Major League Baseball
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  • Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Gonzalez makes pitch to remain in Phillies rotation
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Behind ace left-hander Cole Hamels and resurgent veteran right-hander Aaron Harang, the Philadelphia Phillies' rotation is basically being held together by duct tape. More outings like Monday will give right-hander Severino Gonzalez a chance to prove he's more than just a patch-and-pray guy.

    • Gonzalez set a career high with eight strikeouts Monday, when he didn't factor into the decision after allowing three runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings in the Phillies' 6-3 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field.

      Gonzalez, who was making his fourth career start, had just five strikeouts in his first three starts -- and none against the Colorado Rockies last Wednesday -- but recorded his first seven outs via the strikeout on Monday.

      "His fastball is really effective and it helped him the first time through the lineup," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.

      In addition, Gonzalez didn't issue a walk for the second straight start. The 22-year-old certainly remains a work in progress, as evidenced by his 6.88 ERA, the early hook Monday and his inability thus far to complete more than five innings in a start. But he's giving the rebuilding Phillies every reason to provide him an extended opportunity to mature at the big league level.

      "He was real aggressive today," Sandberg said. "He's a young pitcher, still perfecting his secondary pitches ... he hung in there."

  • Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Mets await word on status of injured 3B Wright
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- By the end of this week, the New York Mets should know if what general manager Sandy Alderson dubbed "The Wright Situation" is going to get any better soon, or a whole lot worse.

    • Third baseman David Wright, the Mets' captain as well as their longest-tenured, most-expensive and increasingly most injury-prone player, is spending the week undergoing physical therapy in California with back and spinal specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.

      Wright went on the disabled list April 15 with a right hamstring strain but has been slowed in recent weeks by a lower back soreness that was diagnosed last week as spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal column.

      Alderson, who spoke before the Mets' 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, said Wright and the Mets have been consulting with Watkins but that Wright thought a visit to his office might hasten his recovery.

      "Our doctors all concurred that it might be a good idea to go out there and perhaps be examined directly by Dr. Watkins and physical therapy, see if there's some magic fingers," Alderson said.

      Some magical healing powers would certainly benefit Wright. Since signing an eight-year contract worth $138 million in December 2012, Wright has missed 115 of the Mets' 370 games due to hamstring, shoulder and back injuries. He missed just 103 games between his big league debut in 2004 and the end of the 2012 season.

      This latest injury is the most concerning, given that Wright's lone serious injury in his first nine seasons was a stress fracture in his lower back in 2011 and that ex-Mets star Lenny Dykstra's career was shortened by spinal stenosis. But Alderson said Monday that it's too early to know if Wright's condition will hamper him for the rest of his career.

      The Mets need to know soon, though, if Wright will be back, well, soon. The Mets have tried to get by with in-house options at third base, but Wright's replacements are hitting just .233 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 129 at-bats after rookie Danny Muno went 0-for-4 Monday.

      Wright is not the only projected starter sidelined for an extended period of time -- Alderson used the word "situation" to also describe the absence of catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who hasn't played since suffering a broken right ring finger on April 19 but is expected to return during a road trip that begins June 1.

      As for Wright's replacement, Alderson hinted there aren't many options available more than two months before the trading deadline. He didn't speak about third baseman Casey McGehee, whom the San Francisco Giants designed for assignment Sunday, but Alderson said, "There's usually a reason that they're designated for assignment" when talking about released players in general.

      "I think realistically, we have to get the job done with what we have, at least in the near-term," Alderson said.

      But Alderson may be looking beyond the near-term if the news doesn't get any better for Wright by the end of the week.

      "Honestly, until three or four days ago, we felt this was going to be a very temporary situation," Alderson said. "As we continue to have setbacks, you have to kind of reassess how to go forward. I think we're a handful of days away from hopefully knowing something that will give us a better idea at this point and a more concrete idea of when he'll be back."

  • Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Brewers RHP Peralta lands on disabled list
    By The Sports Xchange

    MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers will be without starting pitcher Wily Peralta for at least the next month after a test revealed Monday that the right-hander strained his left oblique, sending him to the disabled list for the first time in his career.

    • "I think we're probably looking at a minimum of four weeks," manager Craig Counsell said Monday afternoon.

      Peralta was 1-5 with a 4.00 ERA in nine starts this season but had thrown four shutout innings Friday night at Atlanta before leaving the game with a sore side.

      "It surprised me," Peralta said. "I didn't think it was going to be that (bad), but it's more than they expected."

      Peralta's next turn in the rotation is set for Wednesday but Counsell wasn't sure who would fill the spot. Right-hander David Goforth will join the team Tuesday, but was used as a reliever in his 16 appearances for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

      "We're still going to wait one more day," Counsell said. "There's a possibility Mike Fiers might start on short rest … or Mike Blazek."

      The Brewers did get some good news on the injury front Monday; catcher Jonathan Lucroy and shortstop Jean Segura underwent X-rays on their fractured appendages and both appear to be on-track to return in the next week.

      Segura has been out since May 14 with a broken right pinky finger but should be ready to play Friday when he's first eligible to come off the DL.

      Lucroy, meanwhile, expects to go on a short rehab assignment this weekend and be activated Monday when the Brewers open a road trip in St. Louis.

      "That's what we're shooting for," Lucroy said. "For now, I'm going to spend a few days here doing some stuff full speed then head out on a rehab assignment, maybe three or four games. That's all it was last time I was on the DL. I shouldn't need that much."

      Lucroy has been sidelined since breaking his left big toe on April 21.

  • Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Giants designate NLCS hero Ishikawa for assignment
    By The Sports Xchange

    MILWAUKEE -- A little more than six months ago, there was no bigger hero in San Francisco than Travis Ishikawa, whose home run off Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha clinched a National League pennant for the Giants.

    • But Monday, Ishikawa was in need of a new job after the Giants reinstated him from the disabled list and then designated him for assignment.

      He spent most of last season as a pinch-hitter then took over in left field down the stretch and landed a one-year, $1.1 million contract over the winter.

