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  • Cubs take 4-0 lead on Contreras HR
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 22, 2016

    CHICAGO -- Rookie catcher Willson Contreras laced a solo home run down the left field line leading off the fourth inning and the Chicago Cubs took a 4-0 lead in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on Saturday night.

    • Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw allowed back-to-back hits in the bottom of the first inning and Cubs centerfielder Dexter Fowler made it 3-0 with his second hit of the game, a line drive through the left side of the infield, in the bottom of the second.

      The Cubs have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

      Fowler led off the bottom of the first with a ground-rule double down the right field line and scored on Kris Bryant's looping line drive that bounced in front of Josh Reddick in right to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead against the Dodgers' ace.

      Anthony Rizzo lofted a two-strike fastball into the gap in left center, but Dodgers left fielder Andrew Toles dropped the sure out when he took his eye off the ball to track Bryant, who was rounding second base. With Bryant at third and Rizzo into second, Ben Zobrist's sacrifice fly brought home Bryant for the Cubs' second run.

      Kershaw got out of the first inning but threw 30 pitches to record a stressful three outs.

      Toles lined the first pitch of the game to right field for a single, but Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks had not allowed another through four innings.

  • Cubs hope Schwarber can DH if they reach World Series
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 22, 2016

    CHICAGO -- Kyle Schwarber is testing his readiness in the Arizona Fall League to potentially join the Chicago Cubs' roster in the World Series.

    • The Cubs consider Schwarber, who set a franchise record with five postseason home runs in 2015, a longshot to play for the first time since he tore knee ligaments and was placed on the 60-day disabled list on April 8.

      "Kyle, yeah, that's kind of a surprise because I -- that just came up," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before the team took batting practice at Wrigley Field before Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, and almost the same time the Cubs announced Schwarber was activated from the DL.

      Schwarber, who joined the Mesa Solar Sox officially on Saturday, has been traveling with the team and rehabbing, but medical clearance from his surgeon and Cubs' team doctors came Monday. On Wednesday night, he left the Cubs to fly to Arizona, missing the possibility of a celebration with his teammates for the opportunity to be part of the team again when the World Series begins Tuesday night in Cleveland.

      "I've been talking to him often," Maddon said. "I watch him in the weight room, training room there, running the treadmill, they're doing the ellipticals, whatever ... he's doing really well. So he comes in the dugout, I say 'man, you look really good, next spring training is right around the corner. And I'm trying to keep him pumped up about that. Then all of a sudden a couple days ago he goes for a checkup and the doctor said, 'hey, he can hit.'"

      Schwarber worked out on the field with the Cubs in Los Angeles, running figure-8 shapes on grass and making cuts to change direction.

      "That was really a surprise to me and all of us," Maddon said.

      If the Cubs finish off the NLCS, there are many decisions looming. Team president Theo Epstein was the first to hear from Schwarber after his appointment in Dallas last week and said Schwarber forced the decision by progressing "beyond what we reasonably could have expected."

      Schwarber came up as a catcher but is likely to be limited to pinch-hitting or playing designated hitter at Cleveland. The Ohio native was 4 for 5 with a home run in his first MLB start, which came at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

      "We're not ruling anything in," Epstein said Saturday night. "We're not ruling anything out."

      A rule in the AFL allows for players with no more than two years experience to be assigned a taxi squad designation. That means Schwarber will be able to play two games per day and accumulate at-bats, testing his leg and getting live at-bats -- albeit against relatively weak pitching.

      The last time Schwarber spoke publicly about his return in August he said "spring training is the focus, but I'm going to grind as hard as I can to get back."

      Maddon said the entire organization was surprised.

      "We're going to explore that," Maddon said. "It's up to us to get to the next moment in order to see if that can actually work out or not. So, we're just trying to be prudent, a little foresight, see how he's going to play in fall league and see where that takes us."

      The roster options for the Cubs could come down to sacrificing one of Maddon's cherished winning philosophies -- defense wins -- to add a big bat. Outfielder Albert Almora Jr. started in right field Saturday in place of Jason Heyward, who was batting .071 entering Game 6. Pitcher Rob Zastryzny has not appeared in a playoff game. And while Chris Coghlan can play six or seven spots on the field, including all three outfield spots, he's a career .063 batter in the playoffs.

      Maddon said the Cubs know there is "a chance" Schwarber could be ready next week. But until he's tested on the field, attaching a percentage likelihood to having him on the roster won't happen.

      "He's hit the ball well," Maddon said. "The movement kind of stuff, running and change of direction has all gone well. His arm's fine. Again, I don't know to what extent we would be able to use him or not, but right now we're just trying to explore all possibilities."

  • Blanton becoming liability in Dodgers' bullpen
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 22, 2016

    The Los Angeles Dodgers lost much more than a pivotal game on Thursday when they were defeated in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series by the Chicago Cubs. They lost one of their biggest weapons in this postseason.

    • Joe Blanton is not injured. And he won't be fatigued after the off-day on Friday. But after relying on him almost daily to get the Dodgers this far, LA manager Dave Roberts has to think very carefully about using the right-hander out of the bullpen again. He has become predictable and the Cubs know it. That's the worst thing a pitcher can be.

      On Thursday night, he came on for the sixth inning -- that early because the Dodgers don't have the pitching to go deep in games like this beyond Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill. The series was tied 2-2. The game was tied 1-1. So critical would be understating the circumstances.

      He gave up a first-pitch single on a slider to Javier Baez and, after Baez stole second, intentionally walked Jason Heyward. Next up was Addison Russell. Blanton threw a slider for a first-pitch strike and then threw another slider that Russell turned around for a game-changing two-run homer. The Cubs went on to take an 8-1 lead en route to an 8-4 win.

      "I knew what was coming," Russell said after the victory at Dodger Stadium.

      Of course he did. Blanton has a great slider -- terrific even -- but that's where he goes every time the pitch is crucial. It's gotten to the point that hitters are sitting on it because it is his best pitch.

      That's how Game 1 came unraveled for Los Angeles. That, too, was a tied game at 3-3. Ben Zobrist doubled on a changeup to start the frame. Then Blanton threw six straight sliders to get Russell to hit into a full-count groundout to third base. That's when the chess match began where Roberts saw he could get Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman out of the game. Heyward was intentionally walked and Blanton got Baez to fly out on a first-pitch slider. Then, pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan was intentionally walked to bring up Chapman's spot.

