Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Yankees get DH Rodriguez back
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    The New York Yankees activated designated hitter Alex Rodriguez from the 15-day disabled list before Thursday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium.

    • Rodriguez, who was batting fifth in the lineup, had been on a minor league rehab assignment while rehabbing from a hamstring injury. He hit a home run Wednesday night for Trenton and was 3-for-6 in two games with the Thunder.

      In other moves, the Yankees placed left-hander Chasen Shreve on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder and optioned infielder Rob Refsnyder to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The team also signed left-hander Richard Bleier to a major league contract and elevated him to the 25-man roster from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

      Shrove, who experienced recent shoulder soreness, has a 1-1 record with a 5.19 ERA in 19 outings this year. He worked the eighth inning in the Yankees' 8-4 loss to Toronto on Wednesday night, giving up two homers and three runs.

      Refsnyder played in one game was with the Yankees and had a two-run double last Saturday in Oakland against the Athletics.

      Bleier reached the major leagues for the first time in a ninth-year professional career. He is 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA this season in six games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

  • Cardinals place 3B Carpenter on paternity list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter was placed on the paternity list and the team recalled Greg Garcia from Triple-A Memphis

    • Carpenter and his wife are expecting their first child. He can be replaced on the roster for up to three days.

      Carpenter, 30, is batting .250 with nine home runs, 11 doubles and 32 RBIs.

      Garcia, 26, is a utility infielder and was on the Opening Day roster. He appeared in 10 games before being optioned to Memphis on April 17. The left-handed hitting Garcia batted .600 (6-for-10) with a home run and two RBIs.

      He was batting .269 (28-for-104) with eight RBIs in 30 games at Memphis.

  • Urias gets call from Dodgers; agent Boras involved
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias, one of baseball's top prospects, will be in the big leagues Friday.

    • The 19-year-old Urias – ranked the No. 2 overall prospect according to – more than earned the promotion with his production for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, where he is 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 41 innings.

      Urias, a starter by trade, would be the first 19-year-old to start a game since the Mariners handed Felix Hernandez the ball for his first career start in 2005. Urias is expected to start Friday night against the New York Mets.

      Urias follows in the footsteps of fellow left-hander and Mexico native Fernando Valenzuela, who began his career with the Dodgers in the bullpen in 1980 before he was named Rookie of the Year and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1981.

      The Dodgers kept Arias on a hard innings limit last season at age 18, when he maxed out at 80 innings pitched. In part, Los Angeles curbed his use because of non-invasive cosmetic surgery to remove a benign mass near his left eye.

      Urias turns 20 in August and already his agent, Scott Boras, has been outspoken about overuse.

      Boras and the Mets had a public flap over Matt Harvey's innings limit last season but the super-agent told the Los Angeles Times the Dodgers and Urias' camp are "aligned" in how to best use him.

      "We understand we have a great young talent," he said.

  • Dodgers manager Roberts loses patience with Puig
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    LOS ANGELES -- When he took the job as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts had to figure this moment would eventually come.

    • Yasiel Puig's four-year career has been littered with moments that tested the patience, tolerance and authority of his manager. Tuesday night, it happened for the first time under Roberts.

      Puig drove a ball off the right-field wall in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds. Thinking it was going to clear the fence, Puig stood and admired the drive from a spot very near the batter's box. When the ball did not carry over the fence, Puig was left with a single instead of the extra-base hit Roberts thought he should have had.

      Roberts pulled Puig from the game at the end of that inning and could be seen scolding him in the dugout.

      On Wednesday, Puig was not in the Dodgers' starting lineup. Roberts said it was a coincidence and "definitely not punitive" for the lapse the previous night. Puig did enter the game as a defensive sub in the final two innings and struck out in his only at-bat.

      "I try to treat every player the same," Roberts said of the benching Tuesday night. "If it were any other player, I would make that same decision.

      "We're still learning one another. But I do believe the buy-in, the care for his teammates is getting better each day."

      Asked about how he would handle the Dodgers' problem child when he was hired as manager, Roberts said he would give Puig "a clean slate" in the new relationship. He maintained that Puig's previous track record did not play into his decision to bench him this time.

      "Obviously, I've heard about the history. I've seen some of it," Roberts said. "That incident, I dealt with it the best I felt for the ballclub. It's not a cumulative thing. It's the same thing for everyone. There's expectations on how we play the game and if they're not followed then there's consequences."

  • Newcomers spark Mariners' hot start
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    SEATTLE -- No one was giving a standing ovation over the offseason moves made by new Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto in his first year with the franchise, as the former Los Angeles Angels executive unloaded some of the Mariners' top young players and resisted the urge to bring in high-priced free agents for a Plan B approach.

    • Names such as Leonys Martin, Adam Lind, Nathan Karns, Wade Miley, Norichika Aoki, Chris Iannetta and Steve Cishek hardly moved the needle as the Mariners tried to regain the trust of their dwindling fan base.

      So far, so good for the Dipoto era.

      Martin and Karns are on pace to have career years, while Lind, Miley, Aoki, Iannetta and Cishek have all been instrumental in Seattle's turnaround.

      Lind was the latest newcomer to turn in a big game with a two-homer effort Wednesday night. Lind finished with four hits and six RBIs in the Mariners' 13-3 rout of the Oakland A's.

      One night earlier, Martin has was the star. The 28-year-old Cuban hit his ninth home run of the season, a career high, with a walk-off shot.

      "For me, it's the best feeling I've had in baseball," Martin said after his two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth beat Oakland 6-5.

      Martin was at the other end of that spectrum last year, when he struggled through an injury-plagued season with the Texas Rangers that left him with a .219 batting average and a ticket out of town.

      The Mariners dealt outfielder James Jones and veteran reliever Tom Wilhelmsen to Texas to get Martin, whom they acquired mostly for his defense. Martin has proven to have a huge bat as well so far, and he is making a significant difference to the Mariners' lineup.