      A sore back left him sidelined through spring training and he began the season on the DL, eventually batting a combined .294 (20-for-68) with seven RBIs in two separate rehab stints for Class A San Jose and Triple-A Sacramento.

      But with 13 pitchers on the roster, there was little room for Ishikawa at first base or in the outfield. The Giants have lefty Brandon Belt at first base and also had two left-hander outfielders in Nori Aoki and Gregor Blanco.

      "You look at the defense Justin Maxwell has played, and he's a right-handed bat, that keeps our club a little more balanced," GM Bobby Evans said. "There isn't any player time at first base. We already have one utility infielder, so that eliminates a spot, too."

      The Giants, who designated infielder Casey McGehee for assignment Sunday, have 10 days to trade Ishikawa or assign him outright to the minor leagues, should he clear waivers.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Reds' Marshall aims for return after shoulder surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- According to Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price, it is almost a miracle that left-hander Sean Marshall is placing his retirement plans on hold.

    • After making just 31 appearances since the start of the 2013 season due to shoulder issues, Marshall underwent another surgery last week, fully anticipating to be shut down for six months, if not permanently.

      Rather than repair the capsule in his left shoulder, all the doctors needed to do was clean out scar tissue. Marshall, 32, could resume throwing in six weeks, and there is a chance he will pitch again this season.

      "That's epic," Marshall said. "The range of motion should come back quickly. It was mind-boggling. I couldn't have been more happy about the results."

      Marshall is 5-6 with a 3.27 ERA in 104 appearances for Cincinnati since joining the club in 2012, when he posted a 2.51 ERA and nine saves in 73 games for the National League Central champions.

      He has made 396 major league appearances for the Chicago Cubs and the Reds since debuting in 2006.

      Marshall's goal heading into surgery was to recover enough to throw batting practice to his son. On Monday, he was back at Great American Ball Park discussing the resurrection of his big-league career.

      "What a difference a day makes," Price said. "He had to contemplate a lot of things going through a second shoulder surgery. The reality of the situation was that it was unlikely he would return. Not impossible, but the odds were against him."

      Whether the Marshall can help the club this year remains to be seen. However, in a season largely bereft of good news, word of his potential return was a shot in the arm for Cincinnati.

      "For the last two years, it's been nothing but bad news," Marshall said. "I was on the fast track to come back, but I just couldn't get over the hump."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Astros benefit from their depth
    By The Sports Xchange

    BALTIMORE -- Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch likes the depth and versatility of his team and has not been afraid to tweak the lineup this season.

    • For the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, outfielder Colby Rasmus did not start and Hank Conger was catching instead of Jason Castro. Rasmus entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and struck out against Oliver Drake.

      Second baseman Marwin Gonzalez was still feeling the effects of colliding with Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday on Sunday. As a result, Jose Altuve started at second. Jonathan Villar was at shortstop after playing third Saturday and shortstop Sunday. The versatile Gonzalez could be back in the lineup Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Hinch.

      However, those changes were not enough in a 4-3 loss to the Orioles that snapped left-hander Dallas Keuchel's eight-game winning streak. Nonetheless, Hinch likes the current formula for trying to use all of his players.

      "If you're on this team, you're going to play," Hinch said. "The more depth you have, the better."

      Right now, Hinch has confidence in all of his players, from the starters to the bullpen. That has been one of the keys to Houston's success this season.

      "It's a long season and these guys play as hard as anybody I've been around," Hinch said. "To get a physical and mental day off is key for all of these guys."

      With each victory, expectations have continued to soar in Houston. Hinch is not surprised how the team has performed this season as they sit atop the American League West.

      "I think our guys are very focused on a day-to-day basis and trying to win," Hinch said.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Orioles hope to have Matusz for Thursday doubleheader
    By The Sports Xchange

    BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz received an eight-game suspension for using a "foreign substance," Joe Garagiola, senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for Major League Baseball, announced Monday.

    • Matusz will appeal the suspension, and Baltimore is hopeful he will be available for a doubleheader Thursday against the White Sox. Those games were postponed from April because of the riots in Baltimore.

      If the suspension is upheld, the Orioles will have to play a man down, meaning they would have to go with either six pitchers in the bullpen or three players on the bench. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was just trying to beat the Astros, rather than worrying about the implications of a possible suspension.

      "I'm more focused on getting through today, try to win a game, and see what each day brings," Showalter said. "It's completely in their hands. I don't know what they're going to do. But we have to be ready to react quickly."

      Matusz was ejected in the 12th inning of Saturday's game against the Marlins for having a foreign substance on his right arm. The suspension will not take effect until the appeal process is complete.

      He is 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 14 games.

      Dan Duquette, Orioles executive vice president, did not believe there was any ill-intent by Matusz.

      "Pitchers, they're trying to grip the ball so they can make an effective pitch," Duquette said. "I think that Brian Matusz's intent was that he wanted to grip the ball to make pitch."

      Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Will Smith got the same disciplinary action for having an illegal substance on his arm Thursday against the Atlanta Braves. Smith is also appealing his suspension.

      "Each case is different; that's why you have the appeal process," Showalter said. "To make sure it's not just some blanket punishment. You've got to start somewhere and work from there."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Blue Jays' Bautista gets cortisone shot
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who has not played in the field for more than a month, received a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder and will test it by throwing Tuesday.

    • Bautista received the shot Sunday, and told reporters Monday that the injury is more than just a strain. He said he is dealing with "inflammation inside the shoulder joint which causes an impingement, and the inflammation was just too slow to subside."

      Bautista has not played in the field since April 21 and has sat out the last two games entirely, though he expects to return to action Tuesday.

      The cortisone shot was "the least invasive but most aggressive next step," he said. The last option would be surgery.

      "If you do an exploratory surgery," he said, "it would have to be an absolute last resort because it makes no sense unless it gets to the point I can't play anymore and it would be the only way for me to get back on the field."

      Bautista is batting .215 with seven home runs and a .817 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Reds place C Mesoraco on DL
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- For six weeks, Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco was relegated to a pinch-hitting role.

