


And as a result of the numerous shifts, batters try to hit the ball hard, over the infield, and strikeouts are up. Hitters would rather strikeout than hit a ground ball.

The batter should just lay down a bunt to beat the shift. Of course, this isn't exciting enough and probably breaks one of the many unwritten rules of baseball so it will never happen.

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Although the Toronto Blue Jays are in the midst of their worst start in 13 years, that didn't discourage right-hander Marcus Stroman from performing a wonderful deed Monday.

The 25-year-old bought his mom a brand new car because "she deserves it," the pitcher wrote in his Instagram post.

Stroman has had a pretty successful last few weeks, pitching an absolute gem for the United States in the final of the World Baseball Classic - on his way to the event's MVP - while tossing 6 1/3 solid innings for the Blue Jays in his season debut this past Thursday.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are finally heading home, but only after a disastrous start to their 2017 season.

Sunday's 7-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field dropped the Blue Jays to 1-5 on the young season. It's the first time they've started 1-5 out of the gate since 2004, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. That 2004 team couldn't shake off its opening slide, and went on to lose 12 of its first 16 contests en route to a 94-loss campaign.

During this season-opening road trip in Baltimore and Tampa Bay, Toronto was outscored 28-20 combined by the Orioles and Rays, lost twice in extra innings (including a walk-off walk on Saturday), and were forced to place reliever J.P. Howell on the disabled list with a shoulder issue. While Josh Donaldson homered, the team's vaunted offense was non-existent Sunday; Jose Bautista is hitting just .136 through the first six games, while catcher Russell Martin has yet to record a hit this season.

A much bigger concern after Sunday would be the health of Donaldson, who left Sunday's contest in the sixth inning due to right calf tightness. Donaldson missed a large portion of spring training thanks to a calf issue; his status going forward remains unknown.

The Blue Jays will now look to shake off the horrid start when they host the Milwaukee Brewers at Rogers Centre on Tuesday in their home opener.

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Off to a blistering start in 2017, Texas Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday, while Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto took home the honor in the National League following an equally impressive start to his season.

Mazara, the second-youngest position player in the majors, recorded multiple hits in four of his six games last week, going 10-for-24 (.417) with two doubles and two homers - including a grand slam in Friday's 10-6 victory over Oakland - while driving in nine runs.

Meanwhile, after breaking out last year, Realmuto showed no signs of slowing down early on in 2017, as the 26-year-old went 11-for-22 (.500) with two walks, one double, one triple, and a pair of homers in five games last week.

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The Washington Nationals will be without their leadoff man for the next little while, as the club placed shortstop Trea Turner on the 10-day disabled list due to a right hamstring strain suffered Saturday.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker initially expected Turner to miss only two or three games after the 23-year-old exited Saturday's loss to the Philadelphia Phillies with hamstring discomfort, but it appears he will need more than a few days to recover.

"If we didn't nip it in the bud right now, it might have lingered all season long," Baker told MASN's Mark Zuckerman ahead of Monday's series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park.

In his absence, the Nationals will likely have veteran infielder Stephen Drew take over at shortstop.

Turner, who finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2016 after putting up a .937 OPS in 73 games, has gotten off to a slow start this season, hitting just .158/.158/.211 through five contests.

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Pete Mackanin's patience has apparently worn thin.

After Jeanmar Gomez allowed a game-tying home run in the ninth inning to the Washington Nationals on Sunday, the Philadelphia Phillies manager has relieved the pitcher from his role as closer, replacing him with Joaquin Benoit.

The decision appeared to be a foregone conclusion after Sunday's performance when Mackanin said he needed to speak with Gomez.

"I'm going to have a talk with him tomorrow," Mackanin told reporters, including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, Sunday when asked if Gomez would continue as closer. "I'll have something for you tomorrow. I need to talk with him."

Gomez has allowed five earned runs - two home runs - in three appearances this season, converting one of his two save opportunities.

Benoit, on the other hand, has yet to allow an earned run and has only given up a single hit through three innings pitched.

The 39-year-old veteran has saved 51 games in 86 chances during his 16-year career, which has included stints with six other big-league clubs.

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PHILADELPHIA - Pete Rose will be inducted into the Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame in an on-field ceremony on Aug. 12 prior to the club's game against the New York Mets.

Rose, the all-time hits leader who was banned from baseball in 1989, made four All-Star appearances and helped the Phillies to one of their two world championships during his five seasons in Philadelphia from 1979-83.

The 39th inductee into the club's Wall of Fame, Rose was selected through fan voting.

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Big Garea Fan wrote: lobo316 wrote: srossi wrote: Franchise wrote: The family and I went to the Astros game yesterday against the royals and it seemed like both teams were playing with an infield shift on every at bat. I haven't followed baseball in years so it got me wondering does every infield play some type of a shift batter to batter nowadays?
Pretty much.  Some teams do it more than others, but it's gotten pretty extreme.


And as a result of the numerous shifts, batters try to hit the ball hard, over the infield, and strikeouts are up. Hitters would rather strikeout than hit a ground ball.

The batter should just lay down a bunt to beat the shift. Of course, this isn't exciting enough and probably breaks one of the many unwritten rules of baseball so it will never happen.
Brandon Belt has done it a few times over the last 2 yrs.

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Benlen wrote: Big Garea Fan wrote: lobo316 wrote: srossi wrote: Franchise wrote: The family and I went to the Astros game yesterday against the royals and it seemed like both teams were playing with an infield shift on every at bat. I haven't followed baseball in years so it got me wondering does every infield play some type of a shift batter to batter nowadays?
Pretty much.  Some teams do it more than others, but it's gotten pretty extreme.


And as a result of the numerous shifts, batters try to hit the ball hard, over the infield, and strikeouts are up. Hitters would rather strikeout than hit a ground ball.

The batter should just lay down a bunt to beat the shift. Of course, this isn't exciting enough and probably breaks one of the many unwritten rules of baseball so it will never happen.
Brandon Belt has done it a few times over the last 2 yrs.

Chase Headley did it so far this season, and also went the other way and got a few more hits too.  I don't know why more guys don't do it, but it seems like a priority for him this year, and it should be since he hit about .120 the first couple of months of last season.

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Following Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Toronto Blue Jays fell to 1-6 on the young season. Somehow, despite existing for 40 years, this stands alone as the worst start in franchise history.

Getting off to a slow start is one thing, not enough to incite panic, but when it reaches a dubious franchise distinction panic mode becomes unavoidable. Compare the 1-6 start to 2016, when the Blue Jays never fell five games below .500 even once.

For a team - and fan base - with playoff aspirations, the situation may already be dire. According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, only three teams since 1977 have reached the playoffs after starting 1-6 or 0-7. The second week of the season is not even over yet, and the Blue Jays are behind the eight ball. The most recent team to overcome such drastic odds was the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011.

The Blue Jays' Achilles' Heel has been, strangely enough, its offense. The team's .298 slugging percentage is the worst in baseball through Tuesday. The team's 20 runs scored are the fewest in the American League, and only two more than the punchless Atlanta Braves have mustered.

And yet, it's reasonable to think that if the offense was even only marginally more effective that they'd have a better record. Of the six losses, five have come by a deficit of two runs or fewer. Blue Jays starters not named Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez have struggled, but as a team Toronto's starters are middle of the pack in terms of earned runs allowed.

The bats aren't following through. Sportsnet reports that the team's .152 batting average with runners in scoring position is another franchise worst through the opening seven games. Manager John Gibbons, however, is confident a turn is coming, according to Sportsnet's Arash Madani.

"The guys are going to hit," Gibbons said. "There's no doubt."

Tuesday's home opener represented yet another wretched trend. It was Toronto's sixth consecutive loss in home openers with the last win coming in 2011 against the Minnesota Twins. It stung.

Jose Bautista will not likely be a sub-.200 hitter all season. The same goes for Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis. Russell Martin still doesn't have a hit through 18 at-bats. The team's failures at the plate are unsustainable, but history suggests the hole the Jays have dug may already be too deep.

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Noah Syndergaard spent his Monday afternoon pranking the Philly Phanatic.

On Tuesday, he teed off on the entire Phillies fanbase.

Following the New York Mets' 14-4 destruction of the Philadelphia Phillies, Syndergaard labeled those in attendance at Citizens Bank Park as the reason for the home side's double-digit loss.

Home team stadium started the WAVE tonight. Lost 14-4. Coincidence? #justsaying #🚫🌊

— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) April 12, 2017
Syndergaard's crusade against the wave is nothing new. He hoped to try and ban it last season.

Very happy we won....but I want the name and address of the person who started the "Wave" tonight. #banthewave #resisttheurge

— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) August 31, 2016
The Mets launched seven home runs on Tuesday, and may be able to deter opposing fans from participating in the wave moving forward should they continue to send projectiles into the seats.

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Antonio Senzatela's first win of his young major-league career was more to him than just a stat.

After pitching seven innings for the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, striking out five San Diego Padres batters and allowing just two earned runs, Senzatela plans to pay tribute to his late mother Nidya, who died last August in Venezuela after a bout with cancer, with a ball from his first big-league win.

"I'm going to take it and give it to my mom," Senzatela told MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "In her tomb."

Tuesday's outing was only the second appearance in the big leagues for Senzatela after pitching in just seven games in Double-A last season. He also pitched five scoreless innings in his MLB debut, a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 6.

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Talk about a "random" test.

Not known for his power, Detroit Tigers center fielder Andrew Romine's grand slam against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday immediately drew perhaps the wrong kind of attention.

Before he had a chance to let the first grand slam of his career even sink in, he was pulled aside after the game to take a drug test, Fox 2 Sports reported.

"Immediately when I walked in, it was 'you got a drug test,'" he said. "(I'm) a little light-headed. We took blood, so ..."

MLB drug tests are administered at random, making the timing very coincidental. That is, of course, unless certain events spurred the drug test into action.

That Romine was issued a blood test suggests it was to detect the presence of human growth hormone as urine tests are usually collected for other performance enhancing drugs. This was according to a story by Masslive's Christopher Smith. Romine's is one of the 500 random blood tests scheduled for the 2017 season.

It was Romine's first home run of the season. He finished the day 2-for-3, and raised his season batting average to .545. Typically used as a utility bat, his early success at the plate could get him into the lineup more regularly in the immediate future, especially with J.D. Martinez still recovering from his foot injury.

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Jose Reyes is probably getting some time off, even though he doesn't feel it's warranted.

The New York Mets infielder will be on the team's bench beginning Thursday against the Miami Marlins in order to give him a mental break, manager Terry Collins told Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Reyes, 33, has gotten off to an atrocious start, hitting just .054 with 11 strikeouts in 37 at-bats.

"I don't want any day off at this point, but (Collins) is the skip, so I have to take it," said Reyes, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Reyes' off-the field issues could be a factor in his poor start. The four-time All-Star was recently sued for child support by an ex-girlfriend, which comes almost a year after he was suspended by Major League Baseball for his involvement in a domestic violence incident.

"Maybe skipping a game, maybe that is a good thing, to give me a day off, even if I think the other way," Reyes said. "I want to be in the lineup, because if I'm going to get out of this slump I have to be playing, no sitting down."

Since returning to the Mets last June, Reyes has appeared in 69 games, hitting eight home runs and recording 24 RBI while stealing nine bases.

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James Kaprielian won't make his major-league debut any time soon.

The New York Yankees' top pitching prospect is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday, the team announced Thursday.

Noted surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the procedure.

Kaprielian, a first-round selection in the 2015 draft, underwent an MRI on his right elbow last week, which obviously yielded poor results. He also missed most of last season due to a flexor strain.

The 23-year-old had a shot at joining the Yankees' rotation this season after posting great numbers in the minors (a 1.55 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 29 innings).

It normally takes 18 months to recover from Tommy John surgery.

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It's been a long time coming.

On Thursday, Andrew McCutchen took Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez deep in the opening frame at Fenway Park to become the first Pittsburgh Pirates player to hit a home run in Boston against an American League team since 1903, the Pirates announced.

The Pirates' last dinger in Boston against an AL club was courtesy of Jimmy Sebring in the first game of the 1903 World Series, which came off Cy Young.

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Zach Britton is moving closer to history.

The Baltimore Orioles closer shut down the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning on Thursday to nail down the Orioles' 2-1 victory and successfully convert his 53rd consecutive save - a feat that moved him past Jeurys Familia for the third-longest save streak since it was made an official statistic in 1969.

But for the second time this year, the Blue Jays made the nearly untouchable Britton sweat for his save during a tense ninth inning.

Two men reached base in the frame when Troy Tulowitzki singled and Russell Martin walked; both advanced 90 feet on a Britton wild pitch one batter later. But the 29-year-old relief ace steadied himself quickly by getting a groundout from Kevin Pillar, before getting ex-teammate Steve Pearce to line out for the record-setting save, his fourth of 2017.

Britton has now allowed five Toronto baserunners this season, though none of them have come around to score. His ERA for the season remains at 0.00, and he's allowed just 18 earned runs since the beginning of 2015.

He last blew a save on Sept. 20, 2015, against Tampa Bay.

While Britton's next save will tie him with Tom Gordon for the second-longest save streak ever, he's got a long way to go before catching Eric Gagne's record of 84 straight saves.

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Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez believes it's time to sound the alarm north of the border.

The Toronto Blue Jays lost their sixth straight game on Thursday, a 2-1 defeat to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. Toronto is currently in the midst of its worst start in franchise history, and Martinez isn't liking what he's seeing from the club.

The Jays should panic a bit, I am not seeing the same atmosphere in the team that I saw two years ago. Not sure what is going on.

— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) April 14, 2017
Toronto reached the American League Championship Series in each of the last two seasons, but currently ranks last in the majors in runs scored, average, on-base percentage, and slugging.

While the offense has been sputtering, the club has remained optimistic that the bats will wake up, and players have tried to remain positive during the historically poor start.

"It's still early," Stroman said Wednesday. "It's the first week of the season. Zero reason to panic."

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The Toronto Blue Jays' miserable start to the 2017 campaign continued Friday, as third baseman Josh Donaldson has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, Sportsnet's Arash Madani reports.

The news comes one night after Donaldson aggravated a stubborn calf injury in his club's 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Donaldson left Thursday night's game following a double that drove in the Blue Jays' only run. With the Blue Jays sitting at a woeful 1-8, they've already landed in the American League East cellar, 5.5 games out of first place with the worst record in baseball. No other team has won only one game.

And Donaldson had been the team's best hitter, slashing .310/.429/.586 in nine games with two home runs. While the two long balls may not appear to be lofty, the entire rest of the team has managed only two more.

The team recalled Chris Coghlan to take his place on the roster, who could see time at third base. The utility bat hit .217 in seven Triple-A games after being signed to a minor-league contract on April 1.

The Blue Jays continue a four-game series against the visiting Orioles Friday night without Donaldson in the lineup as the team aims to finally win its second game of the season.

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Welcome to Toronto. pic.twitter.com/ekwK4m9cgG

— MLB (@MLB) April 15, 2017
In a game that appeared to be slipping away from the Toronto Blue Jays, their biggest free agent signing came through to deliver the team's first home victory of the season.

Designated hitter Kendrys Morales slammed a first-pitch home run off Baltimore Orioles reliever Tyler Wilson, who had entered the game to retire Jose Bautista in the bottom of the eighth with his team down by just one run.

Toronto's Roberto Osuna promptly coughed up a 1-0 lead in his first save opportunity of the 2017 season. After allowing the leadoff man to reach, a stolen base and two sacrifice flies tied the game heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Thanks to Morales' theatrics though, Osuna came away with a 'W.'

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It's a good thing the Tampa Bay Rays have tons of pitching depth.

The club has lost a key member of its rotation, placing right-hander Jake Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring injury, the Rays announced.

The 27-year-old left his start against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday in the second inning after throwing only 18 pitches. He was greeted by trainers and attempted to test the leg on the mound, but was replaced by Erasmo Ramirez shortly after.

Odorizzi has been an effective and durable arm in the Rays' rotation since 2014, averaging 31 starts per season, including a combined 3.72 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, while striking out 8.4 batters per nine innings.

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Sean Manaea won't get to claim a share of a no-hitter thanks to his bullpen, but his bid for a no-no was certainly one for the books.

Manaea was pulled by Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin after facing four batters to open the sixth inning and allowing two runs to score - despite the fact he hadn't allowed a hit to that point. After walking the bases loaded to open the sixth, two errors on the same play - shortstop Adam Rosales whiffed trying to catch Carlos Correa's line drive, then Jaff Decker overran the ball in center field - allowed both runs to score, ending Manaea's day.

Although the two runs scored as a result of the errors, one of them was charged to Manaea as an earned run because it reached base via a walk. Thus, the 25-year-old exited with a truly bizarre stat line beside his name: five innings, no hits, and two runs - one earned - to go along with six strikeouts and five walks.

Right-hander Ryan Dull replaced Manaea on the mound and loaded the bases again with another walk, but kept the combined no-hitter intact by getting pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez to ground into a double play. But that would be as far as the Athletics' attempt to finish what would have been the franchise's second combined no-hitter would get, as Astros outfielder Nori Aoki broke up the bid with a single off Liam Hendriks to lead off the seventh inning.

Since 1913, only three times has at least one earned run been allowed in an official nine-inning no-hitter. One of those instances was the famous combined no-hit loss thrown by Baltimore's Steve Barber and Stu Miller on April 30, 1967, while Minnesota's Dean Chance (1967) and Joe Cowley of the White Sox (1986) both allowed one earned run in their no-nos.

The A's franchise has 11 no-hitters since 1901, but none since Dallas Braden's perfect game in 2010.

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Chris Sale keeps racking up strikeouts at a historic pace for the Boston Red Sox.

The elite left-hander, who recently struck out 10 batters in Boston's 2-1 loss to Detroit in his second start of the season, has more strikeouts through 150 career starts (1,149) than any pitcher in baseball history, according to ESPN's Scott Lauber, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

Sale is also the youngest starter (28 years old) with the shortest service time (eight-year career) to accumulate 1,273 strikeouts, placing him 31st on the active all-time strikeout leaders list.

The southpaw's first three starts, including Saturday's 12 strikeout performance in which he limited the Tampa Bay Rays to one run over seven innings, have been everything the Red Sox could have dreamed of when they acquired him in the offseason. To date, Sale has combined for a 5-29 walk-to-strikeout ratio, 1.25 ERA, and 0.74 WHIP.

Unfortunately for Sale and Co., the Red Sox have failed to score more than two runs in each of his three starts. The team's offense has provided the lefty an average of one run of support per game - second-worst in baseball.

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Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter has some interesting thoughts on Eric Gagne, the former closer and Cy Young winner whose 84 consecutive saves streak stands in the way of Zach Britton's pursuit of history.

Following the club's 6-4 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday that saw Showalter's All-Star closer notch his 54th straight save, tying Tom Gordon for second all time, the long-time manager said he believes Britton is already tied in first because Gagne admitted to taking human growth hormone.

"Gagne doesn't count," Showalter said, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. "So (really) Zach is tied for first, OK? Really, that doesn't have an asterisk next to it?"

The 41-year-old Gagne, who is seeking a return to the majors, was listed in the 2007 Mitchell Report linking him to performance-enhancing drugs. He later revealed in a 2010 interview that he used HGH to help him recover from a knee injury.

Britton, meanwhile, has been brilliant on the mound and one of the game's best dating back to 2014. He's coming off a year that saw him yield his first earned run in August, a season when he finished with a combined 0.54 ERA and a league-leading 47 saves, while placing fourth in American League Cy Young voting.

"He's set a standard that I don't think you'll see in your lifetime," Showalter said. "It just won't happen. I tend to try to enjoy it and watch it and realize how lucky I and we are to have a seat to watch it instead of trying to critique it every night. It's hard to do. If the fans and people think they have higher expectations of him, they're not higher than Zach Britton. I can tell you that."

That's high praise given by Showalter considering he opted against using Britton in the 11th inning of last year's AL wild-card game, leading to former Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion's walk-off, three-run home run.

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SEATTLE - James Paxton extended his season-opening scoreless streak to 21 innings, Taylor Motter hit a three-run homer and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 on Saturday night.

Paxton (2-0) threw eight innings of two-hit ball, walking one and striking out nine. He hasn't allowed a run yet in three starts this year, and his scoreless stretch is a team record. He's the 10th pitcher in the majors ever to open a season with three scoreless starts of at least six innings.

Paxton walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the game, but he followed by getting Elvis Andrus to ground into a double play. That was the last baserunner Paxton allowed until Joey Gallo doubled with one out in the sixth inning. Gallo advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded when Gomez popped up a bunt to end the inning.

Kyle Seager added a two-run single as part of a five-run sixth inning for Seattle, which won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Andrew Cashner (0-1) made his first start for Texas and pitched into the sixth inning, giving up four runs and five hits. Cashner missed most of spring training and the start of the season with soreness in his right bicep. He was activated from the disabled list before the game and made his first start since signing as a free agent this winter.

Cashner held Seattle scoreless through the first five innings, but the Mariners broke through in the sixth with the help of an error. With one out and a runner on first, Robinson Cano hit a grounder to short that looked like a double-play ball, but Andrus bobbled it and rushed an off-target flip to second. Cashner then walked the bases loaded before Seager's two-run single.

Motter followed with his second home run of the season, a shot to right field off reliever Mike Hauschild to put Seattle five runs ahead.

Mitch Haniger singled twice, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Haniger also scored to give him 11 runs in Seattle's first 12 games, and he has reached base safely in each game.

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More like Cy Yuck.

One of the most highly anticipated pitching duels promptly escalated into a hitting clinic, and two former American League Cy Young winners got the worst of it.

Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber and Detroit Tigers staff leader Justin Verlander combined to surrender 15 earned runs on Saturday, which is the most ever allowed by opposing Cy Young winners, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Verlander (the AL's 2011 recipient) was shelled for 11 hits and nine earned runs, including three home runs - two coming from Jose Ramirez and the other from Lonnie Chisenhall.

Kluber, who earned the win thanks to his offense, allowed eight hits and six earned runs, but also struck out eight compared to Verlander's four. The 2014 AL Cy Young winner also allowed one home run off the bat of Justin Upton.

Both abysmal stat lines raised the typically savvy starters' ERAs to over five on the year. Verlander will enter his fourth start of the year sporting a 5.71 ERA, while Kluber, who's been hit hard in his first three starts, will proceed with a 6.38 ERA.

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A nagging blister on Aaron Sanchez's right middle finger has prompted the Toronto Blue Jays to place him on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday, the team announced Sunday.

The hard-throwing right-hander will become eligible to return to the Blue Jays' roster on April 25.

Sanchez said Sunday that the blister flares up when he uses his curveball and is affecting his mechanics, according to Sportsnet's Arash Madani. The pitcher will see a hand specialist about the ailment.

Sanchez popped the nagging blister in his final spring training outing March 27 and manager John Gibbons said the skin in the area was still tender heading into the season. Though his first start of the new campaign went fine - he allowed just one run in seven innings while striking out six against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 8 - Sanchez was hit hard by the Baltimore Orioles in his latest start. He coughed up five earned runs - including three home runs - in 5 1/3 innings Friday.

In Sanchez's place, the team recalled southpaw Matt Dermody from Triple-A Buffalo.

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On the same day Aaron Sanchez was added to the 10-day disabled list, another starter for the Toronto Blue Jays went down as J.A. Happ was pulled after just 4 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

The left-handed Happ threw a pitch way inside against Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and appeared to be in some discomfort, prompting batterymate Russell Martin to meet with him on the mound. He was promptly removed from the game with what the team says is soreness in his left elbow.

Happ was replaced in the middle of the plate appearance after falling behind 1-0 by right-handed reliever Joe Biagini.

Happ has thrown 16 innings for the Blue Jays this season, posting a 4.50 ERA and 3.69 FIP. Happ threw 195 innings last season - second-most among Blue Jays starters - and finished as a 20-game winner. He has pitched at least 150 innings in each of his last three seasons.

The struggling Blue Jays are dead-last in the AL East and in all of baseball with a 2-9 record. Despite their struggles, the Blue Jays have had the sixth-best rotation in the MLB by park-adjusted FIP coming into Sunday's games.

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The New York Mets dropped their fifth game of the season on Saturday, thanks in large part to their struggling bullpen coughing up three runs in the eighth.

With Jeurys Familia making his way back from suspension, Mets manager Terry Collins told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that Familia won't be used in the closer's role right away, despite their need for late-inning relief help.

Instead, Collins is mulling over using Familia in one or two lower-leverage outings to get back up to speed.

Familia pitched in 4 2/3 innings of spring training, but made his last appearance with the Mets on March 28. He had a 1-2-3 inning for High-A St. Lucie Saturday, and is slated to make an appearance for Double-A Binghamton on Monday.

Familia is finishing up a 15-game suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy, and can be activated by the Mets prior to Thursday's contest against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini tied a major-league record by hitting his seventh home run in just the 12th game of his career.

Coming into Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the 25-year-old Mancini had already hit five home runs in 11 career contests. As if that wasn't impressive enough, Mancini homered twice in an 11-4 rout to tie the record for most home runs in a player's first 12 games.

The record was originally set in 1949 by Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Dino Restelli. After hitting his seventh home run, Restelli would go on to hit just six more in his career before retiring in 1951.

The record was tied just last season by Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. Story would go on to hit 27 homers in 415 plate appearances, having his rookie campaign shortened by injury.

Mancini has hit four home runs this season in just 24 plate appearances and is slashing an impressive .364/.417/.955.

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The Baltimore Orioles are placing closer Zach Britton on the 10-day DL after the reliever began experiencing pain in his left forearm during his appearance Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Sportsnet's Arash Madani.

Britton apparently felt the discomfort while throwing his curveball, though manager Buck Showalter doesn't anticipate the 29-year-old being out for a lengthy period of time.

"It's too soon to know, but we're confident it shouldn't be long term," Showalter told The Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina.

In his outing Friday, Britton pitched one inning, picking up the save despite allowing an earned run and three hits.

He'll be replaced on the roster by Stefan Crichton, who the Orioles recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, according to Encina.

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NEW YORK - Yadier Molina reached for a ball in the dirt the other day at Yankee Stadium, the sort of pitch he usually smothers with ease using his chest protector and a square set of shoulders.

This time, though, he tried to make a backhand stab with his mitt as the ball skipped by.

Poor technique, to be frank, from an eight-time Gold Glove winner widely considered one of the greatest defensive catchers in baseball history. Molina knew it, too, and slammed his mask to the ground as he chased toward the backstop.

It's just two weeks into the season, but something seems off about the St. Louis Cardinals.

Molina is only one example. Long known for winning The Cardinal Way, St. Louis entered Monday with the worst record (3-9) in the National League and its poorest start since 1988 courtesy of shoddy play all over the diamond.

"I think it's magnified when it happens this early," manager Mike Matheny said. "Rightfully so."

For an organization that takes immense pride in attention to detail and executing properly, all the ugly miscues have been startling.

St. Louis had committed 10 errors, plunked seven batters and thrown five wild pitches through Sunday. Not to mention the 44 walks issued by a pitching staff sporting an NL-high 4.98 ERA.

The 34-year-old Molina, recently signed to a $60 million contract covering 2018-20, has permitted a passed ball in each of the past two games.

And the bullpen thus far? Yikes.

"The answer is work right now," Matheny said. "We've got to work hard but work smart, making sure that we're attacking the little things that we're seeing that are keeping us from the results that we're looking for."

The hitters have hardly been immune.

The Cardinals were batting .212 with just 42 total runs, next-to-last in both categories among NL teams. Their slugging percentage of .332 was by far the lowest in the league.

"We all know that we're going to bounce out of this funk sooner than later," said Matt Adams, batting .174. "But it's believing in ourselves and believing in this team. We know that we're a good team."

Even in mid-April with 150 games to go, it's strange to see St. Louis at the bottom of the standings. After all, this is a club that made 12 playoff appearances in 16 seasons from 2000-15 - five straight before falling one game short last year at 86-76.

But this season, a walk-off win on opening night against the World Series champion Chicago Cubs has been about the only major highlight.

Swept this past weekend by the New York Yankees, the Cardinals hoped to find their footing back home. They took an overnight flight to St. Louis to begin a three-game series Monday evening against Pittsburgh.

"The thing that I like when you have a good start is it's something that you just, you go back to. You go back to, hey, remember, this is what we do," Matheny said. "We haven't seen it yet, and that's concerning. We will see it, and I think we'll see it for long periods of time. But at the beginning, especially when you have younger players, and we have some guys who haven't been around that long, they need to sense that winning expectation. ... It's amazing how powerful that is."

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The Miami Marlins have locked down the National League Player of the Week a second straight time, while a starter from the American League West took home AL Player of the Week honors on Monday.

Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna hit .435/.481/1.000 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in six games to follow teammate and last week's winner J.T. Realmuto on the NL side. Ozuna homered twice and drove in six against the Braves on Tuesday, and picked up four more RBIs with a grand slam against the Mets on Thursday.

Mariners left-hander James Paxton picked up the win in both his starts, tossing 15 shutout innings while striking out 17 on the week. The 28-year-old tossed seven shutout innings last Monday against the Houston Astros, and followed by throwing eight innings of two-hit ball against the Texas Rangers on Saturday. He has yet to allow a run in 21 innings this season, which serves as a club record.

Paxton is the first Mariners lefty to win the award since Randy Johnson in 1997, according to Bob Dutton of the News Tribune.

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NEW YORK - The average time of a nine-inning game in the major leagues increased five minutes to 3:05 during the first two weeks of the season.

The figure, calculated by Major League Baseball on Monday, included 171 nine-inning games and was matched to a comparable period at the start of last year.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred proposed speedup initiatives, such as a pitch clock and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound, but the players' association did not agree to them. Management kept its proposals alive and can unilaterally change those rules for the 2018 season.

Last year's average for nine-inning games ended at exactly three hours, a four-minute increase over 2015.

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Baby. Bombers. pic.twitter.com/TejkhY4mkC

— MLB (@MLB) April 18, 2017
Aaron Judge joined some elite company during Monday's game against the Chicago White Sox by hitting his fourth home run of the season in just the 13th game of the year - a feat last accomplished by an under-25-year-old Yankees outfielder in 1956 by none other than Mickey Mantle.

Judge is off to a torrid start to his 2017 season, slashing .282/.364/.667 over 44 plate appearances. Also, he's posting exit velocities that rival that of Giancarlo Stanton.

Of course, Mantle went on to have a Hall of Fame career in the Bronx, playing in 18 seasons and posting an OPS above 1.000 in eight of those years.

It's worth noting that the division-rival Baltimore Orioles have a young player that tied an MLB record Sunday, as Trey Mancini became just the third player ever to hit seven home runs in the first 12 games of his career.

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If the Toronto Blue Jays are going to dig themselves out from their historically bad start this month, they'll have to do so without Josh Donaldson.

The three-time All-Star was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday after aggravating a nagging calf injury during an April 13 game against the Baltimore Orioles, and it's believed that he will likely miss the next two-to-four weeks, sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Donaldson missed a large chunk of spring training after tweaking his calf on the first day he reported to camp, but told reporters Friday that there wasn't as much swelling this time around.

"I am walking gingerly, and there is some soreness, but not as much swelling as there was (at spring training)," Donaldson said.

Losing Donaldson for a significant amount of time is a tough blow for a Toronto team that currently owns the worst record in the majors at 2-10 and an offense that's scored fewer runs than anyone.

It's expected that Darwin Barney, Chris Coghlan, and Ryan Goins will see time at third base until Donaldson returns.

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Adrian Gonzalez dives headfirst into home, seems to beat the tag by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, but is called out. Safe, shout fans at Dodger Stadium who see replays on the board.

Umpires go to their headsets for a video review, and nearly three minutes later, the signal comes: Out!

Want to hear exactly how disputed calls get decided, like that one in last year's NL Championship Series?

Soon, we might.

While nothing is set, Major League Baseball and umps are expected to discuss a plan - most prominently used in the NFL - for crew chiefs to wear a microphone and explain replay rulings.

Under one possible scenario, they would start at the All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami, tweak the process over the season's second half and then go forward with the experiment in the playoffs.

People familiar with the talks spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an agreement has not yet been reached.

Last year, MLB asked for the plate ump to wear a mic at the All-Star Game, but there wasn't enough time to do it.

The umpires are in the middle of their five-year labor deal and any change would involve negotiations, plus a comfort level on both sides that the system would be efficient, accurate and easy.

So no way to say for sure if fans at Camden Yards, Coors Field and ballparks across the majors will become familiar with the voices of veteran crew chiefs - be it country singer Joe West, ordained minister Ted Barrett or Dale Scott, once a Top 40 AM radio disc jockey.

"It probably would be nice to get a little more explanation," Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler said. "They're supposed to say the call stands or the call's confirmed. `The call stands' means you can't tell. A lot of times we don't get that ... they just signal out or safe. That's all we get on the field.

"They may announce it on the PA, but it doesn't seem like that is consistent in all parks. And the acoustics in the stadium here - we have a hard time hearing what's on the PA in the bullpen," he said.

In the NFL, hearing refs announce "upon further review" has long been part of the lexicon. The lore includes what Ben Dreith said in a 1986 game, when Jets lineman Marty Lyons tangled with Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly and was penalized for "giving him the business down there."

The NHL for some time has mic'ed up officials to explain coach's challenges, based on what the central replay booth tells them.

NBA crew chiefs put on headsets to watch reviews and talk with the replay center. Decisions are explained to the official scorer's table and the benches, and the public address announcers inform the crowd.

MLB has tried to speed up reviews this year, aiming for the umpires in the New York replay booth to relay the final calls to the field in under 2 minutes.

"It'll take more time," Boston pitcher David Price said. "It's not going to make them any shorter."

As for making the replay system more informative and entertaining, ''Yeah, until they have a problem with the umpire's mic,'' he said.

Marlins star Christian Yelich said a switch wouldn't affect him.

"The call's the call," he said. "Just because they tell you what they decided isn't going to change it."

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The Pittsburgh Pirates will be without center fielder Starling Marte until after the All-Star break, as the 28-year-old has been suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance, the league announced Tuesday.

Marte, who in a statement attributed the positive test to "neglect and lack of knowledge," will not be eligible to play in the postseason should the Pirates qualify.

"Neglect and lack of knowledge have led me to this mistake with the high price to pay of being away from the field that I enjoy and love so much," Marte said in a statement, per FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. "With much embarrassment and helplessness, I ask for forgiveness for unintentionally disrespecting so many people who have trusted in my work and have supported me so much. I promise to learn the lesson that this ordeal has left me."

In a statement, Pirates president Frank Coonelly said the club fully supports Major League Baseball's joint drug agreement and expressed his disappointment "that Starling put himself, his teammates and the organization in this position."

"We will continue to fight for the division title with the men who are here and will look forward to getting Starling back after the All-Star break," he said.

Marte, a two-time Gold Glover and an All-Star for the first time in 2016, was off to a slow start this year, hitting just .241/.288/.370 (79 OPS+) with two home runs, two stolen bases, and a 28.8 percent strikeout rate through his first 13 games. Widely considered among the game's top outfielders, Marte - who compiled more WAR (16.7) over the previous four seasons than all but four outfielders - had replaced Andrew McCutchen in center field this year after spending the majority of his career in left.

With Marte out for the next three months, the Pirates may consider moving McCutchen, the five-time All-Star, back into center field, and will likely entertain recalling top prospect Austin Meadows from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace Marte on the active roster.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are expecting to lose the services of J.A. Happ for at least one start, but the overall diagnosis of his left elbow injury suffered Sunday appears optimistic.

An MRI conducted Monday revealed inflammation but no structural damage, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who adds that Happ is still expected to be placed on the 10-day disabled list.

The news comes one day after president Mark Shapiro acknowledged that the team was pleased with the initial tests, and that they did not believe Happ would miss significant time.

"We're still putting all the pieces together on Happ, but I can tell you we're incredibly optimistic," Shapiro said at a Pitch Talks event in Toronto.

Happ, who finished sixth in Cy Young voting last season, is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 16 innings.

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Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Clay Buchholz underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm, which comes with a recovery timeline between four and six months, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Buchholz was placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 15. Should his recovery last the expected length, it could effectively end his season and his brief tenure with the Phillies. He's slated to become a free agent following the season.

The 32-year-old, who spent his entire MLB career with the Boston Red Sox prior to 2017, has made only two starts for Philadelphia. He left his last start with tightness in his right forearm after allowing six runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings

Zach Eflin was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make his first start of the season Tuesday night against the New York Mets. Eflin made his MLB debut in 2016, making 11 starts for the Phillies and going 3-5 with a 5.54 ERA. In 10 innings between Single-A and Triple-A this season, he's yet to allow an earned run.

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If you were lucky enough to be a part of the Chicago Cubs organization in 2016, you're probably the proud owner of a very awesome and very expensive World Series ring.

But, don't even think about trying to make a buck or two by selling it.

The Cubs issued an internal memo to all players, coaches, and staff members who received rings asking them to sign away the right to sell their ring at a later date, according to Stefano Esposito and Mitchell Armentrout of the Chicago Sun-Times. The memo gives the Cubs the right to buy the ring back from anyone trying to sell it for $1.

"If the Cubs elect not to purchase the ring, then you may transfer it according to the terms you provided to the Cubs; however, each subsequent owner shall also be bound by these terms in the event of a subsequent proposed sale or other transfer," the memo reads, according to the Sun-Times.

Rings are allowed to be gifted or bequeathed to immediate family members without consulting the team.

Cubs players were reportedly upset by the memo and refused to sign it, though team spokesman Julian Green said, "uniformed players and coaches were never asked to sign the form and were not even aware a form existed until yesterday."

The Cubs' World Series rings, handed out in a ceremony last week, contain 108 diamonds to represent the championship that ended the franchise's 108-year title drought. A caricature of a goat - in honor of the now-dead "Curse of the Billy Goat" - graces the inside of the ring.

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In a bit of a bind following the suspension of Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle announced that Andrew McCutchen will inherit center field duties, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

Marte was suspended Tuesday for violating the MLB's drug policy. Marte will begin serving his 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension immediately.

McCutchen was the most likely candidate, especially with Gregory Polanco still dealing with a groin injury and making just one plate appearance - a pinch hit - since Friday.

McCutchen lost the starting center fielder job coming into the season after a horrendous 2016 campaign - at least defensively. By DRS, McCutchen cost the Pirates 28 runs in center field, while UZR was only slightly more kind, suggesting the 30-year-old star cost 18 runs of defense.

In a corresponding move to Marte's suspension, the Pirates called up Jose Osuna who will get his first taste of the big leagues. The 24-year-old is capable of playing first base and the outfield, and may shift to right field. Although, John Jaso, Adam Frazier, or Josh Harrison also seem to be candidates to get some starts in the corner outfield.

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Eric Thames demolished pitching for three seasons in Korea, hitting 124 home runs in his time there. Now he's doing it for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The dingers brought his name back to the attention of Major League Baseball, and when Milwaukee made him an offer, beer was one of the things that sold him on the city.

"I came to Milwaukee before I signed, checked it out, and after an hour I knew it was where I wanted to be. I love the Midwest. I love the hospitality of people. And Milwaukee has great beer," Thames told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "I love beer."

So far, Brewers fans are drunk on the returns. Entering Wednesday, Thames was slashing .426/.491/1.000 through 13 games with an MLB-leading seven home runs and 17 runs scored.

In parts of two MLB seasons in 2011 and 2012, Thames combined to hit 21 home runs with the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

Thames started playing in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2014, and became the first 40-40 player in league history in 2015.

"I thought the coolest thing in the world was getting more walks than strikeouts," Thames said. "But I tell you, getting on base so much and stealing all of those bases, I was exhausted."

While he's yet to steal a base in his MLB return, his other contributions have helped the Brewers compile a surprising 8-7 record entering Wednesday's game against the Chicago Cubs - half a game ahead of the defending World Series champions.

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If he does play until he's 50, like he hopes, Ichiro Suzuki, the inimitable Japanese legend, will get plenty more opportunities to take the field in Seattle, where he delighted fans and turned himself into a franchise icon over his decade-plus with the Mariners.

If, however, Wednesday indeed marked the last time he ever steps into the box at Safeco Field, well, the 43-year-old sure left on a high note.

Playing in front of his old fans quite possibly for the final time - and the first time since joining the Miami Marlins in 2015 - the venerable outfielder made sure they went home with one last memory to cherish, launching a ninth-inning solo shot off Evan Marshall that sent 27,147 fans (who received Ichiro bobbleheads as they entered the ballpark) into a frenzy.

Ichiro, who hasn't gone deep more than once in a season since 2013, could hardly believe it himself.

"I saw the ball go over the fence, and I've got to pinch myself to make sure that that really happened," Ichiro told MLB.com's Doug Miller through an interpreter. "I feel grateful that it happened. This one will be a special one to remember for a while."

Though Ichiro, a 10-time All-Star and two-time batting champion in his dozen seasons with the Mariners, surprised himself with his unlikely display of pop, Christian Yelich wasn't all that shocked to see the future Hall of Famer go yard.

"I was sitting on the bench when he did it, and I go, 'Of course. Of course he does that,'" the Marlins center fielder said. "What else would you expect?"

Even Kyle Seager, who was in his first full season with Seattle when the Mariners shipped Ichiro to the Bronx in 2012, couldn't help but appreciate the moment.

"I had chills for him," Seager said. "That was bigger than just this game."

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The Miami Marlins announced they will celebrate the life of Jose Fernandez by honoring him with a 9-foot statue at Marlins Park, but the decision isn't sitting well with certain members of the South Florida community.

One unnamed individual who lost his son in a fatal DUI crash wrote a letter to team President David Samson to express his opposition to the statue, saying: "This is why the decisions by your organization to install a larger than life statue of Jose Fernandez are very troubling to many of us," according to NBC Miami.

Police confirmed in March that the former Marlins pitcher was drunk and high on cocaine while driving a boat that collided with a jetty, resulting in his death and killing two others. In addition, it was proven that Fernandez was driving the boat at 65 mph before it crashed.

The parents of both other victims filed separate $2-million lawsuits on his estate in January.

"I just think we have to be very careful about hinting and memorializing a person who would've been charged with two counts of manslaughter had he survived. We can't condone the drinking and drugged driving," said Sally Matson, a victim advocate with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The Marlins president said despite the concerns, the organization will move forward with building the statue with respect to Fernandez and his family.

"People make mistakes, mistakes have consequences but it doesn't change what Jose meant to the Marlins, what he meant to Miami, what he meant to the community," Samson said.

"The fact is he will always be a Marlin that doesn't change. When you love somebody you love them when things are good and when things are bad."

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The battle for ownership of the Miami Marlins appears headed into the home stretch, and it looks like a major bidding war for the club has commenced.

Final bids to purchase the club from longtime owner Jeffrey Loria were submitted from prospective groups sometime last week, according to Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick, and the prices could be staggering. The bids range between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion, sources close to the negotiations told Soshnick - not far from the $1.6 billion price tag Loria apparently asked for.

It was reported Wednesday that New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and onetime Florida governor Jeb Bush had joined forces in an attempt to buy the team. They're said to be competing with two other groups; sources told Charles Gasparino and Brian Schwartz of FOX Business that one of those groups is led by Tagg Romney, the son of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a manager at Solamere Capital.

In November, the Romney family - led by Tagg, but apparently not Mitt - made a failed offer to buy the Marlins, according to the Boston Globe's Matt Viser. It was reported in February that the Romneys were interested in purchasing a minority share of the Yankees.

The third bidder is New York-based financier Wayne Rothbaum, reports Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald.

Loria bought the Marlins from then-owner John Henry for $158.5 million in February 2002 as part of a complicated transaction that saw Henry purchase the Boston Red Sox, while Loria transferred his ownership of the now defunct Montreal Expos to Major League Baseball.

The 76-year-old Loria reportedly had a "handshake agreement" to sell the Marlins to a different group for $1.6 billion in February, but the transaction apparently fell through. Any sale of the club must be approved by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, as well as the other 29 owners.

Forbes recently ranked the Marlins' total value 25th among major-league franchises at $940 million.

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Freddie Freeman etched his name into the Atlanta Braves​​​' record books Wednesday evening.

The first baseman hit a solo home run off Washington Nationals starter Joe Ross in the third inning to reach base safely in 12 consecutive plate appearances, becoming the only player in franchise history to do so. Freeman surpassed Jeff Burroughs' record of 11-straight plate appearances set in 1978.

Freeman's record-setting long ball traveled 420 feet, according to Statcast, and was his sixth of the 2017 campaign.

The 27-year-old's streak would end in the sixth when he grounded out to begin the inning.

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It's been a long time since Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts walked forlornly back to the dugout after striking out, but it finally happened Wednesday.

Betts struck out against Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Francisco Liriano in the fourth inning, ending his streak of 129 plate appearances without doing so.

The 24-year-old last struck out Sept. 12, 2016 against the Baltimore Orioles.

The streak was the longest by a Red Sox player since Denny Doyle went 159 plate appearances in 1975, according to Elias Sports.

Betts, who finished second in American League MVP voting a season ago, was hitting .356/.420/.489 entering Wednesday's game.

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Pablo Sandoval can't seem to put it together when he plays in Toronto. The site of his infamous belt-breaking swing in 2016, it's his fielding that has now taken some lumps in his first trip north of the border in 2017.

The Boston Red Sox third baseman committed his third error of the young season in the second inning of Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. He made an errant throw on a Troy Tulowitzki ground ball to open the inning. A Mitch Moreland fielding error on the following at-bat exacerbated the situation, eventually leading to the game's only three runs - all unearned.

Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't shy away from criticizing Sandoval's play, either, according to ESPN's Scott Lauber.

"I think there's been at times better range," he said. "There's been times where there's been some plays that, quite frankly, should be made. Tonight was an example of that."

Sandoval is fortunate he wasn't credited with a fielding error the night before when he fumbled a ball on another Tulowitzki grounder. Tulowitzki was credited with a base hit on the play.

He partially made up for his fielding blunders by going 2-for-3 at the plate, and had three hits the night before, but he's still only batting .224 for the season.

In his first season with the Red Sox in 2015, Sandoval committed 15 errors in 123 games. He played only two games in 2016, committing a throwing error in the process. He'll get another shot at redemption in Toronto on Thursday, as he's penciled in at third base yet again before the team hits the road for a weekend set in Baltimore against the Orioles.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates canceled an upcoming Starling Marte jersey giveaway two days after the outfielder was handed an 80-game suspension by the league for the use of a performance-enhancing drug.

"We decided that it would not be appropriate to provide the Marte alternate jersey on the originally scheduled day while Starling is on the restricted list,” Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said in a statement obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Marte, an All-Star for the first time last season, is currently on the restricted list and won't be eligible to return to the Pirates' lineup until late July, while the giveaway was scheduled for July 2.

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It's a fire sale and everyone must go.

Chris Sale extended his string of dominance on the mound Thursday against the Blue Jays, becoming the first Boston Red Sox starter ever to strike out 13 batters in Toronto, according to Red Sox Notes.

Additionally, Sale is the only pitcher in team history to allow fewer than five hits in his first four starts, per Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.

On top of breaking strikeout records in Toronto, the 28-year-old stud became the first Red Sox starter to rack up 12-plus strikeouts in consecutive outings since Pedro Martinez in 2001, according to Evan Drellich of CSN New England. It's also the 28th time in major-league history a starting pitcher has struck out 13 hitters on 102 pitches or fewer.

Of those pitches, 80 were strikes. In the second and third innings combined, Sale threw just 20 pitches - 17 strikes, no balls - and only three balls were put in play.

The left-hander took a while to heat up last season - he didn't record 10 or more strikeouts in a start until Aug. 3. He's fanned 10 or more in three of his first four starts with the Red Sox, according to Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports.

After Thursday's performance, Sale has 42 strikeouts on the season and has only issued six walks.

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Life is not pretty for Jose Bautista right now.

The Toronto Blue Jays star has fallen hard and fast early on in 2017, and may have hit rock bottom in Thursday's awful performance as the Blue Jays dropped a 4-1 decision to the visiting Boston Red Sox in 10 innings.

Granted, Chris Sale was virtually unhittable on this day, striking out 13 Blue Jays in eight innings of shutout work, but he made Bautista look particularly silly. The veteran finished the game 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, the seventh "golden sombrero" of his career and his second of this young season. His fourth strikeout ended a small Blue Jays rally off Sale in the eighth inning and stranded a man on base, leaving the game scoreless and drawing boos from the frustrated home crowd.

Bautista is now hitting just .109/.242/.145 on the season with a single RBI and 22 strikeouts in just 66 plate appearances. He came into Thursday's game sporting a meager .039 isolated power.

Bautista went 0-for-11 with two walks and seven strikeouts over Toronto's three-game series against Boston, and the 36-year-old - the driver of his team's dominant offensive attack for nearly a decade - is as frustrated about his performance, or lack thereof, as anyone else.

"Anytime you're looked at as a contributor, and you're not, it kinda weighs on you," Bautista told Hazel Mae of Sportsnet on Thursday. "I'm not proud of the last two days."

An inning after strikeout No. 4, the 36-year-old added to his rough afternoon by whiffing completely on a Mitch Moreland fly ball, turning a routine out into a double with a diving catch attempt that ended up a belly flop/barrel roll.

Bautista made up for that mistake one batter later, though, when he nailed Xander Bogaerts at second base after Bogaerts tried to stretch his RBI single into a double. That throw ended the eighth inning, and set up Kendrys Morales' game-tying home run off Craig Kimbrel to lead off the home half of the ninth.

The Blue Jays' loss dropped them to an MLB-worst 3-12 on the season.

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The Toronto Blue Jays haven't generated much offense on their way to a league-worst 3-11 record. One of the primary culprits has been outfielder Jose Bautista, who remains without a home run through 14 games - the longest homerless drought to start a season in his Blue Jays career.

The slugger has remained a mainstay near the top of the order, though, batting in either the second or third spot in every game this season despite a .118/.258/.157 slash line.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Bautista hasn't - and won't - ask to be moved lower in the batting order.

"No chance," Gibbons said about a potential request, according to Sportsnet's Mike Wilner. "And I'd be disappointed if he did."

Bautista is penciled in to hit second Thursday afternoon with Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale facing him on the mound. He's 1-for-7 for his career against the southpaw, and has gone 0-for-7 in the series.

"We're going to play it out longer," Gibbons said. "If we're going to do anything, we need him to have a big year."

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By the numbers themselves, there's no doubt that Roger Clemens is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, accusations of steroid use - which he's vehemently denied for over a decade - have clouded and stalled his quest to reach baseball immortality.

Although his vote totals are slowly beginning to rise toward the magic 75 percent mark, the 54-year-old appears to have lost some interest - and excitement - in tracking his progress toward Cooperstown over the last half-decade.

"I'm not going to say that (I don't want to be inducted), but I'm just going to tell you, the luster will - I'm not worried about it - but the luster would not be the same," Clemens told Joe Buck on the broadcaster's show, "Undeniable," according to Newsday's Neil Best. "It's like you're doing me a favor all of a sudden. Don't do me any favors, really. If you feel like it, do it, but don't do me any favors.

"I think if you're a Hall of Famer, you go in on the first ballot and it's all good. You're either a Hall of Famer or you're not. You're not going to win any more games and you're not going to hit any more home runs. But like I said, I'm to the point right now where - I mean, I say it, I probably don't mean it - but ... the joy of it's gone."


Clemens won 354 games and two World Series titles over his decorated 24-year career, and his 4,672 strikeouts rank third all time. This past January, in his fifth appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot, he received over 50 percent of the vote for the first time.

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Yoenis Cespedes has more than a cramp.

After the New York Mets outfielder exited Thursday's contest against the Philadelphia Phillies, the club quickly announced he had a left hamstring cramp.

But, after the game's conclusion, Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Marc Carig of Newsday, that he was concerned about Cespedes' hamstring and mentioned the 31-year-old would go for an MRI on Friday.