      The key to Seattle's offseason was building a roster that is providing different heroes almost every night. Lind was the latest to contribute to the cause.

      "It was a good night for everybody," he said. "A lot of smiles. We'll enjoy the day off (Thursday) and come back ready for a game Friday."

  • Reds pitching staff could get some help soon
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    LOS ANGELES -- When you've lost 10 games in a row and might be on your way to a 100-loss season, you take your bright spots where you can find them.

    • The Cincinnati Reds promoted right-hander Daniel Wright to make his major-league debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday night. He took the loss but pitched into the sixth, retiring nine of 10 batters at one point and showing manager Bryan Price enough to earn another starting assignment.

      "I don't see any reason for him to not go out and pitch again," Price said. "He threw the ball over the plate for the most part. I was impressed with how he handled himself."

      The Reds might have some more options in the near future. Rookie Jon Moscot is scheduled to make another rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. It will be his third start, working his way back from shoulder discomfort that sidelined him after three April starts with the Reds. Moscot was 0-2 with a 4.02 ERA in those big-league starts.

      "That will give us another chance to evaluate where he is," Price said, non-committal about whether Moscot will be ready to return after Thursday's test.

      Farther down the road is righty Anthony DeSclafani. He made his first rehab start Wednesday and gave up three runs in three innings for Louisville.

      DeSclafani is returning from an oblique injury that has delayed his start to the 2016 season. He threw 37 pitches on Wednesday and is expected to make at least two more rehab starts.

  • A's bullpen is collapsing under heavy workload
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    SEATTLE -- The Oakland Athletics' continual search for starting pitching turned toward another possibility Wednesday, when rookie Zach Neal provided more questions than answers.

    • In his first major league start, Neal stepped in for injured Sonny Gray and didn't look like the long-term solution. The 27-year-old rookie got tagged for eight hits and seven runs in four innings.

      Manager Bob Melvin said he considered taking Neal out during the six-run third inning, but the A's had used seven pitchers the previous night and couldn't afford to burn too many arms.

      "You can't just take a guy out and keep using the bullpen," Melvin said. "Sometimes a guy's got to figure it out. ... It was nice (Neal) was able to give us four (innings)."

      The bullpen didn't provide a whole lot of relief, as Seattle ended up posting a season-high run total in the 13-3 rout. It marked the fourth time this month that Oakland allowed 13 or more runs in a game.

      Lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski allowed one run in two-thirds of an inning, and right-hander Andrew Triggs struggled through two innings, giving up six hits and five runs.

      With Gray on the disabled list and a rotation that has only one established veteran, Rich Hill, the A's probably can't expect to get too many inning-eating starts anytime soon. Gray is one of five starting pitchers currently on the team's DL, and the bullpen is logging far too many innings to hold up. Oakland's relievers showed signs of fatigue over the final two games of the Seattle series, allowing 10 runs on 13 hits over 8 1/3 innings in back-to-back losses.

      The one constant has been Hill, who threw eight shutout innings in the series opener and continues to do his part on a hobbled rotation.

      "Every game (Hill) is on the mound, we have a great feeling it's a game we're going to win," Melvin said after the A's snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-0 win Monday. "He's showing guys that even when things aren't going well, he's fighting the fight."

  • Giants' confidence in Tomlinson rewarded
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    SAN FRANCISCO -- When Angel Pagan had to go on the disabled list Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants not only summoned Jarrett Parker from Triple-A Sacramento but also thrust him immediately into the starting lineup.

    • They had no choice.

      The Giants have been carrying only four outfielders on their active roster, even with Hunter Pence not having been able to do anything except pinch hit since Friday because of a hamstring issue.

      It demonstrates the confidence manager Bruce Bochy has in career infielder Kelby Tomlinson.

      Tomlinson was a surprisingly effective long-term fill-in for injured Joe Panik at second base last season. He was so good, in fact, he was told to work on his outfield skills over the winter to maximize his playing opportunities once Panik returned for 2016.

      Tomlinson put those skills to good use in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the San Diego Padres, making three catches in left field, including a shoestringer to deny Matt Kemp.

      His most impressive play involved his arm. He gunned down Yangervis Solarte trying to score from second base on a first-inning single with an on-the-fly strike to catcher Trevor Brown.

      Tomlinson added a double and an RBI single, giving him 17 hits in his last 35 at-bats (.486).

      The start was his 15th of the season, two of which have come in left field. The others have been at second base (nine), shortstop (three) and third base (one).

  • Padres' Kemp has forgettable series in San Francisco
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    SAN FRANCISCO -- San Diego Padres slugger Matt Kemp has had more than his fair share of success at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

    • Despite getting three hits in the three-game series against the San Francisco Giants that ended Wednesday, nothing about his most recent trip to the ballpark by the bay will be added to that list.

      It began innocently enough Monday night, when Kemp was following his coach's instructions to play deep with two outs and a runner at first base in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 0-0 game.

      Kemp lumbered in and couldn't get to Hunter Pence's high fly ball to short right field.

      But instead of playing it safe and taking the ball on a hop, which would have held baserunner Brandon Belt at third base, Kemp went for the inning-ending catch and came up short, with the ball bouncing far enough away to allow Belt to score easily.

      To his credit, Kemp took the blame for the loss afterward.

      The veteran offered no such apologies Tuesday night when he was involved in two key plays in an 8-2 loss to the Giants that was much closer than the score would indicate.

      First, he stood and admired a first-inning blast off the left-field fence, then got thrown out trying to make it to second base.

      Then, with the Padres trailing just 3-1 in the eighth inning, Kemp hit a shot to right-center field that should have been a potential rally-starting double. Except that Kemp unwisely decided to try to make it to third base with no one out, and was again gunned down, with replay being used to correctly reverse an initial safe call.