    • On Monday, a hip impingement that had prevented Mesoraco from catching since mid-April finally landed the 26-year-old on the 15-day disabled list. The move is retroactive to Thursday.

      Mesoraco had made four starts, all as a designated hitter, and 13 pinch-hit appearances since April 13.

      "He's capable of hitting, but the catching drills did not go well in the sense that he came out of them with some stiffness and soreness," manager Bryan Price said. "We'd hoped that would be alleviated through his rehab, and it wasn't."

      Mesoraco is coming off an All-Star season in which he became the first Reds catcher since Hall of Famer Johnny Bench with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs.

      Replacing Mesoraco on the roster is left-handed reliever Manny Parra, who was reinstated from the DL, where he had been since April 29 with a strained neck.

      "We'd like to get him back to pitching like he did in 2013, when he was an impact left-handed pitcher in our bullpen," Price said. "He'll give us another left-handed option in some earlier-game situations, which would be a big lift for us."

      Price tried to keep Mesoraco's bat available off the bench, especially with the Reds' offense ranked 13th in the National League in batting.

      Mesoraco is hitting .178 with no homers and two RBIs in 23 games. He wasn't going to be able to catch any time soon and surgery remains possible.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Brewers RHP Peralta out 4-6 weeks
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Milwaukee Brewers placed Wily Peralta on the 15-day disabled list Monday, and the right-hander is expected to miss four to six weeks with a strained left oblique.

    • The Brewers plan to recall right-hander David Goforth from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday. The team did not announce a replacement in the rotation for Peralta's start Wednesday.

      Peralta felt discomfort in his last start, Saturday against the Atlanta Braves. He lasted just four innings, giving up one hit and walking two. That came on the heels of his worst start of the season, a five-inning stint in which he surrendered five runs on nine hits and three walks at the New York Mets.

      Peralta, 26, is 1-5 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in nine starts.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    MLB notebook: Orioles' Matusz appeals eight-game suspension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Baltimore Orioles left-handed reliever Brian Matusz was suspended eight games by Major League Baseball on Monday for having a foreign substance on his arm during Saturday's game.

    • Matusz has appealed the decision and was available to pitch for the Orioles in Monday's game against the Houston Astros.

      Matusz was ejected in the 12th inning of the Orioles' 1-0, 13-inning loss Saturday night. After Matusz retired the first two batters he faced, Marlins manager Dan Jennings came out of the dugout to speak with home plate umpire Jordan Baker. Crew chief Paul Emmel and Baker went to the mound along with Orioles manager Buck Showalter to inspect Matusz and then tossed him from the game.

      Matusz, who is 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 innings this season, was seen on television replays reaching for a forearm with his left hand between pitches.

      Matusz was the second pitcher ejected in the same week for having a foreign substance on his arm. Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith was tossed Thursday night and later suspended for eight games. Smith also appealed the suspension.

      --The Tampa Bay Rays placed first baseman James Loney on the 15-day disabled list.

      Loney suffered a fractured middle finger on his left hand Sunday against the Oakland Athletics.

      It is the second trip to the DL this season for the 31-year-old, who was out in April with a strained right oblique.

      Loney is hitting .275 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 30 games this season.

      --Milwaukee Brewers right-handed pitcher Wily Peralta was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique.

      Peralta left his Friday start after just four innings with tightness in his left side. Peralta, 26, is 1-5 with a 4.00 ERA through nine starts this season.

      To take his place on the active roster, the Brewers recalled right-handed pitcher David Goforth from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

      --Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was activated off the disabled list and made his 2014 debut with the Rangers on Monday, batting fifth and playing left field. To make room on the roster for Hamilton, the Rangers placed right-hander Neftali Feliz on the disabled list with an abscess on his right side.

      --Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes was back in the Blue Jays' lineup after being on the disabled list since April 28 with a cracked rib. Ryan Goins, who played shortstop in Reyes' absence, started at second base Monday.

      --Oakland Athletics untility man Ben Zobrist was activated after being on the disabled list with a knee injury. He is scheduled to start Tuesday's game.

      Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle, who has been sidelined with a strained left shoulder, is expected to come off the disabled list on Tuesday.

      --The Kansas City Royals placed left-hander Danny Duffy on the 15-day disabled list with left biceps tendinitis. The move is retroactive to May 17, meaning Duffy is eligible to return June 1. The Royals also sent outfielder Alex Rios on a rehab stint with Triple-A Omaha. Rios has been on the disabled list since April 14 with a fractured left hand.

      --New York Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran missed his second straight game with flu-like symptoms.

      --Colorado Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez was scratched from Monday's starting lineup due to illness.

      --The Cincinnati Reds placed catcher Devin Mesoraco on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, because of a hip injury. The team also reinstated left-hander Manny Parra from the disabled list.

      --The New York Mets recalled infielder Danny Muno from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned C Johnny Monell to the same affiliate. Muno, who started at third base Monday, went 1-for-6 in four games in April for the Mets.

      --St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay will start a rehab assignment Tuesday at Class A Peoria. Jay, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 11 with a left wrist injury, could be back with the team as soon as this weekend.

      --The Detroit Tigers called up shortstop Dixon Machado from Triple-A Toledo and he made his major league debut batting ninth in the Tigers' order.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Rays put 1B Loney on DL again
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Tampa Bay Rays placed first baseman James Loney on the 15-day disabled list on Monday.

    • Loney suffered a fractured middle finger on his left hand Sunday against the Oakland Athletics.

      It is the second trip to the DL this season for the 31-year-old, who was out in April with a strained right oblique.

      Loney is hitting .275 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 30 games this season.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    MLB roundup: Yankees rough up Royals
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Chase Headley hit a two-run home run while Brian McCann and Brett Gardner hit three-run homers during an eight-run first inning and the New York Yankees snapped a season-high six-game losing streak with a 14-1 rout of the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

    • New York saw 47 pitches in the first inning from Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (4-3) and sent 13 men to the plate, falling a triple shy of getting a cycle in the opening inning.