Cespedes came up limping while running the bases in the sixth inning, which is a concern for the Mets, who are already dealing with injuries to a number of their regulars including Travis d'Arnaud, Lucas Duda, and David Wright.

Cespedes was later seen hobbling out of the Mets clubhouse with his leg heavily wrapped, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

The Mets outfielder told Laura Albanese of Newsday it isn't a cramp, "I felt like a shock," but doesn't believe it's anything serious because he's had this type of injury before.

A doctor told Cespedes it should be at least two-to-three days before he can play again, reports Puma, although the MRI should clear things up.

Before exiting Thursday's contest, Cespedes was hitting .255/.364/.636 with six home runs and 10 RBIs across 55 at-bats.

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James Paxton's season-opening scoreless streak came to an end Thursday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, where the Seattle Mariners left-hander gave up his first run of 2017 on an RBI single from Adam Rosales in the third that snapped his stretch of 23 consecutive frames without allowing a run.

Paxton, who last week became just the fourth pitcher in American League history to start his season with three scoreless outings of at least six innings, took the mound Thursday with the longest scoreless streak to start a season in franchise history (21 IP), and worked his way into a tie for the 11th-longest ever by a Mariners pitcher before Rosales ended his run.

"The confidence - he's fearless," Mariners manager Scott Servais told the Associated Press after Paxton's previous outing. "That's the mentality you have to have."

Heading into Thursday, Paxton, 28, ranked third among qualified pitchers in WAR (1.0), having notched 22 strikeouts while holding opponents to a minuscule .113 batting average over 21 shutout frames.

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Josh Hamilton's road back to the majors took a devastating hit Friday, as the Texas Rangers announced they've released the former AL MVP. Hamilton injured his right knee during rehab and requires surgery, which will mark his fifth time going under the knife in the past 19 months.

The veteran was recovering from a Feb. 26 surgery on his left knee.

"I am disappointed but not discouraged that my knee problems have not allowed me to play this season," Hamilton said in a statement, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "I plan to have surgery on my right knee and then evaluate the situation. I want to thank the Rangers and all of the great fans for the support and encouragement. I really appreciate it."

The 35-year-old was signed to a minor-league deal in January. Hamilton last appeared in a major-league game in 2015, as several injuries have derailed his once promising career.

General manager Jon Daniels wished Hamilton well in a statement.

"Josh will forever hold a place in Rangers history as one of the most talented, charismatic and productive players to wear our uniform. We wish him all the best in his upcoming recovery, and with his family."

If this is the end of Hamilton's career, it included some impressive play on the diamond. He was an All-Star for five straight seasons from 2008-12, while hitting.305/.363/.549 and contributing 22.3 WAR over that span.

During his 2010 MVP season, he became the first player in Rangers history to finish with a .359 batting average. On top of leading baseball in that category, he was also first in slugging (.633) and OPS (1.044).

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Madison Bumgarner was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday after the San Francisco Giants southpaw suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in a dirt bike accident Thursday.

He is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, a source told FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

He will be re-evaluated sometime next week.

The rest of the Giants were informed of the incident in a closed-door meeting in the Coors Field clubhouse.

"The main thing here is to be grateful he's not hurt worse than he is," Giants backstop Buster Posey told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic.

Bumgarner suffered the injuries on the team's off day in Denver, and is out of the hospital and recovering at the team's hotel.

This marks the first time Bumgarner has landed on the disabled list in his career.

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In case you needed some sort of reminder, Mike Trout is great at baseball. Historically great, in fact.
The Los Angeles Angels star became the third player in league history to reach 50 wins above replacement (WAR) at the age of 25, according to Baseball Reference. He joins Mickey Mantle (52.1) and Ty Cobb (55.8) as the only other players in the modern era to accomplish the feat.
Mantle reached the total from 1951-1957 with Cobb doing so from 1905-1912.
To put Trout's total in perspective, he's ninth on baseball's active all-time WAR list. Dustin Pedroia (33 years old) is the closest player comparable in age and he's been in the league five more years than Trout.

Last edited on Sat Apr 22nd, 2017 10:59 pm by lobo316

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The Detroit Tigers have placed first baseman Miguel Cabrera on the 10-day disabled list with a right groin strain, the team announced Saturday.

Cabrera left Friday's game against the Minnesota Twins in the seventh inning. According to MLB.com's Jason Beck, Cabrera aggravated his groin on a Robbie Grossman single in the sixth inning.

The two-time American League MVP has remained healthy for the majority of his career, having played in over 150 games every season but two since his abbreviated rookie campaign in 2003. He suited up for just 119 contests in 2015 due to a calf injury, which was the last time he was placed on the DL.

The Tigers also recalled John Hicks from Triple-A. Hicks is penciled into Saturday afternoon's lineup as the starting first baseman, after hitting .424 over 10 games in the minors this season.

Cabrera, a career .320 hitter, was off to a slow start this year, posting a .268/.369/.464 slash line while striking out in 21.5 percent of his plate appearances. He hasn't struck out with a greater than 20 percent frequency since 2004.

It remains unclear how much time Cabrera will miss.

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ARLINGTON, Texas - Texas Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin will miss at least one start because of gout in his left ankle.

Griffin was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday with inflammation related to gout, forcing him out of his start Saturday against Kansas City. The Rangers did not immediately announce a corresponding roster move or another starter.

The 29-year-old Griffin is coming off his best start in two seasons with Texas. He allowed one hit with eight strikeouts in six innings Monday at Oakland, his former team. Griffin is 2-0 with a 4.11 ERA.

Griffin didn't pitch in the majors for two seasons in 2014-15 following Tommy John elbow surgery while with the Athletics. He missed a month and a half with the Rangers last season because of right shoulder stiffness.

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Albert Pujols stands alone.

With his third-inning single off of Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman on Sunday, Pujols passed countryman Manny Ramirez for most RBIs by a Dominican-born player, according to MLB Stat of the Day.

Pujols has amassed 1,832 RBIs during his legendary 17-year career thus far.

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lobo316 wrote: Madison Bumgarner was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday after the San Francisco Giants southpaw suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in a dirt bike accident Thursday.

He is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, a source told FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

He will be re-evaluated sometime next week.

The rest of the Giants were informed of the incident in a closed-door meeting in the Coors Field clubhouse.

"The main thing here is to be grateful he's not hurt worse than he is," Giants backstop Buster Posey told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic.

Bumgarner suffered the injuries on the team's off day in Denver, and is out of the hospital and recovering at the team's hotel.

This marks the first time Bumgarner has landed on the disabled list in his career.





If fans of the San Francisco Giants weren't already salty about their 6-13 start and the recent loss of ace Madison Bumgarner for six-to-eight weeks thanks to a dirt bike accident, they might not want to turn on the television.
The Giants are apparently showing a Ford truck commercial during broadcasts that features Bumgarner, his day off, and some dirt bikes, according to Tom Helmer of Inside the Seams.
Not the best choice.






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NEW YORK - The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are cutting payroll and their luxury tax bills - just as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and perhaps Clayton Kershaw near the free-agent market after the 2018 season.

The Dodgers are on track to slice their tax bill by about a quarter this year and the Yankees by two-thirds. The San Francisco Giants also are set to slice their payment in the first season of baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, but the Detroit Tigers are slated to pay more despite saying they want to reduce payroll.

If a team doesn't pay tax in 2018, its tax rate would drop to 20 percent in 2019 - allowing perennially high-spending clubs to sign stars at a lower cost.

''What the market produces is what the market's going to produce,'' baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said.

The Dodgers are forecast to pay a $25.1 million competitive balance tax this year, according to opening-day calculations by the commissioner's office obtained by The Associated Press, down from $43.6 million in 2015 and $31.8 million last year. The Yankees' bill is slated to be just under $9 million, their lowest since the tax began in 2003 and less than one-third of the $27.4 million they owed last season.

''The new CBA has had no influence on my belief that you don't need a 200-plus million dollar payroll to win championships,'' Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in an email to the AP.

The tax threshold increased from $189 million to $195 million under the new labor contract, and rates were simplified to three levels: 20 percent for first-time payers, 30 percent for those owing for a second straight season, and 50 percent for clubs paying three times in a row or more.

A pair of surtaxes were added to discourage high rollers: 12 percent on the amount from $215 million to $235 million this year and a 42.5 percent and 45 percent above that, depending on how many consecutive years a team is paying.

Another change calls for a team more than $40 million above next year's tax threshold of $197 million to have its top draft pick moved back 10 places - with an exception that if a club has a pick among the top six, that would be protected and its second pick would be moved back 10 slots.

The Yankees appear to be trying to get below the threshold in 2018 to reset their tax rate in anticipation of that fall's free-agent class.

''I think it's too early to make a judgment about the success of the new CBA,'' Manfred said. ''I also think that while there's a lot of change in the CBT area in terms of the structure and rates and whatnot, there has been a certain cyclical nature to the CBA over time, irrespective of the change, right? Clubs get to a certain point, they step to go younger, they come down.''

The Dodgers have a major league-high $238 million payroll for purposes of the tax, which uses the average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters and includes $13.96 million per team in benefit costs.

Actual tax is assessed on season-ending payrolls in December.

Los Angeles is projected to pay both new surtaxes. Under transition rules for 2017, the Dodgers' projected tax is at the midpoint of what they would pay under the new rules ($25.58 million) and old ($24.68 million).

Dodgers president Stan Kasten declined comment on the team's payroll and the tax.

With a projected payroll of $216.9 million, Detroit has a tax projected to be $6.8 million, an increase from $4 million. The Tigers pay at a 30 percent rate as an offender for the second straight season while the other teams over the threshold pay at 50 percent because they have been above for three or more consecutive years.

Tigers general manager Al Avila declined comment through club spokesman Craig Hughner.

The Yankees, at $212.9 million, are just under the surtax level. San Francisco is next at $199.6 million, leaving its tax set to decline to $2.3 million from $3.4 million. The Giants could have dropped below the tax threshold entirely, but decided to give reliever Mark Melancon a $62 million, four-year contract.

''The costs add up, as does revenue sharing,'' Giants general manager Bobby Evans.

The Tigers, Yankees, and Giants pay at the new calculation because they would have owed more under the old rules: $11.96 million for New York, $8.4 million for Detroit, and $4.2 million for San Francisco.

Washington ($188.6 million), St. Louis ($186.5 million), and Boston ($183 million) have room to increase payroll without incurring a tax. The Red Sox would pay at a 50 percent rate after owing $4.5 million last year and $1.8 million in 2015. The others would pay at 20 percent because they have not been over the threshold.

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In a somewhat surprising move, outfielder Leonys Martin has been designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners, the team confirmed to reporters prior to Sunday's game against the Oakland Athletics.

Martin was off to a horrendous start to the 2017 season, slashing .111/.172/.130 over his first 15 games. While it's a small sample size, Martin has been the fourth-worst hitter with at least 50 plate appearances this season.

Traditionally known for his defensive acumen, Martin was signed to a $4.8-million deal this past offseason, avoiding arbitration with the Mariners. The speedy center fielder was out of options though, and had lost his starting role to Jarrod Dyson and partially to the hot start of Mitch Haniger.

The Martin DFA, along with the demotion of reliever Chase De Jong, made room for the Mariners to promote right-handed pitcher Chris Heston as well as first-base prospect Dan Vogelbach.

Heston was acquired via trade from the San Francisco Giants in the offseason. After an impressive breakout campaign in the first half of 2015, the 29-year-old right-hander backslid substantially and will serve out of the bullpen - though, with Triple-A Tacoma this year, Heston made three starts so he is stretched out as a swing man.

Coming into 2017, Vogelbach was ranked the 10th-best prospect in the Mariners' system according to Baseball America. Vogelbach was acquired from the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2016 trade deadline.

Looking to make a push for the World Series - which they eventually won - and boasting a deep farm system, the Cubs sent Vogelbach to the Mariners in exchange for left-hander Mike Montgomery. The slugging Vogelbach is likely being called up at the expense of the struggling Danny Valencia.

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There is a chance Barry Bonds never makes it into the Hall of Fame, despite being baseball's all-time home run king, but the city of San Francisco apparently has no issue with honoring him in its own way.

Bonds is among a group of San Francisco sports legends who will have streets named after them.

The location where Candlestick Park once stood is being converted into a mixed-use development project, according to ESPN, and will name streets after Bonds, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, and Orlando Cepeda.

San Francisco 49ers players Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, as well as longtime owner Edward J. DeBartolo and coach Bill Walsh will also have streets.

Bonds spent the 2016 season as the hitting coach of the Miami Marlins and was hired this past March as a special assistant to the CEO with the Giants.

The 52-year-old last played in the big leagues in 2007 and retired with 762 home runs and 1,996 RBIs to go along with a career slash line of .298/.444/.607. He also won seven MVP awards.

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A once promising resurgence story has took an unfortunate turn.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Steve Delabar has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for a banned substance called Ostarine, the league announced Monday.

The 33-year-old, who signed a minor-league deal with the team in the offseason, was pitching for the Columbus Clippers, Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate.

Before being signed by the Seattle Mariners on a minor-league deal in 2011, Delabar was able to regain his fastball velocity thanks to a conditioning program he introduced while he was an assistant baseball coach in Kentucky.

The career revival led to success as Delabar was an All-Star in 2013 with the Toronto Blue Jays after posting a 3.22 ERA and 82 strikeouts. Since then, the right-hander has failed to recapture that level of performance, posting a combined 5.29 ERA in 68 games with the Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds.

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Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox had quite the day Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, going 5-for-5, while breaking a record previously belonging to legendary slugger Babe Ruth in the process.

Benintendi's five singles made him the youngest Red Sox player in history (22 years, 291 days) to go 5-for-5 or better since Ruth accomplished the feat at 23 years, 92 days, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

He also became the third-youngest Red Sox player to record a five-hit game, ranking only behind Dalton Jones and Tony Conigliaro, and just ahead of Ruth, according to MLB Stat of the Day.

The multi-hit game was the sixth of the season for the 22-year-old, who is hitting .347/.415/.444 thus far.

When Ruth was Benintendi's age, he hit .325/.385/.472, but only managed to slug two home runs in 142 plate appearances.

That obviously changed, as the Hall of Famer ended up with 714 long balls during his 22-year career, most of which came with the New York Yankees.

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One current and one former member of the Washington Nationals were named American League and National League Players of the Week on Monday.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper took home the honors in the senior circuit after hitting .550/.667/1.200 with three home runs, four doubles, and seven RBIs in six games.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was named the American League Player of the Week on his 28th birthday. He hit .414/.433/.759 with two home runs, two doubles, one triple, and nine RBIs in seven games.

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The Los Angeles Angels announced Monday they've acquired right-handed reliever David Hernandez from the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

After signing a minor-league contract with the Braves at the end of March, Hernandez had yet to get into a big-league game with the club, but was impressive for their Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett, posting a 1.13 ERA during seven appearances, including nine strikeouts.

The 31-year-old veteran of seven big-league seasons appeared in 70 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016, striking out 80 across 72 2/3 innings.

Over the course of his career, Hernandez owns a 28-39 record with a 4.10 ERA across 379 appearances, including 27 starts.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks placed starting pitcher Shelby Miller on the 10-day disabled list with elbow inflammation following an MRI on Monday, the team announced.

He will receive a second opinion Tuesday, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.

Miller left Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the top of the fifth inning after only 78 pitches. He walked two batters and allowed a double to Corey Seager before getting pulled.

At the time, Miller was reportedly experiencing forearm tightness.

The Diamondbacks recalled pitcher Silvino Bracho from Triple-A to take his roster spot. No rotation replacement or timetable for Miller's return has been announced.

After a catastrophic debut season with the Diamondbacks in 2016, when Miller went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA over 20 starts, his season looked more promising in the early going. Despite improvements, his 4.09 ERA and high walk rate paled in comparison to his numbers with the Atlanta Braves in 2015.

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Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes has been suspended four games for throwing at Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado's head Sunday, MLB announced Monday.

Barnes, who also received an undisclosed fine, will appeal the suspension.

In what appeared to be retaliation for Machado's spiking of Dustin Pedroia on Friday, Barnes threw a 90-mph pitch that narrowly missed Machado's head, instead connecting with the Orioles superstar's bat.

Barnes was immediately ejected from the game, while Machado appeared to immediately blame Pedroia for the incident. The Red Sox veteran, though, was adamant he had nothing to do with the play.

"I just told him I didn't have anything to do with that," Pedroia said after Sunday's game. "That's not how you do that, man."

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Eric Thames' thunderous return to the major leagues has not been without its detractors.

The Milwaukee Brewers slugger leads the majors with eight home runs through his first 18 games after he combined to hit just 21 homers in 181 games during his first go-around in the league from 2011-12.

Thames' current success has led some around the league to question the transformation, with Chicago Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and right-hander John Lackey labeling Thames' recent run as "a head-scratcher."

While Thames didn't achieve early success in the majors, he did make a major impact playing in South Korea. He bashed 124 homers in 390 games during a three-year span in the KBO in which he reportedly never failed a drug test.

All foreign players in the KBO are tested at least once a year and are often tested several times, according to Daniel Kim of KBSN, who adds that Thames was tested several times while playing in the league and passed all of his tests.

Kim also reported that KBO tests are given at random without notice and that the testing is up to Olympic standards.

Thames is one of the first to acknowledge that his red-hot streak has been a surprise, and he never thought he'd be the talk of the majors.

"I was telling my hitting coach back home (in California), 'I have no idea what's going on,'" Thames said last week. "That's what happens when you're on a streak."

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The first month of the 2017 Major League Baseball campaign has been all about Eric Thames' rise to excellence, as the slugger - who spent the past three seasons dominating in Korea - has feasted on big-league pitching in his return.

That was no different Monday night, as the Milwaukee Brewers first baseman belted two more home runs against the Cincinnati Reds, giving him an MLB-leading 10 on the season, seven of which have come against Cincinnati.


With the pair of blasts, Thames became just the second player in history to hit seven home runs in April against one team, joining Willie Stargell, who hammered eight against the Atlanta Braves in 1971, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

And upon closer inspection, Thames' and Stargell's first months weren't only comparable because of that oddball stat. In fact, their April lines were quite similar.

Thames spoke with reporters after his game Monday and credited a lot of his success with relaxing, having fun, and not trying to do too much.

"When I was a prospect and (breaking into) the big leagues, I stressed out a lot. I drank a lot. I was just like, 'Oh my God, I have to hit a home run or I'm going back to Double-A and Triple-A," he explained to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.

"Now, in Korea and here, I'm just like, 'OK, I'm going to do my job, I'm going to work as hard as I can, and when it's time for game time, just relax and let it all go.' It's amazing when stress levels decrease and you start to actually have fun and be loose and be able to react. It's crazy."

Thames still has six days left in April to potentially produce even more damage.

If Thames can replicate Stargell's 1971 campaign in full - the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder was an All-Star, finished second in MVP voting, and led the NL in home runs with 48 - the Brewers will most certainly take it, and will look like geniuses after rolling the dice and signing him to a multiyear deal in the offseason.

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Pablo Sandoval's snake-bitten tenure with the Boston Red Sox continues. The third baseman was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right knee sprain Tuesday, retroactive to April 24.

Sandoval hurt his knee attempting to field a ground ball Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.

"Medial side of the right knee is what’s been sprained," manager John Farrell told SiriusXM's MLB Radio, according to CSNNE.com's Evan Drellich. "I don't know how long this one’s going to take.

"It looked like kind of a benign play at the time, and in between innings it really started to get sore on him. ... Added force as he was kind of rolling over the front side of that. He’s got some swelling in there, it really kind of swelled up on him pretty good."

Farrell said there's no timetable for Sandoval's return. In the meantime, third base will be covered by a combination of Josh Rutledge and Marco Hernandez, with an expanded role for utility hitter Brock Holt.

The earliest Sandoval could return is May 4, the end of a four-game series against the Orioles, though it's no lock.

Sandoval is hitting .213 with three home runs and 10 RBIs over 17 games this season.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks' surprisingly strong start to the season has begun to turn heads, and former general manager Dave Stewart believes he deserves some credit.

Stewart was relieved of his duties in September after two years at the helm and was replaced by Mike Hazen. Stewart was the catalyst behind the Zack Greinke signing as well as the audacious trade that sent Dansby Swanson to the Atlanta Braves for Shelby Miller.

Although he said at the time of his dismissal he had better things to do, the vindicated Stewart appears to be seeking some recognition for the club's early success.

"This means a lot to me because this is the same team, or very close to the one that I put on the field," Stewart said, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.

"So basically all of those guys and baseball analysts who said I didn’t know what I was doing, it showed I knew exactly what I was doing. Everybody was just beat up and not living up to expectations.

So all of a sudden, it’s my fault. Well, it’s not my fault. I couldn’t prevent injuries or jump in their bodies to make them pitch better in the starting rotation. We put the right people on the field. So I don’t think anybody should be surprised how well those kids are playing. They’re healthy now. I knew this was going to happen. Everyone should have seen it coming."

Despite Stewart claiming the credit, he did inherit a team in 2014 already with Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Robbie Ray, and Patrick Corbin.

He subsequently decided to trade Ender Inciarte - a great defensive outfielder - as part of the Miller deal, and got rid of Mark Trumbo and right-hander Jeremy Hellickson in separate trades.

Under Stewart and manager Chip Hale's guidance, the Diamondbacks went 148-176.

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Desperate times call for desperate measures.

In a drastic attempt to shake things up, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will deploy catcher Russell Martin as his starting third baseman Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team announced.

While Martin did appear in a game at third base last season, he hasn't started at the position since 2013 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For his career, the 34-year-old veteran has played 16 games at the hot corner and has made 10 starts, eight of which came with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.

The Blue Jays are currently without regular third baseman Josh Donaldson (calf) and recently lost starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a hamstring injury. Temporarily manning the positions have been Darwin Barney, Chris Coghlan, and Ryan Goins, with Martin now the fourth player to get a start at third since Donaldson was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Starting at catcher, Martin's typical position, is Jarrod Saltalamacchia who recently ended a streak of 12 straight strikeouts, breaking a Blue Jays record. Goins will be the starter at shortstop with Barney at second base.

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Eric Thames' hit his league-leading 11th home run Tuesday, but he's most likely leading baseball in drug tests, as well.

Following Milwaukee's convincing 9-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds that saw the 30-year-old slugger become the first Brewers player to hit 11 home runs in April, Thames took part in a random drug test conducted by the league.

He doesn't appear fazed.

"This whole thing is surprising me as well," he said, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. "I really have no goals for this year. I'm not trying to break any records or set anything. I just wanted to apply what I learned in Korea and see how it would fit here. I'm shocked at all the results, I'm just here to play ball, do my best to stay healthy and stretch as much as I can.

"If people keep thinking I'm on stuff, I'll be here every day. I have a lot of blood and urine."


It was Thames' third blood test in 2017, McCalvy notes, with the first coming in spring training, the second coming in Chicago (presumably at the request of Chicago Cubs John Lackey and Chris Bosio) and finally, one tonight.

As long as Thames continues to mash, these drug tests will likely persist. Haters gonna hate.

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With a triple in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner has become the third Nationals player ever to hit for the cycle, and the second player across Major League Baseball to accomplish the feat this season.

Turner's hot night started in the first when he singled off Rockies starter German Marquez. An inning later, he doubled in his next at-bat, before homering in the sixth off Jordan Lyles.

Turner joins Brad Wilkerson and Cristian Guzman to pull off the elusive accomplishment as members of the Nationals. When including the team's time as the Montreal Expos from 1969-2004, Turner's cycle is still just the ninth in franchise history.

San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers was the first to hit for the cycle this season. His feat came April 10, also against the Rockies.

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#HDMH when it comes to #PitchersWhoRake. pic.twitter.com/yoeZDj9zba

— MLB (@MLB) April 26, 2017
Marcus Stroman is evidently a man of many talents.

Making a rare appearance in the batter's box Tuesday in place of reliever Jason Grilli, Stroman connected with an 11th-inning pinch-hit double off St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miguel Socolovich to quickly put himself in scoring position and earn himself the first hit of his major-league career.

The two-bagger also earned Stroman recognition in the Blue Jays' history books, becoming the first Toronto pitcher to record a pinch hit.

Stroman then came around to score the game-winning run just two batters later thanks to a throwing error by shortstop Aledmys Diaz, as the Blue Jays held on to defeat the Cardinals 6-5.

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Hindsight is 20/20.

New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard is dominating batters. He's a legitimate alternative to Clayton Kershaw as a Cy Young award favorite in the National League.

But in 2012, Syndergaard had yet to even step on a major league mound when the Toronto Blue Jays traded him, catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, and others for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

While it may be easy to look at each player's trajectory over the past few seasons and determine the Mets came out the winners of the swap, nothing was a guarantee at the time of the deal. Dickey, now with the Atlanta Braves, told Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post he doesn't see the deal as a loss for the Blue Jays.

"I don’t think of (the deal) in term of wins and losses," Dickey said. "I think of it in terms of timing, what was the need at the time. Everybody knew Noah was going to be pretty good. It was just a matter of time."

It didn't take too long. Syndergaard debuted in 2015 and has improved with every season.

The Blue Jays had also just acquired Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson from the Miami Marlins the month before acquiring Dickey. While the pieces didn't all come together like the team - and fan base - might have wanted, it was clear that then-general manager Alex Anthopolous was pushing for a win-now mentality.

So, he acquired the reigning NL Cy Young winner in Dickey. The Blue Jays traded plenty of prospects that offseason, and only Syndergaard has emerged as a top-flight MLB talent to date.

Dickey returns to New York this week for a series between the Braves and Mets. It will be his first time pitching at Citi Field since his last season in Queens. He pitched against them once with the Blue Jays, but that took place at Rogers Centre in Toronto in 2015.

The two will actually get a chance to have their showdown on Thursday. Initially, the Mets were going to skip starter Robert Gsellman in the rotation to have Syndergaard pitch Wednesday. According to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, this is no longer the case. It will be "Thor" vs. Dickey Thursday night.

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Down goes the King.

The Seattle Mariners have placed Felix Hernandez on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation, according to MLB.com's Greg Johns.

Hernandez left Tuesday's start against the Detroit Tigers with shoulder tightness after tossing just two innings. He allowed four earned runs on six hits and a pair of walks in the contest.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports the injury will cost the ace at least the next two to three weeks.

After an effective three starts to open the season where he allowed only six earned runs over 18 1/3 innings, Hernandez has struggled through two starts since, allowing eight runs in only 8 1/3 frames. He's also given up six long balls, posting an uncharacteristically high 2.03 home runs per nine innings pitched.

The longtime face of the Mariners has been remarkably durable while handling a heavy workload throughout most of his career. He threw 200-plus innings in eight consecutive seasons from 2008-15 before making only 25 starts in 2016, missing all of June and most of July with a calf strain.

It is only the fourth time he's ever been placed on the disabled list.

In corresponding moves, the Mariners called up pitchers Chase De Jong, Casey Fien, and Dillon Overton from Triple-A Tacoma. De Jong will take Hernandez's spot Sunday against the Cleveland Indians, according to the Tacoma News Tribune's Bob Dutton.

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Blame it on the rain, or maybe the long-standing rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox doesn't have the same luster it used to.

On Wednesday, the Red Sox hosted the Yankees at a dreary Fenway Park for the first time in 2017, and the normally heated matchup between the rivals drew an attendance of 32,072, which was Fenway Park's lowest since April 20, 2016, against the Tampa Bay Rays, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.

The crowd is also the smallest at Fenway Park for a Red Sox-Yankees game since Sept. 10, 1997, Bill Ballou of the Worchester Telegram reports.

The weather in Boston was rainy and cool for most of the day, and fog crept in during the late innings. The Boston Celtics were also playing their playoff game down the road at TD Garden. Both might have contributed to the poor attendance.

Fenway can hold 37,731 during night games, so the place certainly wasn't empty, but getting a ticket to see a game between the two clubs used to be nearly impossible, so perhaps, with the Yankees moving in a younger direction, things have changed.

Or maybe Red Sox fans really do miss yelling profanities at Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

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If this is indeed the end of Clay Buchholz's brief tenure in Philadelphia, it clearly isn't how he intended it to go.

Buchholz, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the offseason, made just two appearances in a Phillies uniform this April before he was forced to undergo surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. The procedure is expected to sideline him for four-to-six months, likely ending his 2017 season just after it began.

On Wednesday, the 32-year-old took some time to reach out to the man who traded for him, general manager Matt Klentak, as well as his teammates, to apologize for getting hurt so early in his tenure with the club.

"I apologized to just about everyone that I should apologize to," Buchholz told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "Obviously, I didn't want this to happen, but it did."

"I wasn't 100 percent, but I wasn't 40," he added. "I was probably throwing at 85 percent, just trying to do what I was doing, get by and build arm strength."

Buchholz joined the Phillies after an up-and-down decade in Boston that saw him throw a no-hitter, make two All-Star appearances, and win a pair of World Series rings amid several years of inconsistent performances and injuries. The Phillies likely acquired him and his $13.5-million salary with an eye on flipping him to a contender in July before he reached free agency this winter. Instead, they received just two starts and a 12.27 ERA from the veteran before he was placed on the disabled list.

Although few expect to see him on the mound in a Phillies uniform again, Buchholz remains optimistic about a quick return, and said he's aiming to be back pitching for the team in September.

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The banged up New York Mets are dealing with yet again another injury.

The Mets announced Thursday that Noah Syndergaard has been scratched from his start against the Atlanta Braves as the right-hander has a "tired arm" which led to discomfort in his right biceps.

"We can't take a chance on this guy," manager Terry Collins said, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

Syndergaard tried to talk his way into starting, but Collins refused, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. The club plans to send him for an MRI.

"Right now it's just a precautionary thing that we're dealing with," Syndergaard told reporters. "It's a little thing right now that we don't want to turn into a big thing."

He added: "It's just a little discomfort. A little irritation. Nothing too serious."

Losers of five straight, the Mets cannot afford to lose Syndergaard for an extended period of time. The 24-year-old has been exceptional this season, posting a 1.73 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts over 26 innings, without allowing a walk or a home run.

Fellow Mets starters Seth Lugo, and Steven Matz are already on the disabled list with elbow injuries.

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PITTSBURGH - Gift Ngoepe might not have had the weight of the world on his shoulders but he felt like a continent was counting on him.

Ngoepe, the first African to reach the major leagues, singled in his first plate appearance and Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the first with a home run Wednesday night to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Ngoepe was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and entered the game in fourth inning as part of a double switch and finished 1 for 2 with a walk. The 27-year-old South African, who signed with the Pirates in 2008 as an amateur free agent, led off the fourth with a hit off winless Cubs ace Jon Lester.

"To accomplish this only for me but for my country and my continent is something so special," Ngoepe said. "There are 1.62 billion people on our continent. To be the first person out of 1.62 billion to do this is amazing."

It was so special that Ngoepe nearly broke into tears when he trotted from the dugout to take his positon at second base.

"I told myself not to cry because I'm in the big leagues and I'm a big guy now," Ngoepe said with a smile. "(Catcher Francisco) Cervelli hugged me and I could feel my heart beat through my chest."

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Tim Tebow extended his Class A ascent for the Columbia Fireflies on Wednesday, going 3-for-4 with his first career triple -- on a headfirst slide -- to raise his batting average to .246.

The 5-0 win for the Mets' South Carolina affiliate over the visiting Asheville Tourists featured Tebow's third multihit game since Friday, as the 29-year-old followed up on his best week in the minors with more consistency at the plate. In his past six games, Tebow is batting .450 (9-for-20).

"There are some guys who do really good who get taken away from me halfway through the year," Fireflies manager Jose Leger said, according to The State. "Then there are guys that get taken away really early. It is hard to predict when it happens. A lot depends on what is happening in the level above. Whenever they decide it, he will be ready. He is just working hard, and we are going day by day."

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback made a bid to go 4-for-4 in the eighth inning, but his drive was corralled in deep left field by the Tourists' Vince Fernandez, and Tebow missed his third home run.

"He has been able to get his foot down on time, working on his timing, and it is finally paying off. He is more consistent," Leger said. "When you get a couple hits and find that rhythm at the plate, your confidence also grows. That is what has been happening."

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After multiple medical opinions, the worst was confirmed regarding the status of Shelby Miller's right elbow Thursday: The Arizona Diamondbacks starter has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament as well as a flexor strain, according to 98.7 FM's Craig Grialou.

The club also announced he has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Miller was recently assessed by renowned Tommy John surgeon Dr. James Andrews, though the 26-year-old hasn't decided whether he'll undergo the procedure.

"Still haven't made a decision on what I'm going to do yet," Miller told reporters. "Just kind of seeing all the options available and what scenarios are best for me and the team."

Miller struggled in his debut season with the Diamondbacks in 2015 after coming over in a high-profile trade the offseason prior, registering a 6.42 ERA in 20 starts with Arizona. His second season with the Diamondbacks was going much better, however. Miller had crafted a 4.09 ERA in four outings (22 innings) before having to leave his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23 with elbow discomfort.

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The revolving door that is the Toronto Blue Jays' third-base job continues to turn.

With All-Star Josh Donaldson still mending a nagging calf injury, the Blue Jays have been void of options at the hot corner.

So on the second game of a doubleheader Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals, the club had to reach into the memory vault for another temporary solution, as Jose Bautista, who made an appearance as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh, was kept in the game at third base in the bottom of the frame, making it his first stint there since the 2013 season, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Thanks to National League rules, the Blue Jays have had to get creative during the team's trip to St. Louis. On Tuesday, the team also gave traditional catcher Russell Martin his first start at the hot corner since 2013, while starter Marcus Stroman was also called upon to make a rare pinch-hit appearance in the same game.

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The sale of the Miami Marlins isn't a done deal yet.

Though the 1.34-billion bid spearheaded by New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and former Florida governor Jeb Bush has emerged as the most likely to purchase the Marlins from current owner Jeffrey Loria, the sale can't be completed yet as the pair are still attempting to raise nearly $1 billion in cash from outside investors to fund the purchase, sources told Charles Gasparino and Brian Schwartz of FOX Business.

Despite needing an unimaginable amount in cash to complete the acquisition, both Jeter and Bush want to remain principal owners of the team, adding an obvious obstacle to their potential bid.

"How many people are willing simply to write a $100-million check and not have a say in running the team?" a senior baseball executive told Gasparino and Schwartz. "We all want them to succeed because Jeb and Jeter would be great for baseball, but it won't be easy."

That Jeter and Bush's bid would be good for baseball is almost an understatement. The Yankees - Jeter's former employers for 20 seasons between 1995-2014 - would see their value rise from $3.2 billion to approximately $5 billion if the duo's $1.34-billion bid for the Marlins goes through, according to Gasparino and Schwartz's sources.

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The scuffling Toronto Blue Jays have parted ways with one of their worst performers to date, as they announced Friday that veteran backup catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been designated for assignment.

Catcher Luke Maile, who was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay earlier this month, has been recalled from Triple-A to take Saltalamacchia's place on the 25-man roster.

Saltalamacchia made the Blue Jays' Opening Day roster after joining the club on a minor-league deal prior to spring training. While it was hoped he would serve as a powerful bat off the bench while spelling starter Russell Martin, the 11-year veteran failed to make any sort of impact during his brief tenure north of the border.

Over 10 games with the Blue Jays, Saltalamacchia recorded just one hit in 25 at-bats, while striking out 16 times. The 31-year-old also struggled defensively and failed to catch a single base-stealer in nine attempts.

Saltalamacchia owns a career .716 OPS and 110 home runs over parts of 11 seasons with seven teams. He won a World Series title as Boston's starting catcher in 2013.

Toronto enters play Friday with a major-league worst 6-16 record after losing both ends of a doubleheader in St. Louis on Thursday.

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NEW YORK - Former New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden has gotten a key to the city 31 years after the team's thrilling World Series win over the Boston Red Sox.

Teammates from the 1986 Mets including Darryl Strawberry, John Franco and Mookie Wilson joined Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio for Friday's ceremony honoring Gooden.

Gooden says it's a day he "never thought would happen."

Gooden won the Cy Young Award in 1985 and was selected for four All-Star Games. But he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He told ESPN in 2011 he missed the 1986 World Series parade because he was getting high.

Friday's event was part of a documentary about Gooden and Strawberry being produced by sports radio host Amy Heart.

Strawberry says it meant the world ''to have this day'' with his friend and the mayor.

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The New York Mets' infirmary just got a little more crowded.

The club placed Yoenis Cespedes on the 10-day disabled list after he strained his hamstring Thursday against the Atlanta Braves, the team announced Friday.

Cespedes missed a series against the Washington Nationals earlier in the month with cramps in his left hamstring, but returned April 26 against the Braves, only to re-aggravate the injury running the bases after lacing a double. He was in obvious discomfort, and had to be helped off the field by trainers.

Although the club has gotten used to life without several members of the team as they recover from various ailments, Cespedes' absence presents a ton of problems for a Mets team struggling to generate offense.

In addition to the latest developments of Cespedes' injury, the club has been without Lucas Duda, David Wright, and Wilmer Flores. To make matters worse, Noah Syndergaard had his most recent start pushed back due to biceps tendinitis, and Steven Matz is yet to return from an elbow injury.

Cespedes entered Thursday's game hitting .270/.373/.619 with six home runs and 10 RBIs, with a team-leading 162 OPS+. He's in year one of a fresh four-year, $110-million deal signed in November.

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The dust has finally settled between the Boston Red Sox and Manny Machado, but that didn't stop one Hall of Fame pitcher from weighing in on the drama.

Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez revealed how he would have handled the retaliation if he went up against the 24-year-old Orioles third baseman.

"If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him," Martinez said, according to ESPN's Scott Lauber. "The only thing I would've done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower."

The dramatic end to the tumultuous series between the division rivals led to a four-game suspension for Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, who threw near Machado's head on April 23, the final game of the series.

"I would react the same way except I would try to keep the ball lower. The ribs the ribs down. Butt cheek. Legs. But ribs," Martinez said, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. "I aimed all the time to the ribcage - boom! And I was a sharpshooter, too. You rarely saw me right over the head. It would be the ribs."

The incident was the result of a sliding play in game one that saw Dustin Pedroia - who would go on to miss three games with a leg injury - limp off the field following a controversial slide from Machado at second base.

Martinez also weighed in on the play, adding that he believes Machado never intended to hurt Pedroia and knows that because of his relationship with the Orioles star.

Much has been made of the chaos, but at least fans won't have to wait much longer to see if anything else materializes between both clubs as the Orioles will travel to Boston for a four-game series starting May 1.

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Theo Esptein kept his word. Sort of.

Back in 2010, Anthony Rizzo, then considered a top prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, was shipped to the San Diego Padres in a five-player deal for All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

But Epstein, Boston's general manager at the time, took the rising star aside and vowed they would cross paths again in the future - a promised that materialized two years later when Epstein, now the president of the Chicago Cubs, reacquired his former player from San Diego.

"I had angst about (trading Rizzo) as we were doing it. I told Rizz we were going to trade back for him at some point - and we did," Epstein told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. "I just happened to be in a different organization."

Both the Red Sox and Cubs would benefit from the deals involving Rizzo. In 2013, the Red Sox won their third World Series title in 10 seasons, while Rizzo emerged as a face of the Cubs team that finally ended a 108-year championship drought in November.

Still, the 27-year-old wasn't shy about showing his gratitude toward the team that selected him in the sixth round in 2007.

"The Red Sox drafted me and it was an historic franchise. Little did I know it would be such an amazing franchise as far as the way I was instructed and the way I was treated. I'm glad I got my start there," Rizzo told Speier. "From time to time, I do (think about the Red Sox). I enjoyed my time there. That organization taught me a lot.

"But now I just watch them on TV, that's really it."

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Another dominant day at the office for Chris Sale resulted in another loss for the Boston Red Sox left-hander, who just can't seem to get any kind of run support from his teammates, who failed to record a run in a 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday.

Sale joined exclusive company during the contest when he became just the fourth Red Sox pitcher in history to strike out at least 10 hitters in four consecutive starts, according to MLB Stat of the Day.

Sale joined Pedro Martinez, Jon Lester, and Roger Clemens in the Red Sox records books.


Despite striking out 45 batters in his last four starts and owning a 1.19 ERA overall, the 28-year-old has only amassed a 1-2 record thanks to meager production from what is supposed to be an offensively gifted Red Sox lineup.

The Red Sox have given Sale a total of three runs of support, but the southpaw isn't pointing the finger at anyone but himself after Thursday's loss. "The only frustration is toward myself ... I've got to be better," he told reporters, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.

"The moral of the story is I just got flat-out outpitched. That's it," he later added when speaking with WEEI.com's John Tomase.

The Red Sox have scored 4.25 runs per game in non-Sale starts this season, but have struggled to put runs on the board over the past week, scoring 13 runs since April 20, six of which came last Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.

"It's a week. I don't want to say this is what our club is," manager John Farrell told Britton of the Red Sox lack of production.

Sale's 52 strikeouts leads all of baseball, while his lone win ranks him in a tie for 42nd place in the American League.

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Even if he's not hitting like he did with the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols isn't finished writing his name in baseball's record books.

With a three-run homer that put the Los Angeles Angels permanently ahead of the Texas Rangers 6-3 Friday night, Pujols passed Rafael Palmeiro for the most RBIs in MLB history by a player born outside the United States with 1,838.

It took Palmeiro 2,831 games over parts of 20 seasons to collect 1,835 RBIs. Pujols passed him in only 2,450 games.

The RBIs also pushed him ahead of Ken Griffey Jr. for 15th on the all-time RBI leaders list. The next run he drives in will tie him with Ted Williams for 14th.

Born in Santo Domingo of the Dominican Republic, Pujols was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft. At age 21, he debuted with a smash, hitting .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs. Though he's dealt with lingering plantar fasciitis, he's only failed to play 100 games in a season once in his 16 seasons (excluding 2017).

Friday's home run was also the 594th of his career as he creeps closer to Sammy Sosa (609) for eighth on the all-time list.

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The Washington Nationals' biggest offseason acquisition will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.

Outfielder Adam Eaton was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with what the team is calling a left knee strain.

The 28-year-old was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, though results of the test have yet to be revealed. There's still no timetable for his return.

"We're hopeful it's not as serious as it looked," manager Dusty Baker said on Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

Eaton sustained the injury while running out a ground ball for an infield single in the ninth inning of Friday's contest against the New York Mets. When he stretched across first base to beat the throw, he stepped on the bag awkwardly and immediately fell to the ground in pain. He had to be carried off the field by Nationals trainers and manager Dusty Baker.

Losing Eaton for any amount of time would be a significant blow to Washington's championship hopes. Acquired from the White Sox in a blockbuster offseason trade, he has since fit perfectly into the top of his new team's lineup, slashing .297/.393/.462 with two homers, three stolen bases, and 24 runs scored while hitting out of both the leadoff and No. 2 slots.

In a corresponding move, the Nationals recalled outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Eaton's spot on the 25-man roster. The 24-year-old Dominican is ranked as the Nationals' No. 13 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and owns a .680 OPS and three stolen bases in 19 Triple-A contests.

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As the New York Mets continue to deal with a barrage of injuries, the team received some promising news with the announcement Noah Syndergaard will start Sunday's game against the Washington Nationals.

Thor missed his previous start with what was initially described as a "tired arm" but was later diagnosed as biceps tendinitis. Typically, if a high-profile starter has any sort of injury concern with their arm, they'll undergo an MRI. Syndergaard was scheduled for the exam Friday, according to ESPN, but skipped it, threw a bullpen session, and declared he was ready to go.

"I'm pretty in tune with my body," Syndergaard said Saturday, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. "That's exactly why I refused to take the MRI. I knew there was nothing happening in there."

Syndergaard's reaction was a surprise to general manager Sandy Alderson, who admitted to reporters, "I can't strap him down and throw him in the tube."

Alderson is instead left hoping his 24-year-old ace is right.

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Your updated AL home run leaderboard:

1. @TheJudge44 10https://t.co/DkNh4rVMDG pic.twitter.com/glPbEa4wXI

— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 29, 2017
Justice is now being served in record fashion.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge continued his extraordinary start to 2017 by homering for the 10th time this month in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday to tie the MLB record for home runs by a rookie in April.

"He's probably the most gifted baseball player I think I've ever been around," Matt Holliday, a 14-year veteran, told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch of Judge on Friday.

On top of tying the record for homers by a rookie in April, Judge is now one of just three Yankees ever to record double-digit long-balls in the first month of the season, joining Graig Nettles (11) and Alex Rodriguez (14).

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The Arizona Diamondbacks will be without right-hander Shelby Miller for at least the next 12 months, as the 26-year-old announced Saturday he will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

"It's the best decision I think we could make," Miller told reporters Saturday afternoon, two days after his initial diagnosis - a partially torn UCL and flexor tendon strain - was confirmed by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.

A surgery date has not yet been set for Miller, who exited his most recent start with forearm arm tightness and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list four days later. Initially, Miller considered non-surgical options to repair his elbow, but conceded he would likely miss an extended period of time, regardless.

"It sucks," Miller told Nick Piecoro of AZCentral on Thursday. "It's not good news. You never want to be put in this kind of situation and never would you ever think it would happen to you, but it is what it is. It's one of those things you can’t really control. I’m pretty torn up for not being able to pitch for a while."

Acquired by the Diamondbacks two winters ago in a much-maligned trade that sent former No. 1 pick Dansby Swanson, outfielder Ender Inciarte, and right-hander Aaron Blair to the Atlanta Braves, Miller was a disaster in the first season with Arizona, stumbling to a 6.15 ERA over 20 starts while missing time with various injuries. Miller, an All-Star in 2014, got off to a strong start this year, throwing with renewed velocity and putting up a 3.50 ERA over three starts before his elbow tightened up Sunday in his fourth outing of the young season.

It's not yet clear who will replace Miller in the Diamondbacks' rotation. Archie Bradley, a former top prospect who has thrived early this season in a relief role, is a candidate to take the vacant starting job, though the club could also promote either Braden Shipley or Anthony Banda from Triple-A Reno to take his spot.

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The Eric Thames home-run watch continues, as do his drug tests.

The rejuvenation of the 30-year-old slugger has been one of baseball's most discussed stories and it's also captured the league's attention. Thames underwent yet another drug test following the conclusion of Friday's game.

This would be Thames' third test in 10 days, according to Tom Haudricot of the Journal Sentinel, and his fourth of the young season.

His previous "random" assessment and third of the year came after he hit his league-leading 11th home run against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. The homer put Thames in the Milwaukee Brewers' record books, as he became the first player to reach that total in April.


Thames was harmonious about the third test, saying at the time that he has a lot of blood and urine and would be around anytime the league wanted to evaluate him.

At this rate, he'll need to keep a full inventory of his bodily fluids. Thames enters Saturday's game hitting .364/.484/.870 with a 1.9 WAR. He's also tied with 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper in runs scored with 28.

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lobo316 wrote: The Washington Nationals' biggest offseason acquisition will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.

Outfielder Adam Eaton was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with what the team is calling a left knee strain.

The 28-year-old was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, though results of the test have yet to be revealed. There's still no timetable for his return.

"We're hopeful it's not as serious as it looked," manager Dusty Baker said on Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

Eaton sustained the injury while running out a ground ball for an infield single in the ninth inning of Friday's contest against the New York Mets. When he stretched across first base to beat the throw, he stepped on the bag awkwardly and immediately fell to the ground in pain. He had to be carried off the field by Nationals trainers and manager Dusty Baker.

Losing Eaton for any amount of time would be a significant blow to Washington's championship hopes. Acquired from the White Sox in a blockbuster offseason trade, he has since fit perfectly into the top of his new team's lineup, slashing .297/.393/.462 with two homers, three stolen bases, and 24 runs scored while hitting out of both the leadoff and No. 2 slots.

In a corresponding move, the Nationals recalled outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Eaton's spot on the 25-man roster. The 24-year-old Dominican is ranked as the Nationals' No. 13 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and owns a .680 OPS and three stolen bases in 19 Triple-A contests.




Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Eaton left Friday's game against the New York Mets in the ninth inning with the help of the team's training staff after landing awkwardly on first base. He was placed on the disabled list Saturday after undergoing an MRI which revealed a sprain in his left knee.
The disastrous development comes with the Nationals entering Saturday leading the league in wins. They also own the second-best run differential (plus-30). In Eaton's absence, the team is expected to use Michael Taylor in center field and keep Trea Turner, who started 44 games there last season, at shortstop.
Washington acquired Eaton in a blockbuster offseason deal, sending the Chicago White Sox three of its top prospects - Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning, and Reynaldo Lopez - in exchange. The diminutive Eaton has been one of baseball's most productive outfielders over the past few years, compiling 15.4 WAR and a .290/.362/.422 line since 2014.
In his first 23 games with the Nationals, he hit .297/.393/.462 with two home runs and 13 RBIs. Eaton's on an extremely reasonable contract - he'll earn a combined $18.4 million until 2019, and has a $9.5-million team option in 2020 followed by a $10.5-million team option in 2021.

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Make that two cycles in the same week.

Carlos Gomez became the third player this season to accomplish the feat, hitting a 427-foot home run in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday off Los Angeles Angeles reliever Jose Valdez.

San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers and Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner are the other players to hit for the cycle this season, both doing so in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field in Colorado. Myers' came on April 10 and Turner completed the feat Tuesday.

Impressively, it was the second cycle of Gomez's career and the first cycle hit by a Rangers player since Adrian Beltre in 2015. Gomez did it the first time as a 22-year-old in 2008 with the Minnesota Twins, becoming the fifth player in major-league history to hit a reverse natural cycle (home run, triple, double, single).

In his first at-bat Saturday, he doubled, losing one of his cleats in the process. He followed that with a single, an RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth, and finally a two-run blast in his last plate appearance.

The three cycles so far in 2017 have already tied last year's total - and it's only May.

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This is the New York Mets' worst nightmare.

Noah Syndergaard was removed from his start versus the Washington Nationals after just 1 1/3 innings with an apparent injury. Syndergaard grabbed underneath his right arm in noticeable pain following each of his final two pitches, and left the game aided by Mets staff.

The Mets described Syndergaard's injury as a "possible lat strain." He's left the team and is returning to New York, where he'll undergo an MRI.

The injury comes just one day after Syndergaard refused to undergo an MRI despite missing a start due to a biceps issue that was initially described as a "tired arm."

"I'm pretty in tune with my body," Syndergaard said on Saturday when asked about his refusal of the test. "That's exactly why I refused to take the MRI. I knew there was nothing happening in there."

Before leaving Sunday's game, the 24-year-old tied his career worst single inning by allowing five earned runs in the opening frame.

Syndergaard is the latest Met to suffer an injury this month, continuing what's become a dreadful string of games for the quickly sinking Queens club. Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes hit the DL this week with a hamstring injury, and he joined a laundry list of Mets who were already disabled, including pitcher Steven Matz, first baseman Lucas Duda, and outfielder Brandon Nimmo.

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Anthony Rendon raked his way into the Washington Nationals' history books Sunday afternoon, setting a new single-game franchise record by driving in 10 runs - while going 6-for-6 with three home runs - in his club's horrifyingly lopsided 23-5 victory over the New York Mets.

With a two-run single in the first, a solo shot in the third, a three-run bomb in the fourth, a three-run double in the fifth, and another solo shot in the eighth, Rendon surged past the previous single-game franchise record for RBIs jointly held by Josh Willingham, Tim Wallach, Andre Dawson, and Chris Speier (the last three, by the way, all did it with the Montreal Expos).

Rendon, a former Silver Slugger Award winner, is also just the second player since 1920 to record six hits, three homers, and 10 RBIs in a game, joining Walker Cooper, who accomplished the feat with the Cincinnati Reds in 1949.