      Padres manager Andy Green was at a loss for words to explain the poor decision afterward, but Kemp wasn't. He took the opportunity to complain about the replay system after the game.

      Talk about a guy who just doesn't get it.

  • Red Sox' Pedroia leaves with hamstring tightness
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia left Wednesday night's game against the Colorado Rockies with right hamstring tightness.

    • Pedroia came out after doubling to left in the fifth inning. Marco Hernandez entered as a pinch runner.

      The team said the decision to remove Pedroia was precautionary.

      Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan also departed from the game an inning earlier with an undisclosed illness. Hanigan had a rough night behind the plate, being charged with four passed balls while also chasing a pair of wild pitches from starting pitcher Steven Wright.

      Christian Vazquez replaced Hanigan, pinch hitting for him in the fourth.

      Pedroia was 1-for-3 and Hanigan was 1-for-1, singling to center in the third after his drive down the right-field line was originally ruled a home run but changed to a foul ball after a replay challenge.

  • Sox's Sale takes blame for rare rough outing
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    CHICAGO -- Chris Sale's uncharacteristically rocky outing against the Cleveland Indians this week hardly diminishes a superlative season to date.

    • The White Sox left-hander (9-1, 2.26 ERA) suffered his first loss of the season on Tuesday after allowing six runs on seven hits, one home run and four walks over 3 1/3 innings pitched in a 6-2 Chicago loss.

      But even as post-game analysis commenced, Sale was already looking ahead to his next start on Sunday, noting some changes in performance that he detected while viewing post-game video.

      "I ran into a buzzsaw, just had a bad night," he said. "I'm usually not a big fan of this, but after all this watching video and figuring out some things I saw some things that I was doing. I just have to tighten up and move on.

      "We didn't lose, I lost," he said. "Hopefully we can build on that and be better tomorrow."

      Chicago catcher Alex Avila said shared the blame for the outing and said Sale's one poor effort is but one bump in the greater scheme of a season.

      "He's 9-1 now, he's still pretty good," Avila said.

      Sale's six earned runs were the most allowed and innings pitched were his least since Sept. 13, 2015, vs. Minnesota. His streak of winning nine consecutive starts to open a season was tied for the eighth-longest in major league history, and the longest since Andy Hawkins in 1985 (10).

      Sale gets a chance to bounce back on Sunday in a series finale at Kansas City.

  • Key Angels pitchers expected back soon
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Help is on the way for the battered Los Angeles Angels rotation.

    • It may not have looked like it in Wednesday's 15-9 loss to Texas, with Hector Santiago lasting less than three innings for a second consecutive start -- although his previous early exit was an ejection.

      But the good news is that C.J. Wilson (shoulder) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday. And Tyler Skaggs (elbow, biceps) was slated to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and could pitch in the minors by the weekend.

      Now that the Angels' offense has caught fire after an anemic start, the injury-plagued rotation is starting to get healthy.

      On Tuesday, recent acquisition Jhoulys Chacin turned in his second quality start in three outings.

      Monday, it was Nick Tropeano allowing just four hits and no runs over 6 2/3 innings.

      The Angels are sitting at 21-27 after dropping the series in Texas, two games to one, but they showed signs of life.

      Wednesday's loss, in which the Rangers pounded out 18 hits, wasn't pretty, but the season is a marathon. As the starting rotation gets healthier and, in turn, more consistent, the Angels have reason to be optimistic about the next legs of the season-long race.

  • Napoli providing veteran presence for Indians
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    CHICAGO -- Mike Napoli's slide into third base this week against the Chicago White Sox was anything but artful.

    • The Cleveland Indians first baseman legged out his first triple since April 2015 in Tuesday's 6-2 victory with a head-first slide, elevated legs and comic relief for his teammates.

      "That looked like a car accident," said Indians manager Terry Francona,

      Extra hustle by 34-year-old veteran -- off Chicago ace Chris Sale no less -- served to also emphasize Napoli's broader contributions as he helps the Indians chase the White Sox for the AL Central lead.

      Through 41 games he was hitting .230, co-leads in homers (with Carlos Santana) with eight and tops the team with 30 RBI. He also has a team-high 67 strikeouts.

      Against the White Sox, Napoli is 8-for-24 (.333) with a double, triple, three homers eight RBI and six runs scored in his last seven games against Chicago.

      "He's been an unbelievable addition to our ball club," Francona said prior to Wednesday's series finale with Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. "Take away the offense or the home runs (and) his mentality has been so welcome and so refreshing and I love it.

      "He was here early because he needs to prepare -- he has some mileage on that body -- so for him to be ready to play like he wants to, he gets ready. His routine is flawless."

      Napoli, signed to a one-year Indians deal in January, is a veteran of five big league clubs.

  • Excitement builds for return of Rangers' Darvish
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- The buzz is building for Saturday's return of Yu Darvish in a Texas Rangers uniform.

    • Ever since the Rangers announced Darvish as the starter for Saturday's game, against Pittsburgh's Juan Nicasio, tickets for the game started selling fast.

      The return of Darvish means more than just one game, however.

      The Rangers managed to win the American League West last season without getting one inning from Darvish, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Just imagine what they can do with him on the mound this season, even if it's almost June.

      And this time, Darvish will be paired with Cole Hamels at the top of the starting rotation. The Rangers, sensing a chance to make the postseason, acquired Hamels in midseason last year.

      The Rangers have spent much of the young season in either first place in the division, or in second place on the heels of Seattle.

      The addition of Darvish could be what puts them over the top, just as trading for Hamels last season gave them a boost in chasing down the Astros.

      The pitching situation has already improved with Sam Dyson looking brilliant since taking over the closer's role, backed by formidable set-up men Matt Bush and Jake Diekman.