      Miguel Montero pinch hit with the bases loaded. Blanton threw him three straight sliders.

      The first one was fouled off and the second was swinging strike. The third went for a grand slam that gave the game to the Cubs. The next pitch was a Dexter Fowler homer, this time on a curveball; of course how could he throw another slider.

      Blanton and the slider? He is a one-trick pony and you can't use that in the playoffs.

      Mariano Rivera of the Yankees had one great pitch and he was probably the greatest relief pitcher in baseball history. Rivera was going to throw his cut fastball with all its life and late movement and, for season after season, he threw it and no one did anything with it. Bats were broken. Swings hit nothing. And the wins piled up.

      He was special. It's the reason he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

      Joe Blanton is a very capable pitcher who has re-invented himself as a reliever and re-sculpted his body to improve himself. He pitched in four of the five division series games and didn't give up a run. But he isn't special like Rivera. Not even close.

      Blanton alone cannot be singled out because the Dodgers bullpen that helped them oust the Nationals in the division series has been tagged pretty good in this one. The Cubs are slashing .313/.363/.554 with four homers and seven RBIs against LA relievers in the series. Only closer Kenley Jansen has stood out.

      That brings us to the final game or two at Wrigley Field, where the Dodgers arrive down 3-2 in the series and facing elimination. Given the circumstances, it is a best-case scenario for them with ace Kershaw on the mound. The last time he pitched, the Dodgers beat Chicago with his seven strong Game 2 innings and a pair of innings from Jansen. Hill is the Game 7 starter and that is as good as they could hope for if they have a chance to win the pennant on Sunday.

      But it remains to be seen if Roberts would dare go to Blanton in a pivotal moment given the way things have gone.

      "I think if you look back, he made a couple mistakes in the series and we paid for it," Roberts said. "But as far as fatigue, I think Joe feels great, feels strong, and he'll be the first to tell you that he needs to execute a pitch. So when you look at Game 6, Game 7, I'm not going to shy away from going to Joe."

      We shall see.

  • By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 22, 2016

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Washington Wizards waived guards Jarell Eddie and Casper Ware and forward Johnny O'Bryant on Friday to pare their roster to 15 players ahead of the regular-season opener next week.

    • Eddie scored three points in three appearances during the preseason.

      Ware had eight points, three assists and two rebounds while playing in one game. O'Bryant averaged 6.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in four games.

      The Wizards wrapped up their preseason on Friday night with a 119-82 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Their season opener is Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks.

  • Indians' Salazar could return for World Series
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 22, 2016

    The Cleveland Indians might be in line to receive a huge boost to their starting rotation for the World Series.

    • All-Star Danny Salazar, who has not pitched since Sept. 9 because of tightness in his right forearm, could join the rotation depending on what happens in the next 48 hours.

      According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Salazar will throw a simulated three-inning game on Saturday or Sunday. This session will come on the heels of Salazar letting loose in Toronto, where manager Terry Francona said he was pleased with the 26-year-old's progress.

      "He let it go, which is good," Francona said. "He really let it go and threw his changeup with some arm speed. So we'll see how the next one goes."

      Salazar was scheduled to miss three to four weeks with a flexor strain and the right-hander has not been on the Indians' postseason roster. But signs are pointing to him being added to face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs, and even possibly start, which Francona did not rule out.

      "If Danny pitches and he pitches healthy, and he's throwing the ball over the plate, we have a really good pitcher for however amount of innings he's built up for, which can potentially help us," Francona told

      Salazar was named to the American League All-Star team this season. He compiled an 11-6 record with a 3.87 ERA and 161 strikeouts but struggled with arm issues the second half of the season.

  • Blue Jays season-ending report: Speed, left-handed bats needed
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, October 20, 2016

    TORONTO -- The 2016 result was the same as last year's for the Toronto Blue Jays.

    • After the Texas Rangers came up punchless when it counted against them in the American League Division Series for the second year in a row, the Blue Jays lost in the American League Championship Series to the Cleveland Indians in five games.

      Last year they were eliminated in six games in the ALCS by the eventual World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals.

      If the Blue Jays are to go deep into the postseason again next year, they probably will have a slightly different look.

      They should look a little less like the team assembled by former general manager Alex Anthopoulos, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and will bear the stamp of new president Mark Shapiro and his general manager, Ross Atkins.

      The starting rotation should remain intact with Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, and Marcus Stroman with Francisco Liriano replacing R.A. Dickey.

      The makeup of the batting order depends on whether such free agents as Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders return.

      Regardless, the team figures to have a little more speed and a few more left-handed hitters than it did this past season. John Gibbons, who will return as manager, said he would like those elements to increase the team's versatility.

      "Better balance would have made a difference," Gibbons said. "I think it was too easy at times for opposing pitchers, if they're right-handed let's say, or they found their groove and never really had to adjust anything. ...A little bit more team speed (also) would go a long way."

      Shoring up the bullpen should be a major undertaking, although there was improvement after veterans Jason Grilli and Joaquin Benoit were added during the season. Their advancing ages suggest the injection of some younger, power arms might be required. There are also some potential free agents in the bullpen, such as Benoit, Brett Cecil, Scott Feldman and Gavin Floyd.

      Closer Roberto Osuna, 21, and rookie Joe Biagini, 26, were both bullpen stalwarts in 2016. Sanchez, 24, led the American League with a 3.00 earned-run average so the future of the pitching looks encouraging.

      "We've got as much good young talent in some of the arms we have as any team in baseball," Gibbons. "That bodes well for the organization for a number of years. It should anyway."

      Shapiro said the first step is setting a payroll budget and a plan for 2017.

      "I don't know how we can begin to think about who the exact players are until we have that piece done, and we'll have that done in the next few weeks," Shapiro said. "Until we have a firm payroll number, I can't answer that (if both Bautista and Encarnacion could return). Anything's possible.

      "Obviously, we have some free agents we have to deal with, but there's a tremendous pitching staff coming back and some great position players that make up a core of a team. We have to get some things done this offseason, we've got to have a good offseason, but I don't expect huge differences."

      Third baseman Josh Donaldson, the American League MVP in 2015 will be back and hopes some others are, too.

      "We would love to have everybody back," Donaldson said. "We would love to have Bats (Bautista) back. We would love to have Eddie (Encarnacion) back. These guys have been the faces of this franchise for many years now."