"That was ridiculous," Nationals starter Joe Ross told MLB.com. "I was pretty impressed when Trea (Turner) hit for the cycle the other day. I mean he had six hits and three homers. I don't think he'll ever do that again. I mean, it's pretty ridiculous. He's swinging it. Everyone's swinging it pretty well."

Before Sunday's outburst at Nationals Park, Rendon - who had never driven in more than four runs in a game since debuting with Washington in 2013 - had collected just five RBIs all season.

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New York Yankees reliever Bryan Mitchell was handed the loss on Sunday after allowing three earned runs in extra innings to the Baltimore Orioles, but at least he made it in the club's record books.

After tossing a scoreless ninth inning, Mitchell replaced regular first baseman Greg Bird in order to give way to closer Aroldis Chapman. With the unusual shift, Mitchell became the first Yankees pitcher to play a different position since Ron Guidry played center field in 1983, the team announced.

Much to Mitchell's dismay, he allowed a foul pop up off the bat of Welington Castillo to drop in the 10th inning, which led to a single. No damage was done, however, and Mitchell made up for it, this time catching a second foul pop up courtesy of Jonathan Schoop.

"I guess I just went back too far and the ball had a lot of spin. I just never actually got there," Mitchell said. "Luckily, the next one was a little closer to me."

The 26-year-old reliever replaced Chapman the following inning, giving up back-to-back singles from Mark Trumbo and Castillo.

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It appears the Toronto Blue Jays were very high on Dexter Fowler this past offseason.

The club reportedly offered the 31-year-old outfielder a four-year, $64-million deal in the winter, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Fowler eventually opted for greener pastures, signing a five-year, $82.5-million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals instead.

At the time of the signing, it was widely reported that the Blue Jays and Cardinals were both aggressively pursuing Fowler and that Toronto offered him a guaranteed deal worth approximately $60 million.

The Blue Jays' interest in Fowler came around the same time the club inked Steve Pearce to a two-year, $12.5-million deal. It was speculated that the 31-year-old preferred to sign somewhere he would be the starting center fielder, but the Blue Jays were presumably prepared to sign him with the intention of keeping the defensively gifted Kevin Pillar in center and using Fowler in either right or left field.

Fowler's decision to sign with the Cardinals eventually led to the Blue Jays circling back to Jose Bautista, signing him to a one-year, $18-million deal in January.

Fowler has struggled in 23 games with the Cardinals this year, slashing .234/.305/.415 with 25 strikeouts in 94 at-bats.

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Aaron Sanchez's return to the Toronto Blue Jays' rotation lasted all of one inning, as the club placed the 24-year-old right-hander back on the 10-day disabled list Monday, one day after he exited his start against the Tampa Bay Rays with a split nail on his right middle finger after throwing just 13 pitches.

Sanchez, who recently had part of that fingernail removed to alleviate the blister problems that forced him to the DL on April 14, started bleeding shortly after taking the mound at Rogers Centre, and as soon as he returned to the dugout after the top of the first - throwing only fastballs, he managed to navigate a three-up, three-down inning - he slammed his glove down in frustration and headed to the clubhouse. Ryan Tepera took over on the mound in the top of the second.

"I wouldn't have been out there if I (thought) it was something that would happen," Sanchez told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm following his abbreviated outing. "We really didn't know going into today it was going to be an issue. I think, once you get into game mode, game speed, pressure on that nail starts to disperse in certain areas and maybe it wasn't strong enough because it was cut. Honestly, we don't know. We'll go from here."

With an off-day Thursday, though, the Blue Jays could conceivably skip Sanchez's upcoming turn in the rotation, meaning the embattled All-Star may miss only one start if his nail heals quickly.

"It's still frustrating, but I did everything I was supposed to do and everything I've done before to be ready for this start," Sanchez said. "It was just one of those things where you don't even think about the nail splitting in a different direction. It's just something that occurred and now that it occurred we handle it and we move on."

Including Sunday's one-inning outing, Sanchez owns a 4.05 ERA and 1.20 WHIP through three starts in 2017, striking out 10 while surrendering three home runs in 13 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays have recalled right-handed reliever Danny Barnes from Triple-A Buffalo to take his spot on the 25-man roster.

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For the second week in a row, a member of the Washington Nationals has taken home Player of the Week honors, while the Minnesota Twins have their first of the 2017 campaign.

Following up on Bryce Harper's torrid pace, the resurgent Ryan Zimmerman poses another threat in the Nationals lineup. Throughout the week, Zimmerman went 13-for-26 with five home runs and 13 RBI.

Meanwhile, on the American League side, Miguel Sano was named Player of the Week despite missing a game due to suspension. The Twins third baseman went 11-for-21, hitting three homers, and knocking in 11 runs.

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As the New York Yankees continue to mash and win games, their Big Apple counterparts aren't faring too well at the moment.

After New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard left his start early with what the team is calling a "lat injury," manager Terry Collins was understandably irritated after Sunday's 23-5 loss to the Washington Nationals.

An agitated Terry Collins discusses Syndergaard's injury. Sandy Alderson says an MRI is scheduled for 7 a.m. Monday. pic.twitter.com/rtI3v0Fe4Y

— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 30, 2017
When a reporter decided to point out that Collins seemed on edge, he replied by saying "You think? What do you think?" proceeding to explain that any long-term injury would be a big loss to the Mets.

After missing his scheduled start on April 27 with biceps tendinitis, Syndergaard refused to undergo an MRI saying that he knew his body best. It would lead general manager Sandy Alderson to say he couldn't force the 24-year-old into a tube in order to determine the austerity of his injury.

"We asked him how he felt and he said he felt fine, he could have pitched on turn," Alderson said after the game, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. "We took him at face value, but he also threw a bullpen (session) and felt fine. On the basis of that input as well as his own comments, he was good to go."

Alderson stands by the call to start him on Sunday but rhetorically questioned if an MRI would have been a good idea after all.

"The recommendation (to skip him Thursday) was made by the doctor," he said. "It was precautionary and we felt strongly that he was fine.

"We made sure that he threw again before he went out so we could confirm that and that’s what happened. Would the MRI have disclosed a lat issue or reaffirm some concern about the bicep? We'll never know."

Syndergaard is expected to finally undergo an MRI on Monday in order to determine the severity of the injury he suffered on Sunday.

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New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson isn't placing any blame on Noah Syndergaard - or the team's medical staff - after receiving word that the club's staff ace will spend the foreseeable future on the disabled list with a lat injury.

"I have absolute confidence in (the medical staff)," Alderson said Monday, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

Syndergaard was scratched from a start last week after complaining of biceps tightness and was scheduled to undergo an MRI before he refused, saying that it was unnecessary as he felt he was healthy enough to pitch. Syndergaard took the mound Sunday, but exited in the second inning after suffering a partial tear of his lat muscle.

The Mets have received plenty of criticism for allowing Syndergaard to pitch after he was scratched from his previous start and then declined an MRI, though Alderson was told by doctors that the two injuries aren't related.

"The doctor has said that there isn't any connection between what happened and a possible biceps injury," Alderson told reporters

The Mets have not put a timetable on Syndergaard's return, though Alderson is under the impression that his absence is going to be a lengthy one.

"We're going to put him on the 10-day disabled list today but I don't think this will be measured in days, it will be measured in weeks," Alderson said. "Rather than speculate when he'll be back, it's going to be a considerable amount of time. I think that's all we can say right now."

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The ugly side of sports fandom was on display Monday night at Fenway Park in Boston.

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was taunted from the stands by fans spouting hateful, racist insults during the Orioles' 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox. He was understandably upset after the game, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

"A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me," Jones said, "I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome."

Jones' solution to the problem is to hit the offending parties where it hurts: their pocketbook.

"It’s pathetic,’’ he said. "It’s called a coward. What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check.

"That’s how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It’s a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he’s done."

It wasn't the first time Jones has had to deal with this brand of idiocy. As recently as last October, when the Orioles played the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL wild-card game, he claimed that himself and teammate Hyun Soo Kim were both targeted with racial slurs from members of the crowd.

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Boston mayor Marty Walsh refused to stay silent after hearing that Baltimore Orioles star Adam Jones was victimized by racist taunts in Monday's series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, denouncing Tuesday morning the use of racial epithets anywhere in his city, including the team's beloved ballpark.

"This is unacceptable and not who we are as a city," Walsh told USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale. "These words and actions have no place in Fenway, Boston, or anywhere."

"We are better than this."

On Monday, in the Orioles' first game in Boston since last weekend's tense series at Camden Yards, Jones was "called the N-word a handful of times," he said after his club's 5-2 win, adding that one fan threw a bag of peanuts at him, too.

"It's pathetic," Jones said. "It's called a coward."

The mayor's sentiment was echoed by Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, who apologized to Jones and the Orioles organization in a statement Tuesday, adding that the team's "review of last night's events is ongoing." Kennedy later noted on WEEI that the Red Sox plan to meet with Jones, along with several of their own players.

"The Red Sox want to publicly apologize to Adam Jones and the entire Orioles organization for what occurred at Fenway Park Monday night," the statement reads. "No player should have an object thrown at him on the playing field, nor be subjected to any kind of racism at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few.

"Such conduct should be reported immediately to Red Sox security, and any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark, and may be subject to further action. Our review of last night's events is ongoing."

Jones, who last year claimed he was subjected to racial epithets at Rogers Centre during the American League wild-card game against the Toronto Blue Jays, suggested Monday that in lieu of merely ejecting disrespectful fans from the stadium, anyone caught using racial slurs should be fined up to $30,000, or "something that really hurts somebody."

"Make them pay in full," Jones said. "And if they don't, take it out of their check."

He continued: "That's how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It's a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he's done."

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CC Sabathia, the decorated New York Yankees left-hander who's spent the better part of the last two decades in the big leagues, wasn't surprised that Adam Jones was victimized by racial taunts at Fenway Park on Monday night.

Before joining the Yankees, who insist on having a security team in the bullpen, Sabathia himself received similar treatment in Boston - the only place he's been called the N-word in his MLB career, he said - and the 36-year-old admitted Tuesday that black ballplayers have come to expect racial abuse at Fenway Park.

"We know," Sabathia told Newsday's Erik Boland. "There's 62 of us. We all know. When you go to Boston, expect it."

On Monday, Jones, the Baltimore Orioles' longtime center fielder, said fans hurled racial epithets at him throughout his club's 5-2 win at Fenway, and noted that one even threw a bag of peanuts at him. The incident was all too familiar for Sabathia, a former Cy Young Award winner who spent the first eight years of his career with Cleveland (and, briefly, Milwaukee) before signing with New York ahead of the 2009 season.

"It's disgusting," Sabathia said, according to John Healy of the New York Daily News. "When I was in Cleveland it was bad. Really bad. It's something you know going in, I guess, when you go there. It's sad is what it is. I never had it anywhere else."


As he discussed the incident with reporters following Monday's game, Jones suggested fining - not merely ejecting - fans who use racial slurs. When asked how he would like to see these incidents addressed, though, Sabathia was simply bewildered that these attitudes and behaviors can still exist in 2017.

"I have no idea. I really don't know any solution for what they should do," Sabathia said. "It's bad, it's sad, it's 2017 and you still have to deal with racism in baseball."

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PHOENIX - Oakland Athletics 2016 draft pick Casey Thomas has died. He was 24.

The A's said Tuesday that Thomas died unexpectedly in Phoenix. Executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane says the organization was devastated by the news and called Thomas a "wonderful young man and teammate."

Thomas was the son of A's pro scout Tom Thomas.

This is the second death of an A's minor leaguer in as many years. Triple-A pitcher Sean Murphy died April 25, 2016, from a heart muscle disease.

Thomas was a 34th-round draft pick last year and was currently with the organization in extended spring training. He batted .258 with 18 RBIs in 37 games last year in rookie ball in the Arizona League.

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The Miami Marlins haven't even completed their sale yet, but members of the new regime are already shuffling the deck chairs, and eyeing their prospective offices.

New York Yankees legend and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter has been tied to the bidding group led by Jeb Bush for awhile, and the former shortstop will oversee the baseball operations department, Bush told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

With reports of Bush's optimism over his group winning the right to purchase the Marlins, the team may want to begin preparing this nameplate: Derek Jeter: President of Baseball Operations.

All of Jeter's 20 years in the big leagues were spent with the Yankees, where he won AL Rookie of the Year and five World Series rings, including a World Series MVP in 2000.

What this all means for the Marlins' current president of baseball operations, Michael Hill, remains to be seen. While new regimes tend to replace certain members of the front office with their own preferred employees, especially at the top, it's still feasible that Jeter could oversee the baseball operations department in a supplementary role to Hill, at least in the interim.

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With 11 strikeouts against the Baltimore Orioles over his eight innings on Tuesday, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale became the second pitcher in franchise history to record 10-plus strikeouts in five consecutive starts.

The only other Red Sox pitcher to do so was a pretty good one, too: Pedro Martinez.

And Pedro is taking notice.

Chris Sale is already surpassing everything I've done

— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) May 3, 2017
Sale fanned Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, Trey Mancini, and Caleb Joseph twice apiece. Only Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy managed to escape without striking out once. The Red Sox held on to win the game 5-2, somehow giving Sale only his second win of the season despite his top-shelf numbers.

As great as his run has been, Sale has some work to do to fully replicate Martinez's output with the Red Sox. Between 1999 and 2001, Martinez had four streaks of at least five games with 10 or more strikeouts. His best came in 1999, when he boasted both a seven- and eight-game streak.

Sale has not yet matched his career-best streak of this nature. In 2015, then with the Chicago White Sox, Sale struck out double-digit batters over eight consecutive starts, twice fanning 14.

His next start is expected to come against the Minnesota Twins. And though the Twins are somewhat middling in the standings, they make contact. Prior to Tuesday, only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Sale's own Red Sox had recorded fewer strikeouts as a team.

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Manny Machado has no love for the Boston Red Sox.

The Baltimore Orioles' superstar third baseman was once again targeted by a Red Sox pitcher Tuesday, this time being thrown behind by Chris Sale in the first inning, and he let reporters know he's tired of being Boston's focus for retribution with a profanity-laced postgame tirade.

"I mean, that's stuff that you don't fucking do. But I mean, I'm not on that side. I'm not in that organization," Machado told reporters. "They're still thinking about that same slide that I did. There was no intention on hurting anybody and I'm still paying, I'm still trying to get hit at.

"Get thrown at on my fucking head. They're fucking throwing everywhere. It's fucking bullshit, you know, I've lost my respect for that organization, that coaching staff and everyone over there."

Machado didn't stop there, going on to call on Major League Baseball to intervene.

"If you're going to fucking hit me, hit me. Go ahead. Fucking hit me. Don't let this fucking keep lingering fucking around. Don't keep trying to fucking hit people. It's fucking bullshit ... the MLB should do something about it," he continued. "Fucking pitchers out there with fucking balls in their hands throwing 100-mph trying to hit people.

"I've got a fucking bat, too. I could go up there and crush somebody if I wanted to. But you know what? I'll get suspended for a year and the pitcher only gets suspended for two games. That's not cool."

Machado was nearly plunked by Sale just one batter after Adam Jones received a standing ovation from the fans at Fenway Park. The pitch appeared to be revenge for Dylan Bundy hitting Mookie Betts on Monday, though the bad blood between the two teams has been brewing ever since Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia with a slide on April 22.

If the Red Sox attempt to throw at Machado again Wednesday, the infielder warned he may have to take matters into his own hands.

"We'll just have to find out tomorrow and see. They're probably going to try to hit me again ... I'm just going to have to wear it and see what happens," he told MASN's Gary Thorne. "If I have to take care of business on my own then I'm gonna have to do something."

Sale, though, didn't seem to bat an eye upon hearing of Machado's comments.

"Whatever man. ... I'm not losing sleep over it," he said, according to WEEI's Ryan Hannable.

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Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is optimistic he'll have two key pieces back from the disabled list at some point next week, but knows it's not a guarantee.

"I couldn't tell you when they're going to play," Gibbons said of Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. "Hopefully, next homestand. Hopefully, at the beginning of the homestand, but that's just guessing. Guessing and hoping."

Both Donaldson and Tulowitzki are rehabbing their respective injuries in Florida but remain without a timetable. Donaldson has been out with a calf injury since April 13, while Tulowitzki strained his right hamstring April 21.

The Blue Jays sit at the bottom of the American league East standings at 9-19, and are in desperate need of the duo's return.

Toronto plays one more game in New York on Wednesday before traveling to Tampa Bay for a three-game series with the Rays that begins Friday. The team returns home Monday for a nine-game homestand.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - There are still too many strikeouts. His patience at the plate is a struggle. And the batting average remains below .250. But Tim Tebow believes he's making steady progress in his life as a pro baseball player.

''It feels more comfortable,'' Tebow said Tuesday night , a short time after scoring the winning run in the Columbia Fireflies' 2-1 victory over Delmarva. ''I'm definitely seeing pitches better. I feel like I'm getting better every week, too.''

The numbers bear that out, minus his flashy start for the New York Mets' Class A affiliate - Tebow homered in first pro at-bat , then added a second homer three games later. An average that hovered in the mid-.100s for the first couple of weeks has popped to .231. Tebow had three multistrikeout games in his first six starts, yet just one in his last 10.

''His at-bats, you see the consistency,'' Fireflies manager Jose Leger said. ''Once he finds the rhythm, this guy's got the right tools to play this game.''

Tebow displayed patience against the Shorebirds, reaching three times despite going 0 for 2. His one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth started Columbia's winning rally, with the former Heisman Trophy quarterback for Florida crossing the plate with the winning run after Gene Cone's bases-loaded walk.

Tebow awaited his charging teammates for congratulations, but they passed him right up to continue down the first-base line where Cone had successfully stepped on the bag.

''We haven't had many walkoffs like that,'' Tebow said with a smile. ''I'm just glad I didn't get the Gatorade.''

Tebow, 29, has put in the work to improve, Leger said. He shows up at the park early for extra batting practices or shags fly balls late to better his skills in left field. He's also dealt with the throngs of fans, home and away, clamoring to say hello, take a selfie or get an autograph.

One fan Tuesday night was decked out head to legs in Florida Gators gear. Another group arrived with one person in Tebow's No. 15 Broncos jersey and a second wearing Tebow's New York Jets jersey.

It's not always easy, Tebow acknowledged, balancing the discipline and focus on the field necessary to get better at baseball with the demands of others off it.

''I feel I'm making progress,'' he said. ''But it's a process. It's just continuing to have that work ethic whether you're oh for 4 or whether you're 3 for 4. It's something I've tried to focus on this entire time. I don't want to get too good after a good game or too bad. I'm just trying to stay level headed.''

Columbia president John Katz said there's no timetable for Tebow's stay in South Carolina. ''We don't control any of that,'' he said.

Leger would love to have Tebow around a lot longer. He's been a leader in the clubhouse, showing the younger guys that extra work is essential to succeed at this game.

''I try to bring that even keel every single day, with energy,'' Tebow said.

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A group led by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and former presidential candidate Jeb Bush may not be a shoo-in after all as the new owners of the Miami Marlins.

The group is facing stiff competition from a separate party led by businessman Tagg Romney, which has submitted a bid slightly higher than the reported $1.3 billion offered by the Bush-Jeter-led faction, according to an MLB source of Barry Jackson and Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald.

Major League Baseball and the Marlins are evaluating both offers, according to the same source, and a decision is expected shortly.

"We have two very strong groups that we believe will have sufficient financial resources to complete the sale and run the team effectively," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told the Herald in a statement.

The bid from Romney's group - which also features former Atlanta Braves pitcher and Hall of Famer Tom Glavine - is apparently less than $1.4 billion, according to the Herald.

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Diagnosed earlier this week with a torn right lat muscle, Noah Syndergaard, the New York Mets' ailing ace, is reportedly headed to see noted orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache for a second opinion, while the conservative estimate has the 24-year-old right-hander out for the next three months, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

After famously refusing to have an MRI despite being scratched from last Thursday's scheduled start with a "tired arm", Syndergaard exited Sunday's outing against the Washington Nationals in the second inning due to injury, wincing and grabbing his right underarm area as he made his way off the field at Nationals Park. A subsequent MRI revealed the torn lat muscle, and Syndergaard was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday.

Speaking before Monday's game against the Atlanta Braves, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson wouldn't speculate as to how much time Syndergaard would miss, but conceded he wouldn't be back in the rotation anytime soon. Steven Matz, another injured Mets starter, missed two months with a torn lat muscle in 2015, but Alderson didn't want to compare Syndergaard's injury to the one that felled Matz.

"It's going to be a considerable amount of time," Alderson told James Wagner of the New York Times.

Rafael Montero, a 26-year-old right-hander who has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen this year, is expected to start Friday in Syndergaard's stead, though that rotation spot will likely go to Matz when he gets over the elbow inflammation that has sidelined him all season.

"Somebody has got to pick up the slack," manager Terry Collins said. "I'm not asking any starting pitcher to be Noah Syndergaard. I'm asking them to be themselves, and go pitch a good game."

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One player who's likely glad to see the calendar flip over from April is Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber, who's headed to the disabled list after a disastrous start to his year, according to Terry Francona who joined "Inside Pitch" on Wednesday.

Francona said the Indians were "leaning toward" a disabled list stint for Kluber, who's been dealing with back issues early this season and appears to be off track from his typical Cy Young form. The move was made official just after Francona's radio appearance.

Kluber, the 2014 Cy Young winner, has posted a 5.06 ERA and 4.29 FIP through his first six starts this season, and is walking more than three batters per nine innings.

With Kluber headed to the DL, Francona suggested the team "think(s) letting him miss a little bit of time is the best thing for everybody."

From 2014-16, only Clayton Kershaw has been a better pitcher than Kluber by FanGraphs WAR. Meanwhile, Kluber is coming off of a game against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday in which he allowed five runs over just three innings of work - his worst start of the year, and his shortest since May 2016.

In Kluber's stead, the Indians have recalled right-handed reliever Joe Colon, while the likely candidate to take Kluber's next scheduled start on Sunday is Mike Clevinger, who started in Triple-A on Tuesday night, according to Zack Meisel of clevelanddotcom.

The Indians are currently tied for third in their division with a 14-12 record, a half-game back of the first-place Chicago White Sox. "I don't think we're thrilled with the way our record is," Francona said, before adding "but we haven't let it get in the way of our season either."

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Sports super-agent Scott Boras doesn't think teams alone should be required to make punitive decisions when it comes to racist behavior in their ballparks.

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Boras is calling for Congressional intervention following a fan lobbing racist epithets at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones on Monday night at Fenway Park.

"Jackie Robinson carried the torch of our game as a spokesperson to help initiate Civil Rights legislation. This awareness needs to trigger legislation," Boras said.

To Boras, the punishment should go beyond being banned from the stadium. He feels using racist language to taunt players should be punishable by law.

"I think we’d get unanimity among legislators to create a bill that would put teeth into what teams could do with the license they are given. If you run on the field, that trespass gets you jail time and a criminal act. Why shouldn’t conduct of this nature get obviously a greater penalty because it has worse damages?"

This comes on the heels of Jones and his own agent, Nez Balelo of CAA, saying there needs to be a "zero tolerance" policy adopted to deter this behavior.

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Here we go again.

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman was ejected from Wednesday's game against the Boston Red Sox after hitting shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a 77-mph breaking ball in the bottom of the second inning.

In the seemingly never-ending circus surrounding the two teams that has involved multiple attempts to bean Manny Machado and seen Mookie Betts actually get hit by a pitch, this seemed inevitable.

Home plate umpire Sam Holbrook immediately motioned for Gausman's ejection as Bogaerts went to first base. Gausman protested, and catcher Caleb Joseph went ballistic.

Even Red Sox commentator Dennis Eckersley thought it was a hasty call, referring to it as "clueless" during the broadcast.

So much for tension being over and done with.

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Baltimore Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman was understandably upset Wednesday night following an early, and controversial, ejection for hitting Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

Gausman plunked Bogaerts with a 77-mph curveball to lead off the second inning and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook, despite protests from both Gausman and Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph.

"I didn't know who he threw out at first," Gausman said, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. "Just complete bush league, to be honest."

"It's malarkey," Joseph said, according to Ryan Hannable of WEEI. "It's freaking BS."

Kevin Gausman tossed by Sam Holbrook after hitting Xander Boegarts with a 77-MPH curveball. Surpised Caleb Joseph stayed in (bumped ump). pic.twitter.com/s8AwgrIJEM

— CoronaLime (@CoronaLimeDFS) May 4, 2017
Tensions were high following an emotional game Tuesday that ended in a expletive-laden tirade from Manny Machado, who took exception to a 98-mph fastball that Chris Sale threw behind him.

Major League Baseball even held a conference call between managers John Farrell and Buck Showalter prior to Wednesday's game in an effort to quash anymore animosity between the two clubs.

"You keep trying to do the right thing and take the high ground," Showalter said, according to Britton. "It's frustrating. It's hard to keep turning the other cheek. You've got a 77-mph pitch compared to 96 last night. You figure it out. You guys are smart. You guys have been watching a lot of baseball."

Gausman went on to tell reporters that everyone knew Sale threw behind Machado on purpose but wasn't ejected, while he was kicked out of the game for a curveball he claimed slipped out of his hand.

"To throw me out in that situation after what Sale did yesterday, throwing 98 behind a guy on purpose - everybody knew it - and you're going to throw me out for hitting a guy on a curveball, 0-0, in the second inning? It's pretty bush league," Gausman said.

Sale has yet to receive any discipline from the league for his actions, though it was reported earlier Wednesday that he might receive some recourse for the throw behind Machado.

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No game between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox seems to be played without some form of heightened drama. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, for one, is looking forward to boarding a plane after Thursday's series finale.

"I am the most excited person to get the hell out of Boston," he said to WEEI's Ryan Hannable.

Joseph was caught in the middle of Wednesday's controversial game when pitcher Kevin Gausman was tossed for hitting Xander Bogaerts with a curveball. The catcher was livid with the decision in the moment and after the game, according to the Providence Journal's Tim Britton.

"We don't have the Chris Sale who throws 97 and strikes out the world. We have guys who use their pitches in certain locations to get guys out. We have Gold Glove caliber defense, period. They have to go in there and make certain pitches and a curveball got away from a guy and he got ejected. It's malarkey. It's freaking BS."

For Joseph, an umpire tossing Gausman for hitting Bogaerts effectively takes away the inside part of the plate and takes the game away from those playing it. Collaboration between umpires when it comes to these kinds of issues would be the ideal solution.

"And what I would like to see is, we see it all the time with umpires, if they are unsure, they gather together," Joseph said. "When you're making a quick decision that can directly impact not only the game, but a week's worth of games after that. I think the best course of action is to call everybody together, get four minds involved and see what everybody thinks and then make a decision. There's no time limit on when you eject a player or not. Why can't we do that? If we can do it on busted up plays, why can't we do it for pitches they think are deemed on purpose?"

Fortunately for Joseph, there's only one more game in this series. And while the teams meet again in Baltimore at the beginning of June, the Orioles don't travel back to Fenway Park until a three-game series starting Aug. 25.

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Kevin Gausman may have deemed the call to be bush league, but home plate umpire Sam Holbrook stood by his decision to eject the Baltimore Orioles starter from Wednesday's game after plunking Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a 77-mph curveball.

"Just given the situation and the tension between the two clubs and all the stuff that's gone over the past few weeks, we're all on high alert with anything," Holbrook told a pool reporter following the Red Sox's 4-2 win.

"I know that the ball was a curveball, but it hit him square in the back and just making a split decision at that point right there, there needs to be an end to this stuff, and I felt like an ejection was the right thing to do at that time, and that's what we did. Thankfully, we didn't have any more problems the rest of the game."

Bogaerts was hit by the pitch to lead off the second inning, and Gausman said he didn't even realize that he was ejected at first. When he realized that his night was over, Gausman became upset and exchanged words with Holbrook.

Tensions between the two teams have spilled over since an earlier series that saw Manny Machado spike Dustin Pedroia on a slide at second. The Red Sox retaliated later that series with reliever Matt Barnes throwing behind the head of Machado - a pitch Barnes received a four-game suspension for.

During the series opener Monday, Orioles starter Dylan Bundy hit Mookie Betts with a pitch in the leg, and Chris Sale responded Tuesday by throwing behind Machado which prompted a warning to both teams from the league.

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The Boston Red Sox's zero tolerance toward racism at Fenway Park has already resulted in at least one ejection.

"During Tuesday night's Red Sox-Orioles game, it was reported to Red Sox security that a racial slur was used in a comment from one fan to another," the club said in a statement. "The offending individual was promptly ejected from the ballpark, and has since been notified they are no longer welcome at Fenway Park.

"The Red Sox organization will not tolerate the use of racial slurs at Fenway Park, and we have apologized to those affected. There is no place for racial epithets at Fenway Park, in baseball, or in our society. The Red Sox turned the matter over to the Boston Police Department, who will further investigate with their civil rights unit and determine whether it merits further action."

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy acknowledged that it's difficult to enforce a lifetime ban, but he's confident the club will do all it can in order to make sure the offender does not return to the ballpark.

"We're going to have to work really hard with our security operation," Kennedy said, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. "We know who the person is, and we will work hard to do everything we can. It's unprecedented, so it may be difficult. But I can tell you this was an individual game buyer, not a season-ticket holder."

Tensions have been high at Fenway Park this week after Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones complained Monday that he was called the N-word by fans at the ballpark.

The Red Sox quickly apologized to Jones and the Orioles and promised to implement more security and stiffer penalties for those accused of uttering racist slurs to anyone at the ballpark.

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ATLANTA - Early on, the New York Mets made two silly base-running mistakes, both resulting in double plays.

By the end of the night, it hardly mattered.

Jose Reyes matched a career high with five RBIs and the Mets pounded out 20 hits, cruising to a 16-5 rout of the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

"You're starting to see better at-bats, better pitch selection," manager Terry Collins said. "That's the big difference right now."

Rene Rivera drove in three runs, while Michael Conforto and even pitcher Jacob deGrom had two RBIs apiece.

Reyes had a run-scoring single in the third, a sacrifice fly in the fifth and finished off the Braves with a three-run double in the eighth.

DeGrom (2-1) struggled on the mound, surrendering eight hits, walking five and giving up five runs. He threw 109 pitches before being lifted after five innings, just long enough to qualify for the win.

"The outing is frustrating for me," he said. "What did I walk? Five guys? I feel good early on and don't know what's happening later in the game. I don't know if I'm trying to do too much or something and lose control."

The Mets jumped all over former teammate Bartolo Colon (1-3), who spent the last three seasons in New York. The 43-year-old lasted just four innings, giving up five runs, seven hits and two walks.

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Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who was the victim of racist comments at Fenway Park on Monday, has since received an outpouring of support from those in and outside of the baseball world.

One person who called Jones to see how the 31-year-old big-leaguer was doing after the incident was civil-rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, who recently told The Baltimore Sun that Jones was "going through his Jackie Robinson moment."

Robinson broke the color barrier across baseball when he made his major-league debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

"He's handling it with amazing dignity and strength of character, and many people are coming to his rescue because this is such a horrible thing to happen, but it happens so often," Jackson said of Jones. "He's symbolizing the pain of this hour. There are far more people for him than against him. He represents the best in America."

After the incident, Jones called for harsher penalties for such behavior in the future.

The Boston Red Sox have since issued an apology to Jones and the entire Orioles organization for what occurred. The outfielder was given a standing ovation by the crowd at Fenway Park the day after the incident, and he even received additional support from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts.

On Tuesday, the Red Sox banned a fan from Fenway Park for life after they used a racial slur during a game.

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He simply cannot be stopped.

New York Yankees right fielder - and possible bat-swinging cyborg - Aaron Judge hit yet another baseball to Albany on Wednesday night when he demolished a Marcus Stroman offering to straightaway center field at Yankee Stadium in the second inning for his league-leading 13th homer of 2017. The baseball, which lived a full life until the moment it left Judge's bat at an exit velocity of 112 mph, ultimately died inside Monument Park some 435 feet from home plate.

The blast made the 25-year-old Judge - who tied the MLB record for most April home runs by a rookie - the youngest player in baseball history to hit 13 homers in his team's first 26 games of a season, according to Yankees PR.

Aaron Judge is now the youngest player in #MLB history to hit 13 HR in his team's first 26 games of a season (via @YankeesPR). pic.twitter.com/II3rPrGkWd

— YES Network (@YESNetwork) May 4, 2017
The Yankees' single-season rookie record for home runs is held by a man named Joe DiMaggio, who hit 29 bombs in 1936. At this pace, Judge may break Joltin' Joe's club record by the All-Star break.

Judge's homer helped propel his team to an 8-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, moving the Yankees' record in games when Judge has homered this season to an impeccable 11-0.

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Warning: Story contains coarse language

Former Boston Red Sox star Curt Schilling is not sold on Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones' claims that he received racial taunts at Fenway Park earlier this week.

Jones told reporters following Baltimore's game in Boston on Monday that Red Sox fans called him the N-Word and threw peanuts at him while he played his position. On Wednesday night, Schilling - who now works as a conservative pundit - spoke on his Brietbart News webcast and flat-out accused the five-time All-Star center fielder of making up the story for publicity purposes.

"I don't believe the story, given the world we live in," Schilling said during his webcast, according to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. "I don't believe it, for this reason: Everybody is starving and hungry to sit in front of a camera and talk and be social justice warriors. And if a fan yelled loud enough in center field for Adam Jones to hear the N-word, I guarantee you we would've heard and seen fans around on CNN on MSNBC, they would've found multiple fans to talk about what a racist piece of junk Boston is.

"Since Tuesday night, we've had one person come forward who we found out was lying about the fact that they were in the area and heard it, and other than that we've had nobody."

Schilling, who began his 20-year pitching career with the Orioles in 1988 and pitched his final four seasons in Boston, cited his own experience in major-league clubhouses and watching his former teammates interact both together and with fans as reasons behind his skepticism.

"I spent most of my adult life in baseball parks. I heard the N-word out of my black teammates' mouths about 100 million times," Schilling continued. "For somebody to talk loud enough for Adam Jones to hear the N-word in center field, other people would have heard it.

"If somebody did say it, we're going to see it and hear about it, and I would apologize to Adam Jones for doubting him, but until then, I think this is bullshit. I think this is somebody creating a situation."

The Red Sox organization has acted swiftly since Jones first went public with his story. On Tuesday, one fan was banned for life from Fenway Park after uttering a racial slur during that evening's game, while Jones has received support and apologies from Red Sox ownership, players, and even Boston mayor Marty Walsh.

In his first at-bat at Fenway on Tuesday, Jones received a prolonged standing ovation from supportive Red Sox fans.

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The Boston Red Sox already thin rotation has taken another hit.

Right-hander Steven Wright will undergo knee surgery and miss the remainder of the regular season, the team announced on Thursday.

Wright is scheduled to have what the Red Sox are calling a cartilage restoration procedure on May 8. It's unclear who will take his spot in the starting rotation, though it appears Kyle Kendrick - who was called up on Thursday - will get the first opportunity.

Wright was placed on the disabled list on Monday with what was initially diagnosed as a left knee sprain. After a breakout performance last season that saw him post career numbers across the board, Wright took an immense step back early on in 2017.

He allowed only 12 home runs in 24 starts (156 innings) last season, but surrendered nine long balls in his first five starts this year, including four home runs in only 1 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on April 12.

The knuckleballer leaves with a 8.25 ERA, 7.71 FIP, and a 1.87 WHIP this season.

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Third base has been a cursed position for the Boston Red Sox this season but president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski isn't looking elsewhere for help.

Marco Hernandez joined fellow third basemen Brock Holt and Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list Thursday, leaving the Red Sox with limited options at the position. Hernandez and Sandoval could see lengthy stays on the DL, while Holt's issues with vertigo continue to leave his return date up in the air.

Despite the limited in-house options - Josh Rutledge and Chase d'Arnaud - Dombrowski told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe on Thursday that the club does not plan to go outside the organization for help at this time.

The Red Sox have received limited production from their third basemen this season, with Sandoval, Rutledge, Steve Selsky, and Hernandez combining to hit .206/.243/.340 with three home runs, 22 strikeouts, and 11 errors in 30 games.

"With the injuries and errors there, I've considered an exorcism at third base," manager John Farrell said, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.

Red Sox top prospect Rafael Devers is hitting .324/.359/.595 with five home runs and five doubles in 19 games with Double-A Portland. Despite his success, however, Dombrowski said there are no plans to rush him to the majors.

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Ryan Howard was once one of baseball's most feared sluggers, an MVP and World Series champion, the toast of Philadelphia.

So what's he doing here, in the sprawling suburbs of Atlanta, a minor leaguer at age 37, playing alongside a bunch of 20-somethings, enduring bus rides and sparse crowds?

"There's more in the tank," he said bluntly. "If you walk away, don't walk away with something still left in the tank. Then you're wondering like, 'Man, what could I have done?' When I'm done playing, I want to leave it all out on the field."

Howard certainly could've retired after an inglorious, injury-plagued, pitiable end to his Phillies career, more than content with a legacy that produced enough mementos to fill an entire room in his home. Many people, in fact, just assumed he was done after a rousing, retirement-like send-off before last season's final game in Philadelphia .

But Howard wasn't ready to walk away.

"It's been interesting," Howard said on a balmy spring afternoon, relaxing in the dugout at Coolray Field, home of the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. "Once you leave the minor leagues, you want to not come back. But it's the path that I'm on, the journey that I'm on."

Signed to a minor league deal by an organization that is Philly's division rival, Howard has impressed the G-Braves with his work ethic, arriving early for games and going through every drill with his younger - in some cases, much younger - teammates.

Before Wednesday's contest against the Durham Bulls, he took part in two rounds of batting practice and hung out behind the cage with hitting coach John Moses, discussing the nuances of his swing. Howard also fielded ground balls and headed to the outfield to limber up with some strange-looking contortions and gyrations.

"He's a good human'" being, manager Damon Berryhill said. "He works hard, sets a good example for our younger players. He's been a pleasure to have around."

Howard is off to a slow start with the Triple-A team, hitting just .188 through nine games. He did launch his first homer against the Bulls, a two-run shot that showed he's still got some juice in that stroke, but hardly anyone saw it.

The announced crowd was 1,295.

Howard is unfazed by the less-than-glamorous setting. His focus is firmly on getting back to the big leagues.

"Get your work in, do what you need do, and get back up top," he said. "I'm a little behind bit the curve as far as not really having a spring training, so you're trying to get your work in, trying to work on things, and at the same time, you're also going out there trying to be competitive."

When Howard was called up to the Phillies more than a decade ago, he ushered in one of the greatest eras in team history with his prodigious power. Every time he stepped into the left-handed box, he extended his bat toward the sky with one hand, as if to indicate how far he intended to hit the next pitch. In 2006, his first full year starting in the majors, he put together one of the greatest stat lines in baseball history: 58 homers, 149 RBIs, a .313 average, an MVP award.

The Phillies would go on to win five straight NL East titles, a stretch that included two trips to the World Series and a championship in 2008. Howard averaged 41 homers and 129 RBIs during that marvelous run, finishing in the top 10 of the MVP voting every season.

But his career was forever altered on the very last play of the 2011 division series against the St. Louis Cardinals, an excruciating 1-0 loss in Game 5 that ended with Howard tearing his Achilles tendon running out a grounder for the final out.

He hasn't been the same since.

Even so, Howard was the last remaining holdover from the Phillies' era of dominance, a convenient symbol of what the team once was and what it had become. He hobbled through five seasons plagued by injuries, dwindling production and a rising chorus of boos from a fan base that once worshipped him. It finally ended with the Phillies declining to exercise a $25 million contract option for 2017 after Howard batted a career-worst .196 while still showing flashes of power with 25 homers.

"You don't just write off something like that,'' Howard said of his time in Philly. "Obviously that's something that's been a big part of my life, my career. There's always going to be that time to pay homage. But right now, as I'm currently still playing, you put that chapter behind you for the time being."

Howard spent the winter waiting for someone to call. Then spring training passed with him still at home in Florida, working out regularly but looking more and more like the decision to move on with the rest of his life wouldn't be his to make.

Finally, less than a week into the regular season, Howard agreed to a minor-league deal with Atlanta, the NL East rival he had tormented for years. No promises were made, certainly not for a starting job on a team that already has Freddie Freeman at first base.

But the Braves have a woefully thin bench, and the hope is that Howard will show enough in the minors to warrant a call-up largely for pinch-hitting duties, not to mention serving as the designated hitter for a handful of interleague road games.

It's hardly the starring role Howard once played, hardly the career path he envisioned for himself.

It's a step, however, he's willing to take if it keeps him in the game.

"All you can do is just make the most of what you've got," Howard said. "You try to make the most of where you are to get back to where it is that you want to be."

That's what he's doing here.

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"The Sanchize" is on his way back.

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who hasn't played since the season's opening week due to a biceps issue, will be activated from the 10-day disabled list in time for Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, general manager Brian Cashman told Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News on Thursday.

Sanchez later took to Twitter and confirmed the news himself.

Taking off for Chicago. See you on the filed, tomorrow. Lets go @Yankees. #iamback #iamgary

— Gary Sanchez (@ElGarySanchez) May 4, 2017
Getting a healthy Sanchez back would be a boon for the Yankees, who've stormed out of the gate with a 17-9 record that's tops in the AL East. He'd rejoin a lineup that's mashed this season, more than holding its own without the 24-year-old wunderkind thanks in part to the play of his replacement behind the plate, backup catcher Austin Romine (.805 OPS, 2 HR, 10 RBI), as well as the emergence of major-league home-run leader Aaron Judge.

Sanchez strained his right biceps muscle while taking a swing during the Yankees' game in Baltimore on April 8, and was initially expected to miss four weeks. A Friday return would mean he'd be back in the big leagues slightly ahead of that schedule.

The Dominican native, who exploded onto the major-league scene as a rookie last summer by hitting 20 homers over the final two months of 2016, was struggling to begin this season. He went just 3-for-20 (.150) with a homer, a walk, and two RBIs in five games before getting hurt.

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CINCINNATI - Now this could be a Run for the Roses, Cincinnati style.

Shortly after racking up his 200th career stolen base, Reds speedster Billy Hamilton says he'd be willing to race recently drafted Bengals blazer John Ross in a 40-yard dash for charity.

Ross, a wide receiver from Washington and the Bengals' top pick last week, set an NFL scouting combine record of 4.22 seconds in the 40. Hamilton leads all major leaguers in steals since his debut in 2013.

"I know he's really, really fast," Hamilton said after Thursday's 4-2 win over Pittsburgh. "It is something I look forward to. I'm a competitor. I'm willing to do it for a charity event. I haven't done a 40 since ninth grade, a 4.5 flat."

"I'd do a 40. There's no way I could do 100. This is the wrong season to do 100," he said. "I think a 40 would be a fun race for the city. It is something to look into. Run it by our agents and see how it goes."

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Dave Stewart, the one-time All-Star pitcher and former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager who was fired from that post last October, has reportedly joined Tagg Romney's group that's currently bidding for ownership of the Miami Marlins, sources told Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

According to Nightengale, Stewart would run the Marlins' baseball operations department if the Romney group succeeds in buying the club from current owner Jeffrey Loria.

Stewart is also believed to have been pursuing Marlins ownership with his own group of investors, per Nightengale, before he reportedly chose to abandon that quest and join forces with Romney.

The Romney ownership bid - led by Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and also counts Hall of Famer Tom Glavine among its investors - appears to have emerged as the front-runner to purchase the club, moving ahead of a group fronted by one-time Florida governor Jeb Bush and former New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. Both the Bush-Jeter and Romney-Glavine-Stewart groups have reportedly made bids exceeding $1.3 billion in value, which are currently being assessed by the league.


The 60-year-old Stewart was hired as Arizona's general manager in 2014 after spending several years as an assistant GM with multiple clubs. The D-Backs never made the playoffs during his time at the helm, and he was heavily criticized for several of his moves - including last December's lopsided blockbuster trade of three top young prospects for Shelby Miller - before being fired at the end of last season.

Before embarking on his front-office venture, Stewart amassed a 168-129 record over his 16-year career as a pitcher, during which he also won three World Series championships, the 1989 World Series MVP, and a pair of ALCS MVP trophies in 1990 and '93.

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The Seattle Mariners placed starting pitcher James Paxton on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm, the team announced Friday.

It's terrible news for the Mariners, who have already lost pitchers Felix Hernandez and Drew Smyly to injury this season. Paxton's exit leaves the team's rotation in shambles, and it couldn't come at a worse time. Seattle had slowly rebounded after a horrendous start to the season to go 6-4 over the last 10 games and climb out of the AL West basement.

Paxton was finally coming into his own. Through six starts, he was 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA while striking out 45 batters in 37 2/3 innings. He was far and away the Mariners' most effective starter.

MLB.com's Greg Johns reports that MRIs revealed a Grade 1 strain, adding that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto doesn't expect Paxton to miss more than his next two starts.

Dipoto also said he feels the team "dodged a bullet," according to the Associated Press.

This isn't Paxton's first trip to the DL. He made only 13 starts in consecutive seasons between 2014 and 2015.

The Mariners recalled reliever Evan Marshall from Triple-A to replace Paxton on the roster, and they're expected to call up Christian Bergman over the weekend. Bergman or Dillon Overton will start Sunday against the Texas Rangers.

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The Toronto Blue Jays' beleaguered rotation is about to get some relief in the form of a bullpen ace.

Right-hander Joe Biagini, who became a staple of Toronto's bullpen as a rookie last year, will move into the rotation and make his first career start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, manager John Gibbons told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.

While Gibbons seemed high on Biagini's potential as a long-term rotation piece - "He's got a chance to be a good one," the skipper told Nicholson-Smith on Friday - it's unclear if he'll make any more starts beyond Sunday.

Biagini will make his start on a strict 60-pitch limit, according to Sportsnet's Arash Madani. He's never thrown more than two innings in a single outing as a big leaguer, and only once - on Wednesday in New York, his most recent outing - has he tossed more than 40 pitches.

After using just seven starters in all of 2016, the Blue Jays' once-vaunted rotation has been hit hard by the injury bug this April, forcing them to get multiple starts out of Triple-A depth arms Mat Latos (who was DFA'd on Friday) and Casey Lawrence. With Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ still on the disabled list, the decision to stretch out Biagini despite his success as a reliever appears to have been an easy one for the club.

Biagini's last start came in 2015, while he was still in the San Francisco Giants' organization pitching in Double-A. In 22 starts (and 23 total appearances) that season with the Eastern League's Richmond Flying Squirrels, he posted a 2.42 ERA and averaged nearly six strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

The 26-year-old, known as much for his quirky sense of humor as his mound skills, owns a career 3.13 ERA while averaging 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 74 big-league appearances, all of them in relief. This season he's already struck out 17 batters to just three walks, along with a WHIP of 0.96 and one save.

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Injuries have finally felled Adrian Gonzalez.

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Friday that the durable first baseman was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow soreness.

Outfielder Joc Pederson was reinstated from the DL in a corresponding move.

It's the first time in his 14-year career that Gonzalez has landed on the DL, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Durability has long been a trademark for the 34-year-old. He's played no less than 156 games in each of his 12 full seasons, including a four-year stretch of appearing in at least 160 contests as a member of the Padres from 2007-10. In 2008, he played in all of San Diego's 162 games.

That durability appears to have caught up to Gonzalez to begin this season, however. He's struggled mightily in his first 29 games, posting a career-worst .635 OPS with no home runs. After going 0-for-4 in Wednesday's loss to San Francisco, he acknowledged he'd been playing through multiple injuries, including right forearm stiffness and an aggravated herniated disc in his back.

"I should have gone on the DL to start the season from this," Gonzalez told the Times' Andy McCullough on Wednesday.

The decision to DL Gonzalez means top prospect Cody Bellinger will be the Dodgers' starting first baseman for the foreseeable future. Bellinger has impressed in his first taste of big-league action, hitting .303/.361/.576 with two homers and seven runs scored over 36 plate appearances, while primarily playing in left field defensively.

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Word of Ryan Zimmerman's downward spiral was apparently premature.

The Washington Nationals first baseman was named the National League's player of the month for April and is hitting an absurd .433/.474/.885. That includes his Friday output, where he hit his 12th home run and 11th double of the season.

April’s NL Player of the Month, Ryan Zimmerman, has his sights set on the May award. pic.twitter.com/3cvei3XejF

— MLB (@MLB) May 6, 2017
Those hits pushed him ahead of Montreal Expos infielder Tim Wallach for the all-time franchise lead in extra-base knocks with 596. Zimmerman has missed plenty of time over the last three seasons to injury, but he finally seems to be healthy.

Over his past 16 games, Zimmerman has hit .508 with 16 extra-base hits, as pointed out by the Sporting News' Ryan M. Spaeder. He's averaging at least one double or home run per game during that span (he has yet to hit a triple this season).

Wallach may not be a household name to the casual fan of today, but he was an integral piece to the Expos teams of the 1980s. Over 13 seasons with the franchise, he led the National League in doubles twice, with 42 in both the 1987 and 1989 seasons. Not a prototypical home run hitter, it was his knack for hitting doubles that saw him become the now-former franchise-leader in extra-base hits.

Zimmerman was the very first draft pick for the franchise after it moved from Montreal to Washington and has long been the face of a team struggling to make a name for itself. With the emergence of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Trea Turner, as well as the timely acquisitions of Max Scherzer and the now-injured Adam Eaton, Zimmerman appeared to be lost in the shuffle.

Now he's healthy and hitting at the best clip of his entire career. He may hold onto this record for a long time to come.

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Eric Gagne's hopeful path back to Major League Baseball will take a detour through the Atlantic League first.

The former Cy Young-winning reliever has signed a deal with the Long Island Ducks of independent baseball's Atlantic League, the team announced Friday.

"Eric is similar to so many former Major League players that utilize the Atlantic League as a showcase to be seen by all 30 big-league clubs," Ducks president and general manager Michael Pfaff said. "The Ducks are pleased to offer him this opportunity."

Prior to appearing in the World Baseball Classic this past March with his native Canada, Gagne revealed the tournament had him contemplating a major-league comeback, and he later said he was discussing a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers - his former club from 1999-2006 with whom he posted a 3.27 ERA and won a Cy Young Award with in 2003 - though no deal was ever finalized.

After the Dodgers, Gagne also went on to pitch for the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, and Milwaukee Brewers, though injuries and accusations of steroid use ultimately derailed his career in 2008.

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A lingering forearm injury is going to keep Zach Britton out of action for an extended period as the Baltimore Orioles closer was officially placed on the disabled list Saturday, retroactive to May 5, the team announced.

Britton underwent an MRI on Friday evening, although there doesn't appear to be any structural damage to the forearm or elbow ligaments, according to Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com.

Britton is expected to be out for at least a few weeks, according to Connolly, who cites industry sources. It's also possible Britton visits well-known surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache for a second opinion.

After report soreness in his forearm Friday morning, Britton was not made available in Baltimore's 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The left-hander has a 1.00 ERA in eight appearances this year, converting five saves and striking out seven. Reliever Brad Brach has been serving as the Orioles' closer in Britton's absence.

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New York Yankees great Alex Rodriguez had a chance Wednesday to join in the bidding for the Miami Marlins - against former teammate Derek Jeter - and turned it down, major-league sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Since news of the Marlins' sale broke, the two most prominent bidding groups for the franchise have been one led by Jeb Bush and Jeter and another group led by Tagg Romney. Romney reportedly tried to enlist a Yankees legend of his own by reeling in A-Rod at Wednesday's meeting.

Romney's group already includes Hall of Famer and Atlanta Braves pitching legend Tom Glavine. Former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart reportedly joined Romney's bid recently as well.

Rodriguez is from Miami, and while he "has dreamed of becoming a major-league owner," Rosenthal writes, sources said the star decided the timing isn't right.

In recent years, A-Rod has made appearances as a baseball analyst and color commentator for the FOX broadcast, including the 2015 World Series. In 2017, he is serving as a special adviser to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.