      With Darvish back in the rotation, the Rangers now have two aces in the hole and reason to believe they will be holding all the cards at the end.

  • Cardinals need Grichuk to stay hot
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    ST. LOUIS -- As the St. Louis Cardinals hit the road for a four-game series in Washington that starts Thursday night, they will hope for a better showing than the home sweep they absorbed at the end of April.

    • If Randal Grichuk keeps swinging the bat as he did in a just-completed series with the Chicago Cubs, the Cardinals' explosive offense should compete better with the Nationals' vaunted starting pitching than it did four weeks ago.

      Grichuk drove in runs in all three games of the series, homering to win the first game and popping a solo shot off Jake Arrieta in the second inning on Wednesday. Most impressive was that Grichuk wasn't in pull mode, belting both long balls to right-center along with his RBI single in his second at-bat off Arrieta.

      Grichuk said he has been doing a better job of maintaining his base lately, which allows him to stay on the ball longer and hit it with authority to right-center. Should he keep doing that, defenses who are playing him as an extreme pull hitter may have to rethink that notion.

      "I felt really comfortable up there," he said. "I didn't feel overmatched at all. I felt like I had some really good at-bats and good swings."

      Should Grichuk continue to use the whole field as he did in this series, his .241 batting average -- and perhaps his place in the order -- should continue to rise as the season progresses.

  • Tigers cool now that Cabrera's hot
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    DETROIT -- Things are pretty cool now with the Detroit Tigers -- largely because Miguel Cabrera got hot.

    • Funny how it works that way. Slugger unloads extra-base hits, team wins game.

      Detroit had won eight of nine games entering play Wednesday and during that stretch Cabrera batted a sizzling .500 (17-for-34).

      He went 1-for-5, a single, Wednesday as Detroit lost to Philadelphia, 8-5, for only its second defeat in 10 games.

      There's more to Detroit's hot stretch, such as getting better starts from rotation members which decreases the workload on relievers and increases their effectiveness. And other players in the lineup getting more hits.

      But Cabrera is the engine that drives the Tigers' powerboat.

      While Detroit was losing 11 out of 12, just prior to the winning stretch, Cabrera hit .317. But with just one double, one home run, six RBIs and four runs scored. He accounted for nine runs (RBI plus runs scored minus home runs) in those 12 games.

      In the nine-game stretch, Cabrera hit six home runs, drove in 12, scored 10 and added two doubles plus a triple. He accounted for 16 runs in nine games.

      "Miguel looks as good as I've ever seen him," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said near the end of that nine-game run. "He's driving the ball as well as I've ever seen him drive it."

      The four-time batting champion had sagged to .206 on April 24 and "Cabrera is through" was raging throughout sports talk radio and social media.

      He isn't going to hit .500 all the time and the Tigers aren't going to go 8-1 every nine games.

      The overlap isn't perfect, but there's no doubt Detroit's fortunes are dragged along by Cabrera's bat.

  • Cubs rediscover their offense
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    ST. LOUIS -- What passes for a slump for this year's Chicago Cubs -- six losses in eight games, three by a run and three by two runs -- appears to be over.

    • And as they head back to Wrigley Field for a 10-game homestand that starts Friday with a visit from Philadelphia, the Cubs can do so comfortable in the knowledge that their explosive offense was clicking on all cylinders during the last two games of their series in St. Louis.

      Chicago put up 21 runs in 12-3 and 9-8 victories, doing everything a team could do. It ran up big pitch counts, took their walks, put the ball in play with men on base and hit for power.

      "The first two stops on the road trip, in Milwaukee and San Francisco, we had a hard time, save for the one game in San Francisco," manager Joe Maddon said, referring to an 8-1 win Friday night over the Giants. "So the last two games were good to see."

      Even with some struggles, the Cubs are still averaging 5.7 runs per game and more than four walks per game. It's hard to imagine those numbers dropping much, if at all, now that summer and the home run months are approaching.

      On days and nights when the wind is blowing out at Wrigley, this offense could be downright frightening.

  • Howard's time with Phillies running out
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    DETROIT -- It's hard to watch a great and respected player get humbled.

    • Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard drilled Detroit Tigers veteran starter Justin Verlander's fastball into right for a single leading off the second inning Tuesday night -- but it was only his fifth hit since April 30.

      He got another single Wednesday, but still is only 6-for-61 in that time. He left Detroit on Wednesday with a .160 batting average.

      After each of the two hits, however, Howard again looked badly out of sync his following at-bats.

      As hard as it is for Phillies' fans and the Philadelphia organization to view the struggles of a popular and well-liked individual, Howard's struggles run up against a long-time reality of baseball -- it's production-oriented.

      Philadelphia's three-game inter-league series in Detroit gave manager Pete Mackanin a short window to take a peek into a possible alternative if Howard continues to struggle.

      Mackanin put Tommy Joseph at first base for the three games and utilized Howard as his designated hitter.

      Joseph was brought up from the minors May 13 and has hit well in limited action. He had a single plus a sacrifice fly and went to Chicago with a .296 average for the nine games in which he has played.

      Joseph was signed by San Francisco as a catcher after he was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft out of high school. Philadelphia got him as part of the deal for Hunter Pence in 2012 and last year he was taken from behind the plate and converted into a first baseman.

      "He looks like he moves around pretty well," Mackanin said Tuesday. "He's made some real nice plays. He looks relatively comfortable over there. He'll be tested as we go along. Bunt plays, slow hit balls, various type of plays. But so far so good."

      Joseph had three lineouts and a ground single to left Tuesday, prompting Mackanin to note that he "hit the ball on the nose four times."

      The manager also switched Joseph into Howard's cleanup spot in the batting order. In some quarters the praise of the newcomer and making him the cleanup hitter could be taken as a sign that Joseph will get more playing time at Howard's expense.