      Bautista did not want to discuss free agency immediately following the Blue Jays' elimination.

      "I don't want you guys to think that I'm being stubborn," he said. "I just don't think it's the right time to be talking about that. We just battled through a tough series. There's a lot of stuff in here. I don't want to make this about myself. And I don't really feel I'm in a proper state of mind to be talking about that. I know it's a possibility. We'll see what happens."

  • Dodgers push back Kershaw; Maeda to start Game 5
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, October 20, 2016

    LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers will turn to Kenta Maeda to start Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

    • Maeda (0-1), and not ace Clayton Kershaw, will get the baseball in a crucial contest of the series, which is tied at two games apiece. Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) will be at Wrigley Field this weekend.

      Maeda gets the call despite his inability to deliver so far in the postseason. Although the 28-year-rookie from Japan received a no-decision in Game 1 of the NLCS, he allowed three runs on four hits in four innings, walking three and striking out two.

      Maeda lost his other playoff start in Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, serving up four runs on five hits in three innings in his second-shortest start of the season.

      It's one reason some in the media speculated Roberts might go to Kershaw again on three days' rest.

      "Well, I think that (Thursday) isn't a deciding game," Roberts said, insisting he's sticking with Maeda.

      Roberts also said Kershaw wasn't available for Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. However, Roberts surprised many in the baseball world by bringing in Kershaw to close the series clincher and record the final two outs after closer Kenley Jansen worked the previous 2 1/3 innings.

      "It's not an elimination game," Roberts continued. "And I think the accumulation of (Kershaw's) usage over the last 10 days plays a factor in our decision. So, I think that for us thinking through it, the best thing for us is to have him pitch Game 6 and have Kenta go Thursday."

      Maeda realizes he needs to deliver.

      "I'm not going to be too careful even though I haven't been pitching well in the postseason," Maeda said of his approach for the game. "What I'm going to be really focused on is just pitching well (Thursday) and not worry too much about what I have done in the past."

      Jon Lester (1-0, 0.64), who didn't factor into the decision in Game 1 against the Dodgers, will get the nod for the Cubs. Lester allowed a run on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk in six innings in the series opener. However, manager Joe Maddon lifted him for a pinch-hitter despite Lester throwing only 77 pitches (47 strikes).

      Lester wasn't pleased with Maddon's decision initially but said he calmed down once he got in the dugout.

      "I knew it was a grind, even though the pitch count wasn't as high as it could have been with how I was throwing the ball," said Lester, who served up a pinch-hit home run to Andre Ethier in what turned out to be an 8-4 win by the Cubs. "But like I said then, I don't get paid to make decisions. I pitch as long as he tells me to pitch."

      Said Maddon, "The other day at home, he wasn't the sharpest but still gave us a strong opportunity to win that game, and we eventually did. So, I like his mound demeanor right now."

      In his last start at Dodger Stadium, Lester, who finished the regular season 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA in 32 starts, threw six scoreless innings in a 1-0 win by Los Angeles.

  • MLB roundup: Indians KO Jays: Cubs even NLCS
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, October 20, 2016

    TORONTO -- Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered, rookie Ryan Merritt allowed two hits in 4 1/3 innings, and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 Wednesday to win the American League Championship Series in five games.

    • The Indians will face the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, which opens Tuesday in Cleveland.

      Merritt was making his postseason debut and his second start in five major league appearances. The left-hander allowed no walks and no runs while striking out three before the Indians' bullpen took over.

      Cleveland relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen took care of the final 3 2/3 innings, with Allen pitching the ninth to earn his fifth save of the postseason. Miller was named MVP of the ALCS, recording 14 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings while allowing two hits, no walks and no runs.

      Cubs 10, Dodgers 2

      LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell broke out of slumps by hitting home runs, and Chicago pounded Los Angeles to even the National League Championship Series at two games apiece.

      The Cubs, who were shut out the previous two games, broken a scoreless tie with a four-run fourth inning before pulling away.

      Game 5 is Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

      Rizzo and Russell each three hits, and Rizzo drove in three runs. Rizzo was 1-for-11 in the series before Wednesday, and Russell was 0-for-9. Ben Zobrist and Dexter Fowler added two hits apiece for Chicago.

  • In NLCS Game 4, elder Lackey faces youngster Urias
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

    LOS ANGELES -- Oh, to be young again.

    • John Lackey, the 37-year-old Chicago Cubs pitcher, was asked Tuesday what it might be like for 20-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Julio Urias, Lackey's counterpart in Game 4 on Wednesday.

      "Sometimes, it's good to be young," said Lackey, who was 24 when he started Game 7 for the victorious 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels. "You don't know what you're getting into. You can just go out there and let your talent take over. And, obviously, he has a lot of that."

      Urias (1-0, 0.00 in the postseason) will become the youngest pitcher to start a playoff game when he and Lackey square off at Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers up 2-1 in the series. Urias faced the Cubs twice during the season, with mixed results.

      In his first encounter at Wrigley Field on June 2, Urias was the losing pitcher after serving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in five innings. It was only Urias' second start in the majors.

      On Aug. 27 at Dodger Stadium, Urias struck out eight, gave up six hits and walked two in six innings to capture a win.

      "Yeah, I've seen them twice, and that helps," Urias said. "It makes me a lot more comfortable, especially being that the second time was here at home. I go in with that mentality and try to give the best."

      In addition to his pitching, one of Urias' best attributes is his poise, manager Dave Roberts said.

      "Julio, as I've gotten to know him, he's just so calm and cool. And some of it plays to the youthfulness, the naivete, and just not really understanding the gravity of this moment, which is great," Roberts said. "I think that it's a baseball game, and when he's asked to take the baseball, he does it. And he's going out there focused and trying to execute pitches."

      Cubs manager Joe Maddon took some swings at Urias. Maddon said Urias is a balk waiting to happen. Much has been made of Urias' pickoff of Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, which the Dodgers won as the southpaw claimed his first playoff win.

      "When you get to see it on TV, it's pretty obvious," Maddon said. "It's not even close. It's a very basic tenet regarding what is and what is not a balk. Give him credit, man, for going through with it. That's part of the game."

      Lackey (0-0, 6.75) leads all active pitchers with 21 postseason starts. He has an 8-5 record and a 3.22 ERA in 24 playoff appearances. Lackey was 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 29 starts this season.