      The Yankees extended it to 11-0 as McCann and Garrett Jones reached to start the second before Stephen Drew hit a towering drive into the right-field seats for his fifth home run.

      Slade Heathcott hit his first major league homer in the seventh to give the Yankees a 14-1 lead.

      Rockies 5, Reds 4

      CINCINNATI -- Nolan Arenado homered and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, lifting Colorado over Cincinnati.

      The Rockies won their third straight despite playing without two of their offensive centerpieces -- right fielder Carlos Gonzalez was scratched due to illness and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was given a day off aside from a pinch-hitting appearance.

      John Axford pitched the ninth for his seventh save. Rafael Betancourt (2-1) earned the victory.

      Mets 6, Phillies 3

      NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the sixth inning and right-hander Bartolo Colon moved into a tie for the National League lead with seven wins the day after his 42nd birthday as New York beat Philadelphia.

      The Mets snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 18-6 at home.

      Flores' seventh homer of the season was the third of the game for the Mets, who also received solo shots from Lucas Duda in the third and Michael Cuddyer in the fourth.

      Orioles 4, Astros 3

      BALTIMORE -- Steve Pearce hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning and Baltimore snapped Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel's eight-game winning streak.

      It was Keuchel's first loss since Aug. 21, 2014, against the New York Yankees.

      With a 3-2 lead, Keuchel retired 11 in row before allowing a single to Delmon Young in the seventh. One pitch later, Pearce gave Baltimore the lead with a two-run shot to center. From there, the Orioles' bullpen did now allow a hit.

      Twins 7, Red Sox 2

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota scored once in the first inning then tacked on six more in the second, staking right-hander Ricky Nolasco to an early seven-run lead as Minnesota breezed by Boston.

      Nolasco allowed two runs in the third inning then settled in after that, going a season-high 7 2/3 innings and scattering seven hits. He struck out five and improved to 5-1 this season. It was the first time this season he issued no free passes.

      Minnesota broke the game open in the second, starting the inning with four consecutive hits, including RBI hits by designated hitter Eduardo Nunez and left fielder Eddie Rosario. Right fielder Torii Hunter drove in another run with an RBI groundout before the big blow: a three-run homer by third baseman Trevor Plouffe that cleared the wall in left, making it 7-0.

      Nationals 2, Cubs 1

      CHICAGO -- Catcher Wilson Ramos' sixth-inning solo home run provided Washington right-hander Tanner Roark all the margin he needed.

      Roark, a native of nearby Wilmington, Ill., earned the win in his first start of the year and fourth career appearance against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

      Washington right-handed reliever Drew Stroen allowed one baserunner as he worked the ninth for his 15th save.

      Giants 8, Brewers 4

      MILWAUKEE -- A seven-run sixth inning, fueled by a string of singles and two errors by Carlos Gomez, helped San Francisco rally to beat Milwaukee.

      Khris Davis hit solo home runs in the first and third innings to put the Brewers up 2-1. Ryan Braun gave Milwaukee a three-run lead with a two-run shot in the fifth off left-hander Tim Lincecum, who earned his fourth straight win thanks to the Giants' big sixth inning.

      The Giants loaded the bases with no outs vs. Kyle Lohse, and Gomez dropped third baseman Matt Duffy's fly ball to center field, allowing two runs to score. Hunter Pence capped the big inning with a two-run double.

      Athletics 4, Tigers 0

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jesse Hahn threw his first career complete-game shutout, limiting Detroit to just four singles, as Oakland won a third straight game for the first time this season.

      Oakland broke a scoreless game open by scoring four times in the sixth inning.

      In losing a third straight to start a seven-game road trip, Detroit advanced only one runner as far as third base and struck out five times against Hahn, who hadn't gone longer than 6 1/3 innings in his eight previous starts this year.

      Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 2 (10)

      ST. LOUIS -- Jhonny Peralta led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a homer, giving St. Louis a win over Arizona.

      Peralta hit a 1-2 pitch from reliever J.C. Ramirez over the wall in left for his seventh homer of the year and his fourth career walk-off blast.

      St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez tied a career high with eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, his second straight outing in which he has not allowed a run. Martinez gave up just five hits and walked two in a 97-pitch effort.

      Rangers 10, Indians 8

      CLEVELAND -- Texas belted three home runs and extended its winning streak to six games while ending Cleveland's six-game winning streak.

      Cleveland right-hander Shaun Marcum lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on four hits and three walks. Texas right-hander Phil Klein pitched two innings, giving up seven runs (six earned) on six hits and two walks.

      Prince Fielder went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored for Texas, and Elvis Andrus also drove in three runs. They both homered, along with Adrian Beltre. Roberto Perez hit a three-run homer for the Reds.

      Blue Jays 6, White Sox 0

      TORONTO -- Drew Hutchison pitched his second career shutout, and Justin Smoak drove in three runs as Toronto defeated Chicago.

      Smoak hit a two-run homer in the second inning and an RBI single in the eighth. Josh Donaldson added a second-inning solo home run. Chris Colabello drove in two runs with a single in a four-run first inning to help give the Blue Jays their second win a row. The White Sox lost their third in a row.

      Hutchison (4-1) held the White Sox to four hits and no walks while striking out eight.

      Pirates 4, Marlins 2

      PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton pitched seven strong innings in his first start of the season, and Francisco Cervelli and Pedro Alvarez hit home runs as Pittsburgh beat Miami.

      Morton, who underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip last September, was activated from the disabled list before the game and scattered eight hits in helping the Pirates win their fourth straight game.

      Cervelli, Alvarez, Starling Marte, Neil Walker and Jordy Mercer each had two hits for the Pirates, who beat the Marlins for the ninth time in their past 10 meetings at PNC Park and 13th time in 18 meetings overall.

      Mariners 4, Rays 1

      ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Robinson Cano hit two RBI singles, helping the Seattle top Tampa Bay.

      Cano came into Monday's game without an RBI in his last 11 games, and he was batting just .156 in his last eight games. He knocked in the game's first run in the first, then added an insurance run in the eighth for his first multi-RBI game since April 21.