      Still, it's tough to bury a player who hit 33 home runs and drove in 116 runs in 2011 -- the same year he tore up his Achilles Tendon in post-season play. And it's to know whether that injury has lingered up to now.

      Howard hit 23 home runs and drove in 95 runs as recently as 2014.

      And it should be noted that Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera, plagued by injury effects the last two seasons, was hitting just .206 as recently as April 24. Cabrera left Wednesday hitting .322.

      Reports the Phillies have been trying to get rid of Howard have been around for quite a while. He gets $25 million this year but his contract runs out after the season and his 2017 option can be bought out for $10 million.

      But there's that reality.

      Detroit brought in lefty Justin Wilson to face the left-handed hitting Howard in the seventh inning Monday night.

      Wilson, Howard, both managers and Howard's mother knew what was coming.

      Howard swung and missed, badly, at three fastballs that registered 96, 97 and 98 mph on the Comerica Park radar gun.

      Howard's time with the Phillies is running out. His contract has outrun his production.

      His production going forward will determine just how long that remaining time will be.

  • Royals' Cain starting to find his stroke
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    MINNEAPOLIS -- After a rough start to the 2016 campaign, Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain has rebounded in a big way over the last month.

    • Cain's batting average on April 25 cratered to .200 and he was getting on base at just a .291 clip with two homers and eight RBIs through the season's first 19 games.

      In 24 games since entering play on Wednesday, Cain has been on fire, hitting .364 while reaching base 39 percent of the time. His four homers and 17 RBIs have been far more useful hitting out of the three spot in the Kansas City lineup.

      He was 0-for-3 in Wednesday's loss to Minnesota, dropping his average for the season to .291.

      "I've been swinging a lot better than I was earlier in the year," Cain said. "That's why it's a long season, you just have to keep battling, keep fighting, keep scrapping and hopefully things turn around. It has as of late, but I gotta keep going."

      Cain said he hasn't changed much with his approach. Well-hit balls that were hit at guys early in the season have started to find more space.

      "Balls are definitely falling now. That's always good," Cain said. "At the same time, I'm staying on my same approach. I'm a line-drive hitter. Nothing has changed. They're falling now."

      Cain's contributions have only been a part of Kansas City's offense, which has struggled for the most part so far this season. The Royals got better during their three-game stretch in Minneapolis, with Cain and catcher Salvador Perez keeping their hots bats going.

      Utility man Whit Merrifield and outfielder Paulo Orlando also had good series, as did shortstop Alcides Escobar.

      That balance will be key for the Royals as they continue to push up the American League Central standings.

      "Lorenzo is a key part of it, but we were winning games early on (Eric Hosmer's) offense. And now, Salvy (Perez) is locked in, Paulo is locked in and (Jarrod) Dyson has been doing a good job picking up some key hits," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "That's what you want in a lineup, you want to try and keep two or three guys hot in the lineup all the time and it's never going to be the same two or three guys."

  • Dozier's slow start symbolizes Twins' struggles
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    MINNEAPOLIS -- More than a quarter of the way through the regular season, almost nothing has gone right for the Minnesota Twins.

    • After the Twins were a playoff contender until the final weekend of the regular season in 2015, many prognosticators predicted big things for the young Twins this season.

      By every measure, those projections of positivity have fallen flat.

      The Twins have the worst record in the majors through May 25 and their win on Wednesday allowed them to avoid being swept for the eighth time already this season.

      In a clubhouse full of individual disappointments, perhaps the biggest has been the continued decline of second baseman Brian Dozier.

      An All-Star for the first time in his career last season, Dozier slumped badly in the second half of 2015 and has seen those struggles carry over into 2016.

      Things got so bad for Dozier this week that Twins manager Paul Molitor benched him for the first two games against the Royals in order to clear his head.

      Dozier was back in the lineup for the series finale on Wednesday, but entered with a .199 batting average and just a .288 on-base percentage. He went 1-for-4 Wednesday to raise his average to .200.

      "We've got to fix him," said Twins general manager Terry Ryan. "The talent is there. We all saw it the first half (last season), but there also has to be adjustability. Our patience is high, there's no doubt, not just me but our staff."

      Perhaps Dozier's slump would be viewed differently had he not gone through the struggles in the second half of last season.

      Dozier hit just .210 post-All-Star break, getting on at a .280 clip. He has never hit for high average in the majors, but had an on-base percentage of .345 in 2014. That dropped to .307 last season, mostly because of the poor second half.

      Those numbers have dipped again this season.

      "Being the leader of this team, when you're not playing at the level you're used to the past three, four years, and we're struggling as much as we are, you kind of want to try to fix everything and score 10 runs in one inning yourself to kind of jump-start things," Dozier said. "But at the same time you've got to stay true to yourself. Being one of the leaders on this team and you're not producing like you have been, it's kinda tough. But the beautiful thing (is) we've got another game tomorrow."

      Dozier's struggles aren't the only reason the Twins are off to such a poor start in 2016. But if they hope to turn things around -- at least a little bit -- and build on the rest of the season heading into 2017, Dozier will need to be a big part of it.

      "Brian Dozier is a smart guy. It's not working right now, so we've got to adjust," Ryan said. "He's gifted on both sides of the ball, I may add, it's not just power. He's got power. But this has been a lengthy issue. It started last year in the second half. We need to fix him."

  • Bullpen has been strength for Nationals
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    WASHINGTON -- One of the strengths of the Washington Nationals in the first two months of the season has been their bullpen.

    • The new relievers who were not with the team last year include Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez and Yusmeiro Petit.

      As Washington prepares to host St. Louis for a four-game series that begins Thursday, the bullpen has an ERA of 0.89 in 15 games since May 9.

      "We have meshed together as a pen. We know our roles," right-handed reliever Kelley told 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday.