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The perpetual Tim Tebow watch remains in full effect.

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson chimed in on the former Heisman Trophy winner's performance in Single-A, admitting that many in the organization seem pleased with his development.

"Right now I think he's exceeded a lot of people's expectations," Alderson said Friday, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

"Right now, I think he's acquitted himself pretty well at Columbia. "We'll see what that competition holds for him over the next period of time, then we'll constantly sort of reassess where he is and what he needs to do. He's fine where he is right now."


Unsurprisingly, Alderson also said that there doesn't appear to be plans for a promotion to New York. The Mets GM visited Columbia Fireflies manager Jose Leger to discuss the possibility, with both agreeing that Tebow still has a lot of work to do.

"I love what I'm doing," Tebow said. "And when you have a chance to love what you do and you're passionate about it, it's fun. You don't wake up and go, 'Man, I've got to go face this day.' You go, 'I'm excited about this day.' And that's a good feeling."

In 24 games with the Fireflies, Tebow has hit .244/.323/.372 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He's also struck out 23 times in 86 at bats.

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Chicago Cubs left-hander Brett Anderson, never one to shy away from expressing his thoughts through social media, tweeted out his displeasure after leaving Saturday's start prematurely with back soreness.

Adding insult to injury, the southpaw has lasted only 1 2/3 innings while giving up 12 earned runs combined in his past two starts.

His self-deprecation is understandable considering Anderson has had two separate back surgeries over the years and has struggled to stay healthy, averaging only 10 starts a season since 2011.

"Make kind of a weird play, then it stiffens up, and with my history of back problems and everything considered, I didn't want to make it worse on everybody," Anderson said, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers. "Felt it was time to get out of there. Couldn't make the pitches I needed to. The last two starts here at home have been embarrassing from my perspective."

Manager Joe Maddon all but confirmed that the 29-year-old is heading to the disabled list, saying: "It's two starts in a row, and he probably felt something in his back tonight, but we just can't continue on that path right now."

Back injury aside, after signing a one-year, $3.5-million deal, Anderson hasn't performed too well with his new team. After Saturday, he's combined to an 8.18 ERA in six starts with 12 walks and a 2.09 WHIP.

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The New York Mets won't send Matt Harvey to the mound for Sunday's series finale against the Miami Marlins, as scheduled, as the club has suspended the 28-year-old right-hander without pay for three days for violating club rules, manager Terry Collins announced.

Collins, who said left-hander Adam Wilk will start in Harvey's stead, wouldn't divulge why the Mets decided to suspend the former All-Star.

"We'll keep it in-house, the way it's supposed to be," Collins told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson later noted during an appearance on MLB Network Radio that Harvey's suspension actually began Saturday, but wouldn't offer any additional details.

"I can't go beyond that," Alderson said.

Shortly before Sunday's matinee at Citi Field, Collins held a team meeting to address the situation with his players.

"Obviously, there are team policies, and when those aren't followed action has to be taken," right fielder Jay Bruce told reporters. "I don't know any of the details. I just know Matt's not here today, and he's going to miss a few days, but we're all pulling for him. We're all pulling on the same end of the rope, and we just want to get him back, and get him back on the mound, so he can help us win."

After having his 2016 campaign cut short by surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, Harvey got off to a strong start this year, posting a 2.84 ERA over his first four starts. His last two outings have gone terribly, however, with Harvey allowing six earned runs - and eight walks - over 9 2/3 innings, causing his ERA to swell to 5.14 through six starts.

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Matt Harvey appears to be losing some allies in the New York Mets' clubhouse.

Queens was abuzz Sunday after Harvey was suspended three days by the Mets for a violation of team rules just hours before his scheduled start against the Miami Marlins. The right-hander reportedly failed to show up at Citi Field for Saturday's contest after apparently playing a round of golf that morning.

Harvey's actions drew the ire of at least one of his teammates, infielder Jose Reyes, who publicly expressed his anger with Harvey to reporters following Sunday's 7-0 shellacking at the hands of the Marlins.

"We're disappointed. We have to understand, we're employees. You have to come to your job every day," Reyes said, according to Seth Walder of the New York Daily News. "We count on him.

"Everybody knows here what the rules are. When you miss that, that's not acceptable."

Harvey is reportedly planning to file a grievance against the Mets over the suspension. The 28-year-old apparently told the team that he didn't show up for Saturday's game due to a migraine.


Journeyman pitcher Adam Wilk was called up to start in Harvey's stead Sunday, and got rocked for six of Miami's seven runs.

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Adam Wilk, a name relatively unknown to New York Mets fans, allowed a mammoth three-run home run to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. It took place in the first inning of Wilk's Mets debut on Sunday, roughly five years after his last major-league start, which came in 2012 when he was a member of the Detroit Tigers.

This wasn't supposed to be Wilk's start. It should have been Matt Harvey's, who entered Sunday morning as the scheduled starter. It wasn't Wilks' start until news broke that the Mets suspended Harvey for three days without pay for violating a team policy. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, that violation was a "miscommunication" on Harvey's part, who was absent from the ballpark Saturday due to a migraine.

Once considered the hero they deserved in New York, the Dark Knight's suspension typifies the club's season to date: one filled with unfortunate injuries, controversial front-office decisions, and questionable acts from the team's PR department.

To be fair to manager Terry Collins and the front office, they have almost zero control over injuries. Unfortunately, the team has had to deal with a boatload of bad luck in that department. Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and longtime third baseman David Wright have yet to appear in a game this season.

Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes, two players fresh off new deals signed in the offseason, will earn a combined $29.75 million this year. Both remain out of the lineup without firm timetables for a return, though it's expected Duda will be back before Cespedes.

The first of several controversial incidents to befall the team in the season's first month came when Cespedes, by far the team's most important position player, left a game on April 20 with what the Mets called hamstring cramps. He made a quick return on April 26, only to re-injure that same hamstring a day later. He hasn't played since.

Then there's the predicament regarding Noah Syndergaard. You all know the story by now: The right-hander, arguably the game's best pitcher, was first scratched from a start on April 27 - the same day Cespedes limped off the field with his second hamstring problem - with "a tired arm." It was later diagnosed as biceps tendinitis, which led to the Mets urging their star pitcher to undergo an MRI as a precaution. He refused, saying he knew his body best, and the Mets begrudgingly obliged, with general manager Sandy Alderson saying he couldn't force his ace into the tube.

Syndergaard lasted only 1 1/3 innings into his very next start on April 30, departing with what was later revealed to be a partial tear of his right lat. Just yesterday, the young ace confirmed he wouldn't touch a baseball for the next six weeks, but insisted he didn't regret making the start that caused the tear.

The debate will rage on as to who is to blame in these two odd injury situations. Regardless of what side you're on, it's extremely disconcerting that the Mets lost their two most valuable assets around the same time, both apparently due to rushing back from injury. Players can be irrational with their decision-making, especially when they want to help their team win, but whether the Mets made this decision collectively or let Syndergaard and Cespedes make their own calls remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the fact remains that two terrific players are lost under frustrating circumstances.

This all comes at a time when the Mets' front office has been criticized for rostering two separate players recently suspended as the result of domestic violence accusations. First it was Jose Reyes, who was arrested and charged in the offseason of 2015-16 while a member of the Colorado Rockies in an incident involving his wife while on vacation in Hawaii. He was suspended for the first 51 games of 2016 and was later released, until the Mets brought him back on a minor-league deal on June 25.

The second is closer Jeurys Familia, who was arrested on Oct. 31 on a domestic violence charge. The case was dismissed on Dec. 15, however, due to lack of evidence. He was suspended 15 games to start this season and has since returned.

Lastly, the Mets' social media team recently came under fire for carelessly posting a picture on the team's Twitter feed of first baseman T.J. Rivera in the locker room. In the corner of said picture was a sex toy in catcher Kevin Plawecki's locker, causing a media frenzy. The picture was quickly deleted, and the team has yet to publicly address the mishap.

After back-to-back postseason berths that included a World Series appearance in 2015, this year has been anything but promising for a team widely labelled as a contender prior to the season. Luckily for them, the Mets find themselves in a weak division consisting of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Atlanta Braves, and the feeble Miami Marlins. With a current record of 14-15, New York is still projected to finish the season 83-79, according to FanGraphs, so there's still hope.

Perhaps Cespedes and Syndergaard return and collectively help the club dig out of an early-season hole. Maybe Harvey - who has posted a 5.14 ERA so far this year - comes back from suspension and performs better.

Right now, though, these are dark times, and the Mets need a hero now more than ever. Too bad, for now, the Dark Knight can't help guide them on the path to righteousness.

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Shortly after announcing a three-day suspension for Matt Harvey on Sunday, the flailing New York Mets made another tough roster move, transferring ailing right-hander Noah Syndergaard - sidelined with a torn lat - to the 60-day disabled list to create a spot on the 40-man roster for left-hander Adam Wilk.

Earlier this week, Syndergaard received a "positive" second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache after leaving his start last Sunday in the second inning with a partially torn right lat muscle, but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson conceded Saturday "it's going to take a while" for the 24-year-old - shut down from throwing for six weeks - to get back on the mound.

"Obviously, if he's not going to throw for six weeks, there is going to be a period of time after that to ramp him back up," Alderson told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. "We can all speculate on how long that will take. But I think, realistically, it's going to take a while."

Before injuring his lat last weekend, Syndergaard famously refused to have an MRI despite being scratched with a "tired arm" a few days earlier.

"I don't regret (making the start) at all," Syndergaard said. "I threw a bullpen (session) two days prior and felt great, ready to go. Something weird just happened."

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Having patiently waited out a contract, free agent starter Doug Fister appears close to settling on a new home.

The right-hander held a showcase on Thursday, with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Los Angeles Angels the four teams in attendance, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, who cites a major-league source.

Fister also threw a session for the San Francisco Giants, who are without their injured ace Madison Bumgarner.

The Mets, in particular, showed interest in Fister early in the season after injuries to Steven Matz and Seth Lugo. With news of Matt Harvey's three-day suspension and Noah Syndergaard's extended absence, Fister seems to be a logical fit.

Meanwhile the Blue Jays, who have been without the services of J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez, continue to lack a prominent and reliable arm in the bottom half of their rotation. After a pair of underwhelming performances, the club designated Mat Latos for assignment Friday and will instead lean on reliever Joe Biagini, who is making his first career start Sunday.

After failing to come to terms on a major-league deal this past offseason, Fister remains the top free-agent starter available. The 33-year-old spent last year with the Houston Astros, finishing with a 4.64 ERA, 115 strikeouts, and a 1.42 WHIP in 32 starts.

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Happy birthday James Loney, you're unemployed.

The Detroit Tigers released the veteran first baseman from their minor-league affiliate in Toledo on Sunday in order to make room on the roster for JaCoby Jones.

Loney agreed to a minor-league deal with the Tigers in early April and was signed as insurance in case Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez went down with injuries.

The newly minted 33-year-old hit .200/.351/.222 with one extra-base hit and six strikeouts in 15 games in Triple-A.

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The Yankees beat the Cubs in 18 innings and 6 hours 5 minutes, the longest interleague game ever and the longest game in the history of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. There were 48 strikeouts, the most in any single game in MLB history. The Cubs used 3 pitchers as pinch hitters in the game, including the last out.

Last edited on Mon May 8th, 2017 06:17 am by srossi

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Chris Sale wasn't exactly his dominant self Sunday afternoon at Target Field, but he did continue to rack up the strikeouts.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander allowed four runs off four hits over six innings against the Minnesota Twins while striking out 10 en route to his third win of the season.

It marked the sixth consecutive start this season that Sale has reached double-digit strikeouts, joining Hall of Fame starters Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers with six-plus-game streaks of at least 10 strikeouts, according to MLB Stat of the Day.

Sale leads the majors with 73 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings - 20 more strikeouts than the next-highest pitcher. He's scheduled to make his next start Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team he struck out 12 times last month.

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Don't panic, New York Mets fans, Tim Tebow isn't giving up on his baseball career quite yet.

The 29-year-old has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain with ESPN and will continue to work for SEC Network as part of its travelling pregame show, the network announced on Monday, according to Sports Illustrated.

"Over the last three years ESPN and the SEC Nation crew have become like family," Tebow said in a statement. "I love the passion that SEC fans bring to our set every Saturday morning and I look forward to continuing to share my own love of the game with fans on ESPN and SEC Network."

Tebow joined ESPN as a college football analyst in December 2013 while he was still playing in the NFL with the New England Patriots. Comparable to then, Tebow will still be allowed to pursue his baseball career and remain with both networks.

The former Heisman Trophy winner was signed to a minor-league deal by the Mets in late 2016. After making a few appearances with the club in spring training, Tebow was demoted to the Single-A Columbia Fireflies.

He's hit .242/.330/.363 in 26 games this season, including two home runs and nine RBIs.

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A pair of clutch first baseman have been named MLB's Players of the Week.

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger and Oakland Athletics veteran Yonder Alonso were handed the honors Monday.

The 21-year-old Bellinger has started his career with a bang, hitting a combined .357/.413/.786 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in his first 11 games. He recently became the first Dodgers player in the modern era (1900-present) to hit five home runs in his first 11 games.

Alonso, meanwhile, is hitting .311/.386/.667 and is fourth in the American League with 24 RBIs and a 1.053 OPS. The 30-year-old, who has clubbed nine home runs thus far, has already tied his previous career high, which was set in 2012.

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The Toronto Blue Jays will be without yet another key player as catcher Russell Martin will head to the 10-day disabled list with nerve inflammation in his left shoulder, the team announced Monday, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.

Martin joins Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, J.A. Happ, and Aaron Sanchez as impact players currently on the disabled list.

The DL stint comes as a surprise, as Martin had started and played all of Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Martin had been dealing with a nerve issue in his shoulder since spring, and it was made worse by a recent collision with Rays shortstop Tim Beckham. Martin did, however, get the day off for Saturday's contest, as newcomer Luke Maile started for Toronto behind the plate.

As a corresponding move, the Blue Jays called up 26-year-old catcher Mike Ohlman from Triple-A Buffalo. In 23 games at Triple-A this year, Ohlman has slashed an impressive .246/.388/.594.

Martin started the season on a 0-for-20 stretch, but posted favorable on-base numbers during the slump and seemed to be squaring up the ball much better of late. Over the last two weeks, he was slashing .276/.447/.517 with two home runs and a 175 wRC+.

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NEW YORK - Matt Harvey is to rejoin the New York Mets' rotation Friday at Milwaukee after serving a three-day suspension for not showing up at Citi Field for a game last weekend.

Mets manager Terry Collins made the announcement Monday, a day after the team announced the discipline for the 28-year-old pitcher.

Collins says Harvey will return to the Mets on Tuesday and it is up to the pitcher whether to address teammates as a group or individually.

The suspension is costing Harvey $84,016 of his $5,125,000 salary. Collins says he expects Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, to challenge the discipline.

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The Minnesota Twins traded utility man Danny Santana to the Atlanta Braves on Monday for left-hander Kevin Chapman and cash considerations.

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ANAHEIM, Calif. - An MRI exam on Mike Trout's tight left hamstring shows no damage or problems, Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler says.

Trout got the exam after sitting out for the third time in four games Sunday.

The Angels requested the MRI to "have a thumbprint moving forward" on the two-time AL MVP's leg, Eppler said Monday, and the images came back "clean and normal."

The Angels open a three-game series at Oakland on Monday.

Trout missed only three games in each of the past two seasons. He hasn't missed more than five games in a season since his AL Rookie of the Year campaign in 2012, which he began in the minor leagues.

Trout was the AL's player of the month for April after batting .364 with 18 RBIs.

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Ryan Howard won't get a chance to appear in the majors this season with the Atlanta Braves, as the club announced Monday it has released the former MVP from his minor-league deal.

After spending 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2004-16, Howard's option for the 2017 season was declined by the Phillies, and the 2005 Rookie of the Year entered free agency for the first time.

He signed a minor-league deal with the Braves in April, but has hit just .184/.238/.263 in 38 at-bats at Triple-A.

Earlier this week, Howard, despite his struggles in the minor leagues, said he wasn't thinking of retirement despite entering his age-37 season.

"There's more in the tank," he said at the time. "If you walk away, don't walk away with something still left in the tank. Then you're wondering like, 'Man, what could I have done?' When I'm done playing, I want to leave it all out on the field."

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The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that right-hander Jameson Taillon underwent surgery Monday morning at the Allegheny General Hospital for suspected testicular cancer.
"We have told Jameson that our only priority is his health and well-being," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "His teammates, our coaches, baseball staff and entire organization will support him in his recovery in every possible way and we will keep him in our thoughts and prayers."
Taillon alerted the team's medical staff to an abnormality and was placed on the disabled Saturday with groin discomfort.
The Pirates did not reveal a timeline for his return, and said the recommended treatment plan is pending further testing.
The 25-year-old was the second overall pick in the 2010 draft behind Bryce Harper, and is in his second major-league season. He's gone 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.33 WHIP across six starts this year.

Last edited on Mon May 8th, 2017 11:35 pm by lobo316

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The Chicago Cubs traded outfielder Matt Szczur to the San Diego Padres on Monday in exchange for minor-league pitcher Justin Hancock, the Cubs announced.

Szczur was designated for assignment Saturday in order to make room for left-handed reliever Rob Zastryzny.

Drafted by the Cubs in 2010, Szczur made his major-league debut in 2014. The 27-year-old was hitting .211/.273/.263 with one double and four strikeouts in 23 plate appearances this season, while appearing in all three outfield positions.

The 26-year-old Hancock pitched in Double-A San Antonio for the Padres this season. The right-hander owns a 6.23 ERA and 1.85 WHIP over 13 innings of relief, along with 11 strikeouts.

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A Rookie of the Year award, five World Series titles (one of which earned him MVP honors), and 14 All-Star nominations: There wasn't much missing in Derek Jeter's illustrious major-league career.

He just wishes he remembered it all.

In a sit-down interview with YES Network scheduled to air after the New York Yankees' Monday tilt against the Cincinnati Reds, the former captain of the Bronx Bombers admitted he wished he had actively chronicled his entire career as it happened in a journal, something he only remembered to do in his final season.

"I really haven’t (reflected on my career). I really haven't sat back and reflected. Someone asked me recently, do I have any regrets in my career? My last season, I kept a journal; every day I'd write something in there," Jeter said, according to the New York Post's Brian Lewis.

"The one regret I do have is that I wish I would've done that my entire career, because there are so many things that you forget. Still to this day I haven't looked at it. It's locked up and I haven't looked. I'm going to be a father soon, so I'm sure one day when I sit down with my kid - or kids, if there's multiple - I'll get a chance to reflect and maybe brag like my dad used to do when I was younger."

Jeter's former employers will likely give him a moment to reflect back this upcoming weekend, as the Yankees will hold a pregame ceremony Sunday to retire Mr. November's No. 2 and award him a plaque at Yankee Stadium's iconic Monument Park.

And though the 42-year-old officially stepped away from the game in 2014, that feeling of being able to don the pinstripes at home will never escape him.

"You find other things to focus on, you have other dreams and aspirations, but yeah, I'm enjoying myself," Jeter said. "But nothing will ever replace the feeling you have of playing at Yankee Stadium, playing for the Yankees."

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When Matt Harvey returns from his three-game suspension Tuesday, his manager Terry Collins expects him to come armed with an apology.

"We'll have a discussion and one thing he needs to do is, he needs to address some guys," Collins said, according to Abbey Mastracco of NJ.com. "He can do it in a group, which is the easiest thing, I always think, or if he wants to do it individually he can do that. I'm just going to leave it to where he's the most comfortable. As I said, we need to gets this thing behind us so however he wants to go about it, he can do that and I'll sign off on that."

Harvey was issued his suspension on the weekend for violating club rules after he failed to show up for Saturday's game. The right-hander had reportedly gone golfing earlier in the day and developed a migraine, but did not inform club officials that he would not be coming to the ballpark until after he was supposed to arrive.


In order to send a message that his absence wouldn't be tolerated, the Mets skipped Harvey's start Sunday and sent him home.

"We have a policy here," Collins said, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. "I thought it was the right thing to do. I know it's dramatic, but I think any team in baseball would have probably reacted very similarly. And it wasn't just Matt Harvey. Anybody in that room that misses a day and nobody knows about it, we've got to do the same thing."

Harvey is scheduled to start Friday in Milwaukee against the Brewers.

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MIAMI - Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez drove in four runs, compensating for the two homers he gave up to Marcell Ozuna and leading St. Louis over the Miami Marlins 9-4 Monday night for their season-best fourth straight win.

Martinez (2-3) came into the game hitless this year. He hit a two-out, three-run double off Adam Conley in the second inning and singled home a run in the fourth.

Martinez struck out seven in six innings. Miguel Socolovich pitched three innings to earn his first career save.

Miami's Giancarlo Stanton hit his 11th homer in the ninth, his third shot in two days. Ozuna also has 11 homers.

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Call in the cavalry, or at least the midseason back-of-the-rotation version of cavalry that 33-year-old veteran Doug Fister represents, as he is reportedly close to signing a deal, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

A National League club is most likely, Heyman reports, and names the Arizona Diamondbacks as a leading candidate.

The report builds on Chris Cotillo's of SB Nation on Monday, that named - among the Diamondbacks - the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Angels. Heyman added that the Mets appear to be out of the Fister hunt, and that the free-agent pitcher has had offers from American League teams but likely prefers the senior circuit.

The Diamondbacks recently lost Shelby Miller to Tommy John surgery, but still have the best starting staff in the major leagues by WAR. With a top-four still seemingly set with Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray, and Patrick Corbin, the Diamondbacks could strengthen their case by adding Fister as opposed to handing more spot starts to Braden Shipley and Zack Godley.

Fister has spent two of his eight seasons in the National League, both with the Washington Nationals. After posting a 3.10 ERA over 267 innings in those seasons and finishing eighth in Cy Young voting one year, Fister went to the Houston Astros where he put up a 4.64 ERA in the 2016 campaign.

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After undergoing surgery Monday morning for suspected testicular cancer, Jameson Taillon has a cast of MLB players offering their support that includes fellow cancer survivors John Kruk, Mike Lowell, as well as teammate Andrew Lambo.

Kruk, who played 1,200 games in the big leagues and has also worked as a baseball analyst for ESPN, told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he was texting Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis - who is undergoing chemotherapy for testicular cancer - when he heard the news about Taillon.

Kruk was diagnosed with testicular cancer during spring training in 1994. The former Philadelphia Phillies legend, along with Mike Lowell, is mulling over a charity golf tournament to raise money and awareness.

Lowell spent parts of 13 seasons with the Yankees, Marlins, and Red Sox. The four-time All-Star was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999 and missed two months of the season undergoing treatment.

Andrew Lambo, Taillon's former teammate, also spoke with Biertempfel about his past experience coming back from the same illness.

"It's all about the mindset," the current Oakland Athletics' minor leaguer said. "I know Jameson, so I know he's thinking, 'I'm going to kick this thing's ass and move on.' I know that kid's got a lot of heart and he's got a lot of brass. He's going to do it."

Lambo got to know Taillon while rehabbing back from his own cancer treatments in 2013. At the time, Taillon was also on the mend, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.@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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 Thu May 11th, 2017 10:46 pm by lobo316

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Jon Daniels is hoping to strike gold in the Japanese free-agent market again.

Shohei Otani, the Japanese pitcher-slugger hybrid who could tempt Major League Baseball clubs this coming offseason, is currently on the disabled list with a thigh strain. That didn't stop the Texas Rangers general manager from traveling across the world to get a personal glimpse of the star in some workouts, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.

Rangers bench boss Jeff Banister shed some light on Daniels' decision to fly to Japan solely to watch Otani.

"This is a premier athlete that's a baseball player who plays in Japan for a championship team," Banister said, according to Sullivan. "Very engaging, with a passion to play the game."

Had a lingering ankle injury not ruled out Otani for the World Baseball Classic in March, Daniels may have been able to save his Air Miles.

The GM also made the intercontinental trip in 2011 to get a leg up on the competition in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes - which the Rangers eventually won.

Banister feels the Rangers could land this star international free agent too, with American League rules potentially allowing the club to manage Otani's rare, elite mix of pitching and hitting.

"One of the things you have to take into consideration once a pitcher goes out and pitches: Where is their energy level and recovery?" Banister told Sullivan. "We play in the AL, so the DH type of situation, you could manage it. It's the overall energy level in between."

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The New York Yankees will be without Aroldis Chapman for a while, as the club placed the southpaw reliever on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to May 13, with left rotator cuff inflammation.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman admitted he doesn't anticipate the fireballer returning until June, at the earliest.

"He's going to be shut down for two weeks and then we'll reassess. ... You're probably looking at a minimum of a month if everything goes right," Cashman said Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

Chapman was seen shaking out his arm in the ninth inning of Friday's 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros, where he uncharacteristically allowed an earned run on three hits. Though he temporarily persuaded training staff to let him remain in the game, manager Joe Girardi took note of his discomfort.

"I saw that too," Girardi told Chris Ryan of NJ.com on Friday. "He said he was fine. No pain, no nothing. I don't know if it's because it's a colder night, windy, not really sure. But that was my concern."

Chapman reportedly had an MRI on Saturday, which revealed no structural damage, according to ESPN's Marly Rivera.

In a corresponding move, the Yankees recalled right-hander Chad Green from Triple-A.

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With Sunday's news that New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will likely miss at least a month due to rotator cuff inflammation, the team has found itself in the somewhat awkward position of turning to Dellin Betances as interim closer.

The relationship between the club and the ace reliever was strained by a testy arbitration hearing before the season, after which team president Randy Levine went so far as to say Betances wasn't closer material.

"I've just got to do my job," Betances said Sunday, according to The New York Post's Dan Martin. "I can't try to show anybody anything, because that's just putting extra pressure on myself. I just have to do go out there, do my job, make pitches, and everything will take care of itself. ...

"I don't have to prove anything. I've been pitching three years (here) already."

The 29-year-old previously took over as Yankees closer after the club dealt Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in 2016. Chapman returned to New York as a free agent in the offseason.

Betances has a sparkling 0.77 ERA with a whopping 22 strikeouts through 11 2/3 innings this season.

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Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon established pretty clearly that he's not a fan of Major League Baseball's slide rules after Saturday's loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, insisting the rules don't actually protect fielders and don't belong in the game.

Ever the jokester, Maddon took things further and came up with a few sarcastic proposals to further baseball's safety precautions, according to the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales.

"I think we should consider now eliminating the head-first slide to protect baserunners," Maddon said. "That is really a dangerous slide. To head-first slide you can hurt your hand, and your eye can be poked out. All different things can occur on a head-first slide.

"I also believe, you saw (Chris) Iannetta get hit in the mouth the other day on a pitch. I think the facemask should be mandatory for all hitters, and pitchers have been hit in head with line drives several times. Pitchers should be forced now to wear helmets."

Maddon didn't stop there. He said cages should be installed to protect batters in the on-deck circle, and landed on a novel idea to ensure future generations aren't put at risk:

"Finally, when I coached third in the minor leagues, I always wore a cup. I always was concerned. So I think there needs to be a cup check for players around the field in order to prevent the loss of future families."

Maddon didn't go so far as to suggest players be issued full-body bubble wrap, or to switch out baseballs for tennis balls, but should the Cubs be on the losing end of another interference call, who knows what extreme measures he'll come up with.

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The Lovable Losers aren't so lovable at the moment - or at least their bullpen isn't.

Injuries are one thing, but the New York Mets' devastating loss Sunday was all on the relievers as the team coughed up an 8-3 lead over the Milwaukee Brewers, eventually losing 11-9.

Jerry Blevins, Fernando Salas, Josh Edgin, and Addison Reed surrendered a combined seven earned runs while pitching from the seventh inning on, including two homers by Jonathan Villar and Manny Pina.

To put the Brewers' comeback in perspective, entering the game, teams trailing by five or more runs in the 7th inning or later were a combined 29-3,389 (.008) over the last five seasons, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

More Mother's Day Magic from the Brewers!! This time from Manny Piña!pic.twitter.com/zNoROSmDFb

— The Brew-City Army (@brewcityarmy) May 14, 2017
The Mets led 7-1 before starter Jacob deGrom allowed two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. New York scored another run in the top of the seventh to make it 8-3, but after deGrom gave up a single to begin the bottom of the frame, he was lifted for Blevins, who promptly surrendered a homer to Villar as the wheels came off.

It's the Mets' fourth straight loss and it comes at a daunting time. The club is dealing with a rash of injuries as well as drama surrounding Matt Harvey. Entering Sunday, the team's starters had combined for a league-worst 5.13 ERA, while their relievers had compiled a 4.53 mark.

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You better get used to seeing Mike Trout's name next to Major League Baseball records.

Penciled in as the Los Angeles Angels' designated hitter due to a hamstring issue, Trout put together an odd stat line. He went 1-for-1 with a home run, a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and a sacrifice fly. He added a pair of stolen bases for good measure. Probably safe to say the hamstring wasn't bothering him too badly.

The two stolen bases pushed him to 150 for his career. At 25, he has become the youngest player in MLB history to record 150 home runs and 150 stolen bases, as pointed out by Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas.

The home run was his 179th since debuting in 2011. He's only the second player to hit both 175 home runs and steal 150 bases before his age-26 season. The other is Alex Rodriguez, according to The Associated Press' Greg Beacham.

A-Rod would have been just slightly older getting that 150th stolen base, as he accomplished the feat on Sept. 19, 2001, just under two months after turning 26.

Trout, despite the injury scare, is having an even better season than normal. He's batting .352 with 11 home runs, seven stolen bases, and 26 RBIs. He's also striking out less often than he ever has.

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The Minnesota Twins may go the collegiate route over a high school phenom with the first pick of the 2017 MLB Draft next month.

Minnesota's front office is reportedly leaning toward selecting Louisville first baseman/left-hander Brendan McKay with the top pick over high school pitcher Hunter Greene, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

Nightengale adds the Cincinnati Reds would then likely select Greene with the second pick.

Greene, the No. 1-ranked prospect by Baseball America, opted to shut himself down from pitching last month in order to protect his arm for the draft. The 17-year-old is a two-way talent and has continued to play shortstop, while throwing bullpen sessions to keep his arm in shape.

McKay hit .326 in 13 games with the USA Collegiate National Team and posted a 1.35 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings as a pitcher.

The 2017 MLB Draft takes place June 12.

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Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts and Los Angeles Dodgers starter Alex Wood were named the American League and National League Players of the Week, respectively, on Monday.

Betts hit .375/.483/.917 with three home runs, four doubles, five walks, and 11 RBIs in six games, while striking out just twice in 24 at-bats. The 24-year-old's three-run homer against the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth inning Thursday lifted the Red Sox to a 4-1 win.

Wood follows teammate Cody Bellinger as the second straight Dodger to win the award. The left-hander, who started the season in the bullpen, went 2-0 and tossed 11 shutout innings over back-to-back starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies, striking out 21 and walking just two.

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The Toronto Blue Jays' fortunes appear to have turned at the right time. Winners of eight of their last 10 games, the Blue Jays may be getting much-needed reinforcements sooner than later. Josh Donaldson, the team's best hitter over the last two seasons, is gearing up to be activated from the disabled list.

Manager John Gibbons said Monday the star third baseman could make his return to the lineup as soon as this upcoming weekend when the team travels to Baltimore, according to Sportsnet's Hazel Mae.

Nursing a calf injury that has kept him out of Toronto's lineup since April 9, Donaldson had been without a specific return date. He isn't a lock to play against the division-rival Orioles, but Gibbons' outlook suggests that he's getting closer.

In addition to Donaldson, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is set to play in a rehab game Monday, and could rejoin the team Wednesday or Thursday in Atlanta for the second half of a home-and-home series against the Braves.

The news comes not a moment too soon, either, with outfielder Steve Pearce hitting the disabled list Monday.

Before being placed on the 10-day DL, Donaldson was having a strong start, batting .310 with a pair of home runs over his first nine games.

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In the midst of a six-game winning streak, the Texas Rangers are going to have to get used to life without their starting center fielder.

The club is set to place Carlos Gomez on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday due to a right hamstring strain, and the 31-year-old is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with the injury, the team's executive vice president of communications John Blake announced.

Gomez left Sunday's game with the injury and later underwent an MRI, which revealed the significance of the strain. He was hitting .246/.331/.423 this year, with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 38 games.

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Another game, another home run for Mike Trout!

4th consecutive game with a homer for the Angels starpic.twitter.com/2kcSBGlROb

— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) May 16, 2017
It's almost surprising at this point whenever Mike Trout accomplishes something incredible that he hasn't already done before.

But he added another impressive first to his career accolades on Monday against the Chicago White Sox, hitting a home run in his fourth consecutive game by going back to back with Los Angeles Angels teammate Kole Calhoun. It's now the longest home run streak of Trout's seven-year career.

Mike Trout smashing baseballs... 4 HRs in 4 games. pic.twitter.com/Msm7Gl33I8

— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 16, 2017
Even more amazing - but perhaps not unforeseen, considering Trout's lofty standards - is that all four of his homers during his current tear have had exit velocities above 100 mph and traveled further than 400 feet.

This all comes in a season where he's already become the third player in league history to reach 50 wins above replacement (WAR) by the age of 25, as well as the youngest player with both 150 home runs and 150 stolen bases.

Thanks to Monday's home run, which was his 12th of the season, Trout is now batting .352/.447/.752 with 27 RBIs.

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One year removed from throwing a right hook at the jaw of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor is trying to separate himself from the event as much as possible.

"It was part of the game," Odor said, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "But it's in the past and it's something I never want to think about."

Odor punched Bautista on May 15, 2016 following a collision at second base after Bautista slid in trying to break up a double play. It's believed that Odor and the Rangers were still irked by Bautista's bat flip during the two teams' playoff series the year before, and frustrations boiled over in their second and final regular-season series the following year.

Major League Baseball issued an eight-game suspension to Odor that was reduced to seven following an appeal, while Bautista received a one-game suspension.

In the weeks following the altercation, Odor was scheduled to hold an autograph session at a local memorabilia store in which photos of the punch would sell for $99. Odor eventually called it off due to the optics, however, and told Grant that he's never autographed a single image of the punch and never will.

"He knew it was a reaction he wasn't proud of," teammate Elvis Andrus said to Grant. "He knows it was violent. He just wants to turn the page. But I think he also knows how hard that is."

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The Dellin Betances fan club just found itself a new president.

New York Yankees president Randy Levine made waves in February when he publicly criticized Betances' suitability as a closer after he and the club won an arbitration case against the reliever. Levine told reporters: "I'm not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer."

Time - or, perhaps, necessity - heals all wounds, apparently. With Aroldis Chapman on the disabled list, manager Joe Girardi has tabbed Betances to take over as closer. Though Betances hasn't had a save opportunity in his new role just yet, he does own a miniscule 0.75 ERA through his first 14 appearances of 2017, which seems to have changed the executive's view on the situation.

"He's going to do great. He's ready," Levine told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports on Tuesday. "I have full confidence he'll do a great job."

Levine's earlier comments were deemed "unprofessional" by MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark in the aftermath of the incident. The president insists he was solely addressing Betances' resume heading into the now-infamous hearing.

"That was arbitration, based on the past," Levine told Heyman. "But he's ready to do it now."

Betances, a native of New York, has made three All-Star teams working as a setup man; he's recorded just 22 career saves to date, 12 of them in the final two months of last year, after trades of both Chapman and Andrew Miller made him the closer by default.

"I don't have to prove anything (as a closer)," he told Dan Martin of the New York Post on Sunday after being named interim closer. "I've been pitching three years (here) already."

The 29-year-old is being paid $3 million by the Yankees this year after asking for $5 million in arbitration.

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Tuesday was an important day in the life of Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis.

The right-hander received scary news in spring training when it was discovered that his testicular cancer had unexpectedly spread. Since then, he's mostly been away from the Rockies while undergoing chemotherapy near his home in Arizona.

On Tuesday, Bettis was all smiles when he posted a photo to Instagram - wife and daughter at his side - announcing he'd just completed the last of his chemo treatments.

"My family and I want to say thank you for all the support and prayers!" Bettis wrote. "We're eternally grateful for y'all. We are excited to move forward and start the process of getting back. Again, thank you! We love you!"

Almost immediately after publicly revealing the news in March, Bettis told MLB.com's Thomas Harding that his goal was to return to the majors this summer. Last month, the 28-year-old joined his teammates at Chase Field when the Rockies played a series in Arizona, and was able to play some catch in between his rounds of chemo.

"Chad has handled this so gracefully and courageously," Rockies manager Bud Black told Nick Groke of the Denver Post during spring training. "He's been a pillar of strength."

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LaTroy Hawkins on Tommy Kahnle: "One of the worst teammates I've ever had in my life, and I've had a lot of teammates" pic.twitter.com/n7vLXc5RBe

— MLB Insider Dinger (@atf13atf) May 17, 2017
Chicago White Sox reliever Tommy Kahnle brings the heat on the mound, but on Tuesday one former teammate of his brought some heat of his own.

LaTroy Hawkins - a 21-year veteran of the league who appeared with 11 different teams throughout his career - was quite candid during a broadcast appearance in Tuesday's game between the Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins about how much he dislikes Kahnle.

"I can't believe they didn't tell you about the fight I got into in 2014 with one of my teammates Tommy Kahnle. I'm surprised they didn't tell you about that."

Longtime Twins broadcaster Dick Bremmer would go on to ask if the disagreement was in good nature.

"No," Hawkins responded. "One of the worst teammates I've ever had in my life by far - and I've had a lot of teammates."

Hawkins and Kahnle played together from 2014-15 and if what Hawkins said is true, it's safe to assume they won't be catching up in the future.

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Even though the New York Yankees made a big splash in free agency by signing Aroldis Chapman in the offseason, the franchise has been quieter in recent years in terms of luring new players to the Bronx. Those days may be over, though, as soon next season.

"We do have a significant amount of money coming off this year," Hal Steinbrenner told reporters Wednesday, via the Wall Street Journal's Jared Diamond.

"As we always do, we'll put it back into the club. We will be active in the free-agent market I can assure you - to what degree and in what areas remains to be seen."

The biggest savings will come when pitchers CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda become free agents following the 2017 season, as they're earning $25 million and $7.4 million, respectively. An additional $22 million could come off the books if Masahiro Tanaka elects to opt out of his contract. Otherwise, Tanaka isn't a free agent until after 2020.

In addition to the team's current players, the Yankees are paying Alex Rodriguez $21 million in 2017, and not a cent after.

With Rodriguez off the books, combined with the free agents who are likely departing - including Matt Holliday's $13 million - the Yankees are set to clear up to $98 million if Tanaka does opt out. Some of that money will be distributed among arbitration-eligible players, but it's still a significant amount to be potentially freed up.

Not that the Yankees have ever lived lean. Even now, New York has the second-highest payroll in baseball. With three-fifths of the team's rotation potentially hitting free agency, however, the Yankees could be on the lookout for fresh talent.

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Dave Dombrowski is no stranger to blockbuster deals and he wants to make it clear that this trade season will be no different, the Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations admitted to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

"I never speak about payroll," Dombrowski told Cafardo, "I will say we're not under any restrictions to improve the club if need be."

Dombrowski, who was affectionately dubbed "Dealin' Dave" during his tenure with the Detroit Tigers, famously brought in Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer, Jhonny Peralta, Doug Fister, and Ian Kinsler - among others - in huge deals that proved very fruitful for the franchise under his watch.

Since joining the Red Sox, Dombrowski has traded away top-tier prospects for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale.

Currently just one game above .500 with a 19-18 record, Boston entered the 2017 season as the favorite to win the AL East. However, if the team remains behind the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles in the standings, the need to bolster the roster via trade could present itself.

The report from Cafardo states that Dombrowski has been keeping an eye on Boston's minor-league system as opposed to following the major-league team on its last two road trips.

The Red Sox - who have shipped out top prospects Yoan Moncada, Anderson Espinoza, and Michael Kopech under Dombrowski's lead - still boast some good assets in their farm system, including Rafael Devers - who could end up earning a promotion by year's end - and Jay Groome.

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Just over a week after Curt Schilling dismissed Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones' claims that he received racist taunts in Boston, calling them "bullshit," the former Red Sox pitcher maintained that position Tuesday.

Following an interview with Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Jones briefly responded to Schilling, saying "he's never experienced what I have," and added that Schilling has "never been black, and he’s never played the outfield in Boston."

It didn't take long for Schilling to chime in for the second time.

"If he wants to maintain the lie he made here, that’s fine. No one denies racism exists, but when people like him lie about an incident and others just take him at his word, it perpetuates a mythical level of racism," Schilling said through text, according to Alex Reimer of WEEI.

"And for some reason, it appears blacks believe only blacks can talk about racism and only whites can be racists. I promise you if some scumbag yelled the N-word at Adam Jones in Fenway, it would have been on Twitter, Facebook and every other social media site asap, like every other 'incident.' Not to mention the liberal Boston media would have broken its neck to identify the racist. But just taking him at his word means there are a bunch of white cowards and racists living here, because no one stood up to the guy.

"Adam has an agenda and one needs to only look at his past commentary on race and racism to see it. But see, when you question fake hate crimes in this day and age it somehow makes you a racist. If you use this use every word or none at all."

Since the controversial incident in Fenway Park, the Red Sox have acted accordingly, permanently banning the suspected fan from the ballpark.

Jones received a standing ovation in his first at-bat following the taunts and was offered support from Mookie Betts, Red Sox manager John Farrell, and team owner John Henry, who met with Jones afterward.

The Orioles will return to Fenway Park on Aug. 25.

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Adam Jones is not shy when it comes to speaking his mind, and he's certainly not going to be meek when confronted with racist epithets.

At the beginning of May, the Orioles outfielder was the target of racist taunts and peanuts being hurled from the stands at Fenway Park in Boston. It sparked a number of takes and talking points, including one where former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he thought Jones made the whole thing up.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, Jones spoke about Schilling and how the former pitcher can't accurately speak for Jones or other black players, or their experiences.

"Schilling is over there with his rants. He just wants an outlet. Somebody will take his call, take his rants. He can keep them for himself," Jones said. "Because he’s never experienced anything like I have. I’ll stick with what (Mark) McLemore said about it: Schilling, hell of a career. But he’s never been black, and he’s never played the outfield in Boston."


Jones spends much of the interview contextualizing his experiences both as a baseball player and as a young man growing up in California. One thing he had to slowly get used to was the fact that his experience out West wasn't necessarily mirrored throughout the rest of the country.

And he's not going to back down from speaking his mind.

"I’m not afraid of the backlash, because it’s the truth. It’s my truth through my eyes. We all have our own truths. How we were raised – that’s our truth. Growing up in San Diego, or California in general, it’s a very liberal state. I grew up with blacks, whites, Mexicans, Filipinos. Everything was diverse. My class wasn’t predominately anything. Playing sports, it was diverse. My neighborhood was diverse.

"The worst thing is when people say, 'I don’t see color.' I think that’s the dumbest thing. Unless you’re colorblind, you see color. You may choose not to think of the other things that come with color, but you see color. At the ballpark in San Diego, you see the diversity. LA, Arizona, San Francisco, both Texas teams. You just see so much diversity. Growing up like that, I always assumed the rest of the United States, the rest of the world, was like that."

Jones adds that singling out Boston for racist attitudes and actions is a cop-out and ignores the struggles everywhere else.

The whole interview is a wide-ranging, nuanced discussion about Jones and his perspectives, and the things he's learned playing the game and traveling coast to coast for 14 years.

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As any competitor would be, R.A. Dickey wasn't happy with how his tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays ended - ultimately being left off the postseason roster after the team acquired Francisco Liriano at the trade deadline.

The disappointing end to his fourth season in Toronto fueled Dickey's desire to put off retirement and sign a one-year, $8-million deal with the Atlanta Braves. He said that while he wasn't thrilled with the final few months of his Blue Jays tenure, Dickey maintained an impressive level of professionalism.

"I would probably have responded differently earlier in my career, I probably would have been more externally upset," Dickey said, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi. "But I’ve grown from that place into a place where in the twilight of my career the only singular focus I have is how can I win a championship. When that’s what you care for, it’s easy to lay down ego and embrace what’s best for the team.

"Now, if I thought I was better than the guys they picked, then I probably would have went into John Gibbons’ office or Mark Shapiro’s or Ross Aktins’ and said as much. But those (other pitchers) deserved to be there – that’s who I wanted out there. When it’s like that, it’s easy to not emote as much as you might otherwise."

While the 42-year-old did ponder retirement, he didn't want his career to end on a sour note.

"From a personal standpoint, I was a competitor and I wanted to play and I felt like if I were to leave the game at that point, it wouldn’t really be on my terms. This is another opportunity to do what I know I’m capable of when someone gives me the ball every fifth day and gets out of the way."

In seven starts with the Braves this year, Dickey has posted a 4.22 ERA with 18 walks and 22 strikeouts.

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Joe Maddon celebrates his 1,000 managerial win with a glass of red wine at his post game press conference. #Cubs pic.twitter.com/bJ4lsmUxxP

— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) May 17, 2017
It took Joe Maddon 1,871 games to reach his 1,000th win as a major-league manager and you better believe the Chicago Cubs skipper celebrated with a glass of wine.

"It is actually something called the Big Smooth," Maddon said when asked what he was drinking. "Coach Lester Strode gave us a bottle for the plane ride, brought it in, and it's actually really good. It is the big smooth. It's got this velvet label on it and I guess they can't keep it on the shelves."

Maddon became the eighth active manager to accumulate 1,000 victories when his side beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-5 on Tuesday, joining Bruce Bochy, Dusty Baker, Mike Scioscia, Terry Francona, Clint Hurdle, Ned Yost, and Buck Showalter.

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The surging Houston Astros, owners of baseball's best record through the first six-plus weeks of 2017, already appear to have set their sights on potentially critical midsummer upgrades.

Houston is reportedly intrigued by a pair of Pittsburgh Pirates hurlers, in right-handed starter Gerrit Cole and southpaw relief ace Tony Watson, sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Wednesday.

What's unknown is whether the Pirates will become sellers ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, but if their mediocre 16-23 start - hastened by a 3-7 drought over their last 10 contests - continues, it could very well push them into sell mode by midseason.

It's likely the Pirates would demand a high return for Cole, as he's under team control through the 2020 season. Houston owns an excellent farm system with multiple top prospects, which could potentially help the team form a winning offer when - and if - the time comes.

Still, the Pirates haven't appeared anxious to trade their 26-year-old ace, at least publicly. After a report suggesting Cole was drawing interest from the New York Yankees surfaced last week, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington insisted he has no plans to shop Cole this summer, even if he's forced to sell other pieces.

"Our expectation is that Gerrit is going to be a Pirate for a while," Huntington told DK Pittsburgh Sports on May 7.

The Astros have long been searching for an All-Star-caliber arm to pair with former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel at the top of their rotation, and Cole certainly appears to fit that bill on paper. Over his first eight starts of 2017, Cole owns a 3.06 ERA and a career-best 50.4 percent ground-ball rate, while striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings - a number that's much closer to his career norms following an injury-riddled 2016 campaign.

Watson, a free agent this winter, has been a valuable member of the Pirates' bullpen for the last seven seasons, and took over the closer's duties last year. The 31-year-old owns a 1.62 ERA, eight saves, and 13 strikeouts to seven walks in 16 2/3 innings so far this season.

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A legend is coming home.

The San Francisco Giants announced Wednesday that Barry Bonds will be enshrined on the team's Wall of Fame at AT&T Park on July 8 before a game against the visiting Miami Marlins. Bonds spent 2016 as the Marlins' hitting coach.

While the Giants' have honored luminaries such as Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Bonds' father Bobby Bonds, and Bonds' teammate/nemesis Jeff Kent, they've also immortalized Shawn Estes and Marvin Bernard.

According to a Giants press release, to qualify for induction a player must spend at least nine seasons with the club, or five if they received an All-Star selection. For the record, Bonds made 12 All-Star games with the team.

Bonds is currently the most noticeable absence on the Wall, having played 15 of his 22 seasons with the Giants, while posting an incredible .312/.477/.666 slash line and walloping 586 of his 762 home runs. No one in MLB history has hit more homers.

It's not the Hall of Fame, but it's a start.

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Jose Altuve is an extra-base machine.

The diminutive Houston Astros star had a historic afternoon at the plate Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park. Altuve couldn't be stopped by any Miami Marlins pitchers, as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two triples in the Astros' 3-0 matinee victory.

Altuve's performance is just the 14th two-double, two-triple game in the major leagues since 1913; the list of players to have pulled this feat off before Altuve includes four Hall of Famers, two of whom did it twice (Heinie Manush and Harry Hooper). Strangely, Altuve's only the fifth player to have managed the feat in a major-league game since 1961 - the first year of expansion in the major leagues - and the first in over a decade.

Altuve is also the only player in baseball history to record two doubles and two triples in a game without scoring a run.

The 27-year-old won his second career batting title in 2016 and is gunning for a fourth consecutive 200-hit season. He recorded 71 extra-base hits last year and now has 14 in 2017.

Wednesday's performance bumped Altuve's 2017 slash line to .311/.386/.510.

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PITTSBURGH - Tests on tissue removed from Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon last week confirmed he is dealing with testicular cancer.

Pirates trainer Todd Tomczyk said Wednesday that Taillon will be re-evaluated next week before deciding the next course of treatment.

The 25-year-old Taillon discovered an abnormality after going on the disabled list May 6. He had tissue surgically removed on May 8.

Taillon, who is 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in six starts for the Pirates, has been cleared to play catch and do light cardio but remains out indefinitely pending the outcome of further test results.

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The Detroit Tigers will be without their star slugger after he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 oblique strain, but it won't hold Miguel Cabrera out for long, as Brad Ausmus announced Wednesday that it would only sideline him for 2-3 days.

Cabrera was a late scratch from the Tiger's lineup card prior to the team's evening matchup against the Baltimore Orioles after suffering from a sore left side.

After undergoing tests though, Miggy's diagnosis is a relatively optimistic one, and means the Tigers will not be have to stash the 11-time All-Star on the disabled list.

Cabrera has been off to an uncharacteristically slow start to the 2017 campaign, slashing just .248/.342/.400 over his first 28 games. Playing through this injury may explain some of that - depending, of course, on when he originally sustained the injury.

Over Cabrera's 15 years in the majors, the future Hall of Famer has been named MVP of his league twice and posted an OPS+ of 154.

The Tigers wrap up a three-game set with the Orioles on Thursday before playing host to the Texas Rangers for a weekend series. At the latest, Cabrera should be expected to factor into the following series, when the Tigers visit the Houston Astros early next week.

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Major League Baseball is investigating an exchange between Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar and Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game in which it's alleged Pillar used a homophobic slur, a league spokesperson told Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star.

Motte struck out Pillar on a quick pitch to end the seventh inning and began walking off the mound when the center fielder proceeded to yell at him from the plate. PiIlar appeared to be upset with the fact Motte had deployed the quick pitch.

Following the exchange - which resulted in the benches clearing - it was suggested on social media that Pillar used a homophobic slur.

So are we just going to pretend that @KPILLAR4 didn't initiate all this by yelling a gay slur? Better step up on this one, @MLB. pic.twitter.com/8bB3xijtCu

— Dr. B (@BlakeTheRxGuy) May 18, 2017
Pillar was not asked directly what he said, though he was apologetic for his actions postgame.

"It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for," Pillar told reporters. "It’s part of the game, it's just, I'm a competitive guy and heat of the moment. ... Obviously, something to learn from, something to move on from."

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Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar issued an apology Thursday afternoon in response to directing a homophobic slur towards Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game.

"Last night, following my at-bat in the seventh inning, I used inappropriate language towards Braves pitcher Jason Motte," Pillar said in a statement. "By doing so I had just helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today. I'm completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the fans, my teammates and the Blue Jays organization in this position.