      Lackey has made one postseason appearance against the Dodgers, earning the victory in Game 3 of the 2014 NLDS with the St. Louis Cardinals. In that contest, Lackey gave up a run in seven innings in the Cardinals' 3-1 victory at Busch Stadium.

      Lackey has gone 6-3 with a 1.75 ERA in 12 regular-season games (11 starts). He will be facing the Dodgers for the first time this season.

  • Blue Jays still in survival mode vs. Indians
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

    TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays survived their first elimination game of the postseason on Tuesday by defeating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

    • Now they must try to do it again in Game 5 on Wednesday at Rogers Centre.

      Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has given the assignment to right-hander Marco Estrada, who took the loss in Game 1 despite pitching Toronto's only complete game of the season -- a 2-0 loss to Corey Kluber.

      The Indians will go with left-handed rookie Ryan Merritt, who will be making his postseason debut after spending most of the season at Triple-A Columbus.

      The Blue Jays' five runs Tuesday were more than they had scored in the three previous games combined (three). It helped when a home run by Josh Donaldson gave them a 1-0 lead in the third and an RBI flare single by Ezequiel Carrera in the fourth gave them a 2-0 lead.

      "You know, I liked being able to get the lead there early on in the game," Donaldson said. "We haven't been able to get a lead in this series. And I felt like it was very important for us to get out to a lead. And even if it was one run, whatever. ... In the playoffs, these games aren't going to come easy to win. They've played great defense. They've pitched well and had timely hits."

      The Indians were able to get through Tuesday without using their two best relievers, right-hander Cody Allen and left-hander Andrew Miller. Both played vital roles in the first three games of the series. They will be rested for Game 5.

      "I think that helps," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Certainly when you're down one trying to keep it at one so we have a chance, but also recognizing that if Miller and Cody pitch, that would have been four out of five pretty high-stress, high-leverage innings.

      "(I) decided to try to go a different route. Didn't work out as well as we wanted, but we do have those guys available with a day off behind it."

      Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run single and Kevin Pillar had a sacrifice fly.

      Blue Jays manager John Gibbons felt like his team approached the game like they normally would.

      "Really, everything, almost like a normal day," Gibbons said. "Obviously it's not, but it was almost like a normal regular-season game. They were nice, loose and relaxed, well aware of the circumstances. They showed up today like they always do and played a good ballgame."

      Francona was down 3-0 in the 2004 ALCS when he was managing the Boston Red Sox. They became the first major-league team to come back from a 3-0 disadvantage, beating the New York Yankees in seven games. They then went on to win the World Series.

      "I'm proud of that, obviously," Francona said before the game Tuesday. "That was a wonderful four days. I don't think the first three were that great. But it ended -- it was fun to live through that and to actually live. So I guess if people ask, I don't mind it, because like I said, I was proud of those guys. ... But this is a different time, a different team, very different circumstances."

      Merritt has pitched in four regular-season games, including one start, and is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA. In 24 starts at Columbus, he was 11-8 with a 3.70 ERA.

      "If you told me at the start of the season I was going to be pitching in the ALCS, I would've thought you were crazy," Merritt said. "It's awesome. I'm glad it's here."

      Estrada allowed two runs in eight innings in the 2-0 loss in Game 1 at Progressive Field. He allowed six hits and one walk and struck out six.

      In his regular-season start against Cleveland this season, he allowed three runs in five innings. In two career regular-season starts vs. Cleveland, he is 0-0 with a 3.75 ERA.

      "We've got to win," Estrada said. "That's basically it. I'm going to go out and do what I've basically done all year and not really think about it as an elimination game. I'll just think about it just as another game. My job is to try to go nine innings and give up zero runs. So it doesn't matter if it's the last game of the season, the first game, you want to do that every time out."

  • Garvey: Trump considered purchasing Padres
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, October 18, 2016

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump considered buying the San Diego Padres during the 1980s, former Padres first baseman Steve Garvey told the Los Angeles Times.

    • Garvey still was a player in 1986 when the team was put for sale by Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, who had purchased the club in 1974.

      Garvey said he reached out to Trump as part of his efforts to see if he could put together a group to buy the franchise.

      Garvey met with Trump, an East Coast businessman who had concerns about owning a team out West.

      "He wondered if he could take the franchise and move it back East, because he really wasn't on the West Coast at that time," Garvey said of his meeting with Trump. "He said, 'Gosh, if I had been out there already, it would be a great complement.'"

      The discussions came around the time that the United States Football League ceased operations after three seasons. Trump was the owner of the New Jersey Generals.

      Garvey said Trump told him he didn't want the Padres to be his first investment in the state of California.

      "It would have been interesting," Garvey said. "To be a Major League owner and have a presence on the West Coast would have been a great foundation for him out here."

  • Kluber returns for Game 4 as Indians look for sweep
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, October 18, 2016

    TORONTO -- Corey Kluber will start on short rest Tuesday in the hopes that he can give his team a long rest going into the World Series.

    • The Cleveland Indians will be entering Game 4 of the American League Championship Series trying to complete a four-game sweep after winning Game 3 over the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 Monday at Rogers Centre.

      By starting Tuesday, Kluber would be available for Game 7 should the Blue Jays awaken and extend the series that far. Kluber, who won Game 1 of the ALCS, will face Toronto's Aaron Sanchez.

      When Cleveland's Game 3 starter, Trevor Bauer, left after two-thirds of an inning, the Indians used six relievers to complete the final 8 1/3 innings.

      Indians left-hander Ryan Merritt, who has one career major league start and four appearances, had been listed as the tentative Game 4 starter.

      Manager Terry Francona, however, said he had little choice but to start Kluber, who is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA this postseason.

      "If we don't bring him back (Tuesday) and he pitches Game 5, we don't have a starter for Game 7," Francona said. "I mean, we have to physically have a starter. So this is the best way to do it. I mean, this is the only way to do it. There's no other way around it. We don't have another starter right now. It's not that difficult."

      Kluber is 1-3 with a 5.34 ERA in five career regular-season starts against Toronto. However, on Friday in Game 1, he held them to six hits, two walks and two runs while striking out six in 6 1/3 innings.

      Sanchez will be making his second career postseason start and the second of this postseason. His previous postseason experience was as a reliever in 2015.

      Sanchez allowed six runs on three hits and four walks in taking a no-decision against the Texas Rangers in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, a game Toronto won in 10 innings. In the 2015 postseason, he was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 1/3 innings over nine games.