      Kelley did not allow a run in his first 19 appearances this season. He finally gave up a run when Eric Campbell hit a two-run homer off him in the ninth on Tuesday.

      "I like the attitude and environment in the clubhouse," Kelley said. "We are playing to win a World Series. It is pretty cool to be part of it."

      Kelley has the best ERA among qualified relievers in the majors in the last calendar year. But he downplayed that, saying he is not as good as some of the relievers just behind him in that category, such as Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles.

      "I could be the luckiest reliever in the game," he said, with a laugh.

      Kelley said he does not get too obsessed with all of the analytical statistics that are available today.

      "The best feedback you get is from the hitters. I think you can get obsessed," said Kelley, who had an ERA of 2.45 in 53 games last year with the San Diego Padres after a rough start.

      Perez and Blake Treinen each threw a scoreless inning Wednesday as Washington lost 2-0 to the New York Mets. The Nationals are now 1/2 game ahead of the Mets in the National League East.

  • Questions remain for Harvey, first base for Mets
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    WASHINGTON -- The New York Mets left the nation's capital Wednesday evening with more questions than answers despite a 2-0 win in the series finale earlier in the day.

    • The Mets begin a series at home Friday with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and are committed to keeping Matt Harvey in the rotation, manager Terry Collins said Wednesday. Harvey gave up five runs, including three homers, in a loss in Washington on Tuesday. Harvey is slated to start Monday against the Chicago White Sox.

      "This guy's too big a piece to write him off, to flip him to the bullpen," Collins said Wednesday. "This is the big leagues. So we're going to certainly go about it that way."

      Collins spoke with Harvey before the game Wednesday and said he was ready to pitch. Harvey did not speak to reporters after the game Tuesday or before the game Wednesday.

      "It's been an ongoing discussion about Matt," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "The theme has been, 'How do we get him back to being the guy that was dominant, that's helped us win so many games?' So there's been a lot of discussion, and it's a day-by-day, start-by-start process. We're talking about a lot of different options."

      The Mets also have questions at first base after Lucas Duda went on the 15-day disabled list Monday with lower back problems. Then on Wednesday, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left the game after the top of the first with back spasms but Collins expects him to be ready Friday.

      Wilmer Flores played first base in a minor league appearance with Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday. Eric Campbell played first base for the Mets on Tuesday and also started there in the series finale Wednesday. But he is hitting .192 this year.

      The Mets have discussed the idea of using Michael Conforto at first, though he has been in the majors for less than a year as a left fielder. This season he is off to a fast start with an average of .270 with eight homers and 24 RBIs.

      "So far I have had a little hot streak, a little cold streak and now I am working my way in between," said Conforto, sitting by his locker during a series this week at Nationals Park. "What I have learned during this time is the game will frustrate you, it will humble you. But at the same time that is what we love about it. You have those high points and low points. I try not to get too high or too low."

      Conforto, 23, said the past year has reinforced what worked for him more than trying to re-invent himself as a hitter. "Take a look at what is going on around you," said Conforto, who was called up from Double-A Binghamton last July to join the Mets. "You have to figure it out. Try and take a step back and take a deep breath. I was swinging at balls and low percentage pitches for me to get hits on."

      The left-handed hitter has three hits in a game twice this year, with a three-hit, three-RBI game April 30 against the San Francisco Giants. He hit a homer off Washington's Max Scherzer at home last week and four of his first eight homers came in the first inning.

      Conforto, from Redmond, Washington, was a shortstop in high school and then was moved to the outfield at Oregon State. He was a first-round pick as the 10th player overall in 2014 by the New York Mets. He hit .270 with nine homers in 56 regular-season games last year for the Mets and saw action in post-season play as New York made it to the World Series.

      Conforto came up through the system as an outfielder. But a wrinkle was thrown into his development this week when the Mets admitted they have toyed with the idea of Conforto playing some at first base after Duda went on the disabled list.

      "It is an intriguing idea," Collins said.

      Collins said one factor in considering the move to first would be how it would affect Conforto at the plate.

      "We have had discussions about it," Ricco said of a possible move to first.

      Despite injuries to Duda and Cabrera and the situation with Harvey, the Mets took two of three in Washington. Steven Matz pitched eight scoreless innings in the win Wednesday and retired pinch-hitter Bryce Harper for the final out in the eighth.

      "You don't want to come out in that situation, and for your manager to have faith in you and leave you out and face the greatest hitter in the game right now is pretty awesome," Matz said.

      Said Collins: "We will take two of three and get ready for the Dodgers."

  • MLB notebook: Harvey to remain in Mets' rotation
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, after another rough outing Tuesday night, was facing a possible early season exit from the team's starting rotation.

    • But the struggling Harvey will stay in the rotation and make his next scheduled turn on Monday against the Chicago White Sox, Mets manager Terry Collins said Wednesday.

      "I'm not giving up on him," Collins said.

      On Wednesday morning, Harvey reported to Collins' office at Nationals Park. After a 10-minute meeting that included assistant general manager John Ricco and pitching coach Dan Warthen, the Mets announced their decision.

      Harvey's ERA ballooned to 6.08 after he allowed five runs on eight hits -- including three home runs -- and two walks in five innings in the Mets' 7-4 loss to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Tuesday night.

      Harvey (3-7) refused to speak to the media after the game.

      --Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig was benched for lack of hustle Tuesday night after he failed to run hard out of the batter's box on a single off the wall in the sixth inning.

      Manager Dave Roberts, in his first season with the Dodgers, pulled Puig from the game to start the seventh inning during an 8-2 victory over the visiting Cincinnati Reds.

      --Bench coach Gene Lamont will take over as manager of the Detroit Tigers for the next two games following the death of the mother of manager Brad Ausmus, the club announced.