"I have apologized to Jason Motte, but also need to apologize to the Braves organization and their fans, and most importantly, to the LGBTQ community for the lack of respect I displayed last night. This is not who I am and will use this as opportunity to better myself."

Motte struck out Pillar on a quick pitch to end the seventh inning and began walking off the mound when the center fielder proceeded to yell at him from the plate. PiIlar appeared to be upset with the fact Motte had deployed the quick pitch.

Major League Baseball is currently investigating the incident and could issue a suspension to Pillar.

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The Toronto Blue Jays issued a statement Thursday expressing their disappointment as an organization with outfielder Kevin Pillar after he directed a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game.

"The Toronto Blue Jays are extremely disappointed by the comments made by Kevin Pillar following his at-bat during the seventh inning of last night's game," the statement read. "In no way is this kind of behavior accepted or tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we strive to be. We would like to extend our own apologies to all fans, Major League Baseball, and especially the LGBTQ community.

"We know Kevin to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field."

Pillar used the slur after he became upset over what he thought was a quick pitch from Motte.

Shortly before the Blue Jays' statement was released, Pillar issued his own apology via his Twitter account, stating he is "utterly embarrassed" at having used the slur and that he plans to "use this as opportunity to better myself."

Pillar and Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins - who traveled to Atlanta earlier in the day - will speak on the matter later Thursday, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

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The Atlanta Braves will be without their most valuable player for at least the next two months.

Freddie Freeman suffered a non-displaced left wrist fracture after being hit by a 94-mph fastball from Toronto Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup during Wednesday's game and is expected to miss about 10 weeks, the team announced Thursday.

Freeman needs to wear a cast for four weeks, but is not expected to require surgery.

It's a major blow to the Braves, who have won five of their last six games. Freeman was hitting .341/.461/.748 with 14 home runs, 11 doubles, and 25 RBIs, and ranks third in the majors with 2.6 WAR behind Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.

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It appears the Atlanta Braves aren't going to waste any time replacing the injured Freddie Freeman.

With the team in need of a replacement for Freeman after he fractured his left wrist Wednesday, the club has signed veteran James Loney, reports Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.

Loney, 33, entered spring camp with the Texas Rangers, but was released at the end of March after hitting just .174/.224/.261. He caught on with the Detroit Tigers on April 12, but was released May 7.

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Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins announced Thursday that the team has suspended outfielder Kevin Pillar two games for uttering a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game at SunTrust Park.

Atkins told reporters in Atlanta that the decision was made in consultation with the MLB Players' Association and commissioner Rob Manfred. Per Sportsnet's Hazel Mae, there will be no further discipline against Pillar from the commissioner's office.

Pillar's lost salary will be donated to LGBTQ causes, though details have yet to be worked out, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Pillar directed the slur at Motte in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game after believing he had been quick-pitched. The incident briefly caused the benches to clear.

The 28-year-old admitted to using the slur after the game, and issued an official apology to the Blue Jays, Braves, Motte, and the LGBTQ community Thursday afternoon, prior to the announcement of his suspension. He accepted his suspension and apologized again in a press conference Thursday afternoon.

"Hopefully people will learn from this ... there's no place for this language on field, at home, in (the) clubhouse, with your friends," Pillar said, according to Faizal Khamisa of Sportsnet.

"I have the ability to be made an example of, and I'm willing to accept that."


In their own statement released earlier Thursday, the Blue Jays said the organization was "extremely disappointed" in Pillar.

Toronto called up 24-year-old outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. to take Pillar's spot on the roster.

This isn't the first time the Blue Jays organization has suspended a player for on-field homophobic actions. In 2012, shortstop Yunel Escobar was handed a three-game ban by the club after he wrote a homophobic message on his eye black during a game.

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The Los Angeles Angels reportedly added some much-needed rotation help Thursday, agreeing to terms with veteran right-hander Doug Fister on a major-league deal, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Though his salary and spot on the 40-man roster are guaranteed, Fister has agreed to be optioned to the minors to prepare.

Fister, who turned 33 in February, reportedly drew interest from several clubs this winter, but didn't find any offers to his liking after stumbling to a career-worst 4.64 ERA (84 ERA+) over 32 starts for the Houston Astros in 2016. Last week, following an early-May showcase for four interested teams, Fister was said to be close to signing with a National League club, but he will instead provide help to an Angels rotation sorely lacking in depth amid injuries to Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, and Nick Tropeano.

Beset by health problems, the Angels' rotation owns the fifth-worst ERA in the American League (4.04) six weeks into the 2017 campaign, having surrendering more home runs per nine innings (1.47) than all but two other clubs.

Fister enjoyed a resurgence in velocity last year after averaging just 86.89 mph with his four-seamer in 2015, but hasn't managed more than 1.1 WAR in a season since 2014, when he authored a career-best 2.41 ERA with a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate in 25 starts for the Washington Nationals.

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NEW YORK - Under Armour will take over from Majestic Athletic as the supplier of Major League Baseball uniforms in 2019, a year earlier than previously scheduled.

Fanatics Inc. and MLB announced an agreement in December that gave the company licensing rights to manufacture and distribute merchandise starting in 2020. Fanatics signed a deal last month to buy VF Corp.'s Licensed Sports Group and with it the 600-worker Majestic Athletic plant in Easton, Pennsylvania, where team jerseys and fan apparel are manufactured.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that fan merchandise from Under Armour will be available next year and that Under Armour will be used for dugout clothing during the 2018 postseason. The full switch to Under Armour for on-field apparel will take place for the 2019 season.

Majestic has manufactured MLB batting practice jerseys since 1982 and has been the exclusive supplier of game uniforms since 2005. Before that, uniforms were manufactured by both Majestic and Russell.

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Just your casual 5 home runs in 6 days from @MikeTrout. pic.twitter.com/KTrHhS895T

— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2017
Another day, another Mike Trout story demonstrating his greatness.

After his four-game home-run streak was snapped Tuesday, the 25-year-old star got right back at it, hitting his fifth long ball in six games in Wednesday's matchup with the Chicago White Sox.

It was his 13th home run on the year and pushed Trout's RBI total to 30. Last year on the same date, Trout had eight home runs (.308/.396/.541) and 27 RBIs. He would go on to win his second MVP award.

This season, he's hitting .344/.453/.748 in the same number of games.

Not bad, kid.

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NEW YORK - The two groups bidding to buy the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria are relatively even in their price offers, according to Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads one group, which includes former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who would head the team's baseball operations. The other group is led by businessman Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and includes Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.

''There are two bidders, at least, for the franchise. The bidders are in relatively the same place in terms of price, maybe minuscule differences, and they are in fact in the price range that Mr. Loria was looking for,'' Manfred said Thursday following a quarterly owners meeting.

Loria, 76, bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, who was part of the group that bought the Boston Red Sox.

The groups are bidding to buy the Marlins for approximately $1.3 billion, which would include the assumption of about $100 million in baseball-related debt. More than $200 million in other debt associated with the team would be paid by Loria as part of the closing.

''The process is moving forward. It's really between the Marlins and the bidders,'' Manfred said. ''At this point, two things need to happen. There needs to be a solidified financial structure presented to us so that we're sure that we actually have a transaction that can move ahead, and there are certain documents, the most important of which are a purchase and sale agreement that need to be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. And we'll be ready to process the transaction when those two things are completed.''

Under baseball's debt-service rule, a deal in the range being discussed would require about $800 million in equity. Groups have to show additional money has been raised to operate the team.

A sale requires approval of 75 percent of the teams.

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Se lesionó hombro izquierdo pegando un jonrón #Ceciliani #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/ElDPfjGE0d

— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) May 19, 2017
Darrell Ceciliani's day was going so well until he hit that home run.

Thrust into the cleanup spot Thursday for the Toronto Blue Jays after Kevin Pillar landed a two-game suspension, Ceciliani - appearing in his third game of 2017 - wasted no time vindicating manager John Gibbons, stroking a first-inning, run-scoring double in the series finale against the Atlanta Braves.

Two innings later, the 26-year-old outdid himself, launching a two-run bomb off right-hander Julio Teheran, but - in fitting fashion, considering how things have gone for the Blue Jays this season - injured himself in the process, and lumbered around the bases favoring his left shoulder.

He didn't return to the game after his home run, getting replaced in the outfield in the bottom of third by Dwight Smith Jr. Ceciliani was later diagnosed with a possible left shoulder subluxation, the team announced, and he will be re-evaluated Friday in Baltimore.

Oof.

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NEW YORK - Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred remains hopeful the sport can play regular-season games in Europe for the first time in 2019.

Major League Baseball had hoped to have European games in 2018, possibly between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at London's Olympic Stadium, but decided there was not enough time to get plans in place.

'It's something we'd really like to do in 2019,'' Manfred said Thursday following a quarterly owners' meeting. ''I can't tell you we are going to do it. I can't give you a percentage, but we do think it's time, whether it's 2019 or shortly thereafter, that we play in Europe.''

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The Toronto Blue Jays have hit some pretty unforgettable home runs in the past few seasons, from Jose Bautista's iconic blast in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to Edwin Encarnacion's walk-off moonshot in last year's wild-card game.

It's possible, however, that neither of those bombs will be bandied about in the Blue Jays' clubhouse as much as Marcus Stroman's legendary solo shot Thursday night in Cobb County.

Speaking with reporters following his club's 9-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park, Bautista suggested the diminutive right-hander won't soon let his teammates forget about his opposite-field home run off Julio Teheran in the fourth inning - the first homer of his big-league career.

"I'm sure we'll hear about it for a very long time," Bautista said, according to Sportsnet's Hazel Mae.

With his improbable blast, a 370-foot shot that came moments after a Luke Maile round-tripper, Stroman became just the second pitcher in Blue Jays history to go yard, joining left-hander Mark Hendrickson, who launched a solo shot off Sun-Woo Kim in an 8-5 loss to the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium on June 21, 2003. He is also the first Blue Jays pitcher ever to record multiple extra-base hits in a season.

"I've never hit an oppo homer in BP in my life," Stroman told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. "It's just something that I ran into and just out there competing."

Stroman, who stroked a pinch-hit double in a wild, extra-inning affair against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, went hitless in his other two plate appearances Thursday, but now owns a gaudy .500/.500/1.500 line (445 wRC+) through four plate appearances this year and boasts more home runs than six qualified hitters.

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The Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox could hook up with the Chicago White Sox for another major deal before the non-waiver trade deadline hits at the end of July.

Both Washington and Boston reportedly had their top talent evaluators watching Jose Quintana and several other players recently, according to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is plenty familiar with both the Red Sox and Nationals, trading Chris Sale and Adam Eaton to the clubs, respectively, for a pair of packages that included top-level prospects Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech.

Washington is in desperate need for help at the back end of the bullpen and has been linked to White Sox closer David Robertson dating back to the winter. The right-hander owns a 3.21 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 13 appearances and has converted five of six save opportunities. He's owed $12 million this season and $13 million in 2018 before becoming a free agent.

The Red Sox need help in several areas, including third base and in the rotation, though they might not have the assets required to land Quintana. The White Sox's asking price is believed to be extremely high and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has traded most of the club's top prospects away in the last two years.

Dombrowski could, however, make a play to land third baseman Todd Frazier. The 31-year-old is hitting .198/.289/.369 with four home runs and seven doubles this season and could be used alongside Pablo Sandoval when he returns from injury. While Frazier's numbers are down to start the year, he hit 75 homers the last two seasons and is a free agent at the end of the season. The Red Sox have used six different third basemen in 2017 and rank 29th in the majors with a .586 OPS at the position.

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Tebow Time isn't over.

Though talk regarding Tim Tebow, perhaps America's most famous minor leaguer at the moment, may have seemed to die down, the former NFL quarterback is still drawing quite the crowd for the New York Mets' Single-A affiliate.

Compared to this time last season, the Columbia Fireflies' attendance has increased by more than 30 percent, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell. That impact is comparable to when NBA legend Michael Jordan played for the Double-A Birmingham Barons in 1994.

The Fireflies aren't the only minor-league side benefiting from Tebow's presence. The Lakewood BlueClaws, whom the Fireflies played in a four-game set this past weekend, saw nearly twice as many fans as usual show up to watch Tebow on Saturday - 8,180, as compared to their average attendance of 4,848.

Tebow's such a draw on the road that Columbia's opponents in the South Atlantic League stand to make an additional $3.1 million if he stays in the SAL for the whole season, Baseball America's J.J. Cooper calculated.

"He's a celebrity, and he's a brand," Jim McNamara, BlueClaws director of ticket sales, told Rovell. "People from all walks of life know who he is. He markets himself to sports fans, families, and has a religious following. Plus, the casual fan into pop culture is interested in him."

The 29-year-old is slashing .221/.307/.327 in 113 at-bats this season, good enough to get the Mets to reportedly discuss a minor-league promotion, though it apparently wouldn't happen until after the All-Star break.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are reaching into their minor-league system for help, promoting No. 3 prospect Anthony Alford to the major-league roster.

He won't have to wait long for his first taste of the big leagues, either, as the outfielder will start in left field for Toronto on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles.

Alford starts in left. Ceciliani to DL #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/3FKcknQ2RB

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) May 19, 2017
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons initially didn't show his hand regarding a potential call-up for Alford, though he did tell MLB Network Radio earlier Friday that he would "love to see" the 22-year-old soon.

Alford, who's ranked No. 62 in the top 100 prospects league-wide, could provide a boost to a Blue Jays lineup ravaged by injuries. In 33 games for Double-A New Hampshire, he's slashing .325/.411/.455 with three home runs and nine stolen bases (10 attempts).

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Adam Jones wants his 3-year-old son to hear what happened from him.
The Baltimore Orioles center fielder, who was subjected to racist remarks at Fenway Park during a game on May 2 against the Boston Red Sox, penned a piece for The Players' Tribune published Friday describing the event as well as his previous encounters with racism.
Jones asks "How am I supposed to talk to my son about what happened?" as he anticipates his son looking up the incident in 10 years and finding the coverage confusing. Jones continues:
Maybe he’ll read about how some people didn’t even believe that it really happened.
Maybe he’ll read about how the fans at Fenway gave his dad a standing ovation the next night.
Maybe he’ll read about what happened right before that standing ovation, when a Red Sox fan was ejected for using a racial slur toward the Kenyan woman who sang the national anthem.
What is he going to make of all that? Deep down, are people good? Are they bad? How should he see the world?
Jones discussed the same topics in a video for the publication:






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Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is defending his outfielder after the club suspended Kevin Pillar two games for directing a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte on Wednesday.

"Kevin felt terrible. That's not him at all, it really isn't," Gibbons said Friday on MLB Network Radio. "I sure hope that doesn't define who he is."

After striking out in the seventh inning Wednesday, Pillar addressed the slur to Motte, believing the reliever had quick-pitched him. Motte, who was on his way to the dugout after retiring the side, turned back toward Pillar, leading the Blue Jays' and Braves' benches to clear.

Pillar later issued a statement in which he apologized to the LGBTQ community for using the derogatory term before the suspension, then apologized again at a press conference Thursday.

"Hopefully people will learn from this ... there's no place for this language on field, at home, in (the) clubhouse, with your friends," Pillar told reporters Thursday, adding, "I have the ability to be made an example of, and I'm willing to accept that."

He will serve the second half of his two-game ban Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.

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If the Tampa Bay Rays intend to be sellers, Alex Cobb may be on the block.

The Rays, who currently sit 5 1/2 games back of first place in the AL East, are reportedly determining the pitcher's trade value by calling teams, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Cobb, who's set to become a free agent after this season, has been one of the most consistent pieces of Tampa Bay's rotation in 2017. In nine starts, the 29-year-old is pitching to a 3.67 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across 56 1/3 innings.

The 29-year-old was sidelined for the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and made his major-league return in September 2016, pitching five innings in a no-decision against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays went on to win that contest 8-3.

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Giancarlo Stanton is getting pretty sick of losing.

Though the slugger is off to a respectable individual start to the season, slashing .263/.339/.533 with 11 home runs in 40 games, the same can't be said of his Miami Marlins, who are already 11 games back in the NL East at 14-26.

Those 26 losses are contributing to a level of frustration Stanton's never experienced before.

"It's probably the highest ever," Stanton told the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer. "It's higher than me being the worst player on the field for a month, the worst player in the big leagues for a month, last year."

From May 15 to June 15 last season, Stanton endured one of the most miserable stretches of his career, slashing a paltry .120/.214/.240 and amassing 37 strikeouts in 75 at-bats during the span.

Another possible factor in Stanton's frustration may be the ongoing saga behind the potential sale of the team, though that likely doesn't compare to the Marlins finding themselves behind the injury-depleted New York Mets and the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies in the division.

"Surprised? Yes," Stanton said. "No one expected it to be like this."

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The Los Angeles Dodgers will be without their hottest hitter for at least the next week and a half, as the club has placed third baseman Justin Turner on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain.

Turner, who ranks fourth in the National League in WAR (2.2), injured his hamstring in the seventh inning of Thursday's 7-2 victory over the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium, where he pulled up lame as he rounded third while trying to score on a base hit by Yasmani Grandal. After hobbling to the plate, where he was tagged out by catcher J.T. Realmuto, Turner was helped off the field following an examination by a team trainer and immediately removed from the game.

Turner was later sent for an MRI, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admitted the 32-year-old was likely headed to the DL.

"When it happened, it looked like it tore off the bone," Roberts told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. "I think it happened after he hit third and was coming around. It looked like it almost came off the bone, the way he reacted."

In his absence, the Dodgers will likely have Chris Taylor - hitting .324/.438/.541 with four homers and four doubles through 26 games in 2017 - take over at third base.

Off to a blistering start this season, Turner - who landed a four-year, $64-million deal from the Dodgers this winter - leads the NL with a .379 average and 53 hits through 39 games, along with a career-best .946 OPS (156 OPS+).

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Dayton Moore joined The Program 810 on Friday to discuss the trade market, and the Kansas City Royals general manager had a lot to say regarding the team's five notable pending free agents.

"If we were going to deal these players, the time to have dealt these players was right after the 2015 World Series," Moore said, clearly alluding to Jason Vargas, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer.

"They had at least two years of control, (and were) coming off a World Series championship," Moore elaborated to host Soren Petro.

That might be how some teams do business, but not Moore. "Some baseball people would say that's the smart, that's the shrewd way to do it. Baseball is more about heart than the head."

Moore wanted to make it clear that he has no regrets about opting not to deal players that may end up being trade bait this season. "That's just not something we would do or were willing to do. You start trading away your marquee players after winning a World Series, that's not good ... that's wrong in my opinion," said the 50-year-old executive.

The Royals, currently last in their division and 4 1/2 games back of first place, could end up being trade deadline sellers.

Vargas, Escobar, Cain, Moustakas, and Hosmer are all on deals that expire following this season, likely suppressing their value somewhat, but would still be valuable acquisitions for teams looking for a postseason push. Factor in Kelvin Herrera, whose contract expires following the 2018 season, and the Royals have an excellent basis on which to rebuild.

Compounding matters further for Moore and the rest of the Royals front office is that the new CBA - ratified this past offseason - no longer guarantees top draft picks as compensation for players that leave via free agency. Instead, teams are only guaranteed at least a third-round selection for a departing free agent who has rejected a qualifying offer.

Moore denied that his team will tank, though. "If tanking is a part of your mentality," Moore said, "you shouldn’t be in professional sports. In fact, you shouldn’t be in sports. Why should you have the privilege to lead if you talk about tanking?"

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At this point, it's become clear that the New York Mets are in disarray, and now a new culprit has emerged as a cause for the dysfunction, as sources in the team's internal operations confidentially told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN that COO Jeff Wilpon is a micro-manager.

"He meddles," Crasnick's source said, "Jeff gets in the middle of everything that's going on, and he ends up doing more damage."

It's a damning report for a team that is already lacking any positive publicity of late.

Wilpon, who is the son of the team's owner, Fred Wilpon, has faced this specific criticism before. As far back as 2009, Joel Sherman wrote an article for the New York Post that at least implied he was fighting accusations of being: "A credit seeker. An accountability deflector. A micro-manager. A second guesser. A less-than-deep thinker. And bad at self-awareness."

To his credit, Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson deflected the blame away from the team's COO.

"With respect to Jeff," Alderson explained, "I would not say he's heavily involved in the medical side." The long-tenured GM went on to take responsibility for the franchise's recent rash of injuries by saying, "ultimately, these areas of expertise and coordination fall under my responsibility."

The Mets currently have Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and David Wright stashed on the disabled list and are operating on what is, ostensibly, a four-man rotation.

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In July 2009, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was implicated in a New York Times report that, citing anonymous sources, suggested he, along with Sammy Sosa and then-teammate Manny Ramirez, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

However, Big Papi seems to have a theory on who those sources were all along.

The 10-time All-Star told WEEI on Friday that none other than the New York Yankees are to blame for leaking information regarding a confidential 2003 study Ortiz and more than 100 others took part in.

"What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?" Ortiz said. "The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were getting caught. And no one from Boston."

Prior to the report, which implicated Ortiz, Matt Lawton was the lone Yankees player to get suspended, receiving a 10-game ban in 2005. Alex Rodriguez would be caught later, in 2013, though he was accused of using steroids as early as 2007 by Jose Canseco.

"A newspaper coming out of New York with that news," Ortiz's theory stewed, "it don't make any sense to me."

In a press conference during Big Papi's retirement tour last season, the commissioner of MLB Rob Manfred exonerated Ortiz of suspicion on the matter. "There were legitimate scientific questions about whether or not those were truly positive (tests)," Manfred explained, before saying, "it was entirely possible that (Ortiz was) not a positive."

Ortiz concluded a 20-year career last season with league-leading numbers in doubles, slugging percentage, RBI, and OPS. Ortiz's name will begin going on Hall of Fame ballots in 2022 and there is some concern that being a suspected PED user could hurt his case for Cooperstown.

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Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale re-wrote his name into baseball's history books Friday with a dominant start in Oakland, where he tied his own MLB record - which he shares with Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez - by recording double-digit strikeouts in his eighth straight outing.

Sale, now almost two months into his tenure with the Red Sox, allowed just two runs and fanned 10 over seven dominant innings against the Athletics, giving him a whopping 88 strikeouts over his last 58 2/3 innings (13.5 per nine) as well as his second streak of eight consecutive double-digit strikeout starts in the last three years. (Back in 2015, when he was still with the Chicago White Sox, Sale fanned at least 10 batters in eight straight outings from May 23 through June 30, a stretch that propelled him to his fourth of five career All-Star appearances and a fourth-place finish in American League Cy Young voting.)

If Sale, who owns a 2.19 ERA this season, notches at least 10 strikeouts Thursday against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park, the 28-year-old would be the first pitcher in history to do so in nine consecutive starts - something Martinez, a three-time Cy Young award winner, would welcome.

"Records are made to be broken, and I am hoping that he surpasses everything I did," Martinez told Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso earlier this month. "I'm not jealous of it. I would love to see more players like him, guys who really want to get better every day regardless of how good they already are."

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Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to May 17, due to a pinched nerve in his neck, the team announced Saturday.

The Astros don't expect him to miss more than one start with the issue, however, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle.

It's unknown how or when the former Cy Young winner suffered the apparent injury, as he has been impeccable in 2017. He owns a 1.84 ERA - the best mark in the majors - and a 0.86 WHIP, as well as a 7-0 record in nine starts.

Ashur Tolliver has been recalled from Triple-A Fresno in a corresponding roster move.

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Tommy Lasorda, the Hall of Fame former manager and special advisor to the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been hospitalized for several days with an undisclosed illness, reports Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register.

The 89-year-old, who was also hospitalized after suffering a bad fall last August in Atlantic City, is reportedly currently in the intensive care unit at Centinela Hospital in Los Angeles. He's been in contact with several former players, Plunkett adds.

Lasorda managed the Dodgers from 1976-96, recording a 1,599-1,439 managerial record before having to retire in 1996 due to a heart attack.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame one year later, as his forced retirement due to health issues allowed him to forego the traditional five-year waiting period for eligibility.

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The race to sign one of the market's hottest young prodigies may be nearly over, as the Chicago White Sox are reportedly finalizing a deal with Cuban outfield prospect Luis Robert worth more than $25 million, a source told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Robert attracted plenty of interest in recent weeks, and the White Sox reportedly emerged as last-minute favorites for his signature alongside the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

Due to a limited spending bonus on international free agents, the Cardinals may have been priced out of the race. Robert's reported deal with Chicago would have surpassed the $50-million mark with St. Louis due to penalty taxes, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Though only 19 years old, Robert has been considered the second-best international talent, right behind Japanese pitcher-slugger hybrid Shohei Otani. One American League scout even referred to Robert as the "best player on the planet" in February.

Robert slashed .401/.526/.687 in 53 games in 2016 with Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series. He also slashed .286/.319/.397 in a shorter appearance (16 games) in the CanAm league in 2016.

Saturday was the first day Robert was eligible to sign with a major-league side after he was officially declared a free agent by MLB one month ago.

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The Atlanta Braves have filled the hole created by Freddie Freeman's injury.

Atlanta acquired first baseman Matt Adams from the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday in exchange for infielder Juan Yepez.

The Braves also received cash considerations as part of the transaction.

Adams will likely take over as the Braves' starting first baseman in place of Freeman, the star slugger who's expected to miss 10 weeks after fracturing his wrist against Toronto. Earlier this week, the Braves signed veteran James Loney to a minor-league contract in an attempt to add more depth at the position.

Adams, a 23rd-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2009, found himself on the outside of the club's infield rotation this year after Matt Carpenter was moved to first base. The Cardinals tried playing him in left field, but the natural first baseman made just five appearances at the position before that experiment was abandoned. Adams has played 31 games this year, but has started just eight times; the majority of his 2017 appearances have come as a pinch-hitter.

"Looking at it (the trade), it's the best thing for my career," Adams told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com after the deal was announced. The 28-year-old also acknowledged that leaving the Cardinals - the only team he's ever known - would be "tough."

Adams owns a .292/.340/.396 slash line with just one homer in 53 plate appearances this season. His best year with the Cardinals came in 2013, when he posted a .839 OPS and smacked a career-best 17 home runs for that year's National League champions.

Yepez is a first baseman/third baseman who owns a career .741 OPS and has hit six home runs in 490 minor-league plate appearances since 2015. The 19-year-old Venezuelan has been playing at Single-A Rome this season; according to Langosch, St. Louis plans to assign Yepez to its Single-A affiliate in Peoria.

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Regardless of what Dustin Pedroia says, the Boston Red Sox record at the moment is at the .500 mark.

Nevertheless, Pedroia is fully convinced that his team is better than what Beantown fans are watching right now. On Saturday, the Red Sox struggles continued in an 8-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics that saw the A's tee off for four home runs to drop the New England side back to the even mark at 21-21.

Despite the talent surrounding Pedroia in the Boston clubhouse, the team is simply spinning its wheels after seven weeks of play. But the former AL MVP remains convinced that the Red Sox current record is nothing but an aberration that will be fixed.

"As players you put your head down and play. We're not a .500 team," Pedroia told Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe after Saturday's game. "It looks like that. It is right now. You play 162 (games). See ya at the end."

Indeed, the Red Sox have shown some signs that a turnaround could come. Chris Sale is setting records, Craig Kimbrel is back to his old self in the ninth inning, and Mookie Betts has gotten going at the plate - but too much is also going wrong at this moment.

Last year's vaunted offensive attack has struggled as a unit: much-heralded rookie Andrew Benintendi has struggled of late, Hanley Ramirez is only now starting to heat up a little bit, and no Red Sox hitter has more than seven home runs; starting shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who homered 21 times in 2016, hasn't hit one yet. There's also the matter of injuries, a carousel of third basemen, and the rest of the rotation, which, simply put, hasn't been good.

In the 17 games not started by Sale, Porcello or Rodriguez, #RedSox have a 7.28 ERA with average of 4.2 IP per start.

— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) May 21, 2017
Pedroia has won two World Series in Boston, and knows what it takes to succeed in that kind of high-pressure market. While his analogy of choice was strange, the 33-year-old remains convinced that this group of Red Sox will shake all of this inconsistency off and get back into contention quickly.

"As a player in this environment, there's ups and downs," Pedroia said. "The down are you're lower than as low as be. Whale shit? I don't know. Then the highest is you're the greatest of all time.

"You've got to stay even, man, and we intend on doing that."

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Terry Collins nearly bestowed Mike Trout with the highest form of respect you can give a hitter.

Down 7-4 in the ninth inning Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels began to threaten the New York Mets late by loading the bases with just one out in the final frame. To make matters worse for New York, Trout, the last player you'd ever want to face in that situation, was getting ready in the batter's box.

Rather than allow a living, breathing baseball machine the chance to give the Angels the lead with one Trout-like swing, Collins contemplated giving Los Angeles a free run in exchange for not having closer Addison Reed deal with Trout.

"The first thought is, 'I'd rather almost walk this guy than give him a pitch to hit,'" Collins said postgame, according to Newsday's Anthony Rieber. "Fortunately, Addy made some good pitches on him.

"That's the kind of situation where you look back on the time when Buck Showalter walked (Barry) Bonds with the bases loaded rather than pitch to him and I had ... the same feeling."

In baseball's vast history, only six different players have ever received a free pass with the bases loaded, according to Baseball Almanac, though none are perhaps more infamous than Collins' example of Bonds facing the Arizona Diamondbacks with two outs in the ninth in May 1998.

Had Collins actually walked Trout, the numbers would have backed his decision. No team that has intentionally walked in a free run has ever gone on to lose that game.

Collins, however, chose instead to live dangerously and it paid off, as Trout was limited to a sacrifice fly and the Mets would hold on to win 7-5.

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The Houston Astros are taking no chances with the health of backstop Brian McCann as the club has placed him on the seven-day disabled list for concussion-like symptoms, retroactive to Saturday.

"He came in yesterday and complained of not feeling great, not feeling like himself, and simply not doing great," manager AJ Hinch told reporters Sunday, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "The more we dug on it the more we realized that he was having concussion-type symptoms.

"We had him evaluated by the doctors and the doctors determined at some point he had a small concussion and obviously we're going to go very careful with him and put him on the DL and make sure he gets right."

Though the Astros don't know exactly when McCann may have suffered a concussion, Hinch did note McCann was struck hard in the facemask by a foul tip last Sunday against the New York Yankees in the second game of a doubleheader. Since the hit, McCann has sat out of three of Houston's subsequent six games, including Saturday's tilt against the Cleveland Indians.

Catcher Juan Centeno was recalled from Triple-A Fresno in a corresponding move.

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Cody Bellinger crushes a solo home run to right!!! #LetsGoDodgers pic.twitter.com/8sqjHQ4C0a

— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 21, 2017
The kid is for real.

Thanks to multiple injuries to their lineup early in the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were forced to call up their No. 1 prospect, Cody Bellinger, from Triple-A. Bellinger, however, is making the most of his rushed promotion, as the rookie crushed his ninth home run in 24 games Saturday night against the Miami Marlins, making him the fastest Dodger in franchise history to reach the mark.

To encapsulate just how crucial Bellinger has been in the lineup since making his MLB debut April 25 against the rival San Francisco Giants, his nine home runs also already lead the Dodgers with Yasiel Puig and Corey Seager trailing the 21-year-old with eight and seven homers, respectively.

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The New York Mets may need Zack Wheeler to pitch more this season than they had penciled him in for.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the entirety of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Wheeler has managed to pitch 43 1/3 innings so far this year.

"What we try to do is establish a target, and then we constantly re-evaluate," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Newsday's David Lennon. "And that's what we'll do in his case."

The Mets are currently rolling with a four-man rotation as a result of Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Seth Lugo all being on the disabled list.


Wheeler entered the 2017 campaign with an innings limit set at around 125. However, the Mets are desperate for backup, and appear to be re-evaluating Wheeler's innings limit out of necessity.

"Right now he's one of the horses we've got to ride to get back on track," Mets skipper Terry Collins added.

Wheeler has pitched more than 125 innings just once in his short major-league career. In 2014, he managed 185 1/3 innings of work. The following March, he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Owner of a 3-2 record, Wheeler is posting a 3.74 ERA and 4.22 FIP through his eight starts this season.

The 18-23 Mets are in an unenviable spot, 6 1/2 games back of the first-place Washington Nationals.

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The Boston Red Sox may have their eyes on a possible solution to their hole at third base.

With Boston unable to find a replacement to fill in for Pablo Sandoval who's currently on the disabled list with a knee sprain, the club is reportedly scouting Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.

Since placing Sandoval on the disabled list in late April, the Red Sox have attempted to fill the void at the hot corner with a mix of Josh Rutledge, Marco Hernandez, and Deven Marrero, though neither has impressed enough in the month of May to stake a permanent spot at the position.

Frazier, meanwhile, a two-time All-Star during his time with the Cincinnati Reds from 2011-2015, has struggled with the White Sox since arriving in a three-team trade following the 2015 season. In 191 games with Chicago, Frazier is slashing a combined .221/.299/.446 with 44 home runs over two seasons in the Windy City.

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Following Saturday night's extra-innings contest against the St. Louis Cardinals, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt appeared to have a disagreement in the postgame handshake line.

In the 13th inning with the team up 3-1, Posey kept gesturing that Belt should be playing closer to first base, to prevent Stephen Piscotty from getting a big lead. Following the final out of the game, Posey and Belt stared at each other before the San Francisco Giants' catcher decided to air the grievance in the middle of the diamond.

"Whatever happens between us, it's just going to stay on the field," Posey told Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News following Sunday afternoon's finale against the Cardinals.

Belt toed the same line that his catcher did, affirming that "stuff happens on the field and we'll just keep it between us."

It was skipper Bruce Bochy that confirmed to Baggarly that Posey was upset about Belt's defensive positioning.

Most of this interaction was missed by the broadcast as it turned away prior to it all happening. However, Posey did look visibly upset in a discussion with battery-mate Mark Melancon immediately following the game.

Despite the disagreement, the Giants came away with the victory - just their 19th win of the season. With the team now nine games back of first place, patience could very well be wearing thin in the Giants clubhouse.

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Eric Gagne's attempt to revitalize his pitching career is over.

The 41-year-old former Cy Young winner retired just 16 days after signing a contract with the Long Island Ducks, an independent league club.

"He spoke to (Ducks manager) Kevin Baez and said that he gave it everything he had, his body wasn’t responding the way he hoped it would and he decided to call it a career," said Ducks president and general manager Michael Pfaff, according to Jordan Lauterback of Newsday. "He was a pro. We appreciated having him here and the effort he gave. We wish him nothing but the best."

Gagne, who won the National League's Cy Young award with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 after saving 55 games, posted a 12.27 ERA across five appearances for the Ducks.

"I’m sure the results weren’t what he had hoped for, but he wanted to give it one last shot to get back to the big leagues and we were happy to give him that opportunity,” Pfaff said.

After appearing for the Canadian national team in the World Baseball Classic and touching 93 mph with his fastball, Gagne drew some interest from big league clubs before signing with the Ducks.

He initially retired from baseball after 10 years in the show, amassing 402 appearances, while saving 187 games.

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The Washington Nationals may be one of baseball's top teams and the owners of the best record in the National League East, but even they have areas of concern that president and general manager Mike Rizzo is hoping to address.

"Losing games in the ninth inning has been so demoralizing," Rizzo recently told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "It’s certainly not the way you want to go through a season. You look at our team, and all of the great performances and great seasons we’re having, and nobody is talking about it. It’s all about the bullpen and how those guys are struggling. It gets old.

"We’ve got guys that are underperforming in the bullpen, and that’s on me to take care of it."

The ninth inning has been a concern for the Nationals most of the season, with their 'pen combining to post a 5.55 ERA in the game's final frame, and while youngster Koda Glover has recently offered some stability, the Nationals' relief corps hasn't proven effective.

They've posted the second-highest ERA in the big leagues behind only the Seattle Mariners, have saved just 12 of 20 games, and are allowing opposing teams to hit .287, the highest opponent's average allowed by any team in baseball.

Washington's bullpen has been so bad that a report recently surfaced saying the team was internally discussing ninth-inning options such as Kelvin Herrera, Alex Colome, A.J. Ramos, and Roberto Osuna, as well as a possible reunion with Mark Melancon.

The Nationals have also had frequent trade discussions with the Chicago White Sox about closer David Robertson, whom they nearly completed a deal for before spring training, according to sources of Nightengale.

"We’re not afraid to make a trade, but the supply and demand of these elite relievers are far and between. They’re so hard to get," Rizzo explained.

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The reinvention of Anthony Gose is expected to take its next step forward Monday.

Gose, who spent the past five seasons playing in the outfield, is expected to make his debut as a pitcher for the Tigers' Single-A affiliate in Lakeland.

The 26-year-old has been preparing for this moment for months after he approached the club this past March following his reassignment to minor league camp during spring training.

Gose, who last pitched regularly in high school over nine years ago, fascinated big-league skipper Brad Ausmus during a bullpen session at the end of March.

"I was very impressed," Ausmus told Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press. "His delivery was good. Smooth. Not a lot of effort involved. The ball came out good. Had real good finish."

Gose, a former second-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies, last appeared in the big leagues in 2016, playing in 30 games and hitting .209/.287/.341.

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Detroit Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez and Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb were announced as the Players of the Week by Major League Baseball on Monday.

Martinez went on a tear after returning from the disabled list May 12, hitting .389/.607/1.056 with four home runs and 10 walks during the past week to earn the American League honors.

The 29-year-old Martinez is hitting an impressive .407/.579/1.653 overall with six long balls and 12 RBIs.

In the National League, Lamb was part of a potent offensive attack for the Diamondbacks, swatting .412/.565/1.176 over the past week, which included four home runs and 10 RBIs.

Lamb and the Diamondbacks are two games behind the division-leading Colorado Rockies in the NL West.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Nolan Fontana was called safe and then out on the same play by the same umpire - without a replay review.

Welcome to the majors, kid. Nothing is certain.

Making his major league debut for the Los Angeles Angels, Fontana was initially ruled safe by second base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt on a stolen base attempt in the second inning Monday night against Tampa Bay.

Rays manager Kevin Cash challenged the call - but before there was even a video review, Wendelstedt correctly changed his ruling to out.

"After consulting with me, he said, 'I want to change it myself. I think I erred,'" crew chief Joe West told a pool reporter. "I said, 'OK, it's your call.' So he changed it."

Wendelstedt said an umpire must be honest with himself.

"I committed one of the two errors that normally result in missing a play," Wendelstedt said. "You have good positioning, which I had, and good timing. Most of the time you're going to get them, most of the time, right. I had really bad timing. As soon as my hands were out, I knew that I missed it."

Los Angeles went on to win 3-2.

After the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Fontana was indeed out. Scioscia, however, said he'd never seen umpires get together on the field and change a challenged call before an available replay review.

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The Washington Nationals could have addressed their closer issues over the offseason if the Chicago White Sox had just eaten more of David Robertson's contract.

Both teams agreed to almost all of the parameters of the trade before spring training, executives with direct knowledge of the deal told Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports: The Nationals would send left-hander Jesus Luzardo and infielder Drew Ward to the South Side in exchange for Robertson. The White Sox were reportedly going to eat roughly $12.5 million of the $25 million remaining on Robertson's deal, though sources said the deal fell through over the money.

Nationals relievers have combined to blow 8-of-20 save opportunities this season and own a 5.40 ERA over 125 innings - the second-worst mark in the majors.

Despite its troubles on the back end, the club sits comfortably with a 6 1/2-game lead in the division and owns the resources needed to acquire an arm. It was reported over the weekend that the front office is looking at a number of potential trade targets including Mark Melancon, A.J. Ramos, Kelvin Herrera, Alex Colome, and Roberto Osuna.

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Having sputtered through the first 43 games of the season, the Boston Red Sox could be in need of a major shake-up.

Projected to run away with the American League East this spring, the team sits third in the division entering play Tuesday at 22-21 and is coming off a road trip that saw the Red Sox drop three of four games to the Oakland Athletics.

The underwhelming start could eventually result in the firing of manager John Farrell, who's held the job since the beginning of the 2013 season. While Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports there's no guarantee that Farrell will be fired in the near future, or at all, trouble is brewing in the clubhouse.

"Some players, but not all, believe that (Farrell) does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say," Rosenthal writes. "Some also question Farrell's game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, but some more than others."

Signs of conflict in the clubhouse became visible when Matt Barnes threw at the head of Manny Machado in April, leading an agitated Dustin Pedroia to separate himself from his team's actions. More recently, Farrell and Drew Pomeranz were involved in a testy exchange in the dugout during Saturday's game when the skipper removed the left-hander after four innings and 97 pitches.

"I don't like coming out of games that early," Pomeranz said after the game, according to Evan Drellich of CSN New England. "I gotta do a better job of being more efficient ... It's frustrating. As a starting pitcher, you want to be out there as long as you can."

There's not exactly a long line of options to manage the club should president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski choose to fire Farrell, as Rosenthal notes. Former Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo would have been the logical successor, but he moved on to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks this winter.

Farrell has gone 361-330 during his five seasons in Boston, winning two division titles and the 2013 World Series but posting back-to-back last-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. The club exercised Farrell's option for the 2018 season in December.

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Anthony Gose certainly has the velocity that could one day make him a major-league pitcher.

The former outfielder is experimenting as a reliever and made his debut on the mound with Detroit Tigers minor-league affiliate Class-A Lakeland on Monday.

Gose allowed one run off one hit and a walk while striking out a batter in his only inning of work. He hit 99 mph on the radar gun with his first pitch, according to Lakeland assistant general manager Dan Lauer.

The left-hander took over for Lakeland in the top of the ninth with his club trailing 5-1, issuing a leadoff walk followed by a strikeout. A stolen base and a double then resulted in a run, before Gose induced a groundout and pop-up to end the inning.

Gose hit .209/.287/.341 with two home runs and 38 strikeouts in 30 games as an outfielder for the Tigers last season, but will focus solely on pitching with Lakeland.

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Joey Bats is returning to his roots.

Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista will make his first start at third base since the 2013 season on Tuesday night when the Canadian side visits the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

It will be Bautista's third appearance at the hot corner this season; the 36-year-old previously took over the position as a mid-inning defensive replacement on two separate occasions. Prior to this year, Bautista's last work at third base came in three games (two starts) during April 2013.

While he made his name as a superstar playing right field, Bautista initially broke into the majors with Pittsburgh as a third baseman before settling into several years as a utility player. He's played 388 career games at the position since 2004, including a career-high 126 with the Pirates in 2007.

Bautista has been slow to get going at the plate this season but has heated up of late, posting a 1.005 OPS and six home runs since May 1.

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Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell is fully aware that his club has not met expectations almost two months into the season.

The Red Sox have dropped three of their last four games and open a three-game set with the red-hot Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Fenway Park sitting at 22-21.

With pressure mounting, it was reported Tuesday that some Red Sox players do not believe their skipper backs them enough to the media when they're struggling, and some in-game management decisions have been scrutinized.

"All I can do is my very best to win games, and let's face it we need to win more games," Farrell told MLB Network Radio on Tuesday in response to being on the hot seat.

The Red Sox sat in a tie atop the AL East on April 18, but haven't been any higher than third place since. Injuries have played a role in their unbalanced play but they can't fully be to blame. Reinforcements are on their way, however, and it will be interesting to see how the club responds when David Price, Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt, Carson Smith, and potentially Tyler Thornburg return from the disabled list next month.

Farrell is 361-330 (.522) in five seasons with the Red Sox. He helped lead the team to a World Series in 2013, though the team has two last-place finishes and have yet to win a playoff game since. Boston won the division last season, and were eventually swept by the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are ready to welcome back two key pieces to their lineup soon.

Manager John Gibbons said Tuesday that third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki are expected to return this upcoming weekend for their series against the Texas Rangers, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith.


Donaldson has been limited to just nine games this season due to a nagging calf issue originally suffered in spring training.

Tulowitzki has been out since April 21 after injuring his hamstring heading into third base against the Los Angeles Angels.

Earlier this month, Gibbons expressed his hope that both players would return during an upcoming homestand the following week, though those plans were eventually scrapped and both players' timetables were left in the air.

"I couldn't tell you when they're going to play," Gibbons said at the time. "Hopefully, next homestand. Hopefully, at the beginning of the homestand, but that's just guessing. Guessing and hoping."

Last edited on Tue May 23rd, 2017 10:34 pm by lobo316

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With two American League MVP awards to his name, at the age of 25, Mike Trout hasn't reached his ceiling yet as a baseball player.

The analytical world that consists of extensive advanced stats - such as WAR, for example - already have Trout pegged as one of the best, if not the best ever. Currently in the midst of a brilliant stretch of play, Trout admitted he still doesn't value analytics.

"I don't use any of that, if I think launch angle or look at those stats, I'll get all messed up," he said on Tuesday during an appearance on MLB Network Radio.

Though it's fair to assume he doesn't want to hear about it, Trout has some elite numbers so far this season. Entering Tuesday's game, he's hit .343/.464/.741 which are all higher than anything he's accomplished thus far in his career. However, it's still relatively early in the season.

At this current pace, Trout is projected to finish with 39 home runs and 107 RBIs, while hitting .317/.440/.628 with 9.2 WAR. If he continues to stay healthy throughout the season, it might be safe to say the Los Angeles Angels outfielder is well on his way to his third American League MVP award.

Trout, being the modest man he is, still thinks there's room for growth.

"Once you think you got the game figured out, that will come back to haunt you," he said. "There's always things you can improve on."

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David Ortiz is keeping busy in his retirement, doing the interview circuit for his new book, "Papi: My Story," and sharing some great anecdotes in the process.

When Highly Questionable asked Ortiz about any teammates that he didn't get along with, the Boston Red Sox legend divulged that he did not like playing with A.J. Pierzysnki.

"I want to kill A.J. Pierzynski when we played together," Big Papi said of his former teammate.

Of course, it didn't stay that way. "I was going through some tough time at some point and he was the one that was there for me," Ortiz said. "It was weird the way that happens."

Pierzynski was no stranger to controversy during his career. The catcher was voted the most-hated player in all of baseball in 2012 by a Men's Journal survey of 100 major leaguers - finishing 24 percentage points higher than second-place Alex Rodriguez.

"He's a good guy, man, he's a good guy," Ortiz added. "He had just this way to do things that you would think that he's something else, something different, but at the end of the day he was a good guy."

Pierzynski was a teammate of Ortiz's through the 1998-2002 seasons with the Minnesota Twins as well as the beginning of the 2014 campaign with the Red Sox.

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As the Toronto Blue Jays slowly begin to receive promising news on the injury front, the same can't be said when it comes to Aaron Sanchez and his lingering finger injury.

The 24-year-old starter, who landed on the disabled list for the third time this year because of the same problem, was understandably frustrated on Tuesday, providing a somber update on the ailment.

"It's not getting any better," Sanchez said, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith. "I can't keep having this issue every inning and have to go check. This game's already hard enough to have to go out there and compete.

"I'm beating myself up trying to go in there and pitch through it. It's not doing me any good, it's not doing the team any good."

Sanchez most recently pitched on May 19 against the Baltimore Orioles and lasted six innings with his fastball regularly touching 97 mph. It wasn't until after the game that Sanchez revealed he was, once again, feeling discomfort in the same finger. He was placed on the disabled list less than 24 hours later.

"The only thing that's going to help it heal is not doing anything, not playing catch, just letting it heal," Sanchez said. "It kind of sucks not being able to play catch, but when I play catch it's the last thing that hits my finger, so every single time I'm throwing the ball it's getting hurt and hurt."

The issue first started as a blister that eventually forced Sanchez to visit a finger specialist who removed the nail completely. He's made two starts since, one of which caused his middle finger to bleed on May 14 against the Seattle Mariners.

The Blue Jays, naturally concerned about the status of last year's American League ERA leader, have maintained that there is no timetable for Sanchez's return. The club continues to be without J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano, though the latter appears closest to coming back.

In five starts this year, Sanchez has combined to a 3.33 ERA with 18 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP.

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It was only a matter of time before Edwin Encarnacion turned the corner.

The Cleveland Indians first baseman is starting to show signs of what made him one of the most feared hitters in the American League over the past half-decade as his bat heats up with the weather.

Encarnacion blasted a pair of home runs Tuesday in an 8-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds for his first multi-homer game with the Tribe since inking a three-year, $60-million deal over the winter.

"I think he's getting more dangerous," Indians manager Terry Francona said Tuesday, according to MLB.com. "He's hit a number of balls just foul, but he's barreling them up. I think you're going to see nights like this won't be the only time."

The three-time All-Star hit .198/.342/.328 with five home runs, two doubles, 12 RBIs, and 46 strikeouts over his first 37 games, but he's gotten into a grove over the past week. Encarnacion is hitting .296/.345/.815 with four homers, two doubles, and eight RBIs in his last seven games.

Getting off to a slow start is nothing new for Encarnacion, though forgive some fans in Ohio for hitting the panic button early due to their unfamiliarity with the slugger.

Encarnacion is a career .243/.324/.433 hitter in April, and things don't usually get much better in May as he sports an eerily similar .243/.326/.491 line the following month. But it's June, July, and August when Encarnacion really shows off his strengths, and recent performance indicates he's right on track to follow that.

Encarnacion's resurgence has directly impacted the Indians' fortunes in the win column, as well. Cleveland has won four of its last five games - including a three-game road sweep against the Houston Astros, with Encarnacion hitting .300/.333/.850 with three homers, two doubles, and six RBIs.

"I feel really good, and I feel better every single day," Encarnacion told reporters following Tuesday's two-homer night.

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As Major League Baseball continues to mull the possibility of international expansion, commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday he wants to see regular-season games played in Mexico City.

"We think it's time to move past exhibition games and play real-live 'they-count' games in Mexico," Manfred told reporters, including MLB.com's Richard Justice, ahead of Tuesday's game between the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros. "That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major Leauge team."

Identified last year as a front-runner to land an expansion franchise, Mexico City hosted a two-game exhibition series in 2016 - the first MLB action in the Mexican capital in 12 years - and Manfred has said that "making a full-time commitment in Mexico would very important." International regular-season play was jointly agreed to in the new collective bargaining agreement, too, so the league could conceivably start scheduling games in Mexico City as soon as 2018.

"We're hopeful that what we see in Mexico will continue to encourage us that that's a possibility (for expansion)," Manfred said. "We also had a good experience with the (World Baseball Classic) in Mexico. The venue was a good one. It sold well. We had good crowds - another positive in terms of more Major League-level baseball in Mexico."

Whether Mexico City remains a viable market for an MLB franchise, however, remains to be seen. Executives and economists are torn on the issue, and the ensuing logistics, though Mexican-born MLB players remain enamored of the possibility.

"I think all of Mexico would travel to wherever the team is," Adrian Gonzalez, the five-time All-Star raised in Tijuana, told ESPN's Thomas Neumann last year. "It would be a team for the whole country. I think for the most part, people from all over the country would make their way just for the games."

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PITTSBURGH - The family of baseball Hall of Famer Willie Stargell said it is hurt and angry that his widow is auctioning his memorabilia, including his World Series ring and his National League MVP award.

The auction, being conducted by SCP Auctions Inc., began Wednesday, the Post-Gazette reported. The items were selected by his second wife, Margaret Weller-Stargell.

Dolores Stargell, who was married to the late Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman from 1962 to 1983, said she, her children, and her grandchildren weren't told about the auction. She said they were "completely blindsided" by the auction and that her anger was "released" upon hearing of it.

Her daughter is handicapped and her son, a Gulf War veteran, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, said Stargell. The family is living in poverty, she added.

In a letter on Facebook she helped them write, the children said, "Dad would want the accomplishments of his lifetime achievements to be on display and enjoyed by all, as opposed to sitting in someone's basement collecting dust."

Weller-Stargell said the auction is legal.