      In one start against Cleveland this season, Sanchez was 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA. He is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in three career games, including two starts, against the Indians.

      "Hopefully just to keep my emotions in check," Sanchez said when asked what he learned from his ALDS start vs. the Rangers. "I've been there before, last year, but it was out of the 'pen. The roles were a little bit different."

      Blue Jays manager John Gibbons juggled his lineup Monday, moves that included putting Jose Bautista in the leadoff spot, where he had been earlier in the season, and putting Troy Tulowitzki into the No. 4 spot.

      The duo went a combined 1-for-6 with two walks in the Game 3 loss.

      Gibbons said he did not anticipate making any more such moves.

      "I may already have done that enough," Gibbons said. "No, we'll run the boys out there (Tuesday) that got us to this point. It's a pretty good group and they're due."

      The Indians insist they are not yet looking forward to the World Series.

      "We're honestly not even thinking about it too much," said second baseman Jason Kipnis, who hit the go-ahead homer in the sixth inning Monday. "And that's the best part about this. Even with the young guys on this team with not much postseason experience, after the first win versus Boston, everything slowed down for everyone, and it always feels like the next games are on the schedule, like we've been playing, like we have the whole time.

      "We know we're not ever out of it. And guys have a lot of confidence and have a lot of fun right now, and it's a good recipe to win games."

  • Maddon ponders lineup tweaks for Game 3
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 17, 2016

    One scoreless game in the playoffs against Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen will not prompt panic from deep-thinking Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

    • "Yeah, there's only so much you can possibly do when it comes to manipulating your lineup. I mean, these are the guys that got you," Maddon said Monday afternoon before the Cubs held a workout at Dodger Stadium. "We've got a bunch of All-Stars out there. So some guys are struggling, and you're right, a part of it, I think, is due to the fact that we've seen (Giants starters Madison) Bumgarner, (Jeff) Samardzija, Matty (Moore), and (Johnny) Cueto, I mean, that's not bad.

      "And then we saw Kershaw last night. There's a lot of Cy Young candidates among that group. So we haven't hit to our capabilities."

      The middle of the Cubs lineup might look different in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night, when the best-of-seven faceoff shifts from Chicago to Los Angeles.

      "You just don't make wholesale changes," Maddon said.

      In the Dodgers' 1-0 win Sunday night, Kershaw baffled the Cubs with seven shutout innings. Chicago faces left-hander Rich Hill on Tuesday.

      The Cubs are looking at alternative lineup configurations with the same personnel, particularly how to handle the middle of the lineup, with the 3-4-5 segment of the order 6-for-60 (.100) in six playoff games. Ben Zobrist has two key hits, including a double down the right field line that sparked Chicago's four-run rally in the ninth inning of NL Division Series Game 4 in San Francisco. But first baseman Anthony Rizzo in front of Zobrist and shortstop Addison Russell in the No. 5 hole are generating next to nothing offensively.

      "I have considered different thoughts. There is no question," Maddon said. "I am thinking about different things, yes. And we do need those guys to be good."

      In the 3-1 series win over San Francisco, Cubs pitchers provided a lot of punch at the plate, including a home run in Game 4 by Jake Arrieta, who starts Tuesday night. Arrieta has allowed only two hits in his past 16 innings against the Dodgers, including a no-hitter last August.

      "It's a completely different game, obviously, with being in the postseason," Arrieta said. "It's going to be a little different feel. But at the same time, for the most part, it's just about the same lineup. You try to tackle them accordingly. Use some knowledge that I have from the past to kind of help me tomorrow. But it's just another game on a big stage, and we're all prepared for it."

      Hill, 36, came up with the Cubs as a fourth-round pick in 2002, but he has bounced around the big leagues. He was traded to Los Angeles from the Oakland A's in July and combined this season was 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts. Hill had 13 strikeouts in seven total innings in the NLDS but allowed five earned runs.

      Hill was 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts with the Dodgers in the regular season.

      "If we take care of what we need to do and everybody takes care of their job and passes the baton to the next guy, I believe that the results will fall more often than not in our favor," Hill said.

      The Dodgers are expected to start a lefty-heavy lineup against Arrieta, who said pitch sequence and cloud cover with the 5 p.m. local start time might be more important than how manager Dave Roberts aligns his batting order.

      "I think the shadows have more of an effect on the offense," Arrieta said. "I really think it can be difficult to pick up spin, especially, you know, once the shadows kind of creep in between the mound and home plate.

      "So really from a pitching perspective, you want to be aggressive early because of the fact that it is a little bit more difficult to pick up some rotations and spin on pitches when the shadow's kind of in between and as it starts to creep out to the mound. So I think really it's an advantage for the pitchers early on in the game."

      Roberts said Monday that he will turn to another left-handed starter, 20-year-old Julio Arias, in Game 4.

      Urias just turned 20 in August, and he will be two weeks younger than Don Drysdale when he pitched two innings in relief for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Urias became the youngest winning pitcher in postseason history when he tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in the NLDS.

      The Dodgers have not yet determined whether Kershaw or Game 1 starter Kenta Maeda will start Game 5 on Thursday. Maeda is penciled in, Roberts allowed, before warning that the team is "open to adjusting." Kershaw started on three days' rest in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals.

      Of course, Roberts has been talked out of decisions before. On Sunday night, when he walked to the mound at Wrigley Field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh with every intention of removing Kershaw, he was turned back toward the dugout with his ace still on the mound. A loud lineout to the warning track in center field off the bat of Javier Baez allowed Roberts and Kershaw to exhale.

      "He's the best pitcher on the planet," Roberts said. "I'll take him any day."

  • Cubs' Arrieta hopes to continue success against Dodgers
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 17, 2016

    LOS ANGELES - Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers the last time he pitched at Dodger Stadium.

    • Although Arrieta isn't banking on duplicating the feat, which occurred Aug. 30, 2015, the 2015 Cy Young Award winner believes he can use it to his benefit when he and the Cubs face the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series on Tuesday.

      "You try to tackle them accordingly," Arrieta said Monday. "Use some knowledge that I have from the past to kind of help (Tuesday). But it's just another game on a big stage, and we're all prepared for it."

      Arrieta and Dodgers lefty Rich Hill will square off in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series, which is even at one game apiece. Arrieta (0-0, 3.00 ERA in the postseason) will try to tame a Dodgers' squad brimming with confidence after a 1-0 win in Game 2 and with the next three games in the City of Angels.