      Seattle got strong pitching from left-hander Roenis Elias (2-1), who held the Rays to one run in six innings. He struck out six, walked three and lowered his season ERA to 2.56. Former Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

      Angels 4, Padres 3

      ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Albert Pujols lined a run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Los Angeles a win over San Diego.

      In the bottom of the ninth, Marc Krauss walked with one out and was replaced by pinch runner Collin Cowgill. Johnny Giovatella then hit a single between right-hander Kevin Quackenbush's legs that sent Cowgill to third base. Craig Kimbrel relieved Quackenbush and struck out Erick Aybar on a rising 99 mph fastball before walking Mike Trout intentionally.

      Pujols then lined the second pitch he saw, a 98 mph fastball, into left field to bring home Cowgill, breaking his bat in the process.

      Dodgers 6, Braves 3

      LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier, Alex Guerrero and Jimmy Rollins each homered in the eighth inning, lifting Los Angeles to a victory over Atlanta.

      All three went deep off Braves reliever Nick Masset (0-1), who was tagged for four runs and three hits in an inning.

      Dodgers left-hander Adam Liberatore (1-1) captured his first career major league win, working a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. Closer Kenley Jansen recorded his fourth save by retiring all three batters he faced after Chris Hatcher gave up a run and failed to get an out in the ninth.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Orioles LHP Matusz appeals 8-game suspension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Baltimore Orioles left-handed reliever Brian Matusz was suspended eight games by Major League Baseball on Monday for having a foreign substance on his arm during Saturday's game.

    • Matusz has appealed the decision and is available to pitch for the Orioles in Monday's game against the Houston Astros.

      Joe Garagiola Jr., the MLB senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, made the announcement.

      Matusz was ejected in the 12th inning of the Orioles' 1-0, 13-inning loss Saturday night. After Matusz retired the first two batters he faced, Marlins manager Dan Jennings came out of the dugout to speak with home plate umpire Jordan Baker. Crew chief Paul Emmel and Baker went to the mound along with Orioles manager Buck Showalter to inspect Matusz and then tossed him from the game.

      "I went out there and told the pitcher I was going to touch his right forearm," Emmel said. "That's where he was touching before he went to the ball. I detected a foreign substance, so the pitcher was ejected."

      Matusz, who is 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 innings this season, was seen on television replays reaching for a forearm with his left hand between pitches.

      Showalter and Matusz did not argue the decision.

      "We all understand the crux of the problem is gripping the ball," Showalter said after Saturday's game. "Someone may say -- I believe (Hall of Fame pitcher) Jim Palmer said today -- you alter the flight of the ball by being able to grip it better. Why do we put mud on the ball? Which I think is a pretty archaic ploy."

      Matusz was the second pitcher ejected in the same week for having a foreign substance on his arm. Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith was tossed Thursday night and later suspended for eight games. Smith also appealed the suspension.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    'Strikeout Factory' Lindgren joins Yankees' bullpen
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Jacob Lindgren conducted his first interview with the New York media Sunday as the clubhouse television was showing Southeastern Conference baseball tournament games.

    • A year ago, he was pitching and doing quite well in those games for Mississippi State. During his junior season, Lindgren was 6-1 with a 0.81 ERA in 26 relief appearances while recording 100 strikeouts.

      The New York Yankees purchased Lindgren's contract from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday and added him to their bullpen.

      "Oh, man, it's been a crazy ride," Lindgren said of the past year. "I met a lot of guys on the way up and learned a lot of things, just trying (to discover) how to be a professional. From the college game to the professional game is a little different. It's a different routine. They're playing on the weekends and we're playing every day, so you try to add on to your routine and learn different things."

      He must be a quick study, as he made a rapid ascent from being a supplemental first-round draft pick last year to being promoted to the Yankees.

      Lindgren's promotion is the quickest for a Yankees first-round pick since 2006 first-rounder Joba Chamberlain reached the majors in August 2007, touching off a new set of rules about usage and a debate about him being a starter or a reliever.

      "Them picking a reliever kind of high, I guess there's always that chance," Lindgren said. "But I kind of had to pitch my game and show them what I could do, and I guess they thought it was good enough to bring me up."

      Although the promotion officially took place before Sunday's game, Lindgren found out during batting practice Saturday night when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley told him. Miley had been on the phone with the Yankees, who were need of a bullpen arm after a 15-4 loss to the Texas Rangers that featured outfielder Garrett Jones pitching and getting the final two outs.

      New York optioned Branden Pinder to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to clear a roster spot for Lindgren.

      There are also other reasons why Lindgren is in the majors, and they relate to his numbers. He lived up to his "Strikeout Factory" nickname by fanning 29 in 22 innings this season while going 1-1 with three saves and a 1.23 ERA in Triple-A. In 46 2/3 innings minor league innings between last year and this year, he has 77 strikeouts and a 1.72 ERA.

      Lindgren also stood out to the Yankees during spring training with the movement on his pitches.

      "When you see it from my perspective, you don't really see a heavy sinker that you see with some of the other guys that sometimes you can see," manager Joe Girardi said Sunday before the Yankees' 5-2 loss to the Rangers. "But there's late movement, and you hear the catchers talk about how if you're not used to him, it's kind of uncomfortable because the ball moves so late. You saw a ton of groundballs, and you didn't see guys square the ball up on him. It was pretty impressive."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Rangers ready to welcome back Hamilton
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- The last time Josh Hamilton appeared in a game for the Rangers, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the 2012 American League wild-card playoff game, which Texas lost 5-1 to the Baltimore Orioles.

    • After two seasons with the Angels and a self-reported drug and alcohol relapse that prompted Los Angeles owner Arte Moreno to indicate he didn't want Hamilton, the 34-year-old will return to the Rangers on Monday afternoon in Cleveland.

      Hamilton missed the first seven weeks of this season while recovering from right shoulder surgery performed Feb. 4. When he does return, he will be slotted into left field, and first-year manager Jeff Banister is confident the transition will go well.