"Willie made the decision years before his death that he wanted these items left to me because I know that he trusted me to do what was in the best interests of both a game that he loved, the Pirates organization and its fans that he honored and respected," she said in a statement.

Weller-Stargell plans to donate some of the proceeds to charity. The recipients are to include a dialysis unit at a Wilmington, North Carolina, hospital and the kidney disease foundation that was started in her late husband's name. She will receive the rest of the money from the auction.

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The Toronto Blue Jays' front office isn't prepared to label themselves as sellers with more than two months to go before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Despite sitting in last place in the American League East at 20-26, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins remains optimistic and will chart a course for the franchise depending on how the club plays when some of their star players return from injury.

"There isn't a perfect answer to that," Atkins said when asked if the club will be buyers or sellers at the deadline, according to Arash Madani of Sportsnet. "Five days ago we were a win off of last year's record at the time. We need to go on a run. The division fortunately hasn't gotten away from us, and we're very much in it, but we need to go on a run at some point soon.

"There is no concrete timeline on when we have to make a decision by, because it all depends on the division and how we're playing. It's a sliding scale. At some point we'll know on subjective, objective and projected health on what's best for the organization. We've absolutely remained focused on adding and winning."

The Blue Jays enter play Wednesday 7 1/2 games back of the New York Yankees in the division despite Aaron Sanchez, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and J.A. Happ missing significant time. Both Donaldson and Tulowitzki are expected to return this weekend which should go a long way in helping Atkins evaluate his club.

Should the Blue Jays opt to be sellers, though, Atkins will have plenty of veteran pieces he could look to deal. Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, Jason Grilli, Darwin Barney, and J.P. Howell are all free agents at the end of the season, while Jose Bautista has a mutual option. Donaldson, Happ, and Aaron Loup are free agents at the end of next season.

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The woeful San Diego Padres appear ready to lend a hand to a lucky contender.

Owners of baseball's worst record, the Padres have reportedly told other teams they're already "open for business" some two-plus months away from the July 31 trade deadline, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Their primary trade chip at this time, per Olney, is left-handed relief ace Brad Hand.

It's unknown if the Padres have had discussions with any teams, or who, if anybody, might be interested in acquiring Hand for the stretch drive.

Since arriving in San Diego one year ago, Hand has morphed into one of the best southpaw relievers in the business. The 27-year-old was one of the few bright spots for the Padres in 2016, when he struck out 111 batters (11.2 per nine innings) to just 36 walks, while posting a 2.92 ERA over an MLB-high 82 appearances.

Hand's been even better in the early stages of 2017, posting a 1.80 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and averaging 11.9 strikeouts per nine in 21 appearances. All of those marks are tops among Padres relievers, while his ERA is lower than every one of the team's starters.

His name previously surfaced in trade rumors prior to spring training, and the Padres would likely be able to get a nice return for his services from a contender, given that left-handed relievers are a premium commodity of late. He'll also come at a cheap cost: Hand's making just $1.375-million this season, and has another two years of arbitration remaining before free agency.

The rebuilding Padres, who opened the season with three Rule 5 draft picks on their roster, have the third-lowest payroll in baseball at $25,908,542, according to Spotrac.

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Chris Sale was less than a handful of punchouts away from standing alone in the record books.

The Boston Red Sox starter entered Wednesday's game against the Texas Rangers looking for his ninth consecutive start with 10 or more strikeouts. After throwing 97 pitches in the contest, however, he was pulled after 7 1/3 innings with only six strikeouts on the night - four shy of breaking his eight-game tie with Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez.

Though Sale didn't break the record, his final line was still nothing to scoff at. The southpaw allowed three earned runs on six hits and walked only one batter to go along with six strikeouts.

It was the second time he had a 10-plus-strikeout streak end at eight games. The 28-year-old equaled the feat with the Chicago White Sox in 2015, when he fanned 10 or more batters in every start between May 23 and June 30.

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Back-to-back-to-back JACKS! pic.twitter.com/sPPCNntPTi

— Pirates (@Pirates) May 25, 2017
The Pittsburgh Pirates batted around reliever Josh Collmenter so badly they essentially walked off the Atlanta Braves in the top of the 10th inning.

After rallying to tie it at 5-5 in the ninth and holding on to force extras, the Pirates' bats exploded in the 10th, as David Freese, Jose Osuna, and Jordy Mercer connected on consecutive home runs off Collmenter as part of a wild seven-run inning.

Though he picked up the excruciating loss, Collmenter can at least take solace in that his outing made him the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer John Smoltz to allow seven or more runs in one inning or less, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.

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Eight months have passed since Jose Fernandez accidentally plowed his boat into a jetty off South Beach, killing himself and two friends, but his former teammate Marcell Ozuna can't stop thinking about the moments and decisions leading up to the tragedy that ravaged Miami - and baseball - last autumn.

Had he accepted the ebullient Cuban's invitation to come out on the boat, after all, Ozuna likely would be gone, too. And had Fernandez listened to Ozuna, who implored the 24-year-old right-hander not to take his boat out that night, the Miami Marlins would still have their ace while Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, would still be coming home every night.

"Sometimes you think, 'If only he had listened a bit, he would still be here with us,'" Ozuna told USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz in Spanish. "He was my best friend, or rather, he still is, because I always keep him in mind. As a friend, I told him not to go. He was obsessed with going. It happened because it had to happen. You don't control those things. Only God knows why things happen."

The loss of Fernandez - who was drunk behind the wheel and had cocaine in his system when his boat, traveling at top speed, crashed into the jetty Sept. 25 - has loomed over a thus-far disastrous season for the Marlins. At 16-29, Miami sits in fourth place in the National League East while receiving an MLB-worst 0.4 WAR from its pitching staff.

"We all see it," said Michael Hill, the club's president of baseball operations. "We wear 16 on our left chest every day, so it's a constant reminder that he's no longer with us. And then when you look at the struggles of our starting pitching, it's a reminder that he's not there, he's not coming back, and we have to find a way to do it without him."

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Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais couldn't hold it in Wednesday after watching his club drop a fifth straight game, demanding greater intensity from his players following a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals that left Seattle 11 games back of first in the American League West.

"We've got to pick up our intensity," Servais told reporters, including Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. "We are better than this. I've about had enough of this. We need to dial it up a little bit."

Despite starting the campaign 8-13, the Mariners sat at 17-17 just two weeks ago after an 11-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 10, but things have gone south in a hurry. With four-fifths of their Opening Day rotation, as well as right fielder Mitch Haniger, on the disabled list, the Mariners have dropped 10 of their last 13 contests, plummeting to fifth place in the division in the process.

“We know we are banged up, nobody cares,” Servais said. “Nobody feels sorry for you in this league. You have to go out and fight and claw and scratch and figure out a way. It’s just not happening right now. There’s only way to get out of this hole, you have to dig yourself out of it because nobody cares. Players are frustrated, we are frustrated, we are better than this."

Limited to just one run per game in each of their last five contests, the Mariners sit dead last in the majors in offense over the past two weeks, having managed a measly .584 OPS and .109 isolated power.

"It's definitely been frustrating and the last little bit has been very frustrating," Servais said. "We don't like to lose and we certainly don’t like to lose in the fashion we’ve been losing. It's nothing crazy. We just have to play better."

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The Toronto Blue Jays are on the verge of receiving an enormous boost to the lineup with a pair of All-Stars set to return to the left side of the infield Friday.

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said he expects both Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki will return from the disabled list and be in the lineup when the club opens a three-game set with the Texas Rangers.

"The plan is for those guys to play tomorrow," Atkins told "The Jeff Blair Show" on Thursday. "That will be a great addition to our team."

It couldn't happen at a better time for the Blue Jays, who come back to Rogers Centre riding a three-game winning streak, still 7 1/2 games back of the division-leading New York Yankees.

Donaldson has been out since April 13 with a calf injury, while Tulowitzki hasn't played since April 21 due to a hamstring strain.

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Much has been made of Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria pursuing a buyer for his major league franchise. For a time, it seemed like a group involving Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush was on the verge of acquiring the team. Jeter said no progress has been made, and that was 10 days ago.

Last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said opposing bidders were close to one another, though it now appears that Loria's $1.3 billion asking price remains an obstacle. Sources have told the New York Post's Josh Kosman and Ken Davidoff that Loria will have to adjust his expectations accordingly.

"I don’t think anybody will get to $1.3 billion," a sports investment banker said. "Jeb and Derek are still out there and they are not close to getting the money.

"Now, it’s a stale deal."

As of now, one anonymous baseball owner told the Post that no deal is close. The source added that he thinks the price goes down, which could prompt a quicker resolution.

"I think if Jeffrey dropped it to $1 billion there would be buyers," another source said.

There have been no signs yet that Loria intends to lower his asking price, and neither Loria, the Marlins, nor Major League Baseball have commented.

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Boston's $217-million arm is back.

After missing all of April and most of May rehabbing from an elbow strain, left-hander David Price is scheduled to make his highly anticipated season debut Monday against the Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox announced.

The 31-year-old completed his second rehab start Wednesday, though he did need 89 pitches to get through 3 2/3 innings. His velocity was consistent, however, topping out at 96 mph.

"(It was) a lot of pitches in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six innings for 90 pitches," Price told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. "To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy."

Manager John Farrell, speaking after the team's 9-4 win against the Texas Rangers, is looking forward to having the former American League Cy Young Award winner back in the rotation.

"Physically, he feels great, and his return will give us a definite boost," Farrell said, per Britton. "Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation."

Price's return will provide some much-needed relief to a thin starting rotation. On top of being without the left-hander, the Red Sox lost knuckleballer Steven Wright for the season with a knee injury and have been forced to rely on Kyle Kendrick, Brian Johnson, and Hector Velazquez.

In his first season with the Red Sox last year, Price combined to a 17-9 record in a career-high 35 starts and a league-leading 230 innings pitched. He would finish with 228 strikeouts, a 3.99 ERA, and 1.20 WHIP.

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With the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers set to square off Friday for the first time since last year's electric American League Division Series, one manager says there isn't any lasting animosity between the teams.

"I didn't know there was anything ongoing," Rangers skipper Jeff Banister said, according to Evan Grant of Sports Day. "I think that is more for spectators. Our guys aren't thinking about anything like that."

The rivalry began after Jose Bautista's epic bat flip and series-clinching home run in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS. Not long after, in May of 2016, Rougned Odor's punch heard 'round the world further ignited the feud following a hard slide from Bautista at second base.

As fate would have it, both teams met in last year's ALDS, with the Blue Jays prevailing once again - this time with a three-game sweep.

The series, which begins in Toronto, will be important for both sides. The Blue Jays are expected to get two huge reinforcements back in the form of Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, while the Rangers will look to build off a terrific start to May that has them in second place in the AL West.

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On Wednesday, Chris Sale missed his chance to set a record of nine consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts. So, the very next day, the Boston Red Sox decided to set their own strikeout record, in dubious fashion.

Mike Napoli became the 20th member of the Texas Rangers to strike out Thursday when closer Craig Kimbrel fanned the first baseman to close out the ninth inning and cement a 6-2 win. With it, the Red Sox tied the MLB record for the most strikeouts thrown by a single team in a nine-inning game, according to The Providence Journal's Tim Britton.

But the feat didn't come without some controversy.

In the first at-bat of the ninth inning, Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara swung through Kimbrel's off-speed pitch while it simultaneously hit him in the leg. Under MLB rules, Mazara should have immediately been ruled out, except the umpires deemed it a dropped third strike, allowing Mazara to reach first base.

Kimbrel K's Mazara with a pitch that hits him in the leg..umps miss it and Mazara gets 1st pic.twitter.com/wHxp7oMoDh

— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) May 26, 2017
By definition, Mazara became the 17th batter to strike out in the game before being followed up by Jonathan Lucroy, Rougned Odor, and Napoli, who were all struck out by Kimbrel.

The Red Sox, obviously preferring to finish out games quickly rather than chase records, challenged the call on the field. Though the play was reviewable, miscommunication between the umpires and the Replay Official led to it being ruled otherwise.

"The Replay Official and Replay Supervisor misinterpreted the call on the field and incorrectly deemed the play to be non-reviewable The call on the field - of no hit by pitch on a swinging strike three - is a reviewable play under the Replay Regulations," the league said in a statement postgame.

According to Britton, it's the sixth time in major-league history a team has struck out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. The Washington Nationals were the last to accomplish the feat when Max Scherzer did it all by himself, going the distance against the Detroit Tigers on May 11, 2016.

Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz had the bulk of the punch outs on the evening with 11. Reliever Heath Hembree contributed with two, Robby Scott recorded one, and Matt Barnes added two before Kimbrel's four-strikeout ninth inning.

"A lot of powerful stuff from each guy that came in," Red Sox manager John Farrell told MLB.com.

"That's a good hitting team, and they can be explosive. But, again, Drew tonight with 11 in six innings. Kimbrel, he's been on such a run. Matt Barnes looks like he's really getting back on track."

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Justin Verlander has yet to reach the 200-win mark - and likely won't do so until next season - but he's already aiming far beyond that historic plateau to something far bigger.

The Detroit Tigers ace believes he has what it takes to become just the 25th 300-game winner in baseball history, despite the very long odds he'd face to reach the milestone.

But the 34-year-old remains focused on getting to 300 despite the significant hurdle of Father Time. With health now back on his side, Verlander said he thinks he can "pitch until (he's) 44" if that's what it will take to reach the mark, according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com.

"It's (300 wins) not going to happen much anymore, but I still have a chance," Verlander said this week. "I wouldn't have thought that a couple of years ago because of injuries. I'm healthy now, feel good and think I can make a run at it."

Pitch counts and bullpen specialization have made 300 wins - long considered one of the gold standards for pitchers - harder to reach. Randy Johnson is the most recent member of the club, having joined it in 2009.

Verlander owns 177 career wins, and ran off nine straight seasons of double-digit victories at one point - but he's still far behind active wins leader Bartolo Colon (235).

Lower win total aside, Verlander can already stake a claim to being a top-five pitcher of his generation. He owns both a Cy Young and MVP award, a pitching Triple Crown, two no-hitters, and four strikeout titles, not to mention pitching over 235 innings three times - an outstanding feat considering the era in which he's pitching.

Yet even though Verlander's resume may already scream Hall of Fame lock to many, even before glancing at the win column, he still holds wins in high regard, and believes that winning 300 games - or getting as close to that mark as possible - will be what ultimately sends him to Cooperstown.

"That's been my dream since I was a little kid," Verlander said about the Hall of Fame. "You want to be great, you want to be great for a long time. There's no better way to quantify that than to be in the Hall of Fame. I know there's still work to be done, but voters are going to have to go less with the traditional numbers, specifically wins.

"Wins are going to be less valued moving forward, but I don't totally agree with that. I like wins. I like winning. That's what my job is when I go out there: It's to win a ballgame."

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For the first time in its 105-year history, Fenway Park will house a marathon, and we're not talking about an extra-innings contest between the Boston Red Sox and a baseball adversary either.

The legendary ballpark, which is home to the Red Sox, has housed several different types of events aside from baseball in its history including football, hockey, and soccer, but on Sept. 15, it will be used for something it's never been used for - an actual marathon.

The race - being organized by Boston Marathon director, Dave McGillivray - will be run around the warning track of Fenway, according to Boston Globe correspondent Dan Shulman, who reports the marathon should approximately cover 112 laps (or 26.2 miles) around the ballpark's warning track.

"It was fascinating to be able to do this," McGillivray said. "I organized races like this all over the world and always imagined someday doing it in Fenway.”

The race will be limited to 50 participants with registration coming on a first-come, first-served basis and will benefit the Red Sox Charitable Foundation.

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Dave Roberts is pulling no punches.

With his Dodgers facing the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles on Friday for the first time since both sides squared off in the 2016 National League Championship Series - in which the C emerged victorious in six games to advance to the World Series - Roberts admitted he held the North Siders in high regard throughout last season but doesn't feel the same this time around.

"Last year, I thought they were the best team ... This year, I feel we're a better team," he told the Los Angeles Times' Andy McCullough.

Though the season is still young, Roberts' assessment isn't exactly groundless. Heading into Friday's contest, the Dodgers are sitting at 28-20 while the Cubs are at 25-21. Chicago does, however, own the top spot in the NL Central, while Los Angeles is 2 1/2 games behind the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.

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Carlos Beltran has still got that home run pop.

The 40-year-old Houston Astros outfielder, who spends most of his playing time as the designated hitter, golfed a Kevin Gausman offering deep into Minute Maid Park's right-field stands Friday for the 426th home run of his career.

The blast pushed him into a tie with Chicago Cubs great and Hall of Famer Billy Williams for 50th place among MLB's all-time home run leaders. He sits one long ball shy of Mike Piazza for 49th place.

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Max Scherzer is now on par with Clayton Kershaw in at least one facet of striking people out.

The Washington Nationals hurler and reigning National League Cy Young winner struck out 13 San Diego Padres on Friday to give him 53 games in which he's sat down 10 or more hitters in a single contest, which matches Kershaw, according to MLB Stat of the Day.

53 all.

With his 13-K gem tonight, @Max_Scherzer ties @ClaytonKersh22 for most double-digit strikeout games among active pitchers. pic.twitter.com/zVE1TdFf3Z

— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) May 27, 2017
Scherzer, 32, led baseball in strikeouts last season with 284, and has already struck out 89 batters this season in just 10 starts.

Kershaw hasn't been a slouch whatsoever this season, striking out 72 in 71 2/3 innings across 10 starts of his own.

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The New York Mets may be a circus these days, but the ringmaster doesn't look like he's going anywhere.

Sources close to the club told Marc Carig of Newsday on Friday that Mets manager Terry Collins' job is safe despite his team's prolonged slide down the standings amid a myriad of injuries and controversy, largely thanks to the fact that majority owner Fred Wilpon remains a staunch supporter of the 68-year-old skipper.

After coming into the season with expectations of challenging the Washington Nationals for supremacy in the NL East, the Mets have stubbed their toe at every turn through the first two months of 2017. A seemingly never-ending list of injuries to many of their key stars, combined with public relations nightmares (most notably surrounding Matt Harvey's team-issued suspension) have led to poor play out of the gate; the Mets now sit six games below .500 and are in third place, a full game behind rebuilding Atlanta.

Collins added to the circus Thursday when he refused to disclose information about some of the team's injuries, a move that only served to fuel the fire regarding his job status. A report from the New York Post's Mike Puma on Thursday night stoked even more flames by suggesting that general manager Sandy Alderson was not happy with several of his manager's recent in-game decisions.

But the pressure doesn't seem to be getting to Collins, who brushed off queries about his potential demise hours before his Mets snapped a 3-13 slide with an 8-1 thumping of the Pirates on Friday.

"To be honest, that's the first time someone's said that (about my job security) in three weeks," Collins said, according to Carig. "I don't really know anything about it. But yeah, it's part of the territory as you know."

Collins, who recently passed Davey Johnson to become the longest-tenured manager in Mets history, is only under contract through the end of this season.

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Josh Donaldson finally returned to the Toronto Blue Jays' lineup Friday after missing over a month due to a calf strain, and there was a new look to his attire.

As Donaldson stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat since April 13, fans noticed the All-Star third baseman was sporting a face shield on his batting helmet, a choice he partially attributed to an unfortunate incident last August when he was struck by a pitch from Kansas City Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera.

"Well I did get hit in the face last year. That's pretty much why. Guys are throwing too hard," Donaldson told Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling. "It's part of the game, but I feel like there's a lot of balls that get lost up and in on me. So it's just one more thing that can protect my face.

"When you start dealing with head things - I've been hit in the head a couple times - it's not very fun to have to go through that. And if there's some protection out there, why not use it?"

Donaldson isn't the only star in recent memory to add the protective layer to their batting helmet.

After having his 2014 season cut short in September after he was hit in the face by a pitch - resulting in multiple facial fractures - Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton returned the following season sporting a custom face guard down the left side of his helmet.

The addition didn't seem to affect Donaldson much in his return to the lineup against the Texas Rangers, as the third baseman connected on a double to deep center field in his first-inning at-bat before ending the night 1-for-4.

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Kyle Schwarber is struggling.

The Chicago Cubs outfielder was benched for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers with left-handed starter Alex Wood on the mound. Schwarber hasn't seen consistent action against lefties this season, and hasn't performed well when he has faced them, batting only .147 over 42 plate appearances.

To fix his rhythm, Cubs manager Joe Maddon is going to deploy Schwarber exclusively against righties, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers. At least for the time being.

"My concern when a guy is struggling a little bit is, you don't want him to get too many at-bats," Maddon said. "Then it's really hard to get out of that mental, physical and numerical hole. By not getting him as many at-bats, it will be easy to get back to a number he's more comfortable with."

The problem is Schwarber's not doing the job against right-handers, either. He struck out in all four plate appearances Thursday night when the San Francisco Giants started Jeff Samardzija. One of his Ks came against lefty reliever Josh Osich.

Maddon added that it doesn't make sense to play Schwarber against lefties when he's laboring against right-handers as well.

"If he's not swinging the bat well against righties, it's a bad assumption on my part he's going to swing it well against lefties," Maddon said.

Schwarber is expected to be in Saturday's lineup against the Dodgers, with right-hander Brandon McCarthy penciled in to start. Sunday, however, is a different story. With Clayton Kershaw toeing the rubber, Schwarber will be relegated to potential pinch-hit duties.

Both Ben Zobrist and Ian Happ have started in left field in recent games in Schwarber's stead.

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It's not just the Detroit Tigers' sub-.500 record that's getting to manager Brad Ausmus - it's also when they've been playing.

The Tigers lost their series opener Friday night against the Chicago White Sox on a day that was supposed to feature a doubleheader. The first game was rained out, and postponed until Saturday.

After arriving in Chicago early that morning following a four-game series in Houston, Ausmus was displeased with the postponement and the decision to move the doubleheader to the following day, according to the Detroit Free Press' Anthony Fenech.

"Yeah, I’m not real happy with it, to be honest with you. We got in at 4 a.m., we were supposed to have a doubleheader. They canceled the game because of the weather and we don't start the game until 8:30 and now we gotta get up in the morning again. So am I happy with it? No. I think it's awful, actually. I think it's a terrible schedule."

While the White Sox see the same turnaround due to the late game Friday - the start time was delayed due to weather - they at least had an off day Thursday. The Tigers have played on 11 consecutive days and don't have an off day of their own until Thursday, June 1.

Ausmus would have preferred a later date for the doubleheader.

"You can't control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August," he said. "That would have made a lot more sense to me."

As the home team, the White Sox get to choose the makeup day.

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CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago White Sox used a mix of their Cuban club tradition and new-school technology to lure prized prospect Luis Robert.

The money didn't hurt, either.

Robert was introduced at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday after the $26 million signing of the 19-year-old outfielder became official.

Robert is the latest prospect added to the Chicago system, a process which began in the winter with trades of ace Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton. Chicago is rebuilding after one playoff appearance since 2005 and four straight losing seasons.

"We have been able to accomplish a lot in terms of spreading our (international) pools over the last several years, but now we have a chance to get potentially such an impactful talent," said Rick Hahn, the White Sox general manager and vice president. "In adding Luis to our organization, we feel like we have added another dynamic, potential impact talent."

The centerpiece prospect in the Sale deal was Yoan Moncada, a Cuban second baseman who could add to the White Sox lineage from the country that includes the late Minnie Minoso and current slugger Jose Abreu.

"I feel proud," said Robert through a translator. "Those players were examples in Cuba. For me to be wearing the same uniform, it's an honor."

During one of Hahn's trips to the Dominican Republic to scout Robert, he brought a virtual-reality presentation of Guaranteed Rate Field and the clubhouse narrated by manager Rick Renteria, along with video testimonials from Moncada, Abreu, and relief pitcher Michael Ynoa, a Dominican who shares a trainer with Robert.

"The video helped a lot, but the thing that made the decision was they were the team who showed the most interest in me," Robert said. "That made me feel good."

Marco Paddy, the White Sox head of international operations, scouted Robert since he was 14.

Paddy told Hahn over the winter that Robert's talent level was worth the investment, the final big-money bidding war allowed under the old collective bargaining agreement. The White Sox will have to pay a dollar-for-dollar tax on the bonus.

Robert is projected as a center fielder with speed, a compact swing and power. He has not played in a game since last July.

Because of the time away, Hahn said Robert will head to the club's academy in the Dominican Republic and train toward joining the White Sox Dominican summer league team in the coming weeks.

But first, Robert enjoyed looking around his future digs on the southside before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Abreu during a sun-splashed doubleheader on a holiday weekend. His immediate plans include buying houses for his family, his uncle and himself.

He'll join peers such as Moncada, and hard-throwing pitchers Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, who have White Sox fans dreaming of a brighter future.

"The part that hit me the most (in the video) was when Ricky Renteria was talking straight to me saying that they are bringing me here to win several championships," Robert said.

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On Saturday, prior to their contest against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field, the Cleveland Indians honored Frank Robinson by unveiling a lifelike statue of the Hall of Famer in Heritage Park.

Robinson, who did most of his damage during his remarkable playing career - which included two MVP awards - as a member of the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles, became the first African-American manager in major-league history when he was named the Indians' skipper in 1975.

The Indians did more than just honor Robinson with a statue, retiring his No. 20 as well.

Indians retire Frank Robinson's No. 20 pic.twitter.com/oiq1QvBFtO

— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) May 27, 2017

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Chase Anderson was oh, so close.

The Milwaukee Brewers right-hander carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday evening before Nick Ahmed broke things up with a leadoff single.

Anderson outdueled pitching counterpart Zack Greinke, striking out a career-high 11, before he was replaced by Rob Scahill.

The 29-year-old Anderson exited to a standing ovation from the Miller Park audience after his brilliant performance, where he threw 114 pitches.

"I could throw 150 pitches today. I didn't care," Anderson told reporters, including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.

On May 17, 2016, Anderson also pitched deep into a game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park without allowing a hit, tossing seven no-hit innings in that particular contest before Ben Zobrist roped a double to break things up.

Anderson lowered his season ERA to 3.72 while earning his third win of the season with the Brewers 6-1 victory.

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It's nearly impossible to imagine Stephen Strasburg pitching any better than he has in his career to date, but he raised the bar again Saturday.

The Washington Nationals starter and San Diego native set a new career high for strikeouts against his hometown Padres as he fanned 15 batters at Nationals Park to outdo his previous best of 14.

Strasburg threw a total of 108 pitches before being replaced by Matt Albers to begin the eighth inning. He walked just one batter and allowed no earned runs on three hits.

His previous career high for strikeouts was first set in his major-league debut in 2010, when he recorded 14 punchouts against the Pittsburgh Pirates on just 94 pitches. He then matched the feat on Sept. 15, 2015 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

After Saturday's start against the Padres, Strasburg now owns a 2.94 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 10 starts this season.

He signed a seven-year, $175-million extension with the Nationals in May 2016.

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Mike Trout has never appeared in the Home Run Derby.

When Trout took over sole possession of the MLB lead in home runs on Saturday when he hit his 16th dinger in the first inning against the Miami Marlins, dreams of his appearance in the 2017 Home Run Derby would understandably be aflutter.

Hold off on those hopes. Trout has no plans in participating in the annual celebration of long balls, according to the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher.

"I don’t think so, probably not," Trout said.

He added that it's just a bit of personal preference and that the derby is an event that has never appealed to him. All this came prior to hitting his league-leading homer off Marlins starter Vance Worley.

Even though he's all but ruled out an appearance this season - though he'll almost certainly play in the All-Star Game barring injury - never say never.

"They obviously want me to do it, but it's just a personal choice," he said. "Not one particular reason. I'm sure one day I’ll do it."

With 16 home runs already, Trout has now hit 184 in his still brief career. He turns 26 in August and could very easily reach 200 career long balls before his birthday. And he's not selling out for power, either, as he's slashing .342/.463/.752 through 46 games.

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CLEVELAND (AP) Cleveland Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, an All-Star last season, has been sent to the bullpen.

Salazar is 3-5 with a 5.50 ERA in 10 starts. He has struck out 73 in 52 1/3 innings but has allowed 55 hits and 28 walks.

Manager Terry Francona says Salazar will be available as a reliever beginning Wednesday. Francona hopes being in the bullpen will help Salazar work on his daily throwing routine and regain his confidence.

Salazar was 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA last season. He missed most of the second half with a sore elbow.

Corey Kluber will start Thursday against Oakland. The right-hander has been on the 10-day disabled since May 3 with a strained lower back.

Francona says Salazar might start a game next week during Cleveland's road trip. Kluber won't pitch in a two-game series at Colorado because the Indians don't want him hitting or running the bases.

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Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was forced to leave Sunday afternoon's game against the Miami Marlins in the sixth inning with a left thumb sprain, the team announced. X-rays revealed no fracture.

The 25-year-old is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Until the results of that test come back, it's unclear how much time, if any, Trout could miss, or whether he'll have to take a trip to the disabled list.

He appeared to sustain the injury in the top of the fifth inning when he jammed his hand stealing second base, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Trout initially remained in the game, playing the bottom of the fifth, before being replaced by outfielder Ben Revere in the bottom of the sixth.

Trout came into Sunday leading the MLB with 16 home runs, though New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge tied the mark with a long ball of his own.

Since missing five games with a tight hamstring, Trout has hit .314 with eight home runs, 15 RBIs, and four stolen bases in 16 games prior to Sunday.

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Cody Bellinger continues to make a case for his Rookie of the Year candidacy.

In just his 31st major league game, the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman hit his 10th home run of the season - and career - belting a three-run shot off Chicago Cubs lefty Jon Lester. With the home run, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Bellinger becomes the fastest Dodger in the modern era to reach 10 career homers.

Bellinger was slotted seventh in the batting order, likely because Lester is left-handed. Despite also being a southpaw, Bellinger has performed well against lefties. It was his third long ball off left-handers, and he was hitting .300 against them heading into Sunday.

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The Boston Red Sox have officially activated left-hander David Price from the disabled list in time for his season debut Monday versus the Chicago White Sox, the team announced, according to WEEI.com's Ryan Hannable.

In a corresponding move, reliever Brandon Workman was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Price, who signed a seven-year, $217-million contract with the Red Sox prior to the beginning of the 2016 season, has been out of action with elbow trouble since the beginning of March.

The 31-year-old southpaw is expected to have a reduced pitch count when he takes the hill against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday.

Price, a Cy Young winner in 2012, logged 230 innings for the Red Sox last season, winning 17 games, but posted his highest ERA (3.99) since 2009.

Across his nine-year career, he owns a 121-65 record, 3.21 ERA, and has amassed 1,600 strikeouts during 1,671 2/3 innings of work.

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In his first start on the mound since undergoing surgery for testicular cancer on May 8, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon was brilliant for the team's Double-A affiliate in Altoona on Sunday.

Taillon allowed just one run and a walk, while striking out six across three innings of work against the Erie SeaWolves.

The 25-year-old hadn't appeared in a contest since May 3 against the Cincinnati Reds, but didn't appear to miss a beat Sunday, striking out the first hitter he faced while pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the first.

"Every little step of good news is a relief in its own way," Taillon told Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this week. "Being out here, being around the guys, that's the biggest relief. That's my comfort zone.

"I just want to return to normalcy," he continued. "I know it's everyone's job to talk about it, but I want to get to a point where I'm not the center of attention, and I just make my headlines pitching."

Taillon was pitching well for the Pirates before his cancer diagnosis, owning a 3.31 ERA across six starts.

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On Sunday, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Franklin Gutierrez abruptly exited his team's game against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning with what was initially described by the club as an illness.

After the Dodgers wrapped up a 9-4 victory over the Cubs, MLB.com's Ken Grunick reported Gutierrez left the contest because of the same autoimmune problem that forced him to miss the entire 2014 season.

The 34-year-old Gutierrez has quite an extensive injury history that includes a rare arthritic disease known as ankylosing spondylitis - which affects the spine - along with his autoimmune and gastrointestinal problems.

The 2010 Gold Glove winner has appeared in just 349 games since the beginning of 2011.

He entered Sunday's contest hitting .265/.342/.441 with one home run and three RBIs.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers will be without one of their top starters for the next little while, as the club placed left-hander Alex Wood on the 10-day disabled list Monday with inflammation in his left SC joint, which connects the clavicle to the sternum.

Wood's injury didn't at all diminish his effectiveness Friday, when he struck out eight and allowed only two hits and two walks over five scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs, but the Dodgers decided to give him time to rest even though the 26-year-old told the club he could pitch through the issue, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

Despite opening the season in the bullpen, Wood has been the Dodgers' second-most valuable starter in 2017 behind only Clayton Kershaw, authoring a 1.90 ERA and managing 1.8 WAR through eight starts. Wood, who also vacillated between relief and starting roles last year, hasn't allowed a run since May 2, logging 23 1/3 scoreless innings with a 37 percent strikeout rate over his last four starts.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, the veteran left-hander whom the Dodgers bumped to the bullpen last week due to a surplus of starters, will likely start in Wood's stead Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

To replace Wood on the active roster, the Dodgers purchased the contract of veteran right-hander Brandon Morrow, who managed a 5.71 ERA in 17 relief appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Aaron Judge may be the hottest thing to grace a New York Yankees uniform since the golden years of 1998-2000 - when the franchise won three consecutive World Series titles thanks to the contributions of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada et al. - but he doesn't appear ready to accept such high praise from Yankees fans just yet.

After the 25-year-old rookie outfielder clobbered the first grand slam of his career against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, pushing him back into a tie with Mike Trout for the major-league home run lead, Judge commented on the MVP chants he heard numerous times from the Yankee Stadium faithful throughout the contest

"I try not to listen to them," he told reporters, including Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. "I've got a job to do. So I'm not so worried about it."

Although Judge is trying to stay humble, especially with the season still young, the praise from Yankees fans may be warranted thanks to his incredible first two months. He's on pace with baseball's best - including Trout, Bryce Harper, and Freddie Freeman - in many of the game's most important offensive categories.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is actually excited about the attention Judge is receiving and had nothing but praise for his young outfielder.

"Well, I think it's great," Girardi said of the MVP chants. "The kid's playing well. He has a lot of support. It doesn't - it just means that our right fielder is playing really well. That's a good thing."

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Let's be honest, you could watch this for days. pic.twitter.com/xkt8QU7xwy

— Pinstripe Express (@Pinstripexpress) May 29, 2017
Hand Aaron Judge a gavel because he keeps laying down the law.

The New York Yankees rookie - one of baseball's hottest hitters - hammered his MLB-leading 17th home run of the season against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, breaking a tie with Mike Trout.

Through 48 games, Judge has more home runs (17) than Roger Maris did after the same amount of games in 1961 (16). Maris went on to hit 61 long balls that season, which held up as the single-season record for 37 years.

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The Kansas City Royals will be likely without their ace until after the All-Star break, as the club is poised to put left-hander Danny Duffy on the 10-day disabled list with a Grade 1 oblique strain that is expected to sideline him for six-to-eight weeks, according to Jeffrey Flanagan from MLB.com.

One of the few bright spots in 2017 for a scuffling Royals team, Duffy authored a 2.92 ERA through his first 10 starts, but stumbled Sunday against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, where he allowed six runs on nine hits over four innings in his shortest outing of the campaign. Though the 28-year-old didn't mention any physical problems following his outing, Duffy reportedly injured his oblique while attempting to cover first base during his shaky start, according to Joel Goldberg of FSKC.

"I pitched like (garbage) today," Duffy told Flanagan. "I didn't execute anything. I was flying open. I just wasn't very good. I didn't give my team a chance to win the game at any point."

Already beset by an injury to Nathan Karns, the Royals' rotation now has another hole to be filled, and with Kyle Zimmer also sidelined due to health problems, it's not clear who will replace Duffy.

With the Royals mired in last place in the American League Central, at 21-28, a prolonged absence from Duffy only increases the likelihood of Kansas City unloading their many impending free agents - including Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Eric Hosmer - ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

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Beset by injuries to many key players, the New York Mets could be getting their best bat back in the lineup by next week as Sandy Alderson is hopeful Yoenis Cespedes can return in time for a series against the Texas Rangers.

Cespedes has been sidelined since April 27 while nursing a hamstring issue. Most recently, he was scratched from a rehab start Saturday experiencing soreness in his quad.

"We're going to take it conservatively with him and see where he is over the next two, three days," Alderson told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, "and my hope is that he will be back in a week to 10 days."

Helping the process along somewhat is the fact that the Rangers series is in an American League park, and the Mets will be able to deploy Cespedes as a designated hitter if necessary so he can be re-acclimated.

The 31-year-old outfielder signed a four-year, $110-million deal with the Mets in the offseason after posting a .280/.354/.530 slash line over 132 games with the club in 2016.

The Mets, who are stagnant at 21-27, have Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, and Steven Matz, among others, joining Cespedes on the disabled list.

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The Boston Red Sox and David Price will likely be encouraged with the left-hander's season debut Monday.

Price allowed three runs off two hits (one home run), two walks, and two hit batters, while striking out four over five innings against the Chicago White Sox.

Prior to the outing, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Price would be capped at 90 pitches, and the club stuck with that plan, as Price didn't return for the sixth inning with his pitch count at 88.

Following two shaky rehab appearances in Triple-A in which he allowed nine runs (six earned) and 12 hits over 5 2/3 innings, Price looked much more comfortable on the mound back in the majors against the White Sox. He showed good velocity, routinely hitting 95 mph, but did struggle some with his command.

After working through the first two innings by retiring six of the first seven batters, Price got into trouble in the third. He allowed back-to-back one-out walks before serving up a three-run homer to Melky Cabrera. Price would end his outing in the fifth inning by inducing a ground-ball double play to escape a jam.

Price is tentatively scheduled to make his next start Saturday in Baltimore.

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When the Minnesota Twins took the field in the top of the eighth inning against the Houston Astros, they had a 99.2 percent win probability. The game was in the bag.

And then Twins reliever Ryan Pressly walked Josh Reddick.

The Astros scored 11 runs on seven hits, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, with a balk thrown in there for good measure. The Twins used three pitchers in the inning: Pressly, Craig Breslow, and Matt Belisle. Five Astros came to the plate twice, and only Brian McCann failed to reach base.

Even a brief rain delay in the middle of George Springer's at-bat couldn't stop the Astros' onslaught. Houston plated seven more runs once the inning resumed.

The Twins managed a seven-run fifth inning, chasing starter Brad Peacock from the game. And then the wheels came off. MLB.com's Brian McTaggart pointed out that it's the first 11-run inning allowed by the Twins since July 25, 2007 when the Toronto Blue Jays put 11 across in the sixth inning.

The Astros last put up an 11-spot all the way back on July 18, 1994 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Pretty good fight at Giants/Nats game today. Bryce Harper looked like he took a few good shots in the face from Hunter Strictland.

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Benlen wrote: Pretty good fight at Giants/Nats game today. Bryce Harper looked like he took a few good shots in the face from Hunter Strictland.




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lobo316 wrote: Benlen wrote: Pretty good fight at Giants/Nats game today. Bryce Harper looked like he took a few good shots in the face from Hunter Strictland.




When Strickland got punched in the face it was the first time in a long time that any Giant got a hit.

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Funny thing about brawl was that Posey did not move from behind the plate. BUMGARNER was dying to leave dugout but just watched. Michael Morse and Jeff Sarmardijia ran head on into each other not knocked themselves to the ground.

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Benlen wrote: Funny thing about brawl was that Posey did not move from behind the plate. BUMGARNER was dying to leave dugout but just watched. Michael Morse and Jeff Sarmardijia ran head on into each other not knocked themselves to the ground.


When Bryce Harper charged the mound after Hunter Strickland hit him with a fastball, the benches cleared and a mass of humanity fell upon the field. There was one notable absence.
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey stayed back behind the plate instead of rushing into the fray. He told reporters that it was dangerous, especially as he saw teammates bigger than him get rocked, according to KNBR.
"You see Mike Morse, is about as big as they come, and he was getting knocked around like a pinball," Posey said. "So ... be a little dangerous to get in there sometimes."
While Posey didn't specifically identify his recent concussion as a reason, it's probably wise that he didn't dive in head first.

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Bryce Harper wasn't simply about to take a free base without standing up for himself.

After being drilled in the hip by Hunter Strickland's heater in the eighth inning Monday, Harper charged the mound and exchanged punches with the right-hander before both benches quickly separated the pair. Speaking to reporters postgame, Harper explained the contentious decision to defend himself despite knowing he would likely face a suspension from the league office.

"When somebody comes at you like that and throws a 98-mph fastball where he did, I wasn’t very happy with it and took it into my hands," Harper said, according to Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY Sports. "A baseball's a weapon, and to be able to use that to his advantage, what do you want to do in that situation? You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you just have to go get 'em. You can't hesitate.

"You either go to first base or go after him, and I decided to go after him."


Monday's eighth-inning at-bat between Harper and Strickland was the first meeting between the players since Harper walloped - and longingly admired - two massive home runs off Strickland in the 2014 NLDS, though Harper finds it difficult to believe the San Francisco Giants reliever would hold a grudge for nearly three seasons.

"I don't want to go on a baseball field and try to fight somebody. Especially when it's somebody that it's in the past. It's so in the past, it's not even relevant anymore," Harper said, according to Ortiz. "They won the World Series that year. I don't think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night.

"I don't know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens."

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Tampa Bay right-hander Erasmo Ramirez became the first pitcher since 1984 to start a major-league game the day after recording a save, then didn't make it out of the third inning Monday night.

A day after pitching a perfect 15th inning on 12 pitches in the Rays' 8-6 win at Minnesota, Ramirez allowed four runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings at Texas while throwing 31 of his 43 pitches for strikes.

Ramirez was the first pitcher since Cleveland's Steve Farr in June 1984 to have a save one day and the start the next day for his team, the Elias Sports Bureau said.

The last player to record a save and then start his team's next game was Dennis Martinez, a fellow Nicaraguan who was Ramirez's childhood hero. Martinez saved a game for Montreal on July 11, 1993, and started four days later in the Expos' next game after the All-Star break.

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Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout will undergo surgery to repair a torn UCL ligament in his left thumb on Wednesday, the team announced. He is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks of action.

This is the first time in Trout's seven-year career that he's landed on the disabled list. Losing him is obviously a major blow to the Angels, who are currently hovering around .500, and far behind the division-leading Houston Astros already.


Trout said earlier that he was dealing with thumb soreness, and was holding out hope that it wouldn't be too debilitating. Unfortunately for him and the team, he's not going to be in the lineup for some time.

He seemed to be well on his way toward his third AL MVP award with his .337/.461/.742 slash line, 16 home runs, 36 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. It was on that 10th fateful stolen base, however, that he injured his thumb.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are getting hot at just the right time.

With mainstays Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki finally returning to the lineup Friday after dealing with a calf and hamstring issue, respectively, the Blue Jays' renowned offence looks to be returning to form, evidenced by their 7-3 record in their last 10 games.

Their hot streak reached a critical point Monday, however, as Toronto connected on a total of 23 hits off Cincinnati Reds pitchers, the third-highest single-game hit total in franchise history.

Only one member of Toronto's starting lineup didn't register a hit against the Reds, as Kevin Pillar finished the contest 0-for-6. The only other Blue Jays to not record a hit were Luke Maile, who replaced Josh Donaldson while catcher Russell Martin slotted in at third, and Darwin Barney, who pinch hit for Jose Bautista in the seventh inning.

The Blue Jays' all-time record for most hits in a game was set on August 8, 1999, when the team erupted for 25 knocks on the road against the Texas Rangers.

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In case you've missed it, Ervin Santana has been miraculously great this year and - since he's somehow sustained it for nearly two full months - it's probably time to take full notice.
Santana leads baseball in ERA, RE24, complete-game shutouts, innings pitched, and the Baseball-Reference version of WAR - as you may suspect, since it's based primarily on ERA.
The 34-year-old Minnesota Twins starter also leads in one more category, and, if Santana can keep it up - he'd set the major-league record for lowest H/9 rate of all time ... and it isn't even close.






PITCHER                   H/9                   YEAR
Ervin Santana           4.2                   2017
Nolan Ryan               5.3                  1972
Luis Tiant                 5.3                  1968
Pedro Martinez         5.3                   2000
Nolan Ryan              5.3                   1991



(Stats courtesy: Baseball-Reference)






That's right, Santana sits atop a leaderboard that includes three Hall of Famers and is beating them by more than a full hit per nine innings.
Of course, this comes with some caveats. For instance, Santana is flaunting a BABIP of .143 through his first 11 games. If he were to maintain that, he would have the first sub-.200 mark and allow hits on balls in play more than 50 points lower than anyone in the sport's recorded history.
BABIP is typically an indicator of regression, as an especially high or low mark is usually unsustainable. There are some exceptions for teams with great infield defense, but not 50-points-past-the-all-time-record exceptions.
Santana's career average BABIP mark is nearly double his 2017 pace, which would seem to imply he's going to allow double the hits on balls in play for the balance of the year.
Let's assume the Twins actually do have a good defensive infield - a bold assumption in itself, though Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco are posting favorable defensive numbers. If Santana allows hits on a quarter of his balls in play - 30 points better than his career average - the rest of the way, and everything else stays equal, over 200 innings Santana's H/9 would jump to over six.
So, unless the new Twins regime is deploying the infield shift in an unprecedented way, or Santana has found some unique method to generate weak contact, the record will likely stay property of Nolan Ryan. It's a notable chase regardless, though, and Santana's stretch through one-third of the season has been unbelievable - in more ways than one.

Last edited on Tue May 30th, 2017 10:43 pm by lobo316

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Dustin Pedroia literally ran into some bad luck, and now the Boston Red Sox second baseman will have to take it easy.

After he toppled over Jose Abreu at first base during a contest between the Red Sox and Chicago White Sox on Monday, Boston will place Pedroia on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist, the team announced, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.

The 33-year-old is expected to miss at least two weeks, according to a source of Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe.

Pedroia traveled to Boston for an MRI and testing Tuesday morning, which revealed no fractures, ligament, or structural damage, according to manager John Farrell, but Pedroia, the winner of the 2008 American League MVP, will still apparently seek a second medical opinion.

"He plays hard, he plays the game extremely well," Red Sox teammate Xander Bogaerts said when describing Pedroia to Britton. "He always wants to be out there, but sometimes it's better to rest a little bit because we'll need him more for the long run."

Pedroia already missed a week of action in April after injuring his knee following a hard take-out slide from Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.

Boston will activate third baseman Pablo Sandoval to replace Pedroia on the roster.

Pedroia is hitting .292/.369/.380 with nine doubles and 21 RBIs.

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Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu were named the Players of the Week for their respective leagues by Major League Baseball on Tuesday.

Blackmon hit .400 with three home runs and 12 RBIs for the first-place Rockies - who own the best record in the National League - to earn the NL honor.

The 30-year-old Blackmon is on pace for a career year, hitting .329/.364/.625. He leads the majors in hits (71), triples (7), and RBIs (46).

Abreu earned the American League nod after hitting .452 with five extra-base hits and five RBIs for the White Sox who, despite a rebuild, are keeping pace for top spot in the AL Central and sit just 3 1/2 games back of the division-leading Minnesota Twins.

The 30-year-old Cuban slugger owns a .296/.346/.515 slash line with 10 home runs, 11 doubles, and 28 RBIs.

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MIAMI (AP) - A person close to the negotiations says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is no longer interested in buying the Miami Marlins and has ended his participation in sales talks.

The person confirmed Bush's decision to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the Marlins have not commented on the status of the discussions. Bush led a group that included former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who may still explore a bid with other investors.

The person confirming Bush's decision didn't give a reason but said Bush and Jeter remain great friends.

Earlier this month, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Bush's group was relatively even in its price offer with another group led by businessman Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre announced Tuesday that San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland and Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper have both been handed suspensions following the fight and bench-clearing incident in Monday's contest.

Strickland was given a six-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Harper, while Harper received a four-game ban for charging the mound and throwing his helmet.

Both players have elected to appeal their suspensions, however, meaning Strickland and Harper will be available to their respective clubs Tuesday night. Harper is in the Nationals' starting lineup for Tuesday's game, batting in his customary No. 3 spot in the order and playing right field.

Strickland touched off the incident when he plunked Harper with a fastball in the eighth inning of Monday's game. Harper immediately charged the mound and attempted to throw his helmet at Strickland; both players landed punches before they were separated.

The combatants had not faced each other in a game since the 2014 NLDS, when Harper took Strickland deep twice during that four-game series, ultimately won by San Francisco.

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The San Francisco Giants are paying a heavy price for Monday's brawl with the Washington Nationals.

Prior to Tuesday's game, San Francisco placed first baseman Michael Morse on the seven-day concussion disabled list, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle - just one day after Morse was involved in a violent collision with teammate Jeff Samardzija during the bench-clearing fracas with the Nationals.

The brawl started when Giants reliever Hunter Strickland hit Bryce Harper with a pitch in the eighth inning, prompting Harper to charge the mound and throw his helmet at Strickland. As Harper and Strickland traded punches, Morse charged into the fray - only to run directly into Samardzija, a former wide receiver at Notre Dame; the resulting collision saw the teammates' heads collide as both fell away from the fighting fray.

While the Giants now have to play on without Morse, a critical member of their bench, the 35-year-old's concussion may have inadvertently helped the Nationals keep their superstar on the field and healthy. Harper spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon, shortly after his four-game suspension (that he chose to appeal) was announced, and thanked his former teammate for knocking heads with the charging Samardzija and saving him from a potential injury.


Samardzija, for his part, survived the collision with Morse intact, and took the mound for his scheduled start Tuesday night.

Utility man Kelby Tomlinson was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to fill Morse's roster spot.

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CHICAGO - Cuban prospect Luis Robert's signing bonus will be spread out over three years.

Chicago finalized a minor-league contract with the 19-year-old outfielder on Saturday, a deal that includes a $26-million signing bonus and will cost the White Sox an additional $25,243,200 in tax for exceeding their international bonus pool.

Robert receives $10 million within 30 days' approval of the commissioner's office and $2.5 million on Dec. 20. He gets $2 million each on July 1 in 2018 and 2019, and $2 million each on Dec. 20 in 2018 and 2019. A final $4.5-million payment is due on July 1, 2020.

Chicago must pay a 100 percent tax on the amount of bonuses exceeding $3,729,800, not including bonuses of $10,000 or under.

As part of baseball's new labor contract, in the signing period that starts July 2 Chicago's bonuses will be capped at $4.75 million, not including bonuses of $10,000 or less. In addition, the White Sox may not give an international amateur a signing bonus of more than $300,000 for the next two signing periods.

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Former Florida governor Jeb Bush's decision to back out of his attempt to purchase the Miami Marlins reportedly came about thanks to a dispute with his would-be partner, former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, sources close to the situation told Joan Murray of CBS 4 Miami on Tuesday.

The issue apparently stemmed from a discussion regarding which roles each man would play in running the team, according to CBS Miami's source. A report earlier in May suggested Jeter would run the team's baseball operations department while Bush would man the business side of things. However, per the CBS report, Jeter reportedly desired a larger all-around role with the team.

Still, while Bush has apparently soured on purchasing the National League squad, Jeter remains interested in pursuing ownership of the Marlins and is reportedly considering putting together a new bid. Jeter and Bush have also remained friends following the "amicable" split, CBS reported.

The Bush-Jeter group was one of two leading bidders looking to buy the Marlins from the club's longtime owner Jeffrey Loria, alongside a group fronted by Massachusetts businessman Tagg Romney - the son of onetime presidential candidate Mitt Romney - and Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine.

Commissioner Rob Manfred told The Associated Press earlier this month that the two groups had submitted bids that were relatively even in price. It's thought that the Marlins could fetch a sale price in the area of $1.3 billion.

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) George Springer reached base in all six plate appearances and hit two of Houston's season-high six home runs to lead the Astros to their seventh straight victory, 17-6 over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez also went deep for the Astros, who scored 40 runs in the three games to set a franchise record for runs in a series of any length. They had 19 hits on Wednesday and 37 in the series.

Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario and Jason Castro homered for the Twins, who have lost four straight. Hector Santiago (4-5) gave up six runs on eight hits and walked three in six innings, three days after he was an emergency fill-in during the 15th inning of a loss to Tampa Bay.

Springer's two homers traveled an estimated 900 combined feet, including a moon shot off of Ryan Pressly in the six-run seventh inning that landed just short of the third deck in left-center field. That was measured at 473 feet, the second-longest homer in the majors this season behind a 481-footer by Arizona's Jake Lamb on April 29.

Springer, who had four hits and two walks, now has 13 homers on the season and five career multihomer games.

Correa, who had three hits and three RBIs, got the Astros going in the first inning with a shot that slammed off the facing of the second deck in left field. The two-run homer was his ninth of the season and seventh in May.

The Twins put three runs on the board in the sixth on homers by Rosario and Castro to pull within 6-5, but the bullpen fallen faltered badly once again.

Gattis had four hits and three RBIs.

PAULINO'S DEBUT

Highly touted Astros prospect David Paulino gave up two hits on five runs and struck out eight in four innings of a wild major league debut.

The 23-year-old was electric in his first three innings, striking out the side in the second and allowing just a solo homer to Dozier. Things unraveled for him in the fourth inning with three wild pitches. But he was able to strike out Castro with two on base to keep the inning from getting away, and manager A.J. Hinch went to the bullpen the rest of the way.

Michael Feliz (2-0) got the win and left-hander Reymin Guduan also made his big league debut, allowing one run on two hits in two innings.

BULLPEN BLUES

Minnesota's bullpen completely fell apart in this series, allowing 27 earned runs in nine innings.

Pressly lasted two batters, walking Jose Altuve after giving up the homer to Springer. Even the normally reliable Tyler Duffey got rocked Wednesday: four runs on four hits without getting an out in the seventh.

Position player Chris Gimenez made his third appearance of the season as a reliever in the ninth inning. He gave up a two-run homer to Gonzalez.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: No updates.

Twins: Miguel Sano missed his second straight game because of an illness.

UP NEXT

Astros: Houston gets a day off Thursday before starting a series against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday. LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-0, 1.81) will start for the Astros against RHP Yu Darvish (5-3, 2.97).

Twins: Minnesota heads west to open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.64) will start the opener for the Twins.

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He gone.

Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, the longtime voice of the Chicago White Sox best known for his unabashed and passionate love of all things South Side baseball, announced Wednesday that he'll be retiring from the booth following the 2018 season.

Harrelson will primarily call Sunday home games in 2018, the White Sox said. He currently serves as the primary announcer for the club's road contests.

The 75-year-old Harrelson has called White Sox games since 1990, his second tenure with the club following his initial stint from 1982-85. In 1986, he left the booth and became White Sox general manager for one ill-fated season, before spending two years calling Yankees games and then returning to Chicago.

While his extreme "homer" style of broadcasting often irritates opposing fans, it's that unbridled enthusiasm for White Sox baseball that has made him a beloved figure on the South Side of Chicago. His trademark home run call of "You can put it on the board ... YES!" - complete with his distinctive South Carolina twang - remains one of the most iconic calls in the sport.

Harrelson's contract with the White Sox runs through the 2020 season. Should he complete the final two years of his deal with the club in another capacity, he'd join a select list of individuals who have been employed in professional baseball for eight decades. Others who achieved this distinction include Vin Scully and Don Zimmer.

Before he moved to the broadcast booth, Harrelson played nine seasons in the majors with four teams, and was most famous for his critical bench piece role on the 1967 "Impossible Dream" Boston Red Sox club that surprisingly won the AL pennant.

In conjunction with the announcement of Harrelson's impending retirement, the White Sox also revealed that current home play-by-play voice Jason Benetti will become the primary broadcaster beginning next season. Benetti, a Chicago native who grew up a White Sox fan, is currently in his second season calling the team's games.

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After being rushed to the emergency room following Tuesday's game against the New York Yankees when he was struck in the groin on a deflected pitch, Baltimore Orioles catcher Welington Castillo was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday after being diagnosed with a hematoma in his groin, according to the Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli.

"He's got a hematoma there in his groin that we're going to monitor and see how it progresses," Showalter said, according to Meoli.

Castillo was struck in the ninth inning Tuesday when Richard Bleier's pitch deflected off Didi Gregorius and hit Castillo.

Francisco Pena has been called up by the Orioles in a corresponding roster move.

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Major League Baseball and the Miami Marlins agreed to a settlement following the death of star pitcher Jose Fernandez.

MLB reportedly gave the club $700,000 this past week and put the money in a trust for Fernandez's mother and 3-month-old daughter, industry sources told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

"We told them the Marlins would put aside a substantial amount of money to pay for all of Penelope's education from now until postgraduate and Maria (Fernandez's girlfriend) would never need to worry about Penelope again from an education standpoint," Marlins president David Samson told Jackson.

Jackson also indicates that the league has a policy in which it will award a team $1 million in the case of a player's death, but given the circumstances surrounding Fernandez's death - the pitcher being under the influence of alcohol with traces of cocaine in his system - the insurance company and league settled on $700,000.

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On Wednesday night, Eric Thames broke out of a home run slump that began three weeks ago and spanned 15 games and 64 plate appearances by hitting a two-run shot off of New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom.

Shortly after though, he was greeted in the clubhouse with yet another drug test from MLB, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thames, who has been relatively outspoken about the matter, appears to have been tested for what is at least the fifth time.

To his credit, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger has taken it in stride, saying that he thinks it's funny while questioning whether they are, in fact, truly random.

For what it's worth, the new collective bargaining agreement - ratified this past offseason - did increase the amount of testing players would undergo.

The issue of how random the tests have been was called into question earlier in the season by Henry Druschel of Beyond the Box Score, who used probability distribution to find Thames likely wasn't being targeted. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports drew similar conclusions, citing that tests for players on the 40-man roster are to increase by 50 percent under the new CBA.

The timing of this most recent one is undoubtedly noteworthy though.

The Brewers agreed to a three-year contract with Thames worth $16 million this offseason after he spent the past three years dominating the KBO and earning the nickname "God." Thames got off to a white-hot start in his return to MLB, posting a 1.276 OPS through his first month, but has since slipped in May.

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New York Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia is in the twilight of his remarkable career, but that's not stopping him from making some baseball history.

The 17-year veteran opened Thursday's contest against the Toronto Blue Jays by reaching a significant milestone thanks to a pair of first-inning strikeouts. Sabathia's inning-ending strikeout of Jose Bautista was the 2,774th of his stellar career, moving him past former All-Star southpaw Frank Tanana for the fourth-most strikeouts by a left-hander in baseball history.

Sabathia reached fourth place on this list in just 17 major-league seasons, despite throwing over 1,000 fewer innings than Tanana did over his entire 21-year career.

In 6 1/3 innings Thursday, Sabathia gave up just one run while striking out seven Blue Jays, running his career strikeout total to 2,779.

It's entirely possible that the 36-year-old Sabathia could catch Lolich, the former Detroit Tigers star, for the third-most strikeouts by a left-hander by the end of this season, if not next year. Still, even if Sabathia goes on to pitch for 20 seasons, third place is likely as high as he'll rise on this list, given that the top two names - Hall of Famers Carlton and Johnson, each of whom can stake a legitimate claim to being the greatest lefty ever - both finished with well above 4,000 career strikeouts and rank in the top five of all time.

The possibility of Sabathia joining Johnson and Carlton as one of only three southpaws to record 3,000 career strikeouts remains a very real possibility. ZiPs projects Sabathia to record another 77 strikeouts in 2017, meaning he'd finish the season with 123; assuming that pace continues into 2018 - and Sabathia chooses to return for an 18th season - he'll almost assuredly reach the magical 3,000 mark at some point next year.

Sabathia, who broke in with the Cleveland Indians and also briefly pitched in Milwaukee before joining the Yankees in 2009, entered Thursday's game as baseball's active strikeout leader by a wide margin.

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Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar will donate his forfeited salary from the two-game suspension he served last month to LGBTQ groups in the Toronto area.

"It's not lip service," Pillar said, according to ESPN. "It's easy to come out and make your apologies and hope people forget, but I meant what I said when I said hopefully I'll be made an example of."

The 28-year-old was disciplined by the Blue Jays after yelling an anti-gay slur toward Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte on May 17. He later issued an apology.


The two groups Pillar will donate to are PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) - an advocacy and support group for the LGTBQ community - and You Can Play, a social activism campaign devoted to eliminating homophobia in sports.

You Can Play was launched in 2012 by Patrick Burke, son of former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

Ahead of Thursday's 12-2 loss to the New York Yankees, Pillar caught the ceremonial first pitch from Michelle Cherny, a member of Pride Toronto's board of directors. Pride Month is being honored across MLB with several teams hosting LGBTQ community nights which will continue throughout the season.

Per ESPN, Pillar will also undergo sensitivity training courtesy of PFLAG.

"There are still some things that are going to be done," Pillar said. "My actions didn't just affect me, they affected this organization as well, and between me and the organization, we're going to do our part."

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After stellar performances throughout May, Carlos Correa and Charlie Blackmon earned Player of the Month nods Friday for their respective leagues.

Correa, the star Houston Astros shortstop, slashed .386/.457/.673 in May with seven home runs in 101 at-bats, taking home American League honors. Still just 22 years old, Correa was a big part of his team's 22-7 record in May.

In the National League, Blackmon continued his torrid pace, slashing .359/.387/.650 over his 117 at-bats. Remarkably, the Colorado Rockies leadoff man leads the majors with 47 RBIs.

Further buoying the Astros' white-hot May, Lance McCullers Jr. was named Pitcher of the Month for the American League. The 23-year-old starter was impressively stingy in May, allowing just four earned runs while posting a WHIP of 0.85 and striking out 37 batters in 36 1/3 innings pitched.

Out of the senior circuit, Alex Wood was handed the pitching honor. Despite currently being on the disabled list, Wood began his season in unbelievable fashion, boasting a 6-0 record through eight starts. In May, the left-hander struck out 41 batters in 28 1/3 innings, posting a 1.27 ERA and winning all five of his starts.

The Los Angeles Dodgers weren't done there, though. 21-year-old Cody Bellinger continues to build an impressive portfolio, taking home NL Rookie of the Month honors after hitting nine home runs in May.

For the second consecutive month, Aaron Judge got the nod on the AL side. Aside from leading all of baseball with 17 home runs, Judge posted yet another month with an OPS north of 1.000 and had a cheering section in Yankee Stadium built in his honor.

Craig Kimbrel was as lights-out as closers come, picking up AL Reliever of the Month honors by converting all seven of his save opportunities, while allowing just one hit and striking out 25 batters in 12 2/3 innings.

On the National League side, the Cinderella story Rockies continue to get amazing contributions from Greg Holland, who converted all eight of his save opportunities in May. Holland sat out the entire 2016 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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Super agent Scott Boras doesn't believe Major League Baseball is shining a strong enough spotlight on some of its most renowned players.

In a Friday interview with MLB Network Radio, Boras called out those in the league for what he believes is a lackluster effort at promoting the best players in the game - some of whom are his clients - in favor of their clubs.

"There's a huge problem with Major League Baseball and baseball players and how Major League Baseball markets its athletes, because their focus clearly is on marketing their teams, it's not on marketing the athletes," Boras said. "The reality is, we know on the outside world for Bryce Harper, he's got record contracts with Under Armour, with Gatorade, or Kris Bryant has record contracts with Adidas and Red Bull. ... We've got in the external market clear evidence that these players are receiving benefits most basketball players don't get, most football players don't get.

"And granted it's an elite few, but I think in every sport you're going to get these. Is baseball's elite few comparable with basketball's elite few? Not in the shoe area and not in these other areas."

In the league's defense, commissioner Rob Manfred did specify marketing the game's top stars was a top priority of his as he prepared to embark on his first season as baseball's head figure in 2015, according to Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post.

But while Boras doesn't appear to be satisfied with the progress made two years later, the popular sports agent did point out that baseball's approximate seven-month schedule could help bring its stars better into the forefront.

"I think one of the advantages we have in baseball truthfully when I see these names on the ESPN list is that we play 162 games and these athletes are on television in our country every day," Boras said. " ... But I think as far as how our game is marketed and what we're doing among the people in North America, I think we can really improve it.

"But I do think our game's interest level and the performers and the great young players we have, we have a real dynamic operating in the game that can be highly successful."

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Miguel Cabrera just keeps on adding to his all-time great resume.

The future Hall of Fame slugger earned himself yet another place in baseball history Friday night in Detroit when he laced a two-RBI double off Chicago White Sox starter Derek Holland to become the 39th player with 1,000 career extra-base hits.

.@MiguelCabrera doubles to join Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran & Adrian Beltre as the only active players to reach 1,000 career XBH. pic.twitter.com/EmNlmbFnFa

— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) June 3, 2017
The milestone double was his second two-bagger in as many innings in Friday's game, and it gave the Detroit Tigers an early 5-0 lead.

Cabrera is now one of just four active players to have at least 1,000 extra-base hits, joining Carlos Beltran (1,052), Adrian Beltre (1,074), and active leader Albert Pujols (1,223, seventh all time).

MIGGY MAGIC: CAREER EXTRA-BASE HITS BY TYPE

TYPE OF HIT            TOTAL

Doubles                    532

Triples                       17

HR                            451

Total XBH                1000

The 34-year-old Cabrera began his march to 1,000 in his major-league debut on June 20, 2003 when, as a member of the Florida Marlins, he launched a walk-off extra-inning home run off Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Al Levine for career extra-base hit No. 1.

Cabrera came into Friday's game with 2,557 total hits when including his singles.

Hank Aaron is baseball's all-time extra-base hits leader with 1,477.

Last edited on Sun Jun 4th, 2017 12:46 am by lobo316

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Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw recorded his 2,000th career strikeout Friday night against Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar in the second inning at Miller Park.

Kershaw blew a 94-mph fastball by Villar to reach the milestone.

¡2.000 PONCHES! @ClaytonKersh22 acaba de alcanzar esa cifra en su carrera en #LasMayores.
¡Felicitaciones! #LosDodgers pic.twitter.com/W11CbRICme

— Los Dodgers (@LosDodgers) June 3, 2017
Kershaw is the third-fastest pitcher in history to reach the 2,000-K mark, having done so in just 1,838 innings. Only Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson did it faster, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

When looking at his accomplishment by games pitched, Kershaw - who struck out 2,000 in 277 games - rates even better, as only Johnson did it in fewer games (262), according to Elias and ESPN Stats. He's also the fifth-youngest pitcher to hit the mark at 29 years, 75 days.

History made. pic.twitter.com/07YW9LVzMB

— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 3, 2017
Kershaw's first career strikeout came on May 25, 2008, at Dodger Stadium, when he fanned the Cardinals' Skip Schumaker on four pitches. Appropriately, that was the first batter he ever faced in the major leagues.

He struck out Yonder Alonso, then of the Padres, on April 17, 2013, for his 1,000th career K.

Kershaw finished his start on Friday with 14 strikeouts over seven innings of work, raising his career total to 2,010 and giving him sole possession of 77th place on the all-time list.

He left in line to take the loss, however, as the Dodgers trailed Milwaukee 1-0 through seven thanks to Domingo Santana's solo home run - one of just two hits Kershaw allowed.

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His cancer treatments are done, and now Chad Bettis appears ready to get back to the big leagues.

The Colorado Rockies right-hander - who's been on the sidelines since spring training after it was discovered that his testicular cancer had unexpectedly spread - announced Friday that he plans to rejoin the team next week and begin his official rehab process, with an eye on returning to the major leagues this season.

"I got my (chemotherapy) port out and will be joining the team when they come back (to Denver) from San Diego," Bettis told Thomas Harding of MLB.com on Friday night.

Since announcing in March that his cancer had spread, Bettis has been very open about his goal of returning to the Rockies at some point this summer. Following the completion of his chemotherapy treatments on May 16, the 28-year-old reiterated that desire yet again, and suggested it was something very much within the realm of possibility.

"The way I see it, it's going to happen. I think it's a realistic goal," Bettis said last month. "At what point in time during the season I would be coming back is all kind of up in the air. But it's something that I'm going to be pushing to get to."

Bettis underwent surgery to remove one of his testicles in November after his cancer was first discovered. Though he was initially deemed to be cancer-free following the surgery, he revealed in March that the cancer had unexpectedly spread, forcing him to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy.

When the Rockies visited Arizona in April, Bettis - a resident of the Phoenix area - visited them at Chase Field and was able to play catch in between his treatments.

A four-year veteran of the majors, Bettis is coming off the best season of his career in 2016 that saw him strike out a career-high 138 batters in 32 starts, while leading all Rockies starters with 186 innings pitched.

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In today's 7-0 win over Toronto, the Yankees had 8 hits and none of them were singles - 4 doubles and 4 homers (all 4 homers came in the 8th off of reliever Jason Grilli).  That's the most hits they've ever had in franchise history with no singles.  That's a pretty amazing stat for a franchise that's been around so long. 

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Giancarlo Stanton, who's known primarily for drilling long home runs and having spent the entirety of his young career with the Miami Marlins, made history Friday night.

In his team's victory over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, Stanton became the franchise leader in RBIs with 579. His go-ahead solo home run, which stood as the game-winner, pushed him ahead of former Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell.

Con este HR, Giancarlo Stanton se convirtió en el líder en carreras impulsadas en la historia de los Marlins. pic.twitter.com/qGTnYfyLOn

— Daniel Álvarez M (@ChinoAlvarez_16) June 3, 2017
It took Lowell 4,005 plate appearances over 981 games with the Marlins from 1999 through 2005 to drive in 578 runs. Stanton overtook him in 3,651 plate appearances over 879 games since debuting in 2010.

Teammate Christian Yelich showed his support for, and awe of, Stanton following the game, according to the team.

"He's going to hold a lot of all-times for this franchise before all is said and done," Yelich said.

Stanton is already the franchise leader in home runs with 223. The next-closest is Dan Uggla with 154. He has also accumulated the greatest total WAR (28.7, according to Baseball Reference), though he's struck out more than any other Marlins batter (1,030).

He's third in walks, fourth in runs scored, and fifth in hits - all records that will definitely belong to him if he plays out his contract, which lasts through the 2027 season with an option for 2028.

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One 27-year-old rookie has etched his name into Seattle Mariners history, joining some elite company after clubbing his second grand slam of the season on Friday.

Taylor Motter, whose first-inning round tripper helped pace the Mariners to a 12-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, accompanied Alex Rodriguez as only the second shortstop in team history with multiple grand slams in one season, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Rodriguez, it should be noted, accomplished the feat twice, once in 1996 - he would go on to finish second in AL MVP voting that season with 36 home runs and 123 RBIs - and again in 1999.

Friday's grand slam snapped a 30-game home run drought for Motter and was the second consecutive home run the shortstop hit with the bases loaded. The last time he went deep was on April 23 when he hit his first grand slam of the year against the Oakland Athletics.

The shortstop's homer was also sweet revenge. Initially drafted by the Rays in 2011, he was traded by the team in 2016.

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Just when the Seattle Mariners appeared to be slowly getting back on track, the club was hit with another devastating injury.

After shortstop Jean Segura was placed on the 10-day disabled list with an ankle injury Friday, general manager Jerry Dipoto didn't sound overly confident his big offseason acquisition would return anytime soon.

"It’s more likely to be a month than 10 days, which is a somewhat optimistic view," Dipoto said, according to Dave Mahler of Sportsradio 950 KJR. "Could be as much as 2 months."

Adding further insult to injury, Segura was dominating at the plate prior to this development. He slashed .358/.417/.467 and stole four bases in the month of May after missing most of April with a hamstring strain.

The Mariners, meanwhile, seemed to be hitting their stride after a disappointing 11-15 record to start the season. The club played .500 baseball throughout May despite being without starting pitchers Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Drew Smyly for most of or the entirety of the month.

In Segura's absence, the team is expected to rely on rookie Taylor Motter at shortstop.

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This one's for you, Ace.

The Kansas City Royals honored former starter Yordano Ventura, who would have turned 26 on Saturday.

Today we remember Yordano Ventura on what would have been his 26th birthday. #Ace30 pic.twitter.com/CFp1MhpgQz

— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) June 3, 2017
The Royals are honoring the former right-hander by wearing patches that read "ACE 30" on the sleeve of their uniforms this season. Ventura was killed in a car accident on Jan. 22 in his native Dominican Republic after losing control of his Jeep Wrangler.

Happy birthday ace. We miss you more each and everyday.

— Mike Moustakas (@Mooose_8) June 3, 2017

First baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, two former teammates and friends of Ventura, wished him happy birthday in separate posts on Instagram and Twitter.

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Edinson Volquez paid his fallen friends the best possible tribute.

Just minutes after pitching the sixth no-hitter in Miami Marlins history, Volquez dedicated the dominant outing to late pitchers Yordano Ventura and Jose Fernandez.

"I dedicate this game to Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura. Ventura's birthday is today and this is good for them," Ventura said on the FOX Sports broadcast postgame. "They're watching right now what happened today and they must feel really happy right now."

Hours before taking the mound Saturday, he also commemorated what would have been Ventura's 26th birthday in an Instagram post.

Ventura, who played alongside Volquez for two seasons on the Kansas City Royals from 2015-16, died in January in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Fernandez, who pitched for the Marlins for his entire four-year, died in September after his boat overturned on a jetty off the Miami Beach coast.

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The American League has not been kind to Jorge Soler since he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in December, and things only got worse Saturday.

Soler was optioned to Triple-A Omaha by the Royals, who also called up outfielder Billy Burns, the team announced.

The 25-year-old Soler has not lived up to expectations since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs for closer Wade Davis, hitting just .164/.292/.273 with one home run and three RBIs in 18 games.

Before coming to the Royals, the power-hitting Cuban owned a .762 career OPS, including a .903 mark during a 24-game rookie debut with the Cubs in 2014.

Soler is signed through 2020, earning $3.6 million this season and $4.6 million every year between 2018 and '20.

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The American League East-leading New York Yankees don't appear to be committed to using Chase Headley at the hot corner for much longer.

Headley has significantly cooled off following an excellent start to the season, and now the team's front office is shopping for a third baseman, major league sources told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

The Yankees have emerged as serious postseason contenders, but have received minimal production from the third base position. Headley, who is a free agent at the end of the season, is hitting .232/.306/.356 with three home runs and 50 strikeouts in 48 games.

It was reported earlier this week that the Yankees were grooming top prospect Gleyber Torres to take over the position this year, but there remains a number of potential trade options should general manger Brian Cashman want someone more established at the major-league level.

Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Jed Lowrie, and David Freese are all players likely to be traded that the Yankees could look at acquiring.

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Jacoby Ellsbury won't be returning to the New York Yankees' lineup any time soon.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Saturday that Ellsbury's been shut down because the outfielder's concussion symptoms have returned, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.

He will visit with a neurologist when the team returns to New York next week, reports ESPN.

The 33-year-old Ellsbury exited a game on May 24 after crashing into the wall in center field following a fantastic catch against the Kansas City Royals.

After being diagnosed with a concussion and neck sprain, he was subsequently placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Ellsbury's condition improved earlier this week after participating in light activity, but now that his symptoms have returned, he could be out of action for a prolonged period.

The 2011 All-Star was in the midst of his best season since coming to the Yankees, hitting .281/.349/.422 with 14 RBIs and eight stolen bases.

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New York City could witness the promotion of Gleyber Torres much sooner than expected.

The Yankees are apparently grooming their top prospect to take over third base from Chase Headley later this season, a team source told Randy Miller of NJ.com.

Torres, a natural shortstop, was recently promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he's played both short and third base.

Although he's been struggling with the bat, hitting just .207/.361/.214 with three RBIs, Torres has been lauded for his maturity and baseball intelligence, according to Miller.

If Headley were to be replaced at third, the Yankees still intend to keep him for the 2017 season and have him fill a utility role, according to Miller's source.

A 20-year-old Venezuelan, Torres is ranked by MLB Pipeline as baseball's No. 2 prospect behind Yoan Moncada, and was acquired from the Chicago Cubs as part of last season's Aroldis Chapman trade.

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Kenley Jansen is doing so many great things on the mound this season that it's become a little hard to keep track of them all.

As Jansen puts together one of the best starts by a reliever in baseball history, the Los Angeles Dodgers closer set a major-league record Friday for most strikeouts without recording a walk.



He entered the game with 35 strikeouts and no walks, needing one more strikeout to break St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright's record, and fanned four batters in two innings, bringing his remarkable total to 39.

Jansen's 0.23 FIP is MLB's best, and he's struck out 48.2 percent of the batters he's faced this season, good for third in baseball. He's added 1.3 WAR for the Dodgers so far, according to FanGraphs, trailing only Craig Kimbrel among relievers.

The last time Jansen issued a walk in the regular season was Oct. 1 versus the San Francisco Giants, the final regular-season game of 2016. Perhaps even more remarkably, Jansen has issued only 19 walks since the start of the 2015 season - a stretch of 141 innings and 145 games.

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The Milwaukee Brewers reached a special level of futility in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming only the third team in Major League Baseball history to strike out 26 times in a single game.

The Brewers had the arduous task of facing Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who punched out 14 over seven strong innings.

L.A. tied the California Angels for the most strikeouts in a game. However, the Angels took 20 innings to reach the mark on July 9, 1971, while the Dodgers only needed 12.

Dodgers relievers Pedro Baez, Grant Dayton, and Kenley Jansen combined for 12 strikeouts over the final five innings. Jansen nearly struck out the side in the bottom of the 12th inning before Travis Shaw popped out with two strikes to end the game.

The Brewers' pitchers deserve some credit of their own, as starter Jimmy Nelson struck out 11 batters over eight scoreless innings before the bullpen managed to fan five more.

Overall, the teams combined for 42 strikeouts, breaking the National League record by two. The San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres combined for 40 strikeouts in 15 innings in 2001.

The all-time MLB record for combined strikeouts in a game was actually cemented less than a month ago, when the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees combined for 48 in an 18-inning Interleague game. The Cubs share the dubious feat of having struck out 26 times in one game.

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Bryce Harper won't officially enter free agency until after the 2018 season, but murmurs regarding his possible destination are already swirling.

Though the 24-year-old superstar outfielder recently put pen to paper on a $21.625-million deal for 2018 with the Washington Nationals, Harper reportedly has his eyes set on eventually joining the reigning World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs.

"I have people tell me that Bryce Harper really would prefer to play for the Cubs," Hall of Fame columnist Peter Gammons said on 670 The Score's "Mully and Hanley" radio show Saturday.

Though Harper's goal may be to play for the North Siders, Gammons also warned excited Cubs fans that his eventual contract demands could make a possible signing difficult for Chicago, which also hopes to retain current National League MVP Kris Bryant once his current contract expires at the end of the 2021 season.

"Somehow I don't think it's going to be affordable to have Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant on the same team," Gammons continued. "It's a great idea, I'd love to see it because I respect them both so much, personally and professionally, but I don't think it's ever going to happen."

When you dive into the numbers, it isn't difficult to see why Harper would enjoy playing 81 of 162 games each season out of Wrigley Field. His career .585 OBP at "The Friendly Confines" is his highest mark at any stadium in the majors, according to Baseball Reference, while his 1.230 OPS currently ranks third among all NL stadiums he's played in.

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BALTIMORE - David Price returned to form against the Baltimore Orioles, and after he was done, the skilled left-hander made this perfectly clear: The best is yet to come.

Price took a three-hitter into the eighth inning to earn his first win of the season, Hanley Ramirez homered and the Boston Red Sox rolled to a 5-2 victory Saturday night.

Making his second start since coming off the disabled list with a strained left elbow, Price (1-0) allowed one run over seven-plus innings. After belatedly launching his 2017 season with an uneven outing against the White Sox on Monday, Price looked every bit like a five-time All-Star against Baltimore.

''I feel like it's going to continue to get better,'' he said. ''That's my fourth outing with an umpire, my fourth outing with guys on base. I expect to get a lot better than this.''

Price was plenty good enough in this one.

He gave up three hits, struck out seven and did not allow a runner past first base until Manny Machado led off the seventh with a home run. That was the only flaw in an otherwise sparkling performance that enabled Price to improve to 12-5 lifetime against the Orioles, including 7-0 at Camden Yards.

''The game was about not being able to do much against one of the best pitchers in the game,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Craig Kimbrel gave up a ninth-inning run, but picked up his 16th save in 17 tries.

Boston took the lead for good in the fourth inning when Ramirez lined an 0-2 pitch from Dylan Bundy into the left-field seats after Xander Bogaerts drew a leadoff walk.

Bundy (6-4) threw 100 pitches over five innings in his fourth start this season against Boston. He's 2-2 in those games.

''I was making pitches and they were just fouling off, pitcher's pitches,'' Bundy said. ''You can't control that.''

There once was a time when Price had the same kind of problem. In this one, he needed only 92 pitches to get into the eighth.

''I don't want to be out there throwing 100 pitches or 90 pitches through five innings. That's eight years ago when I did that,'' Price said. ''I want to get back to being efficient and getting a lot of early outs.''

After Machado connected in the seventh, the Red Sox went up 4-1 in the eighth against Ubaldo Jimenez. Bogaerts hit a run-producing grounder and scored on a double by Ramirez .

The victory - Boston's first in a four-game series that concludes Sunday - lifted the Red Sox past Baltimore into second place in the AL East.

''It was a big night for David and a boost for us,'' Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

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ARLINGTON, Texas - George Springer hit two of Houston's four home runs and the Astros matched their Texas rival for the longest winning streak in the major leagues this season at 10 games, beating the Rangers 7-2 on Sunday.

The Astros scored in all four innings pitched by Martin Perez (2-6) and tied a club record from 1989 with their 10th straight road win. Houston's first sweep of Texas since July 2014 dropped the Rangers to 3-11 since their 10-game streak.

Defending AL West champion Texas (26-31) is 15 games behind the division-leading Astros, who have the major leagues' best record at 41-16 - and six wins in seven games against the Rangers.

Brad Peacock (3-0) won a major league start for the first time since Sept. 2, 2014, pitching past the fifth inning for the first time in his third start following 12 relief appearances. He struck out nine in six innings, allowing two runs.

Luke Gregerson finished the game in a downpour with scoreless ninth, including a strikeout that gave Houston pitchers 13. The Rangers fanned 31 times over the final two games.

Springer, who had three hits, connected on his sixth leadoff homer this season, matching Tampa Bay's Corey Dickerson for the major league lead, and added a solo shot in the fourth. He has a team-leading 16 homers.

Carlos Correa went deep starting the third, with a fan reaching over the railing with a glove for a nifty grab of the 440-foot drive to a back wall in the visitor's bullpen in left-center field. Yuli Gurriel had another solo homer in the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the third.

A day after striking out four times with runners on base in a one-run loss, Texas' Rougned Odor hit a solo homer when the Rangers were trailing 7-0 in the fifth.

Perez surpassed his loss total at home from all of last season with his fourth Globe Life Park defeat, allowing three homers among seven hits and six runs - five earned - while matching his shortest outing of the year at 3 2/3 innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: RHP Joe Musgrove (right shoulder discomfort) won't start Tuesday at Kansas City when he's eligible to come off the disabled list. Manager A.J. Hinch said the club was being cautious and there wasn't any deeper concern about the injury.

Rangers: 1B Mike Napoli was out of the lineup for the third time in six games because of back spasms. Manager Jeff Banister said the spasms recurred during Saturday's game and that Napoli might undergo an evaluation on the off day Monday if there isn't improvement.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (2-2, 4.96) starts the opener of a four-game series at Kansas City on Monday. His previous start against Minnesota - a win - was his first without allowing a home run.

Rangers: Texas had not announced a starter for Tuesday's series opener against the visiting New York Mets.

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Aaron Judge is the hottest thing in baseball right now so purchasing a piece of his merchandise can cost a pretty penny.

The jersey worn by the New York Yankees outfielder when he hit the first grand slam of his career on May 28 sold by Steiner Sports for $45,578 on Sunday.

The jersey worn by Aaron Judge on 5/28 when he hit his first career grand slam was sold last night by @steinersports for $45,578. pic.twitter.com/DHUd61siDN

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 5, 2017
The 25-year-old Judge is making an early case for the American League MVP award, hitting .324/.429/.681 with 18 home runs, 44 runs scored, and 41 RBIs.

Judge's 1.110 OPS is second in the American League behind only the injured Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

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The Rocket is heading to the booth.

Roger Clemens, the polarizing, seven-time Cy Young award winner who spent the first 13 years of his career with the Boston Red Sox, is slated to make his broadcasting debut June 16 when his former club opens a three-game set against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, providing color commentary on the Red Sox Radio Network alongside play-by-plan man Tim Neverett, according to WEEI's Rob Bradford.

Clemens, a Houston native, will be filling in for Joe Castiglione, who's taking the three-game series off.

Selected by the Red Sox with the 19th overall pick in the 1983 draft, Clemens remains one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history, winning three Cy Youngs and the 1986 American League MVP during his time in Boston, while setting franchise records in WAR (81.3) and strikeouts (2,590). In 2014, Clemens, now 54, was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

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Miami Marlins right-hander Edinson Volquez threw the first no-hitter of the 2017 MLB campaign on June 3, which earned him the National League Player of the Week award on Monday.

The 33-year-old hurler, who dedicated the spectacular performance against the Arizona Diamondbacks to deceased pitchers Yordano Ventura and Jose Fernandez, was 2-0 and allowed just one earned run across 15 innings last week.

Volquez had gone winless this season prior to his successful week, but pushed his record to 2-7 to go along with a 3.79 ERA.

In the American League, Houston Astros leadoff man George Springer earned Player of the Week honors after amassing 15 hits, 11 runs scored, five home runs and a .500/.531/1.033 slash line.

The 27-year-old outfielder is off to an incredible start to the season, hitting .280/.350/.545 overall with 16 home runs, 37 RBIs, and 59 hits for the first-place Astros.

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Vladimir Guerrero, one of the most beloved players in Los Angeles Angels history, is about to take his place among the franchise's all-time greats.

The Angels announced Monday that Guerrero will become the 15th member of the team's Hall of Fame later this summer. Guerrero will officially be welcomed into the Angels Hall in a ceremony at Angel Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 26, prior to their game against the Houston Astros.

On Sat., August 26th I will be inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame. Thanks God, @Angels and the best fans of the world.@AngelsBeisbol

— Vladimir Guerrero (@VladGuerrero27) June 5, 2017
The 42-year-old Guerrero only played six of his 16 big-league seasons with the Angels franchise (he played more years in Montreal), but his tenure in Anaheim contained some of the most memorable moments of his career. In his first year with the club, Guerrero won the 2004 AL MVP in a runaway vote; he'd go on to make four All-Star appearances and win four Silver Sluggers in an Angels uniform, helping the team to five playoff berths.

Guerrero hit .319/.381/.546 with 173 home runs, 616 RBIs, 194 doubles, 52 stolen bases, and 304 walks over his six years as an Angel. He was also one of the club's top performers in the playoffs, posting a .740 OPS and two homers in 126 postseason plate appearances with the club.

Guerrero fell just short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year when he garnered 71.7 percent of the vote in his first appearance on the ballot. He's also scheduled to be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame later this month.

Other members of the Angels Hall of Fame, established by the club in 1988, include Cooperstown inductees Nolan Ryan and Rod Carew, and former All-Stars Garret Anderson and Tim Salmon.

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Bryce Harper will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 MLB season. He's making just south of $14 million in 2017 and will make $21.625 million in 2018.

He's almost certainly going to dwarf those numbers when he signs. An American League general manager told ESPN's Eddie Matz he expects as much. In fact, he went so far as to suggest that $400 million over the course of whatever contract he gets is a low estimate.

"Four hundred million is light," the GM said. "It's going to be more than that. If you could sign him to a 15-year contract, you do it. I would say something in the range of $35 million a year, maybe closer to the high 30s. It could approach $40 million a year."

This may sound absurd at first, but Harper is one of the best position players in baseball and other players are already making more than $30 million per season. Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke will pull in as much as $35 million (including signing bonuses) a season over the duration of his contract. Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will make upwards of $32 million in a single season on his.

Either way, Harper is on his way to becoming the highest-paid player in the sport, at least until Mike Trout (who will make $34 million per season starting next year) becomes a free agent after 2020.

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The chance of that not being completely regrettable has to be 10%, maybe less. How many of these long-term mega-money deals have EVER worked out?

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run homer, Brian McCann had a two-run shot and the Houston Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 7-3 on Monday night for their 11th straight win.

It's the longest winning streak in the majors this season and one shy of the Astros' record. They won 12 straight in 1999 and 2004. Houston has also won 11 consecutive road games, which is a franchise record.

McCann homered in the fourth after Marwin Gonzalez walked to lead off the inning.

Gurriel homered in the ninth. He has gone deep in back-to-back games and has 10 RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.

McCann started a two-run second inning with a one-out double and scored on Nori Aoki's single. George Springer's two-out single scored Gurriel, who had walked.

Astros starter Mike Fiers (3-2) worked five innings plus two batters. He was charged with two runs, seven hits and a walk. Fiers is 6-0 in his past 10 road starts dating to Aug. 20.

The Royals scored a pair of runs in the second. Brandon Moss doubled to score Eric Hosmer, while Alcides Escobar's bunt single got Mike Moustakas home.

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Imagine a superteam featuring the two most recent National League MVPs in Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper. Pitchers in the senior circuit would be quaking in their boots.

Well, if Bryant's word is to be believed, the duo have talked about it. The Chicago Cubs third baseman told Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago on Monday that he and Harper - both natives of Las Vegas who were once youth teammates in Nevada - have broached the idea of joining together at some point, at least in passing.

"I think we might have talked about it, just like messing around," Bryant said. "Like it would be cool to play with you again."

Bryant's musings come just a few days after legendary baseball columnist Peter Gammons told a Chicago radio station that Harper would "prefer to play for the Cubs" once he hits free agency. Harper remains under contract to the Washington Nationals through the end of 2018.

There's a lot of hurdles to clear before Bryant and Harper become teammates, of course - namely, the fact that Harper is very likely going to receive one of, if not the largest contract in baseball history next winter, perhaps in excess of $400 million. Bryant won't be a free agent until after 2021, though if his star continues to rise he'll be in line for his own financial windfall in a few years. Between Bryant, teammate Anthony Rizzo, and perhaps Harper, even the Wrigley money machine might not be able to afford all three stars on mega-contracts.


Don't think Bryant doesn't know this - after all, he and Harper share an agent in noted advisor to the superstars Scott Boras. Still, for the 25-year-old Bryant, it's at least nice to dream for a moment about hitting home runs at the Friendly Confines and parading down Michigan Avenue for years to come alongside his longtime buddy.

"Like I said before, we talked about it," Bryant said. "It would be really cool to play with him, but that's something that they're (Cubs executives are) going to have to talk about it. Baseball's a crazy business. You could want to play somewhere, but they might not want you, or they might not need you.

"(It's not) like Kevin Durant (signing with the Warriors last summer): 'I want to play there.' But I would say if that were able to happen and work out like that, gosh, it would be exciting."

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Baseball is full of quirky statistical milestones. Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea reached one of them on Monday night.

With the Toronto Blue Jays in town, Manaea went six innings, allowing a pair of earned runs on four base hits. On the surface, that's a fine start. But it's not the individual mark that's impressive, it's the repetition.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, it's the 16th consecutive outing where he's pitched at least two innings and allowed no more than five hits. It's the longest streak of this nature in the American League since 1913.

Tom Gordon - father of Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon - accomplished 15 straight appearances like this in 1992. The big difference being that Gordon was a reliever while all of Manaea's appearances during his streak have been starts.

The last time Manaea allowed more than five hits in an outing was on Aug. 17, 2016 against the Texas Rangers who drilled nine hits in that game. Less than a month earlier, the Rangers had managed 11 hits off the young southpaw.

Manaea's next start is expected to come when the A's travel east to visit the Tampa Bay Rays once the three-game set against the Blue Jays is over.

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The certificate documenting the marriage between New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio and actress Marilyn Monroe was sold for $122,500 on Sunday, reports ESPN.

The document was bought in June from a private collector who acquired it in a 2006 estate auction of DiMaggio's, Goldin Auctions founder and CEO Ken Goldin told ABC News.

"It is an important piece of American history showing the marriage of the most popular baseball player of the era to the most popular actress perhaps of all time," Goldin said.

DiMaggio and Monroe married in January 1954 at San Francisco's City Hall, but the relationship lasted just nine months after that.

The "Yankee Clipper" retired after the 1951 season, with a lifetime slash line of .325/.398/.579, including 361 home runs, 1,537 RBIs, and 2,214 hits. He also won three MVP awards during his 13-year career, all with the Yankees.

DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak from the 1941 season still remains the longest of its kind.

Both DiMaggio (lung cancer in 1999) and Monroe (acute barbiturate poisoning in 1962) have since died.

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It's been a tough few weeks for the Texas Rangers since their 10-game winning streak ended May 20, and although they realize they haven't been playing the best baseball of late, the club's not ready to throw in the towel.

"The season's not even close to being lost," catcher Jonathan Lucroy told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Sunday. "We've got to step up. Everyone's got to step up. Personally, I've got to step up. I've been terrible.

"I know a lot of guys in here are underperforming as well. They all know they're better. We all know we're better. For me, I'd rather underperform early and then finish strong late than vice versa. I'm definitely very optimistic. Hopefully we can get to full strength and start bashing heads."

Since losing to the Detroit Tigers to end their winning streak in May, the Rangers have only won three games. They were most recently swept by the red-hot Houston Astros, and have fallen into fourth place in the American League West, four games out of a wild-card spot with six teams ahead of them entering play Monday.

The Rangers possess an assortment of potential free agents including Lucroy, Yu Darvish, Mike Napoli, and Carlos Gomez, so if things don't turn around, Texas could become a seller at the trade deadline.

General manager Jon Daniels said time will make that decision for the Rangers.

"We'll have to make a call. You have to make a decision based on how you're playing. ... We're aware of what the standings are," he explained. "A generation ago before the two wild cards, it might have been a very different picture. There are a lot of things we can improve and need to improve to reach our goals. That's got to be the focus in the short term.

"I fully recognize what the odds are, but I've seen crazier things happen."

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The Philadelphia Phillies own the worst record in baseball, and former Phillie and three-time National League MVP Mike Schmidt thinks one factor in the franchise's current rut is its attempt to build around Odubel Herrera.

When the "94WIP Morning Show" asked Schmidt if the 20-35 Phillies should be building the team around a player like the 25-year-old Herrera - currently struggling in his first season since signing a five-year, $30.5-million extension - Schmidt said no. He identified a language barrier as one reason why Philadelphia chose the wrong player as a potential cornerstone.

"My honest answer to that would be no because of a couple of things," Schmidt said Tuesday, according to CBS Philly's Andrew Porter. "First of all, it's a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can't be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game. Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, 'Man, you gotta run that ball out.' Just can’t be - because of the language barrier - that kind of a player."

Herrera is batting just .234/.276/.373 with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 52 games this season, but the Spanish-speaking Venezuelan can also understand and speak English, as he's displayed in interviews before.

Schmidt thinks Herrera could be an effective player on a championship team, but not necessarily one who could get a team to a championship.

"I think the fans love him. He's not afraid to do things that sort of irk the other team if you will, and you know what that is," Schmidt said. "I probably would hate him if I played against him because of his antics on the field, but he's not afraid. He's not afraid to do that. He's learning to play a really good center field. They haven't figured out where he needs to hit in the batting order yet.

"To answer your question, those are the reasons that I don't think you can build a team around him. Now, I truly think he can hit second or first on a championship team. There's no question about that."

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Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt apologized Tuesday for making what he called "disrespectful" remarks about Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera.

Earlier in the day, Schmidt said he believed the Phillies shouldn't build around Herrera, a Spanish-speaking native of Venezuela, due to a possible language barrier with teammates.

"My honest answer to that would be no because of a couple of things," Schmidt said. "First of all, it's a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can't be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game. Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, 'Man, you gotta run that ball out.' Just can’t be - because of the language barrier - that kind of a player."

Hours after the remark surfaced, Schmidt apologized in a statement released to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

"It's been made known to me that my answer on a radio interview this morning to the question, 'Can the Phillies build a team around Odubel Herrera,' was disrespectful to Herrera and Latin players in general," Schmidt said. "I'm very sorry that this misrepresentation of my answer occurred and may have offended someone. I assure everyone I had no intention of that. Odubel is a dynamo on the field, and as he becomes more comfortable with the (English) language, his leadership skills will improve, and no doubt he will be a centerpiece in the Phillies' future."

Herrera told Zolecki that Schmidt also called him Tuesday to apologize.

The Phillies signed Herrera, a Rule 5 draft pick in 2014, to a five-year, $30.5-million contract extension in the winter following his first All-Star campaign in 2016. But the 25-year-old has struggled through the first two months of 2017, hitting just .243/.283/.403 with five home runs, 23 extra-base hits, and 11 walks in 219 plate appearances.

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A case surrounding the Cleveland Indians' controversial Chief Wahoo logo could lead to the club abandoning any logo on its jerseys the next time the club travels to Toronto.

Last month, Jo-Anne Pickle - an arbitrator for the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario - ruled that a case filed by Canadian indigenous rights activist Douglas Cardinal was approved and will move forward, according to A.J. Perez of USA Today Sports.

A court hearing could take place by the end of 2017.

"From our standpoint, our client is not asking for something that’s impractical," said Paul-Erik Veel, a lawyer representing Cardinal in the claim. "They have uniforms that don’t use the particular logo and simply have the name 'Cleveland' and a 'C' on them already."


MLB, the Indians, and Rogers Communications - owner of the Blue Jays - separately disputed the claim, arguing the Chief Wahoo logo was not offensive and didn't cause any issues involving human rights.

The claim was filed in October 2016 when the Indians traveled to Toronto during the American League Championship Series. At the time, the Ontario Superior Court denied the motion, which led to Cardinal to continue with two other legal actions - one with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and one with the federal court level with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Barring a postseason matchup, the Indians aren't set to face the Blue Jays in Toronto until 2018, after which the case is already expected to be resolved.

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Only two months ago, Scooter Gennett was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds. Now, he's in the history books forever.

The light-hitting utility man became the 17th player in major-league history to hit four home runs in one game, and he also collected 10 RBIs in the Reds' 13-1 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Gennett is the first Reds player to hit four homers in a game, and the first MLB player to do it since the Rangers' Josh Hamilton in 2012. He completed the record with a two-run shot in the eighth inning off Cardinals reliever John Brebbia.

Scooter Gennett becomes the 17th player in MLB history to smash four home run of the game and he gets another curtain call in the 8th!!! pic.twitter.com/TlHNVzsRAy

— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 7, 2017
Gennett's 10 RBIs tied the franchise record set by Walker Cooper on July 6, 1949 against the Chicago Cubs. He's only the 14th player in baseball history to drive in 10 or more runs in a game; Washington's Anthony Rendon also knocked in 10 runs earlier this year.

Only Gennett and Mark Whiten - who hit four homers and a single-game record 12 RBIs on Sept. 7, 1993 - have blasted four dingers and 10-plus RBIs in one game. Ironically, Whiten pulled off the feat as a member of the Cardinals against Cincinnati.

Gennett also added a single to finish a perfect 5-for-5, giving him the first four-homer, 10-RBI, five-hit game in baseball history.

The 27-year-old Gennett came into Tuesday's game mired in a 1-for-19 slump. Surely, that is now in the past.

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CINCINNATI - Scooter Gennett's tan bat leaned against his locker, the sweet spot streaked by its historic connections. The ball from homer No. 4 was off somewhere getting authenticated and marked. His cellphone was jammed with 270 texts of congratulations.

And the diminutive utility player - how was he holding up a day after his totally improbable, historically unforgettable night?

''It's pretty unreal,'' said Gennett, who became the first Cincinnati player to hit four homers in a game. ''Just being a Reds fan all my life, to be able to do this is just unbelievable. It's sinking in more and more, but it'll probably really hit home in the offseason, when I have some downtime. Right now, it's like a normal day.''

Nothing normal about his last 24 hours. Or his season, for that matter.

The Reds claimed the Cincinnati native off waivers from Milwaukee during spring training, looking to upgrade their bench with a utility player who can do a little bit of everything. He wound up starting in left field on Tuesday night because Scott Schebler needed one more day to recover from a sore shoulder.

Gennett singled home a run in his first at-bat. The next time he came up, the bases were loaded and he worked Adam Wainwright to a full count. Gennett barely fouled off a nasty breaking pitch - flicked it with the very end of his bat - and then homered on the next pitch.

And that was just the start.

He hit a two-run homer, a solo shot, and another two-run homer in the eighth inning of a 13-1 win. Gennett became the 17th major leaguer - and the first Reds player - to hit four in a game. He tied the club record with 10 RBIs. He became the first player to have five hits, four homers and 10 RBIs in a game. And he joined the Cardinals' Mark Whiten as the only players to have a grand slam among their four homers.

Whew! How does anybody process all of that on the ride home from the ballpark?

''To be honest, I felt kind of normal, just like a normal game,'' he said. ''I think I'm just wired to deal with it that way. It was kind of surprising, though. I never thought I'd hit four home runs in a game, and to do it and feel normal afterward is pretty crazy.''

The 5-foot-10 utility player had only 38 career homers before Tuesday's game, with only one multi-homer game in his career. Some seasons, he hit little more than four.

He's thankful that the Cardinals chose to pitch to him in the eighth inning rather than pitch around him. He missed on a big swing against John Brebbia, and then hit the next pitch solidly - leaving one of those streaks on the barrel - for homer No. 4.

''Yeah, that did surprise me a little bit,'' Gennett said. ''At the same time, they compete over there. The Cardinals are a team that have a lot of respect for this game and playing the game hard and not giving in.''

Afterward, he changed out of his uniform - it's headed for Cooperstown for a temporary display - did countless interviews, and went home with his wife and a close friend who is visiting. He walked his dog and talked to his parents by phone.

''I'm sure they were both crying,'' Gennett said. ''My dad (Joe) is a pretty strong guy. To hear him kind of choke up was a little different. I told him there's no crying in baseball. It was special, for sure.''

He got eight hours of sleep and was back at the ballpark on Wednesday, batting seventh - two spots lower in the order - and playing second base.

While most of his stuff was headed to the Hall of Fame for temporary display, he kept the bat, which he began using on Monday night and ended an 0-for-19 slump. Gennett figured there might be a few more surprises left in the scarred wood.

''I want to keep using it because it's working for me right now,'' he said.

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John Gibbons knows a bargain when he sees one.

The Toronto Blue Jays manager offered an interesting quip when he was asked about first baseman Justin Smoak's breakout performance.

"He's doing a heck of a job. Shouldn't have signed that contract. He's losing money now," Gibbons said, according to The Associated Press. "I've never seen him this good. We always envisioned it. It's in there, and it's just coming together for him."

Smoak signed a two-year, $8.25-million extension in July of last season, a move that was initially chastised by fans and media alike as the 30-year-old hit .222/.306/.430 with 0.9 WAR from 2015 to 2016 with the club.

Now, general manager Ross Atkins is looking like a genius. This year, Smoak has looked like a completely different player. Entering Tuesday's game, he's slashed .287/.349/.574 with a team-leading 15 home runs and 40 RBIs. Smoak's 23 RBIs since May 11 leads the American League, according to Sportsnet Stats.

Other than being worth a career-high 1.3 WAR only 57 games into this season, according to FanGraphs, Smoak has already played up to an estimated salary value of $10.4 million in 2017.

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Sam Dyson has a new home.

The San Francisco Giants acquired the reliever - who was designated for assignment last week after a miserable start to 2017 - from the Texas Rangers on Tuesday in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

San Francisco also received cash from Texas as part of the transaction to cover part of the $2.2-million left on his 2017 salary, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

The Rangers are anticipating they'll receive a player to complete the transaction at some point in the next few months, Grant added.