      However, the Dodgers will have their work cut out for them against Arrieta, who has blanked them in his last two starts, including seven scoreless innings on May 31 at Wrigley. Los Angeles, though, won that game 5-0.

      "We know he's tough," said Dodger second baseman Chase Utley, who is 0-for-13 against Arrieta. "He's got electric stuff. For every good pitcher, you try to capitalize on their mistakes. They all make mistakes, some more than others, and you have to try to be ready for those mistakes and try to take advantage of those."

      Arrieta will be on the hill for the first time since Game 3 of the NLDS on Oct. 10 against the San Francisco Giants. In that game, Arrieta allowed two runs in six innings and received a no-decision in a game the Cubs eventually lost 6-5 in 13 innings. Arrieta, though, hit a three-run homer off Giants' ace Madison Bumgarner.

      A favorable outing by Hill (0-1, 6.43), a former Cub, would be a big boost for the Dodgers.

      "For me, I go out there and give everything that I have, that's it," Hill said. "That's the bottom line. Your effort is everything."

      Hill is 0-2 in three career starts in the playoffs but has never faced the Cubs. In his last postseason start, Hill worked only 2 2/3 innings, allowed a run on three hits and received a no-decision in the Dodgers' 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals in the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS on Oct. 13.

      Hill struck out six and walked two on 55 pitches before being yanked early due to manager Dave Roberts' creativity with his bullpen. Roberts brought in closer Kenley Jansen in the seventh for 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and then ace Clayton Kershaw closed the deal by getting the final two outs.

      In Game 2 of the NLDS, Hill suffered the loss when he gave up four runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two on 55 pitches.

      Hill's other postseason defeat came when he pitched for the Cubs. In a 5-1 win by the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 3 of the 2007 NLDS, Hill gave up three runs on six hits in three innings with three strikeouts and two walks.

  • Indians' Bauer leaves Game 3 with right hand injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 17, 2016

    TORONTO -- Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer left Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night in the first inning after aggravating a right hand injury.

    • The right-hander was starting despite sustaining a cut on his right pinky finger while performing maintenance on one of his drones, and as a result, did not start Game 2.

      Bauer faced only four batters, allowing two walks and recording two outs.

      After Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki took the second walk of the inning, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to talk to plate umpire Brian Gorman who then went to the mound as did Cleveland manager Terry Francona and a trainer.

      After work was done on the finger, reliever Dan Otero replaced Bauer and retired Russell Martin on a grounder to second to end the inning.

      Bauer was seen bleeding profusely on the mound before departing.

      Cleveland held a 1-0 lead after the first inning.

  • RHP Walker among three Mariners recovering from surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 17, 2016

    The Seattle Mariners announced Monday that pitchers Taijuan Walker, Steve Cishek and Tony Zych all underwent offseason surgeries.

    • Walker's surgery was performed by Dr. Nicholas Siebert on Monday in Seattle. The arthroscopic procedure removed a bone fragment on his right ankle. He is expected to be ready for the start of spring training in 2017.

      The 24-year-old right-hander was 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA and 119 strikeouts over 25 starts in 2016.

      Cishek, 30, went under the knife of Dr. Thomas Bird last Wednesday in Nashville to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. The righty was 4-6 with a 2.81 ERA in 62 relief appearances.

      Cishek is expected to need four to six months of rehab before resuming baseball activities.

      Zych, 26, had surgery last Tuesday, performed by Dr. Stephen O'Brien in New York, for a right shoulder biceps tendon transfer. The team said the procedure did not involve the rotator cuff or capsule in the shoulder.

      The righty reliever is also expected to be ready for the start of spring training.

      Zych was 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 12 appearances in 2016, the last of which was Aug. 24. He was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma the next day.

  • Judge rejects suit to ban Indians name, logo
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, October 17, 2016

    A lawsuit to ban the Cleveland Indians from using its team name and "Chief Wahoo" logo was rejected hours before Monday's Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

    • An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled against indigenous activist Douglas Cardinal, who was seeking to block the Indians from using their team name and logo on uniforms for Game 3 of the ALCS at the Toronto Blue Jays.

      The judge did not offer a reason for his ruling, other than to note that the decision had to be abrupt due to the time circumstances. The Game is set to begin at 8:08 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre.

      Cardinal, a Canadian architect who designed the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, is a member of the Blackfoot tribe. He argued that the team name and mascot logo of Chief Wahoo are offensive and discriminatory.

      Lawyers representing Cardinal told that court that Cleveland's players should not be allowed to wear the team's regular jerseys and sought to block the team's logo from being shown during the broadcast. In addition, they asked that broadcasters used the term "the Cleveland team" instead of "Indians."

      Cleveland, which leads the best-of-seven series 2-0, released a statement prior to the ruling.

      "The Indians are focused on competing in the postseason," the team said in a short statement. "We will not comment any further on matters that distract from our pursuit on the field."

      Major League Baseball said it appreciates the concerns of those who find the name and logo offensive, but supports the Indians.

      "We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation," the league said in a statement. "Given the demands for completing the League Championship Series in a timely manner, MLB will defend Cleveland's right to use their name that has been in existence for more than 100 years."

  • Bauer's healing finger will allow him to start Game 3 of ALCS
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, October 16, 2016

    TORONTO -- Pitching has dominated the first two games of the American League Championship Series.

    • The Cleveland Indians have pitched just a little better to lead the series 2-0 over Toronto and have outscored the Blue Jays 4-1.

      "It's been the same story, good pitching on both sides," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said on Sunday before his team worked out. "A little offense on both sides. They just got the two home runs, really. And then (Francisco) Lindor has had two big hits in both games. A lot of similarities, but they've been able to plate the runs. Not many of them, but more than we have."

      There has been some mystery surrounding Cleveland's starter for Game 3 at Rogers Centre on Monday night.

      Right-hander Trevor Bauer was scheduled to start Game 2 before he suffered a 10-stitch cut on the little finger of his right hand while working on his drone.

      Josh Tomlin took his place and picked up the win Saturday when Cleveland took the game 2-1 and Bauer will now start Game 3.

      "He's been getting treatment the whole time, almost like a pitcher with a blister," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "I really don't think it's going to affect his start one way or the other, whether he gets them out or he doesn't. I don't think this is going to be a big deal."