      "I trust the nature of the guys that we have it will be seamless," Banister said Sunday before the Rangers completed a sweep of the New York Yankees with a 5-2 win. "They know that he's coming. It's not like he's just going to be dropped in. It's not a trade situation or somebody that all of a sudden it just happens overnight.

      "This is somebody that they've known about, been aware of and paid attention to, so I think the transition will be fine. I trust that each one of those guys will be ready for it and handle it appropriately."

      Hamilton will be rejoining the Rangers after appearing in eight rehab games for Triple-A Round Rock. He batted .250 (7-for-28) with Round Rock and .364 (16-for-44) with a home run and six RBIs in 12 rehab games overall.

      Hamilton will be playing in his first game since Game 3 of the AL Division Series at Kansas City last Oct. 5. During the 2014 regular season, he was limited to 89 games and batted .263. The previous season, he played 151 games and batted a career-low .250.

      The Rangers acquired him from Los Angeles on April 28 after the Angels agreed to pay most of the remaining $83 million on his contract that runs through 2017.

      Adding him to the roster will create an interesting situation for Banister. Hamilton's presence could impact Delino DeShields or Leonys Martin.

      DeShields has split time starting in center field and left field. Martin has started 34 games in center field but is 12-for-60 (.200) over his past 17 games.

      Banister is leaning toward using DeShields, who has 16 hits in his last 48 at-bats (.333), in center field. However, since Hamilton won't appear in every game, there will be additional at-bats to fill.

      "I've thought about that," Banister said. "We're going to continue to have Delino engaged as long as he's playing well in as many games as we can. There are matchups that we like with Delino and matchups we like with Leonys. It might give us an opportunity to give (right fielder Shin-Soo) Choo a day.

      "(Hamilton) is a guy that we're talking about that had an injury last year that he missed time with, and we need to pay attention to him as well."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Tigers face long stretch without break
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers do not possess an imposing bench but they'll have to lean on their reserves during their seven-game road trip that begins Monday night.

    • The Tigers left for Oakland after their 10-8 loss to Houston on Sunday afternoon and will not get any days off this week. They play the A's for three games, then open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Their last day off was May 11 and they don't get another one until they return on June 1.

      Tired legs and reduced energy could be an issue with the heavy workload the regulars have already endured, compounded by some injuries. Catcher Alex Avila and designated hitter Victor Martinez are on the disabled list and shortstop Jose Iglesias missed the game Sunday with a left knee contusion suffered during Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Astros

      That means players like reserve infielders Hernan Perez and Andrew Romine, catcher Bryan Holaday and outfielder Tyler Collins could see more than just spot duty during the trip. Romine has been the most effective of that group, hitting .333 in 33 at-bats. Shortstop Dixon Machado was promoted from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday, though he may get sent right back down when the team recalls Buck Farmer to pitch Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

      "I guess you're right, just because it's a long stretch on the road," manager Brad Ausmus said of the bench playing an important role on the West Coast. "Guys will probably need a day (off), as opposed to having a scheduled off-day."

      Three regulars -- Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes -- have appeared in every game. Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez have played in 44 of the 45 games this season.

      Ausmus said it's almost become a competition between Kinsler and Cabrera as to which can go longer without a breather. It's especially surprising that Cabrera has not required a day off, given that he underwent offseason surgery to his foot and ankle and was questionable for Opening Day entering spring training.

      "I don't want to give those guys a day off," Ausmus said, while adding, "they'll get one soon."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Astros struggling 2B Altuve gets day off
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- A.J. Hinch insists Jose Altuve is not in a slump. That didn't stop the Houston Astros manager from giving Altuve a day off on Sunday.

    • Altuve, who had been the only Astro to appear in every game this season, was hitting .094 (3-for-32) in his last eight games with two runs scored, one RBI, one walk and four strikeouts. The 2014 American League batting champ has seen his average dip from .338 to .294 during that stretch.

      "It's 30 at-bats, so I don't call it a slump," Hinch said. "It's a tough league, man."

      The pint-sized Altuve is one of the league's toughest players but he has fallen into a mental rut lately, chasing more pitches than usual while trying to get back into his usual groove. In his last at-bat on Saturday, he swung at a pitch from Detroit Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque that was a foot outside and struck out.

      He took the news of his one-game benching well and will be back in the lineup at Baltimore on Monday.

      "He's not mad at me," Hinch said. "It's part of a long season. It's no secret he's been grinding mentally and physically, so this is more of a mental day off to clear his mind a little bit. He wasn't going to play 162 games, so this one makes sense."

      Hinch is hoping that Altuve will wind up playing more than 162 games, now that the team has realistic postseason aspirations.

      "The goal is to play deep into the playoffs and the mentality has to be that way, more than some accomplishment of playing every day during the regular season," Hinch said. "With the travel and him expanding the zone a little bit, guys have to have days off. He plays as hard as anybody, so a day off doesn't hurt anybody."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    OF Holliday a late scratch for Cardinals
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Matt Holliday's batting practice swings were not pain free as he was a late scratch from the St. Louis Cardinals lineup Sunday, which caused wholesale changes in the lineup.

    • Holliday was hit in the left forearm by an Edinson Volquez pitch on Saturday. Manager Mike Matheny said that's the same spot he was hit by Indians right-hander Corey Kluber on May 13.

      "The muscle kind of shut down," Matheny said. "He tried to take some BP right before the game. We didn't have a whole lot of time right there to get things switched up ourselves."

      Outfielder Jayson Heyward was already out with a hip strain.

      In the revamped lineup, shortstop Jhonny Peralta switched to DH, while Pete Kozma played shortstop. Mark Reynolds went from first base to left field. Matt Adams, who was the original DH, played first base.

      The revised lineup produced 10 hits, including four for extra bases, in a 6-1 victory over the Royals.

      Holliday's injury was described as a contusion. He received treatment on it throughout the game. Matheny said "hopefully" he would be able to play Tuesday against the Diamondbacks.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Giants part ways with struggling 3B McGehee
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- The San Francisco Giants designated struggling third baseman Casey McGehee for assignment and added Hunter Strickland, deciding that they need to go with a 13-man pitching staff and that Matt Duffy is ready to be the regular third baseman.