      --Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler remained out of the starting lineup Wednesday with the same flu-type illness that kept him out Tuesday.

      --The St. Louis Cardinals acquired outfielder Jose Martinez from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations.

      Martinez, who was playing for Triple-A Omaha this season, has been assigned to the Triple-A Memphis roster.

      To make room for Martinez on the team's 40-man major league roster, the Cardinals transferred right-handed pitcher Mitch Harris (right elbow) from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

      --Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was not in the lineup for a third consecutive day because of a bruised knee. He will be reevaluated in Kansas City on Thursday.

      --The Minnesota Twins selected the contract of left-hander Buddy Boshers from Triple-A Rochester. Boshers was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 15 relief appearances with Rochester this season.

      --San Diego Padres manager Andy Green disclosed that first baseman Wil Myers (left forearm tightness), while not seriously hurt, would be given a second consecutive day off Wednesday in hopes of shaking his nagging ailment. Myers has said his arm started bothering him May 12.

      --The Los Angeles Angels recalled infielder Kaleb Cowart from Triple-A Salt Lake. Also, left-hander Lucas Luetge was designated for assignment.

      --New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said "there's a pretty good chance" that DH Alex Rodriguez (strained right hamstring) could be activated from the disabled list on Thursday after two rehab games with Double-A Trenton.

      Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was scratched from the starting lineup because of a recurrence of neck spasms that sidelined him for two games May 10-11.

      --The Toronto Blue Jays activated second baseman Devon Travis from the disabled list, doing so about a week before he was expected to come back from offseason left shoulder surgery.

      Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki sat out Wednesday with tightness in his right quad and remains day to day.

      --Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison was a late scratch from the lineup because of illness and was replaced by Sean Rodriguez.

      Pirates right-hander Arquimedes Caminero was placed the 15-day DL with a left quadriceps injury and left-hander Tony Watson was placed on the paternity list. The Pirates recalled right-hander Rob Scahill and left-hander Kyle Lobstein from Triple-A Indianapolis.

  • MLB roundup: Arrieta survives off day thanks to Cubs' hitters
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    ST. LOUIS -- It wasn't vintage Jake Arrieta on Wednesday, but with the Chicago Cubs' offense clicking, it didn't have to be.

    • Surviving his worst regular-season outing in nearly a year, Arrieta won his 20th straight decision dating to 2015 as Chicago outlasted the St. Louis Cardinals 9-8 at sold-out Busch Stadium.

      In upping his record to 9-0, Arrieta lasted five innings, allowing seven hits and four runs with a walk and four strikeouts. It was the first time since June 16, 2015, that Arrieta yielded four runs in a regular season game -- a 6-0 loss to Cleveland.

      The Cubs backed up Arrieta with 10 hits and their second six-run inning in as many games, erasing a 1-0 deficit as 11 men batted and battered Carlos Martinez.

      Matt Adams' homer in the seventh drew the Cards within a run, but the Cubs held on.

      Brewers 3, Braves 2

      ATLANTA -- It took a 13-inning marathon, but Milwaukee finally are assured of a series victory on the road.

      Jonathan Villar singled home the tiebreaking run, and the Brewers edged Atlanta in a game that featured 16 pitchers and took nearly five hours.

      Villar's hit came off Casey Kelly, a Braves starter working his third inning of relief.

      Carlos Torres worked a perfect bottom of the 13th to earn his first save of the year. Michael Blazek (3-1) pitched a scoreless 12th for the win.

      Rangers 15, Angels 9

      ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rookie Nomar Mazara's tape-measure home run was the biggest hit of many for Texas against Los Angeles.

      Mazara's second-inning blast was measured at 491 feet by Major League Baseball's Statcast system, making it officially the longest homer in the majors this year. The shot landed halfway up the upper deck of Globe Life Park's home run porch in right field.

      The 491-foot distance also would make it the longest homer in stadium history, topping a 490-foot rocket by Josh Hamilton in 2010. But the Rangers would not verify the stadium record because the new measuring system has only been used since last season. Under the old measuring procedure, Mazara's blast would be listed as 442 feet.

      Mazara also had a two-run, bases-loaded single as the Rangers broke the game open with a four-run sixth when they sent 10 batters to the plate and took an 11-6 lead.

      Indians 4, White Sox 3

      CHICAGO -- Cleveland closed within a half-game of the American League Central lead after holding off a late Chicago rally. The Indians took three of four in the series at U.S. Cellular Field to close the gap on first-place Chicago.

      Bryan Shaw gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera with one out in the eighth inning as the White Sox made it a one-run game after Corey Kluber worked 7 1/3 innings and left with a 4-1 lead.

      Mets 2, Nationals 0

      WASHINGTON -- Steven Matz pitched eight scoreless innings and retired 16 batters at one point in the longest outing of his career as New York beat Washington.

      The Mets took two of three games in the series and have won five of their last six games in Washington. The Nationals saw their lead shrink to a half-game over the Mets in the National League East.

      Matz allowed four hits with seven strikeouts and set down 16 in a row before pinch hitter Clint Robinson had a two-out single in the eighth. Matz then retired pinch-hitter Bryce Harper on a grounder to end the eighth. Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth for his 16th straight save this year and 32nd in a row dating to last year.

      Phillies 8, Tigers 5

      DETROIT -- Odubel Herrera hit a three-run homer and Peter Bourjos added a solo shot to help power Philadelphia over Detroit.

      Aaron Nola (4-3) went six innings for the Phillies and while he gave up four runs, three of them came in the fifth after Philadelphia had fashioned a 5-1 lead.

      David Hernandez allowed a run in the seventh but Hector Neris choked off further damage with two strikeouts and then pitched a scoreless eighth. Jeanmar Gomez notched his 17th save for getting the last three outs.

      Twins 7, Royals 5

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Eduardo Nunez had three hits, including a leadoff home run, as Minnesota salvaged the final game of a three-game series with Kansas City.