      Bauer (0-0, 5.79 earned-run average in the postseason) will be opposing Toronto starter Marcus Stroman (0-0, 3.00 ERA).

      "It's really a non-issue," Bauer said Sunday before Cleveland had its workout. "I've been able to throw normally and stuff."

      Bauer will be making his second career postseason start. He allowed five hits, including two home runs, and three runs in 4 2/3 innings and did not factor in the decision of Game 1 in the American League Division Series, a three-game Cleveland sweep of the Boston Red Sox.

      Bauer faced Toronto twice this season, going 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA. His win came when he pitched five innings in relief July 1 in the 19-inning, 2-1 victory at Rogers Centre that extended Cleveland's winning streak to a club-record 14 games.

      He is 1-1 with a 6.27 ERA in four career games (three starts) against Toronto and is 1-1 with a 7.11 ERA in two career games at Rogers Centre.

      Stroman will be making his second postseason start this year and the fifth of his career. He is 1-0 with a 3.91 in his first four career postseason starts.

      He allowed four hits and two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles in the wild-card game.

      Stroman said he is not concerned about the struggles of the Blue Jays' hitters. "I think that's baseball, sometimes you go in spurts," he said. "Our offense is amazing, it's been amazing all year. I count on every single one of those guys to pick me up."

      Stroman is 0-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against Cleveland this season with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings. He is 0-0 with a 3.52 ERA in three career games against Cleveland, including two starts.

      The game will be at night with roof likely closed at Rogers Centre and that might help the hitting. The game Saturday was a 4 p.m. start outdoors at Progressive Field.

      In discussing how teams have more time to prepare for each postseason series than in the regular season, Francona said, "But, I also think there's other things, too, like when you start at 4:10, you're giving the pitchers a huge advantage. And I understand it. I'm not complaining about it, just the way it is. But if the sun is shining it's difficult. I mean, really tough. So you're going five or six innings where, it doesn't mean you're not going to score, but you're at a disadvantage on offense."

      Cleveland left-hander Andrew Miller needs no such advantage. He has been the pitching star of the first two games, striking out five in each of his first two appearances -- working 1 2-3 innings in Game 1 and two innings in Game 2.

      "To be honest with you, if he's on there's not a lot you can do with him," Gibbons said. "He's proved that over the last few years. We saw him a little bit with the Yankees. He's got an overpowering fastball and he's got that incredible slider. If he's throwing strikes, there's a lot of swing and misses (on the), disappearing slider."

  • Diamondbacks hire Red Sox executive Hazen as GM
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, October 16, 2016

    The Arizona Diamondbacks began remaking their front office by hiring Mike Hazen as executive vice president and general manager on Sunday.

    • Hazen had been serving as the general manager for the Boston Red Sox but did not have final say over baseball operations with Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations.

      "We feel very strongly that we have found the ideal candidate to lead our baseball operations," Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick said in a statement. "Mike's reputation throughout the game is impeccable, and his championship experience gives us great confidence in naming him to this position."

      Hazen, 40, replaces Dave Stewart, who was fired by Arizona at the end of the season along with manager Chip Hale. Hazen had been with Boston since 2006 and was on the staff of two World Series championship teams in 2007 and 2013.

  • Former Dodgers manager Lasorda hospitalized
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, October 16, 2016

    Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda has been missing the Los Angeles Dodgers' playoff games due to a hospital stay related to back and shoulder issues.

    • The 89-year-old Lasorda, a special adviser to the Dodgers, is expected to be released sometime this week.

      This is Lasorda's second hospitalization stay in the past two months. He was injured in August when he fell in Atlantic, N.J. and required 12 stitches.

      Lasorda is in his 67th year as a member of the organization. He served as manager for 20-plus years and won World Series titles in 1981 and 1988.

  • Dodgers' Kershaw warm and ready for red-hot Cubs
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, October 16, 2016

    CHICAGO -- Four hours before Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday, Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was stretching down the first base line, about 50 feet into the outfield grass. Manager Dave Roberts was beside him, on his haunches.

    • They were not counting the blades of grass.

      Ninety minutes later, a reassured Roberts announced Kershaw as his starter for Game 2 on Sunday.

      As if there was any question.

      The Cubs used Miguel Montero's pinch-hit grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning for an 8-4 victory in the first game of the NLCS, their fourth win in five postseason games.

      Now it is up to three-time Cy Young Award winner Kershaw to even the series against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks.

      Kershaw will make his second start of the postseason after helping the Dodgers into the NLCS with his first career save. He got the final two outs of a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS on Thursday.

      Starting pitchers normally throw a bullpen session three days before their next scheduled start, so in a way Kershaw was sticking with his routine when he replaced Kenley Jansen with a runner on first base and threw seven pitches to get out of the ninth inning Thursday.

      In a way.

      "Intensity might have been just a hair different, but I think I would guess just the quantity was probably pretty similar, I would say," Kershaw said drily.

      Kershaw was 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA this season, but he pitched only 149 innings because of a back injury that kept him out for about 10 weeks. The light workload may work to his advantage against a Cubs team that was second in the league in the regular season in runs (808) and on-base percentage (.343).

      "The Cubs' lineup is pretty solid, obviously," Kershaw said. "They have some guys in there that had some pretty amazing seasons, and they're the best team in baseball for a reason.

      "The one thing that stands out (offensively) is just the on-base percentages of those guys. I think that they're constantly working counts, getting into good hitters counts, getting on base. That's something that is difficult for a starting pitcher. You want to limit the damage, but at the same time you can't go for four innings, a hundred pitches. So you got to figure out how to get these guys out with quality pitches quickly. And it's not an easy task."

      Kershaw did not face the Cubs this season but is 5-3 with a 2.18 ERA against them in eighth career starts. He is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts in Wrigley Field.

      The Cubs will counter with right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who along with Cubs Game 1 starter Jon Lester is among the top candidates for the 2016 NL Cy Young award.

      Hendricks, 16-8 with a major league-leading 2.13 ERA, was knocked out of Game 2 of the NLDS when he was hit on the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Giants outfielder Angel Pagan with two outs in the fourth inning. But X-rays were negative, and what could have been a serious injury was averted.

      Hendricks gave up two runs and three hits in eight innings to beat the Dodgers 7-2 at Wrigley Field on June 2.

      "You fall back on your routine, fall back on what you know to do and the confidence that you built throughout the whole year," Hendricks said of his preparation. "And it's just like any other game. I'm going to go out there, same simple thoughts, trying to make good pitches, and hopefully my confidence can show through."