    • McGehee, 32, was acquired in an offseason trade with Miami but never got untracked with the Giants. In 35 games, he hit .200 (22-for-110) with three doubles, two homers and nine RBIs.

      The Giants have 10 days to trade, release or outright McGehee if he clears waivers. The latter is likely to happen, since McGehee has roughly $3.5 million remaining on his $4.8 million contract. McGehee said the decision to accept an assignment to Triple-A is not one he could make so soon after being cut loose and without consulting his family. McGehee can refuse the assignment and declare himself a free agent. Even if he leaves, he gets his remaining salary. Giants general manager Bobby Evans said, "If he opts to do that, we'll respect that and handle his decision when he makes it."

      Strickland was added to the Giants' roster as the 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader and worked two scoreless innings with three strikeouts in the first game. The Giants optioned him back to Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday night and then recalled him Sunday to take McGehee's roster spot.

      The Giants are in a stretch where they play 17 games in 16 days before their next scheduled day off June 4.

      "We're in a tough situation with all these games being played and all the pitchers being used," manager Bruce Bochy said before the Giants lost 11-2 to the Rockies. "We need to stay with 13 pitchers. And of course the way Strickland threw the ball, that's impressive. We just felt like we need him right now."

      Long reliever Yusmeiro Petit made a spot start in the second game Saturday and threw 81 pitches in six innings. Bochy said when Petit is ready to pitch, it will help stabilize the bullpen. Meanwhile, he'll be unavailable for several days.

      Duffy entered Sunday hitting .299 in 31 games with four doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs. After hitting .239/.294/.348 in April, Duffy entered Sunday hitting .353/.365/.451 in May.

      "I think he's earned his playing time, to be honest," manager Bruce Bochy said. "For right now, he'll be out there at third pretty much every day."

      After getting the news, McGehee took Duffy aside and spoke with him in a room off the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field. When McGehee was starting out with Milwaukee, he took over for veteran Bill Hall and remembered feeling bad about it.

      "I wanted to make sure 'Duff' knew that he has nothing to feel bad about," McGehee said. "He's doing his job. He's doing it real well. He forced the issue where you've got to get him on the field."

      McGehee suffered a left knee strain in the first week of the season but downplayed the injury as a reason he struggled. He hit .169 in the first month of this season after winning the National League Comeback Player of the Year with the Marlins in 2014 when he finished fourth in the NL with 177 hits while batting .287 with four homers and 76 RBIs in 160 games following a year playing in Japan.

      "The only thing I could say is I wish I would have gotten off to a little bit different start," McGehee said. "Now it's just trying to figure out what the next step is and where to go from here. I'm pretty sure yesterday wasn't the last day that I have played.

      "I still feel I have a lot left in the tank and a lot left to offer. I feel like I'm the same guy that was third or fourth in the league in hits last year. I expect to get back to that level and no matter where or when it is, I'm going to keep working to try to do that until there is nobody left that will permit it."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Rockies RHP Lyles leaves start with sprained big toe
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- Jordan Lyles left his start in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader with a sprained big left toe. It's uncertain whether he'll be ready for his next scheduled start on Friday at Philadelphia.

    • "As far as the status of his next start, we're not sure yet," manager Walt Weiss said before the Rockies beat the Giants 11-2. "There are some things that have to happen in between starts. He has to be able to throw his side (session). So those are determining factors."

      Lyles, who was walking gingerly on Sunday, said, "I just overextended my big toe, and something popped. Hopefully, I can be out there next start. I'm going to try my best like I did with my hand."

      He was hit on his pitching hand with an Albert Pujols line drive in the first inning on May 13. The hand began swelling immediately, but Lyles finished the inning before leaving the game. He was able to make his next start on schedule on May 18.

      If Lyles is unable to make his next start, David Hale would replace him. Added to the roster as the 26th man on Saturday, Hale started the second game of the doubleheader and allowed three runs, two earned, in 6 2/3 innings.

      Weiss and head trainer Keith Dugger twice visited Lyles on the mound in the fourth inning after he sprained his toe, watched him throw a few warm-up pitches and left. They came back again in the fifth after Lyles hit Joe Panik with a pitch, and this time decided to pull Lyles from the game. He was diagnosed with a sprained toe but will undergo more tests.

      "He was throwing the ball well to start but noticeably different after that," Weiss said. "It got to the point where we thought he was spinning off of it when he tried to protect his landing foot."

      Lyles held the Giants hitless for three innings. He gave up a single to start the fourth, followed by a double-play grounder but was then hit hard while yielding four straight singles and three runs.

      "It wasn't the biggest of differences, maybe a little bit hesitation," Lyles said when asked about the effects of the injury. "Maybe it was not the same, but still, I made some pitches that weren't my best -- maybe not with the same intensity or conviction as the first couple of innings."

      Hale was a candidate for the Rockies' Opening Day rotation until he strained his left oblique late in spring training and ended up starting the season on the disabled list. The Rockies acquired him from Atlanta in the offseason in a four-player trade.

      "We were excited about getting him this winter," Weiss said. "He comes from a very pitching-rich organization. We liked the weapons, the two-seamer and changeup in particular. That's why he was a guy that we targeted. We liked him this spring. From day one, we watched him throw bullpens and we're like, 'This profiles for us.'

      "He confirmed some of those feelings last night. It was a great performance and that was a tough assignment, parachuting in and performing like he did. That's encouraging."

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Goins' injury scare turns out to be false alarm
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- During the fifth inning of the Blue Jays' game against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, Toronto shortstop Ryan Goins took a bad step leaving the batter's box.

    • While Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor flipped the ball to first for the uncontested out, Goins was rolling on the ground along the first base line, not far from home plate.

      It looked as if it could be a heartbreaking moment for Goins, who has done such a superb job filling in with regular Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes out due to a cracked left rib.

      Goins eventually arose and made his way gingerly off the new artificial bog the Blue Jays play on at Rogers Centre. Goins eventually came out of the dugout for the sixth inning and stayed in the game.