If Dyson is going to turn his season around, San Francisco may be the best place for him to do it. At 24-35, the Giants are in a position where they can afford to take a flier on the 29-year-old to help shore up what's long been a shaky and unreliable relief corps.

When Dyson is pitching well, he's capable of doing that. But 2017 has been an unmitigated disaster for Dyson, who began the season as the Rangers' closer before plummeting down the depth chart and then out of the organization completely.

In 16 2/3 innings this year, Dyson owns a 10.80 ERA and 2.58 WHIP; both were the highest among qualified MLB relievers at the time of his DFA. Dyson has struck out just seven batters while issuing 12 walks this season, allowed 31 total hits, and owns a hard contact percentage of 30.6 percent, plus a 9.05 FIP. He also blew all his save opportunities this year, and allowed one more home run in 17 appearances - six - than he did in all of 2016.

Dyson owns a 3.54 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 172 strikeouts, and 40 saves over his six-year MLB career with the Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Miami Marlins.

To make room for Dyson on the 40-man roster, San Francisco moved injured ace Madison Bumgarner to the 60-day disabled list, according to Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.

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Here we go again.

Masahiro Tanaka pitched 7 1/3 strong innings, striking out 13 while allowing only one earned run against the Oakland Athletics on May 26. It looked like the good version of the beleaguered New York Yankees starter had returned.

Then he allowed seven runs to the Baltimore Orioles in his next start.

Which brings us to Tuesday. The Boston Red Sox came to Yankee Stadium ready to swing the bat. After a shaky start to the first inning, Tanaka managed to retire nine consecutive batters before walking Xander Bogaerts to lead off the fourth.

Then Mitch Moreland came to the plate.

Mitch Moreland 434ft pic.twitter.com/HbUZNoOONw

— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) June 7, 2017
Hanley Ramirez immediately followed.

Hanley Ramirez smacks a solo home run over the left-field wall in the top of the 4th inning, extending the lead to 4-1!!! #WinDanceRepeat pic.twitter.com/VnlC0tX4R9

— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 7, 2017
The next inning, Andrew Benintendi went yard for the second straight game with this merciless bomb:

Andrew Benintendi belts a solo home run to right field in the top of the 5th inning, padding the Red Sox's lead to 5-1!!! #WinDanceRepeat pic.twitter.com/lwfy4u1bOX

— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 7, 2017
This brought Tanaka's home runs allowed up to 17 through 12 starts in 2017. He allowed only 18 through his first 30 starts in 2016 before allowing four in his last start.

ESPN Stats & Info pointed out that after the three home runs Tuesday, Tanaka has allowed 11 over his last five starts. In that same span, other Yankees starters have allowed a combined 11 long balls.

The Yankees gave Tanaka the hook after five innings and only 62 pitches. Despite the Yankees' overall success this season, their would-be ace has not been a primary contributor. His 6.55 ERA and 2.32 home runs allowed per nine are both far cries from his career numbers.

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This one's a mystery to Devon Travis.

The oft-injured Toronto Blue Jays second baseman found himself back on the disabled list Tuesday, thanks to a right knee bone bruise. There's no timetable for his return, and he's scheduled to undergo further tests in the coming days.

That Travis was sidelined with the knee bruise was all the more confusing given he was forced to leave Sunday's game after being hit in the wrist by a pitch, and missed Monday's contest in Oakland ostensibly due to the wrist problem. Even Travis himself has no idea how or when he suffered the knee injury that ultimately sent him to the DL in shocking fashion; when he spoke with reporters about the injury Tuesday, the 26-year-old was visibly upset and at times seemed to be on the verge of tears.

"I never felt any pain at all," Travis said, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. "I never even iced after the games. My knee has been feeling so good.

"I think there's one play that ... I want to say it had to have happened on, (but) I can't tell you for sure because I never felt any pain, like ever. There was never any sudden pain. My knee just locked up, and that was it."

Making matters potentially worse for Travis is the fact that his injured right knee is the same one he had surgery on over the winter.

This knee injury is just the latest in a long line of ailments that have plagued the 26-year-old since he joined the Blue Jays in 2015. While he's flashed his potential at the plate regularly in his three-year MLB career, Travis has been hit hard by the injury bug, including multiple shoulder and knee problems.

Before this latest mysterious knee ailment cropped up, Travis had shaken off a rough April to become one of the surging Blue Jays' hottest hitters in May. From May 1 through Sunday, he put up a .352/.363/.611 slash line with four homers, 16 doubles, and 17 runs scored.

Travis is the 18th Blue Jay to hit the disabled list this year.

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Max Scherzer was almost unhittable Tuesday night in L.A.

Over seven nearly spotless innings, the Washington Nationals ace struck out 14 Dodgers hitters. He didn't allow an earned run, with just a single unearned score plating in the opening frame.

It was a season high for Scherzer, who struck out 13 Padres on May 26. Only one pitcher has topped 14 strikeouts in a start this season: Scherzer's teammate Stephen Strasburg, who struck out 15 batters on May 27 - also against the hapless Padres.

The 14 strikeouts gave Scherzer 1,995 for his career, meaning he'll have a very realistic shot at reaching 2,000 in his next start.

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Tampa Bay Rays catcher Derek Norris is under investigation by Major League Baseball for allegations that he "physically and mentally abused" his former fiancee, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Kristen Eck described the allegations in an Instagram post on Tuesday. Though she never mentions Norris by name in the post, she mentioned that she was engaged to Norris in a previous interview.

The 28-year-old Norris has played 43 games for the Rays this season after being released by the Washington Nationals.

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Adrian Beltre just can't seem to catch a break this season.

After missing nearly two months of action to begin the campaign with a strained right calf, the 38-year-old was pulled from a contest against the New York Mets on Tuesday for what was first described as precautionary reasons.

But following the Texas Rangers' victory, Beltre was seen in a walking boot after having an X-ray and being diagnosed with a sprained left ankle, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Beltre - who's appeared in just seven games this season - will be re-evaluated Wednesday, and could find himself back on the disabled list if the results are poor.

"I missed 50-something games, came back, and was feeling well," Beltre said. "I play in (seven) games and this happened. I'm not going to be happy about that, but what are we going to do?"

The normally durable veteran, who appeared in 153 games last season, wasn't too optimistic about his health.

"I don't feel great," Beltre said. "We'll wait a couple of days and see how it goes."

Since making his season debut with the Rangers on May 29, Beltre has produced a slash line of .385/.452/1.067 with one home run and six RBIs.

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NEW YORK - Two weeks after sustaining a concussion, New York Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury isn't sure when he will return.

Ellsbury was hurt when he crashed into the wall catching a drive by Kansas City's Alcides Escobar on the first pitch of a game on May 24.

''I'm feeling better. I still have some headaches but I talked to the doc and we're definitely making progress,'' Ellsbury said. ''Some days are a little bit better than others.''

Ellsbury planned light work on a stationary bicycle Wednesday.

''The headaches have been gone at times, but it seems like when we start some activity they come back,'' manager Joe Girardi said.

Ellsbury is batting .281 with four homers, 14 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 39 games.

Closer Aroldis Chapman, out since May 12 with rotator cuff inflammation, is to throw a simulated game on Friday or Saturday at the Yankees' facility in Tampa, Florida, and then could start a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment before he is activated.

''There was original discussion of him throwing here, and I don't think he'd get a whole lot of volunteers for hitters,'' Girardi said.

First baseman Greg Bird, who hasn't appeared for the Yankees since May 1 because of a bruised right ankle, is to play for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Lehigh Valley on Friday night after going 6 for 20 with three doubles and a home run in six games at Class A Tampa.

Girardi said Masahiro Tanaka remains on track to start Sunday's homestand finale against Baltimore but avoided a direct answer when asked whether it was possible the struggling pitcher could be pushed back a day to Monday at the Los Angeles Angels.

''It's basically up to the manager,'' Tanaka said through a translator.

Tanaka (5-6) has lost a career-high five straight starts, allowing 27 runs and 11 homers in 22 2/3 innings. His ERA has risen to 6.55, 86th among 87 qualified pitchers and ahead of only Atlanta's Bartolo Colon (7.78).

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild has identified Tanaka's mechanical problems, according to Girardi, but the 28-year-old right-hander has had difficulty repeating his motion consistently.

''We look at video 2014, 2015, 2016, we go through all those videos and try to see little differences, and sometimes they're really minor and you try to correct them,'' Girardi said.

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This time it was Manny Machado who was on the receiving end of a high-footed slide.

The Baltimore Orioles third baseman had his left wrist crunched during the second inning of Wednesday's game when Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen's left foot came up high on a slide into the base.

Machado was in a considerable amount of pain following the collision. He initially remained in the game after being attended to by the club's training staff, but was replaced to start the fourth inning after experiencing left wrist soreness.

The Orioles star was on the other end of another controversial slide earlier this season when his high cleat caught Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the back of his leg.

Pedroia left that game with an injury and Machado was thrown at by Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes in retaliation.

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BALTIMORE (AP) Right-hander Edwin Jackson will resume his lengthy major-league career with Baltimore, which will be his 12th different big-league team.

The Orioles on Wednesday selected Jackson's contract from Triple-A Norfolk. The 33-year-old launched his career in 2003 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jackson is 93-114 with a 4.65 ERA in 361 games, including 275 starts. He pitched last year for San Diego, going 5-6 with a 5.89 ERA.

Jackson pitched in 12 games with Norfolk, starting once. He had a 3.10 ERA but walked 10 in 20 1/3 innings.

To make room for Jackson on the roster, the Orioles optioned left-hander Donnie Hart to Norfolk.

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David Price has had just about enough of the Boston media circus.

The Red Sox left-hander has been under an intense microscope since signing his $217-million contract with the club in the winter of 2015. So when his first season in New England didn't go nearly as planned, and year No. 2 began with a prolonged disabled-list stint and elbow trouble, Price heard about it from both fans and media alike.

Now, the 31-year-old appears to have grown tired of dealing with the intense scrutiny pitching in a market like Boston. In an interview with Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe on Wednesday, Price drew his line in the sand and said he won't be speaking to the media anymore going forward, save for postgame sessions after his starts.

"I don't talk to the media every day like I did last year and I guess I get blown up for that," Price told Shaughnessy. "But I was honest with everything they asked me last year and I get blown up for that. So they did this to themselves.

"Talk to me on the day I pitch and that's it. There are no more personal interviews. There are no more asking me questions on a personal level. That's done."


It's not just the media that have been publicly riding Price during his eventful first few years in Beantown, though. Since arriving in Boston, as he did while pitching in Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Toronto, Price has been active on social media and has often engaged fans tossing heated criticism (namely, his lack of postseason success) in his direction.

Still, as these issues and battles continue to mount, Price said he remains content playing for the Red Sox, and refuses to concern himself with whether members of Red Sox Nation may be rooting for him to fail in a Boston uniform.

"I know I've got 24 guys in this clubhouse and all our coaches rooting for me, and my family and my friends," Price said. "That's all I need. Whatever anybody else wants to do, that's on them. I'm fine. I'm at peace."

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NEW YORK - CC Sabathia won his fifth straight start to beat Rick Porcello in a matchup of Cy Young Award winners, and Chris Carter drove in four runs with a three-run homer and an RBI single that led the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox 8-0 Wednesday night.

Sabathia (7-2), who had last won five in a row in April 2012, allowed five hits in eight innings, his longest outing since April 2015. He walked none and struck out five - four of them looking.

The left-hander has a 1.11 ERA during his streak, and all five wins followed losses by Masahiro Tanaka, who had supplanted Sabathia as New York's ace. Sabathia was removed after 95 pitches, denying him a chance for his first shutout since 2011.

Jonathan Holder finished with a perfect ninth. Boston's final 15 hitters went down in order.

Didi Gregorius hit a go-ahead home run starting the third and Carter homered for the second straight day, his sixth this season. Carter's fourth-inning drive followed Starlin Castro's leadoff triple and an RBI single by Gary Sanchez, dropped from second to sixth in the batting order.

Boston right fielder Mookie Betts robbed Carter of another homer in the sixth, leaping and getting his glove above the 8-foot wall for a sparkling catch. A fan touched the ball before it landed in Betts' glove, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi discussed the play with umpires, although there was not a video review.

Carter, New York's No. 9 batter, had three hits, including a run-scoring single off the left-field wall in a two-run eighth.

New York stopped Boston's three-game winning streak and reopened a two-game lead over the second-place Red Sox in the AL East.

Sabathia had trouble with his knee brace in the fourth inning, and it came off after Hanley Ramirez's leadoff groundout. The burly 6-foot-6 lefty, not known for his fielding prowess, made a bare-hand grab of Jackie Bradley Jr.'s fifth-inning comebacker with Josh Rutledge on third, a ball that came off the bat at 98 mph, according to MLB's Statcast.

Sabathia, the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, squared off against the reigning winner. Porcello (3-8) lost his third straight start, giving up six runs - five earned - and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

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Anything for a buck.

Major League Baseball recently auctioned off the jersey worn by San Francisco Giants right-hander Hunter Strickland on Memorial Day, when he was involved in an on-field brawl with Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper.

Not a good look: Jersey that Hunter Strickland was wearing when he brawled with Bryce Harper being auctioned off. https://t.co/TGhfimTZ7V*

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 8, 2017
The piece of merchandise was won by a bidder for $200.

The brawl has been one of the most talked about events of the season thus far, with Strickland (six games) and Harper (four games) each receiving suspensions.

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Terry Collins hasn't had a good season. The New York Mets were supposed to be contenders and yet they sit 12 1/2 games back of the NL East-leading Washington Nationals with a 24-32 record.

Naturally, people are calling for the skipper's head on a platter. The list includes former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, according to the New York Daily News' Christian Red.

"Terry Collins has lost the team, and the players have no confidence. It's pretty obvious," Dykstra said. "It almost seems like he's managing from a textbook."

Dykstra's solution is for the Mets to fire Collins and hire ex-major leaguer Howard Johnson. Johnson and Dykstra were teammates on the 1986 World Series champion Mets.

Johnson is currently employed as manager of the Texas Rangers' Single-A affiliate, the East Wood Ducks. He's not lobbying to leave his post, either.

"I don't have a Facebook account, but I heard Lenny has been posting stuff," Johnson said. "He called me the other day, and he said he thinks it should happen. I have a job with Texas, and I feel good over here. No disrespect to Terry. It's not a good place for me to comment on someone else's job."

While Johnson likely isn't moving anywhere for the time being, Collins has been continually under the microscope. And with the Mets struggling on and off the field, he may be on borrowed time.

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A day after being scratched just moments before his scheduled start, the Houston Astros have placed Dallas Keuchel on the 10-day disabled list with neck discomfort.

On Thursday morning, Keuchel was checked out by doctors back in Houston, and the Astros' ace was still suffering from neck pain, GM Jeff Luhnow said, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. There is no timetable for the 29-year-old's return.

The move - as well as transferring Collin McHugh to the 60-day DL - allowed the Astros to purchase the contract of their top prospect Francis Martes, a right-handed pitcher.

Keuchel was bouncing back to his 2015 AL Cy Young form, as the left-hander has yet to be saddled with a single loss in the 2017 season. Through 11 starts, Keuchel owns an MLB-leading 9-0 record while his 1.67 ERA and 0.87 WHIP also top the major leagues.

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Dusty Baker's contract with the Washington Nationals will expire at the end of the current season, though the 67-year-old has yet to be offered an extension.

But Baker - who's led the Nationals to a 38-21 record and an 11 1/2-game lead in the National League East - has told the front office about his desire to continue as the team's bench boss after this season.

"I mentioned it to one of the primary people (in Nationals management). And I mentioned it to (general manager Mike Rizzo) one time," Baker told Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post. "That's enough. They know."

As Janes notes, the Nationals franchise hasn't exactly built a strong rapport with its previous managers. In 2011, Dan Riggleman infamously resigned as the team's skipper midseason when the front office refused to pick up his option for the following year despite the club's success.

But Baker, who's heard the gripes from fellow former coaches, doesn't intend to walk away from his current deal - worth a reported $4 million over two years. Though, he did hint at being given a raise should a future deal be worked out with the team.

"I remember talking to Frank Robinson when he was here. I remember his complaints to me. I remember Riggleman, which I would never do. I remember talking to Davey (Johnson)," Baker said.

"But I think I've earned more than I'm being paid."

Though the Lerner family - the managing principal owners of the Nationals - didn't drop any hints regarding Baker's future with the team, they did acknowledge they're lucky to have the three-time NL Manager of the Year.

"We do not discuss management contracts," the family said in a statement, according to Janes. "That said - Dusty Baker is a real asset to our ball club. His work ethic and experience have earned him the respect of the clubhouse. We are fortunate to have him in our dugout."

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One of baseball's most gifted defenders is out for the foreseeable future.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder and two-time Gold Glove winner Kevin Kiermaier was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday with a hairline fracture in his hip, the team announced.

Kiermaier will be shut down from baseball activities for the next six-to-eight weeks in an attempt to heal the fracture, and is expected to be sidelined for at least two months, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The 27-year-old suffered the injury after an awkward slide into first base Thursday. He was later seen walking with crutches after the game, and Rays manager Kevin Cash wasn't optimistic when speaking to reporters, admitting Kiermaier was "going to be out a while."

Mallex Smith was recalled from Triple-A and could see an expanded role in Kiermaier's absence. Colby Rasmus could also shift over from left field, as the 30-year-old has over 700 games worth of experience at the position.

Despite his unusual volume of defensive miscues this year (his six errors are tied with Avisail Garcia for most among American League outfielders), Kiermaier's been credited with nine defensive runs saved. He's also second on the Rays with 2.4 WAR to date.

Kiermaier is in the first year of a new six-year, $53.5-million extension he signed in spring training. In 62 games this season, he's hit .258/.329/.408 with seven home runs, 20 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases.

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One day after accusing Derek Norris of emotional and physical abuse, Kristen Eck, the former fiancee of the Tampa Bay Rays catcher, detailed a violent encounter with the 28-year-old from October of 2015 in which he allegedly put her in a choke hold and grabbed her by her hair.

Eck, who said she is waiting to have a formal meeting with the commissioner's office, recounted the episode in a lengthy blog post Wednesday afternoon:

On Oct. 20, 2015 Derek and I were at our home in Wichita, Kan. We had been sitting out on our patio and Derek had been drinking. As it got late I went to go to bed and Derek went downstairs, as he was still drinking. I remember waking up to him kneeling at the bed telling me how pretty I was and singing "slow jams" to me, but I couldn't keep my eyes open.

I woke up a little while later. I'm not sure how long it had been. I felt that something was not right and I went downstairs to find Derek on the phone. He seemed startled and started talking "sports" to this person on the phone. I took the phone and heard a female's voice stating, "Are you going to talk to me." I knew who it was because I had seen texts and caught her calling Derek before. I took his phone and walked up our stairs to try and get this girl to speak to me. I approached our kitchen island with the phone in my hand and Derek approached me from behind and put me in a choke hold. At this time, I thought he wanted the phone. I threw the phone onto the kitchen island and tried to get away. Derek then grabbed me by the back of my hair to pull me back to him. He eventually let go and as I turned around he grabbed me by my upper arms so I couldn't leave as he tried to drunkenly explain that he wasn't talking to another female.

On Wednesday morning, Norris, who signed a one-year deal with the Rays in March, denied Eck's allegations of abuse, saying in a statement they "could not be further from the truth."

Major League Baseball has launched an investigation into the matter, a league spokesman told ESPN on Tuesday, and Norris later said he plans "to go above and beyond to assist" the commissioner's office in its investigation.

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CHICAGO (AP) Addison Russell returned to the Chicago Cubs on Friday, one day after Major League Baseball began an investigation of the shortstop.

He had been accused of hitting his wife in a social media post that has since been deleted. Russell denies the allegation.

''I'm here to stay,'' Russell said shortly after arriving at Wrigley Field. ''This is my job. This is what I love doing.''

He wasn't in the starting lineup for the game against the Colorado Rockies, but was available to play. Javy Baez started at shortstop.

On Wednesday, Russell's wife, Melisa, posted a photo on her Instagram account with a caption suggesting he had been unfaithful to her. In another post, a user - described by Melisa as a close friend - made the accusation that Russell had ''hit'' his wife.

Russell did not address questions about the allegations, saying he will stick with his written statement Thursday that said: ''Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful. For the well-being of my family, I'll have no further comment.''

The Cubs contacted MLB after learning of the allegation Wednesday night. The team told Russell not to come to the ballpark for Thursday night's game against the Rockies.

''I felt sad, man,'' said Russell, who watched the game on television. ''I love being here, in this clubhouse, with the guys having fun.''

Manager Joe Maddon had a long conversation with Russell on Thursday night.

''He sounded like he was in a good place, so we want him to continue that,'' Maddon said. ''He's there today. He's one of our key guys and he has handled himself extremely well. So, we'll treat him normally and get him back on the field.

''I don't think we'll change anything we do interactively with him. Let's just play the game today ... and if we need him, he's going to play.''

The 23-year-old player is having a down year at the plate. He was batting .209 with three home runs and 19 RBIs heading into Friday. Last season, he hit .238 with 21 homers and 95 RBIs.

He said his personal life has had no impact on his play.

''There's periods of time where you're struggling, you're scuffling and sometimes you stink,'' he said. ''I know being young, in the major leagues, is coming to come with a lot of adversity. But I'm here for a reason. It's because I'm good.

''Every day brings a learning curve. You tackle those adversities day by day and you overcome those. It's only going to make you a better player, a better person at the end of the day.''

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Mired in a seven-game losing streak, the St. Louis Cardinals held an impromptu press conference Friday in which general manager John Mozeliak announced that Jhonny Peralta will be designated for assignment, while also shuffling some members of the coaching staff including reassigning third base coach Chris Maloney.

In the absence of Bill Mueller - who officially formalized his leave of absence - Mark Budaska, the hitting coach of the team's Triple-A affiliate, was promoted to assistant hitting coach.

While manager Mike Matheny was spared, when prompted, Mozeliak said that nobody's job - not even his own - is in a secure situation.

Mozeliak opened the press conference by telling reporters that the Cardinals' season has not gone the way the team had envisioned and that it has been "a breakdown on many levels."

In limited playing time so far this season, Peralta has produced a paltry 28 wRC+ while slashing .204/.259/.204 over 21 games. The 35-year-old shortstop is in the last year of a four-year, $53-million deal. Peralta's stock has plummeted mightily since his impressive bounce-back 2014 campaign following his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs the year prior.

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A little bit of good news is finally heading the New York Mets' way, as Yoenis Cespedes, who had been rehabbing from a hamstring injury in the minor leagues, will be activated as the team's 26th man for its doubleheader Saturday against the Atlanta Braves, manager Terry Collins told reporters, according to the New York Times' James Wagner.

Cespedes hasn't played for the big-league side since April 27, a 7-5 loss to the Braves, when he aggravated a pre-existing injury to his left hamstring.

His rehab stint was then temporarily derailed in late May, when the outfielder injured his right quadriceps muscle, further stalling his eventual return to the majors.

Prior to going down with the hamstring issue, Cespedes had been a focal part of the Mets' offense this season. The 31-year-old is slashing .270/.373/.619 with six home runs in 63 at-bats in 2017.

Cespedes signed a four-year, $110-million contract to return to the Mets in the offseason.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have realigned their late-inning relief corps once again, as Tony Watson lost his job as closer Friday after blowing his last four save opportunities, manager Clint Hurdle said according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

In Watson's stead, right-hander Juan Nicasio and left-hander Felipe Rivero will reportedly split the ninth-inning role, which could mean a platoon based on the opposing lineup.

Watson will be used in lower-leverage situations, which Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette compared to the way the Pirates handled Daniel Hudson's struggles.

Watson is tied with Francisco Rodriguez for the most blown saves in baseball with five. K-Rod was ousted from the closing role for the Detroit Tigers in early May.

The 32-year-old Watson has posted a 4.44 ERA and 5.77 FIP over 26 1/3 innings this season.

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Pablo Sandoval's tenure with the Boston Red Sox continues to take on water. He has struggled all season, whenever healthy, to consistently put together quality at-bats.

This has resulted in him being relegated to ninth in Boston's batting order against the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Brian Johnson takes the mound tonight in Fenway to begin five-game homestand. https://t.co/8dmmuriCyS #RedSox pic.twitter.com/PXW667myNV

— #VoteRedSox (@RedSox) June 9, 2017
This is the first time in Sandoval's 10-year career where he has started a game from the nine-hole. His only appearances at the bottom of the order have come while pinch-hitting. Granted, most of his career was spent in the National League where the pitcher typically occupies that slot.

Even then, he only registered 35 total plate appearances hitting from the eighth spot in the lineup throughout his tenure with the San Francisco Giants. He's already eclipsed that number in 2017. He's made 40 plate appearances out of the eighth spot this season.

Fortunately for Sandoval, no third baseman has hit well for the Red Sox in 2017, so he should continue getting shots. But unless he can turn around his .214 batting average, he may be buried at the bottom of the lineup for a while.

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Washington Nationals skipper Dusty Baker wants an extension along with a raise, and he's not making it a secret.

Baker is set to have his contract expire at the end of the season and expressed to reporters Thursday that he feels he's deserving of a new contract and a boost in salary after earning a reported $4 million over the last two seasons.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo addressed Baker's demands Friday with reporters, and doesn't believe the expiring contract and any future negotiations will be a hindrance for the team.

"It's not going be an issue," Rizzo said, according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. "We're not going to let it be an issue. Dusty's a true professional. He's been through this, the rigors of the regular season, a million times. I've been through it a million times. It's suffice to say there's great communication, great respect between the front office and the manager's office."

Baker owns a 133-88 record in two seasons with the Nationals and is coming off a year in which the club won the NL East by eight games.

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NEW YORK (AP) Masahiro Tanaka's next scheduled start has been pushed back one day as the New York Yankees attempt to get their struggling ace back on track.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says Tanaka will pitch Monday night at the Los Angeles Angels rather than Sunday at home against AL East-rival Baltimore. That gives the right-hander five days between outings, a routine he's more accustomed to.

Minus injured star Mike Trout, the Angels entered Friday tied for last in the American League in slugging percentage. Tanaka has faced the power-hitting Orioles twice this season, and they roughed him up in Baltimore on May 31.

New York has not announced a new starter for Sunday. Girardi says the team has ''internal candidates'' but the decision will depend on how the games play out Friday and Saturday.

The 28-year-old Tanaka is 5-6 with a 6.55 ERA in 12 starts this season. He has lost five straight outings.

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On May 11, the scheduled game between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals at Nationals Park was postponed due to rain. They played the makeup game Thursday, which the Nationals won 6-1 to earn a season split with Baltimore.

That was the end of it, right? Wrong. Before Thursday's matchup, Orioles manager Buck Showalter subtly expressed displeasure about moving the game in the first place, according to The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga.

"Lot of byproducts of the cancellation," Showalter said. "I think it’s marginally better tonight."

The sky was clear and blue Thursday, but Showalter was commenting on the fact that as soon as the game in May was canceled, the skies cleared and baseball probably could have been played.

He also spoke about how both Adam Jones and Manny Machado, two of the Orioles' best players, were not in Thursday's lineup due to various injuries. They had been penciled into the postponed game's lineup card.

From the other side of things, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the original game was canceled because it had already rained for most of the day and the forecast suggested it would continue until late in the evening. He also said Showalter was part of the original decision.

"Their GM (Dan Duquette) was nowhere to be found for three, four hours," Rizzo said. "We wanted to play the next day. They refused to play then, so the next (open) day was (Thursday). They drove 32 miles to get there. We flew 3,000 (expletive) miles, and we beat their (behinds). So quit your whining. Quit whining."

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The first-place New York Yankees are going to get reinforcements pretty soon.

Injured closer Aroldis Chapman is expected to start a brief rehab assignment early next week with the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. Chapman believes he'll only need one appearance before rejoining the MLB squad.

It's not set in stone, however, as Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Chapman would be evaluated after his first rehab stint, according to the New York Daily News' Daniel Popper.

"Everything so far has been positive. So we feel good about where he's at," Girardi said. "(We want to make sure he) feels good and that he's throwing strikes. That's the bottom line with him. You don't have to stretch him out, so he doesn't need a lot of pitches."

Chapman has apparently been able to reach his customary 100-mph velocity without pain or discomfort. And as good as Dellin Betances has been in his stead since May 12, Chapman's presence would reintroduce a deadly 1-2 punch at the back end of the Yankees' bullpen.

New York already has the third-best bullpen ERA in baseball at 2.94, and Chapman could be ready to bolster it when the team visits the Oakland Athletics for a four-game series next weekend.

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ALL RISE! AARON JUDGE!

Too strong, too good. Solo HR to get the @Yankees going. #BALvsNYY https://t.co/CgvzbyAA3C

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 10, 2017
Just when you think you've seen everything Aaron Judge is capable of, he outdoes himself again.

The New York Yankees outfielder absolutely obliterated a baseball Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles when he sent Chris Tillman's offering into the Yankee Stadium seats in left field for his league-leading 19th home run this season.

It wasn't so much what he did, but how he did it. The ball's exit velocity was recorded by Statcast at a whopping 121.1 mph, setting a new record for the hardest hit home run ever recorded by the MLB tool.

Aaron Judge just set a new Statcast-era record. 121.1 mph on this homer: pic.twitter.com/His90MALUd

— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) June 10, 2017
Previously, the hardest-hit ball ever recorded registered at 119.8 mph ... that, too, was set by Aaron Judge.

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lobo316 wrote: ALL RISE! AARON JUDGE!

Too strong, too good. Solo HR to get the @Yankees going. #BALvsNYY https://t.co/CgvzbyAA3C

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 10, 2017
Just when you think you've seen everything Aaron Judge is capable of, he outdoes himself again.

The New York Yankees outfielder absolutely obliterated a baseball Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles when he sent Chris Tillman's offering into the Yankee Stadium seats in left field for his league-leading 19th home run this season.

It wasn't so much what he did, but how he did it. The ball's exit velocity was recorded by Statcast at a whopping 121.1 mph, setting a new record for the hardest hit home run ever recorded by the MLB tool.

Aaron Judge just set a new Statcast-era record. 121.1 mph on this homer: pic.twitter.com/His90MALUd

— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) June 10, 2017
Previously, the hardest-hit ball ever recorded registered at 119.8 mph ... that, too, was set by Aaron Judge.

The Yankees are embarrassing the Orioles 14-0 in the 6th with homers by Judge, Gregorius, Castro, and Holliday. 

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The Washington Nationals' beleaguered bullpen will be without Koda Glover for the next little while, as the right-hander will be placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower-back stiffness after trying to pitch through some discomfort Saturday, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.

Glover, who first tweaked his back in the shower, said his back was in "pretty bad shape" following Saturday's outing.

"I was taking a shower, bent over to get my body wash, stood up and had a little kink," Glover told Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. "With some issues I've had lately I kind of pushed myself. I didn't want to take a day off. I've had three days off already, so I pushed the limits today, tried to pitch through it. And it's one of them things where it was out of my control and I should have said something early. I didn't and now my back's in pretty bad shape."

With his back aching, Glover was unable to shut down the Texas Rangers at Nationals Park, squandering a two-run lead in the top of the ninth inning to earn his second blown save of 2017 in his club's eventual 6-3 loss. It was only after the game he told his bosses he wasn't 100 percent.

"I'm tired of being hurt," Glover said. "Never been hurt before until last year and ever since then it just seems like something new keeps popping up every day. So it's one of them things where I can't control it. I just got to put my head down and keep going."

Glover's latest injury is a significant blow to a bullpen that ranks second-last in the majors in WAR (-0.3), as the 24-year-old had been thriving as its de facto closer, converting eight straight save opportunities prior to Saturday while holding his opponents scoreless in 10 of his 11 previous appearances.

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The New York Yankees are demolishing baseballs, scoring runs at a record pace, and taking names.

The Bronx Bombers' latest victims, the Baltimore Orioles, surely have to be relieved about seeing their three-game series at Yankee Stadium come to an end - especially considering they were outscored 38-8 en route to being swept.

Yankees with 21+ HR in team's 1st 60 games:

Aaron Judge
A-Rod (2007)
Roger Maris (1961)
Mickey Mantle (1956)
Babe Ruth (6x)

— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) June 11, 2017
Aaron Judge had two of the Yankees' four home runs on Sunday - one of which traveled 495 feet, good for the longest dinger of the season. He now leads baseball with 21 home runs, three ahead of Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak and Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto.

The Yankees have outscored their opponents 55-9 throughout their five-game win streak, with three of those victories coming against the aforementioned Orioles and the other two against the Boston Red Sox. The offensive outburst has propelled the team to a league-leading 115-plus run differential.

Even more impressively, for the second straight game, the club scored five or more runs in the first inning for the first time since 1939, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

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No. 2,000 is classic @Max_Scherzer.

*Hitters around @MLB nod their heads.* https://t.co/qQWGLOEIgC pic.twitter.com/8qtheP08qE

— MLB (@MLB) June 11, 2017
Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer reached illustrious pitching territory Sunday against the Texas Rangers as his fourth-inning strikeout of Nomar Mazara was the 2,000th strikeout of the reigning Cy Young winner's 10-year career.

Only Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson reached the double millennium mark in fewer innings than Scherzer, who did so in 1,784.

To reach the milestone, Scherzer sent Mazara a nasty slider on 1-2 count that the Rangers outfielder could only flail at.

All of Max Scherzer's 2000 strike outs.... 🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/2EJ0rD3MfH

— Daren Willman (@darenw) June 11, 2017
Scherzer's feat comes just nine days after Clayton Kershaw did the same against the Milwaukee Brewers. Kershaw, however, took 1,838 innings, bumping the Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw ace down to fourth on the 2,000-strikeout pace leaderboard by innings pitched.

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At 43 years old, Ichiro Suzuki is not expected to play at the same level he showcased through much of his career. He's a role player, a bench piece for the Miami Marlins instead of the linchpin of the team's offense like he was in his days with the Seattle Mariners.

For his part, he feels it. Ichiro started Sunday's game, an eventual 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, in place of Giancarlo Stanton, who was nursing a bruised hand. He hit a home run, his second of the season, and jokingly said he needed to with Stanton out, according to the Sun Sentinel's Tim Healy.

"I had to replace Stanton today, so maybe, I should hit one," Ichiro said through a translator.

The concern isn't his power, it's never been a part of his game (his career high for home runs in a season came in 2005 when he hit 15), but his inability to get hits. He's batting only .198 this year after hitting .291 in 2016. He's recorded multiple hits only once.

"Every day has been a battle for me," Ichiro said. "There's things that you just can't cover, practicing. You can practice as long as you want, but there's just some things that you just have to experience in the game, in game situations."

He added that he's never encountered an extended slump like this through his career.

Ichiro said earlier this year that he feels he can play into his 50s. If that's to happen, he'll need to make more out of the limited opportunities he's receiving. Still, Ichiro has had a remarkable career and it's important to remember that his cumulative batting average over parts of 17 seasons remains .312.

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The Washington Nationals' bullpen was up to its old tricks again on Monday night, blowing a 9-6 lead by surrendering five earned runs (including two dingers) to the Atlanta Braves.

Following the team's fourth straight loss, manager Dusty Baker confessed his bullpen is in dire need of some reinforcements, saying, "We need some help, we need some help big time," according to Jamal Collier of MLB.com.

Although starter Stephen Strasburg wasn't at his best (giving up six earned runs and three homers in the contest) the Nationals' offense bailed out its starter early on with big flies from Trea Turner, Brian Goodwin, and Bryce Harper.

Nationals reliever Jacob Turner would then go on to allow two earned runs before Matt Albers issued a three-run bomb to catcher Tyler Flowers.

According to ESPN's Eddie Matz, the Nationals have now lost five games this season in which they've led after eight innings.

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Jhonny Peralta is now a free agent as the infielder was officially granted his release by the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, the team announced.

Peralta had been designated for assignment by the club Friday.

A 15-year veteran, Peralta struggled out of the gate this season with St. Louis, slashing just .204/.259/.204 in 54 at-bats. The 35-year-old had also struggled to reclaim a starting gig in the Cardinals' infield in 2017 after being replaced at third and shortstop by Jedd Gyorko and Aledmys Diaz, respectively.

Peralta, who signed a four-year, $53-million contract with St. Louis in 2013, was set to earn $10 million this season.

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Jacob deGrom had his best start since late May, if not the season, when he went the full nine Monday night, allowing only one run against the defending champion Chicago Cubs.

After the game, the New York Mets right-hander expressed his disdain for the team's decision to go with a six-man rotation, according to NJ.com's Abbey Mastracco.

"Honestly, I don't really think it helps that much at all," he said. "You get ready to pitch every fifth day, that's what you kind of train to do."

In addition to the recent returns of Seth Lugo and Steven Matz, fellow starter Zack Wheeler has an innings limit attached. Robert Gsellman and Matt Harvey remain, and the team doesn't seem ready to demote either.

For his part, deGrom can see the team's reasoning even if it's not ideal for his routine.

"That's what we're doing now and it's to save innings - probably - for Wheeler and other guys who are going to need them later on," deGrom said. "So I understand why they're doing it."

The rotation could be due for another shakeup when staff ace Noah Syndergaard returns from injury in late July or early August, though plans could easily change before then.

DeGrom has already pitched 81 innings over his 13 starts, posting a 4.33 ERA while striking out a career-high 11.1 batters per nine.

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The Toronto Blue Jays won't have starting second baseman Devon Travis in the lineup any time soon.

Already on the disabled list with a knee injury, Travis underwent an operation to clean up cartilage, manager John Gibbons said, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

In the meantime, Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins will split second-base duties for the time being.

There remains no specific timetable for Travis' return, but Gibbons added that he's expected to be out for a while. Travis mentioned last week that he didn't know how the injury occurred.

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Though progress may not be moving at the pace he'd hoped for, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred still believes the Miami Marlins will have new ownership this season.

Speaking with Craig Mish and Jim Bowden on Sirius XM Radio on Tuesday, Manfred wouldn't say if he felt current owner Jeffrey Loria was getting closer to a deal, though he did reiterate that he still believes the bids led by Derek Jeter and Tagg Romney are the front-runners.

"There is an amazing amount of interest actually," Manfred said, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. "People kind of focused on the Jeter group and Romney group. There are other interested buyers out there. There is by no means just those two. They are the furthest along. They've made robust offers, both of them.

"I remain of the view that one of them is probably the most likely to end up as the new owner of the team. Even if it's not one of those two, I am convinced the Marlins are going to sell."

While Manfred is optimistic a deal will be reached, baseball's top boss would prefer it to happen sooner rather than later.

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Marlins are on the hook for $115.4 million in salary this season, and that number could rise drastically in 2018 when Giancarlo Stanton's salary jumps from $14.5 million to $25 million, before it peaks at $32 million from 2023-25.

Manfred hopes the Marlins don't attempt to trade away their highest earners before a new owner can have a say in the direction of the club.

"I am hoping we get some clarity well before the trading deadline," he said. "I have no reason to believe the Marlins are going to be quote, unquote sellers in the players market at this point.

"It would be best for all concerned if we got to point where we know who the new owner would be before that happens so they have some input in that process."

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Longtime Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy announced on Twitter that he has been again diagnosed with cancer.

Remy was initially diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008 and it later returned in 2013.

Remy has been a part of Red Sox broadcasts since 1988 and recently signed a five-year extension with NESN. He is expected at Fenway Park on Monday and will speak with the media.

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New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Cincinnati Reds Swiss army knife Scooter Gennett were named the Players of the Week for their respective leagues by Major League Baseball on Monday afternoon.

Judge went a ridiculous 12-for-24 over the last week with three home runs - including a monster shot Sunday - and drove in six. He scored 10 runs and walked as often as he struck out. He's leading all three categories in the AL Triple Crown race, and strikes constant fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers.

Gennett, like Judge, hit an even .500 for the week that was. But the real reason for his inclusion is his five-hit, four-home run, 10-RBI explosion against the St. Louis Cardinals last Tuesday. He had the kind of night no other active player has experienced. The last four-homer performance came off Josh Hamilton's bat in 2012.

In addition to that superhuman night, Gennett spent time playing right field, left field, third base, and second base through the week's games.

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The Houston Astros may be the best team in baseball, but that doesn't mean the team has avoided the wear and tear of the MLB season.

With Lance McCullers hitting the 10-day disabled list on Monday with lower back discomfort - retroactive to June 9 - the team is suddenly barren in its starting rotation. As MLB.com's Brian McTaggart points out, their top four starters entering the season are all currently sidelined.

McCullers joins fellow Astros starters Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, and Charlie Morton among the walking wounded, though he isn't expected to miss much time. Otherwise, the team has been relatively healthy. According to Roster Resource's Jason Martinez, of the Astros' 11 DL stints this season, six have belonged to starting pitchers.

McCullers is coming off what may be the most dominant start of his career. He didn't allow a hit to the Kansas City Royals until the seventh inning, and struck out eight batters in the process.

He has a 2.58 ERA over 13 starts this season, striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings pitched and has cut his walks nearly in half from last year.

Joe Musgrove was himself activated from the DL on Monday and will take McCullers' spot in the rotation for the time being.

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Though progress may not be moving at the pace he'd hoped for, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred still believes the Miami Marlins will have new ownership this season.

Speaking with Craig Mish and Jim Bowden on Sirius XM Radio on Tuesday, Manfred wouldn't say if he felt current owner Jeffrey Loria was getting closer to a deal, though he did reiterate that he still believes the bids led by Derek Jeter and Tagg Romney are the front-runners.

"There is an amazing amount of interest actually," Manfred said, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. "People kind of focused on the Jeter group and Romney group. There are other interested buyers out there. There is by no means just those two. They are the furthest along. They've made robust offers, both of them.

"I remain of the view that one of them is probably the most likely to end up as the new owner of the team. Even if it's not one of those two, I am convinced the Marlins are going to sell."

While Manfred is optimistic a deal will be reached, baseball's top boss would prefer it to happen sooner rather than later.

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Marlins are on the hook for $115.4 million in salary this season, and that number could rise drastically in 2018 when Giancarlo Stanton's salary jumps from $14.5 million to $25 million, before it peaks at $32 million from 2023-25.

Manfred hopes the Marlins don't attempt to trade away their highest earners before a new owner can have a say in the direction of the club.

"I am hoping we get some clarity well before the trading deadline," he said. "I have no reason to believe the Marlins are going to be quote, unquote sellers in the players market at this point.

"It would be best for all concerned if we got to point where we know who the new owner would be before that happens so they have some input in that process."

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The Los Angeles Angels might get star outfielder Mike Trout back from the disabled list sooner than anticipated.

Trout underwent surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament May 31 and was expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, but the two-time American League MVP is hoping he can return before the All-Star break beginning July 10.

"Before the All-Star break, right at the All-Star break, depending on how it goes," Trout said Tuesday, according to Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't want to push it. I want to make sure it's right. I don't want it to be lingering the rest of the season."

Trout exited a game May 28 after suffering the thumb injury while sliding headfirst into second base. At the time, he was hitting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 14 doubles, and 10 stolen bases, while also leading MLB with 3.3 WAR.

Despite missing time with the injury, Trout currently sits second among AL outfielders in All-Star voting behind Aaron Judge.

The Angels have gone 8-6 since Trout's injury and sit in second place in the AL West.

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The Washington Nationals' Achilles' heel has famously been their bullpen.

No National League team has scored more runs than Washington, hence why it boasts a 39-25 record. That record should be higher. The team's relief corps has blown 11 saves while posting a 5.02 ERA. Once the team hits the seventh inning, all bets are off.

Patience may be wearing thin among fans - as much as it can for a first-place team - but it's also getting to the players on the offensive side of things, according to The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga.

"We feel like we have to win the game three times," an anonymous Nationals position player said.

As bad as the bullpen has been, the offense has been almost an exact polar opposite. They sit fourth in the majors in home runs (97), second in OPS (.814), second in doubles (127), and have driven in more runs (346) than any other team.

Another player has likewise grown frustrated in the notion that they simply need to score more even after the team has plated several runs by the middle innings.

"That drives us crazy," the player said. "Get some more? Come on. We've done our job."

Alarm bells are ringing. A postseason berth may be all but assured, but the team won't be able to weather the storm if the bullpen blows multiple games in October.

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If not for meddling ownership, perhaps the Washington Nationals' bullpen woes would have already been solved.

Sources with knowledge of the situation told Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post on Wednesday that the Nationals had two deals in place to add established closers this offseason: a free-agent contract with Greg Holland, and a trade with the Chicago White Sox for David Robertson. Both transactions, however, were reportedly blocked by longtime owners, the Lerner family, despite apparently being agreed upon, according to Svrluga's sources.

Had the Nationals completed either of those deals, their season - so far marred by their struggling bullpen - would likely look very different at the moment.

Holland, who missed all of 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, took a one-year, $7-million deal from the Rockies and immediately re-established himself as an All-Star closer. He leads all relievers in saves (23) and games finished (25), while owning a minuscule 5 percent home run/fly ball rate despite pitching in Denver.

Robertson, while not nearly as dominant as Holland, has rebounded after a down year in 2016 and owns a 0.86 WHIP while averaging 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings. In May, it was revealed that the apparently agreed-upon deal to send Robertson to the nation's capital in February fell through because of financials - specifically, how much of the $25 million left on his deal would have been paid by the White Sox.

The Lerner family, who bought the Nationals in 2006, have not been averse to opening their checkbooks on occasion. Since 2011, they've handed deals exceeding $100 million to Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, and Jayson Werth, while Max Scherzer got $210 million in 2015; Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters also received lucrative contracts from the club as free agents.

But, with the possible exception of one January report that suggested the Lerners would have been willing to hand Kenley Jansen an $80-million deal this winter under a "special circumstance" (Jansen ultimately returned to Los Angeles), money appears to be getting in the way of the otherwise dominant Nats owning a functional bullpen - an Achilles' heel that's hurting them now, and could cause even more pain come October.

Related: Nationals frustrated stellar offense unsupported by bullpen

This season, Washington's relief unit owns an NL-worst 5.02 ERA, while allowing a league-high 1.62 home runs per nine innings and blowing 11 save opportunities. Only one reliever - journeyman Matt Albers - has an ERA below 3.50 and a WHIP below 1.20; none - including early-season closer Koda Glover, who's now injured - has saved more than eight games individually.

General manager Mike Rizzo has apparently been scouring the market for a solution for some time, as an April report linked the Nationals to Kansas City Royals stopper Kelvin Herrera.

Besides missing on Robertson and Holland this winter, Washington also came up empty in pursuit of free agents Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, while Mark Melancon - acquired in a deadline trade last summer - left the club for a $60-million contract in San Francisco.

The Nationals have not won a playoff series in three tries since moving to Washington in 2005, while the franchise's lone series win came as the Montreal Expos in 1981. Washington, D.C., has not seen a World Series champion since the first iteration of the Senators won in 1924.

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What's the cutest season of the year? Awwtumn.

With that awful pun out of the way, the Chicago Cubs are looking to capitalize on the crisp, transitioning time of year by giving their season ticket-holders a chance to acquire a piece of Wrigley Field - specifically, the ivy leaves that surrounded the ballpark's outfield walls during the team's World Series-winning campaign.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, rather than simply throw the leaves away as they browned and fell off the walls after the campaign, the Cubs decided to sell the dead foliage for $200 apiece, authenticating each leaf with a hologram sticker.

Cubs selling dead leaves for $200. pic.twitter.com/Vk6IY0LEBB

— Chris Schieffer (@chris_schieffer) June 14, 2017
In total, the team is selling 2,016 leaves - in honor of the historical year - though fans will be limited to 10 per order.

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Ichiro Suzuki collects an infield single to move into first place on the All-Time Interleague Play hits list!!! #LetsGoFish pic.twitter.com/2az6GHMnbO

— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 14, 2017
Ichiro Suzuki's never-ending penchant for putting his bat on the ball has landed him in the record books again.

The Miami Marlins veteran recorded his 365th hit in interleague play - a tricky, dribbling infield single, in true Ichiro fashion - on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics, vaulting him past New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter all time.

Ichiro's latest hitting record comes one season after the Japanese outfielder became the 30th player in MLB history to record 3,000 hits in the majors.

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Mookie Betts could have hit for the cycle against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, but he decided to give the Boston Red Sox some additional runs instead.

The 24-year-old outfielder stepped to the plate a triple shy of the cycle in the ninth inning and hammered his second home run of the game to give his team two added runs of support in an eventual 7-3 victory.

Missing out on that feat wasn't a complete loss for Betts, though, as he instead etched his name into the franchise's record books thanks to another multi-homer game - the sixth of his short career.

Mookie Betts has already set a Red Sox career record for multi-HR games as a leadoff hitter (6). Johnny Damon held the previous record of 5.

— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) June 15, 2017
The 2016 American League MVP runner-up had gone the entire month of June without hitting a homer before Wednesday's performance. He last went yard May 30 against the Chicago White Sox.

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia was diagnosed with Grade 2 left hamstring strain Wednesday and could be out at least four weeks.

The Yankees have yet to place Sabathia, whose next scheduled start would have been Sunday, on the disabled list. He injured the hamstring pushing off the mound Tuesday.

It could be a big loss for the Yankees, who were seeing the left-hander pitch like an ace again in his last six starts (0.99 ERA).

Grade 2 hamstring strains can take four to eight weeks to fully recover. Though normally associated with runners, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said they also can be a difficult challenge for pitchers.

''It can be an issue when it's a push-off leg,'' Girardi said. ''That's the leg you're using to drive downhill and push off on.''

Girardi said the team was undecided who would fill his spot in the rotation.

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Pete Rose's final hope for a chance at the Baseball Hall of Fame has been shut down by the institution's board of directors.

Though the 76-year-old had lobbied to be allowed to at least appear on ballots despite his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball for betting on games as both a player and manager, the Hall's president, Jeff Idelson, confirmed Thursday to ESPN's William Weinbaum that the board upheld their rule that keeps out anyone ruled ineligible by MLB itself.

"After extensive discussion, a vote was taken in which the Board ratified the resolution that was passed on February 4, 1991, known today as Rule 3(E) in the BBWAA's election rules," the organization said in a statement, according to Weinbaum. "As such, anyone deemed permanently ineligible by Major League Baseball, including Pete Rose, may not be considered for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame."

Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 after an investigation into the then-Cincinnati Reds skipper culminated with a 225-page document titled "The Dowd Report" - named for investigator and special counsel to the commissioner John M. Dowd - that provided evidence Rose had bet on games as a manager, including Reds games.

Despite the ban, Rose - who was baseball's all-time hits leader with 4,256 - still had a chance at Hall of Fame eligibility until the Baseball Writers Association of America voted to permanently forbid those blacklisted by MLB from induction in 1991.

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The Oakland Athletics are parting ways with Trevor Plouffe.

With top prospect Matt Chapman called up Thursday, the club has cleared a spot on the roster by designating Plouffe for assignment, the Athletics announced.

Plouffe, a third baseman who is celebrating his 31st birthday Thursday, agreed to a one-year, $5.25-million deal with Oakland in January. He hit .214/.276/.357 with seven home runs, five doubles, and 58 strikeouts in 58 games.

The right-handed hitting Plouffe owns a career .245/.306/.416 slash line to go with 103 homers in 781 games.

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Both Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey only joined the Braves this past offseason, though the pitching duo could already be looking at an Atlanta exit.

With both players set to hit free agency following the season, the Braves will reportedly listen to offers for Garcia and Dickey ahead of the trade deadline, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Garcia was acquired by Atlanta in December in a trade with the Cardinals when they sent Chris Ellis, John Gant, and Luke Dykstra to St. Louis. The left-hander has been far and away the best pitcher on the Braves this season, crafting a 3.16 ERA in 12 starts (