  • Baez
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, October 16, 2016

    CHICAGO -- Javier Baez might get more than 15 minutes.

    • The electric second baseman of the Chicago Cubs was a breakout star of the National League Division Series with flashy defense and double-take athleticism, and brought much more of the same Saturday night.

      Baez hit a bullet down the first base line for a double in the sixth inning and it drew one of the loudest roars of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series won 8-4 by the Cubs. On the Baez energy spectrum, it was a dud compared with his stellar showing earlier in the game.

      After a bloop that fell between second base and centerfielder Joc Pederson, Baez sprinted into second base and dived safely for a hustle double. He took third on a wild pitch and, with starting pitcher Jon Lester at the plate and squaring to bunt, Baez was caught off third. When Dodgers catcher Carlos Ruiz fired a one-hop throw to third, Baez bolted for home and swiped the run, staking Chicago to a 3-0 lead.

      It was the first steal of home in the postseason since Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers in 2010.

      "The physical side of it, he does things that are unique," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Baez, who debuted in 2014 but was a first-time regular in 2016 with 142 games played.

      Last week in Game 4 of the NLDS at San Francisco, when Baez made a most improbable play to his left, threw the ball across his body and nearly got Giants outfielder Denard Span at first base -- he was called out but replay overturned the call -- Span stood on first base smiling and tipped his helmet.

      Now, the Dodgers are getting a firsthand view of the show.

      Baez had a hunch his fun playoff run would continue Saturday.

      More than three hours before the game on his third swing of batting practice, he swung from his shoetops and parked a pitch from BP pitcher Henry Blanco seven rows into the left field bleachers. He turned slightly to his right and flashed a wink at shortstop Addison Russell, who shared the rotation in the cage.

      The 22-year-old has prodigious power and limitless energy. Oddly, Maddon was reminding him to hustle at this time last year.

      He also has the leather that led Maddon to draw comparisons with 11-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel and 10-time Gold Glove second baseman Roberto Alomar.

      "Javy plays that game right there," Maddon said. "Sometimes people might criticize the fact that he can be flashy ... that's something I would never want to coach out of him."

      Baez said he hasn't changed much in the postseason. The Dodgers failed to cool off the slick-fielding second baseman Saturday.

      "I think I've been doing the same thing I do in the regular season," he said. "It's just more people watching, and more people talking about it."

  • MLB notebook: Kershaw to start Game 2 in NLCS
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will start Sunday's Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at the Chicago Cubs.

    • Kershaw will face the Cubs three days after he wrapped up the NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals, getting the final two outs in relief in the decisive Game 5. The Dodgers also announced Saturday that left-hander Rich Hill will get the start in Game 3 when the best-of-seven series shifts to Los Angeles.

      A three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw did not face Chicago this season. He missed 2 1/2 months of the season while dealing with a back injury.

      --Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis was removed from the team's American League Championship Series roster because of a knee injury.

      Travis missed the final two games of the AL Division Series against the Texas Rangers with a bone bruise in his right knee. He aggravated the injury in the fifth inning of Friday's Game 1 at the Cleveland Indians.

      Major League Baseball approved the request to remove Travis from the roster, and the Blue Jays replaced him with Justin Smoak. Darwin Barney got the start at second base in Game 2 on Saturday.

      --Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards is continuing his recovery from an elbow injury and received a platelet-rich plasma injection on Friday.

      Richards sustained a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in May and opted for stem cell treatment instead of Tommy John surgery. The 28-year-old was examined Friday after pitching in his final instructional league game and continued healing was noted. He will take the next eight to 10 weeks off from throwing and is expected to be ready for spring training.

      Richards went 1-3 with a 2.34 ERA in six starts before being shut down in May and is 40-32 with a 3.58 ERA in 148 career games - 93 starts. The Oklahoma native had his 2014 campaign ended in August when he sustained a torn patellar tendon in his left knee but returned to make 32 starts in 2015 as the ace of the Los Angeles staff.

  • Dodgers' Kershaw to start NLCS Game 2 vs. Cubs
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will start Sunday's Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at the Chicago Cubs.

    • Kershaw will face the Cubs three days after he wrapped up the NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals, getting the final two outs in relief in the decisive Game 5.

      The Dodgers also announced Saturday that left-hander Rich Hill will get the start in Game 3 when the best-of-seven series shifts to Los Angeles.

      A three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw did not face Chicago this season. He missed 2 1/2 months of the season while dealing with a back injury.

      Kershaw said he didn't anticipate any issues after pitching on Thursday. He threw only seven pitches but acknowledged that the "intensity might have been just a hair different" than a routine bullpen session.

      The Cubs won a major league-best 103 games and dispatched San Francisco in four games in the NLDS so Kershaw knows they present a daunting challenge.

      "The Cubs' lineup is pretty solid, obviously," Kershaw said. "They have some guys in there that had some pretty amazing seasons. They are the best team in baseball for a reason.

      Hill went 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA between the Oakland Athletics and the Dodgers this season, but he was 0-3 over his last five appearances, including a pair of starts against Washington. He also didn't face the Cubs this season.

  • Blue Jays remove injured 2B Travis from ALCS roster
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis was removed from the team's American League Championship Series roster due to a knee injury.

    • Travis missed the final two games of the AL Division Series against the Texas Rangers with a bone bruise in his right knee. He aggravated the injury in the fifth inning of Friday's Game 1 at the Cleveland Indians.

      "There's enough information to suggest that the injury has changed and there is more of an injury than just the bone bruise," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said. "I don't want to get into the specifics of it yet until we get more information as the swelling gets down, as the inflammation gets out of there. I'd rather have a much clearer picture, but there was enough information to suggest that the injury was new."

      Major League Baseball approved the request to remove Travis from the roster, and the Blue Jays replaced him with Justin Smoak. Darwin Barney got the start at second base in Game 2 on Saturday.

      "We're going to move forward," Barney said. "We're going to try to do what we can to fill that big hole that Devon brings to this lineup. That guy is so diverse offensively that I don't think there's another guy on this team that can do what he does offensively, but hopefully we can go out there and play well."

      Travis, who went 1-for 12 in three games during the postseason, would not be eligible to be on the roster in the event that Toronto advances to the World Series. The 25-year-old is a career .301 hitter in 163 regular season games spread across two injury-marred campaigns.