      He also played Sunday and hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs as Toronto beat Seattle 8-2.

      The injury to Goins did not receive much notice. It turns out he has a trick left ankle that he turns from time to time.

      "I've done it before, like when I was a little kid, you just roll it," Goins said after Sunday's game while wearing a wrap on the ankle. "It's the worst I've ever had it. I mean, usually the pain goes away in a couple of minutes. But that pain I thought I'd done something worse. Luckily, it wasn't. I just stayed in and played and did what I could."

      Sunday's game could be Goins last at shortstop for a while. Reyes, on the disabled list since April 28, is scheduled to be activated Monday. That means Goins will slide over to play second base because regular second baseman Devon Travis is on the DL with an inflamed left shoulder.

      It is no big deal for Goins, He merely wants to play, wherever he is placed.

      "We have a guy who's making $100 million to play shortstop and he's making that money for a reason, he's a good player," said Goins, who has formed a good relationship with Reyes. "We're pretty close."

      When Travis returns, Goins will take over what manager John Gibbons refers to as a "super-utility" role that will include the outfield. Goins was used in the outfield a times during spring training with that in mind.

      Gibbons said he handled it well and his throwing arm is suited to the outfield.

      With all the bad injury news the Blue Jays have had, this one turned out well.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Slumping Cano remains positive
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- Robinson Cano is in a big-time slump.

    • Even a turn at designated hitter couldn't help the Mariners' star second baseman Sunday in Seattle's 8-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

      Cano bounced into double plays in his first two at-bats while going 0-for-4 with a strikeout as his batting average dipped to .247. He has a .290 on-base percentage and a .333 slugging percentage.

      "I'm sure he's frustrated," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He's probably a little bit embarrassed. It's only natural. The fact is, he's going to hit. He hasn't got results here, but I see better positioning at the plate. I see his hands in a better position."

      Cano is in an 0-for-12 drought, and he has not homered since April 14. That was his only lone ball of the season, in 43 games. He has 11 RBIs, 19 runs, 10 walks and 31 strikeouts. Those numbers are not why he is getting the big bucks.

      "We straightened some things out in Baltimore (Tuesday to Thursday) and thought it was better, and it continues to get better," McClendon said. "Sometimes as instructors you can take it for granted because a guy is so good that he doesn't need help, but that's not the case. In this game, we all struggle, particularly with our mechanics from time to time. The film doesn't lie. You take a look at the film. You slow it down, you analyze, you'll see your flaws and see what you are doing wrong."

      Cano said, "You're trying to figure it out every single day. You keep the same energy. I get here (to the ballpark) and do the same thing every single day. And I know one day, things are going to change around.

      "The last thing I want to do is hang my head and change my attitude. I will never do that. I will keep being the same guy. Always root for the guys and try to do my job when I get to the plate."

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Napoli power surge boosts Red Sox
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Better late than never, Mike Napoli found his swing.

    • There was no a shortage of explanations for the team-wide slump that the Boston Red Sox lugged into their weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park, but Napoli was prime culprit. The slugging first baseman was batting below .200 and failing to supply his typical power from the middle of the order.

      For that reason, there was no more positive development for the Red Sox than Napoli's outburst in three games against his former team. He went 5-for-9 with four homers, including a two-run shot in the second inning Sunday during Boston's 6-1 victory, giving the offense a jolt at exactly the right time.

      "I've been there before. I've had a slump in my career," Napoli said. "I know I'm just one swing, one at-bat away from feeling good. I kept grinding. I wasn't going to give up. I knew I was struggling, but I kept at it and worked with (hitting coach) Chili (Davis), got some good info from Pee-Wee (second baseman Dustin Pedroia), and everything has been going good since then."

      Indeed, Napoli credits his turnaround to a conversation with Pedroia on the Red Sox's flight home from a recent trip to Seattle. Pedroia was watching video from last season and noticed Napoli's hands were staying back longer.

      Napoli made the adjustment in batting practice, and over the past six games, he is 9-for-21 (.429) with five homers and 10 RBIs.

      However, there might be another secret to Napoli's success. Before Thursday night's game against the Rangers, Napoli met a 9-year-old who was visiting Fenway Park and asked the boy to sign his bat. The child wrote his name in red ink on the barrel.

      "Everyone is always asking me for my autograph. I think it's cool to go up to the kids and go, 'Hey, let me get your autograph,'" Napoli said. "They love that. They write their name on the bat. It's pretty cool. The first home run I hit (Friday) actually hit where he signed it. It was crazy. I kissed it (for luck) where he signed it."

      Whatever works. If Napoli keeps producing, he happily will ask every kid in Boston for an autograph.

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Hard-throwing Bedrosian's rejoins Angels' bullpen
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Cam Bedrosian will try to bring the Los Angeles Angels' bullpen up to speed.

    • With the Angels lacking a hard-throwing reliever and right-hander Mike Morin going on the disabled list, Bedrosian was recalled Sunday from Triple-A Salt Lake City, where he had a 3.15 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 20 innings.

      "He definitely gives you a different look," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But overall, you're evaluating pitchers just on effectiveness. There are some guys who throw hard who just aren't effective."

      Bedrosian, whose father Steve was a Cy Young Award-winning closer, has posted an average fastball velocity of 94.3 mph in the big leagues. According to MLB.com, the Angels don't have a reliever who averages better than 90 mph.

      However, Bedrosian struggled in the majors last season, giving up 17 runs (14 earned) on 23 hits and 12 walks in 19 1/3 innings for the Angels.

      "A couple outings last year he really opened some eyes where you say, 'He's making improvements,' and then all of a sudden you come out there and just see a kid who needed to work on some stuff," Scioscia said. "I think the consistency is certainly better with his breaking ball, but we'll see how he reacts when he's out here in a major league game."

      Bedrosian's first game back with the Angels was unimpressive. He faced five batters Sunday and allowed three hits and four runs while recording one out in the Angels' 6-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Including two scoreless appearances for the Angels earlier this season, Bedrosian has an 8.10 ERA.