      Nunez hit the second pitch of the game from Royals starter Dillon Gee over the fence in left field for his fourth home run of the season. It was the first career leadoff homer for Nunez.

      Two pitches later, Brian Dozier hit one into the second deck in left for his fifth homer of the year and a quick 2-0 lead for the Twins. It was the fifth time in team history the Twins led off the game with back-to-back homers and the first time since Danny Santana and Dozier did it on June 9, 2014.

      Giants 4, Padres 3 (10 innings)

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford singled off the center-field fence against reliever Brad Hand to score Matt Duffy from second base with two outs in the 10th inning as San Francisco recorded a second walk-off win in three days to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres.

      Giants right-hander George Kontos pitched out of a jam in the top of the 10th inning to get the win as the Giants recorded a franchise-record ninth consecutive win over the Padres this season.

      In losing a fourth straight game overall, the Padres rallied into a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth inning on Yangervis Solarte's two-run homer off Giants left-handed reliever Josh Osich.

      Marlins 4, Rays 3

      ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Marlins got a go-ahead single from Cole Gillespie in the eighth inning and a strong night from the bullpen, edging Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.

      Miami got 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, while Tampa Bay saw rookie Tyler Sturdevant, a day removed from his major-league debut, give up three hits and the go-ahead run in 0.1 innings. Miami has taken two of three games this week in the home-and-home series, which wraps up Thursday.

      The Marlins took the lead in the eighth on an RBI single by Gillespie, who had been hitless in 12 games this season before Wednesday's game. Gillespie's single scored J.T. Realmuto, who had led off the inning with a single off Sturdevant. Miami got another single and walk to load the bases, but Dana Eveland got Miami's Justin Bour to strike out to end the inning with a one-run deficit.

      Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 4

      PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh pounded out 11 hits, two of them home runs, as it erased a three-run deficit in a win over Arizona.

      At 26-19, Pittsburgh is seven games over .500 for the first time this season.

      Pirates starter Jeff Locke evened his record at 3-3 while allowing four runs on seven hits through 7 1/3 innings. Sean Rodriguez and David Freese hit homers and Gregory Polanco was 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Pirates, who won for the fifth time in their past six games.

      Red Sox 10, Rockies 3

      BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts extended their respective hitting streaks and Travis Shaw drove in three runs as Boston roughed up Colorado at Fenway Park.

      Bradley singled in the fourth inning to extend his career-high and major league-leading streak to 29 games, tying him with Johnny Damon for the fourth longest in Red Sox history.

      He also had an RBI and is five games shy of tying Dom DiMaggio's franchise-record 34-game stretch in 1949. DiMaggio's brother Joe holds the major-league record of 56 games set in 1941.

      Bogaerts also stretched his hit streak to a career-best 18 games with a solo homer.

      Blue Jays 8, Yankees 4

      NEW YORK -- Russell Martin hit his first two home runs of the season in consecutive at-bats as Toronto defeated New York.

      Martin had not homered in his first 124 at-bats this year, but he ended the drought on consecutive swings in the sixth and seventh innings.

      Martin opened the sixth by sending a 1-0 fastball from Ivan Nova (3-2) into the left-field seats. An inning later, he drove a 1-2 pitch from left-handed reliever Chasen Shreve into the right-field seats for a two-run home run and a 7-1 lead.

      Astros 4, Orioles 3

      HOUSTON -- Luis Valbuena homered for a second consecutive game and Houston turned another strong bullpen performance into a win and series victory over Baltimore at Minute Maid Park.

      Valbuena smacked a two-out, opposite-field home run off Orioles right-hander Tyler Wilson (2-3) in the sixth inning to snap a 3-3 tie. His fourth blast on the season handed the decision to right-hander Pat Neshek, the first of four Houston relievers who excelled yet again.

      Neshek (2-0) entered in relief of right-hander Collin McHugh and recorded the final two outs of the sixth inning for the Astros. Ken Giles worked around a one-out walk and struck out the side in the seventh inning before Will Harris stranded two runners in the eighth.

      Dodgers 3, Reds 1

      LOS ANGELES -- Cincinnati dropped its 10th consecutive game overall and its ninth straight to the Dodgers as Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep with a win at Dodger Stadium.

      For the second night in a row, the Reds scored first but failed to protect the lead.

      Dan Straily (2-2) took the loss, giving up three runs on three hits, walking one and striking out 11 in seven innings.

      Mariners 13, Athletics 3

      SEATTLE -- Seattle's Adam Lind hit two home runs and added six RBIs, and teammates Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano also homered, as the Mariners hammered Oakland.

      Seattle had a season-high 17 hits, with Lind accounting for four of them. He had a solo homer in the second inning, a three-run shot in the third, an RBI single in the sixth and an RBI double in the seventh as the Mariners rolled out to a 12-3 lead.

      The 13 runs were also a season high for Seattle, which has won six of seven.

  • Pirates put RHP Caminero on DL after wild outing
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    The Pittsburgh Pirates placed right-hander Arquimedes Caminero on the 15-day disabled list and left-hander Tony Watson on the paternity list and recalled right-hander Rob Scahill and left-hander Kyle Lobstein from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday.

    • Caminero pitched Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks and was ejected in the eighth inning after hitting two batters in the head, including second baseman Jean Segura with a 96 mph fastball in the seventh that sent him to a hospital for concussion tests. He has a left quadriceps strain.

      In the next inning, Nick Ahmed took an 89 mph splitter from Caminero on the shoulder that ended up hitting his jaw. Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said after the game that Caminero should not be in the major leagues unless he learns how to control his pitches.

      Caminero has experienced control problems this season, walking 13 and hitting three batters in 17 1/3 innings. He has an 0-2 record with a 5.19 ERA in 19 outings.

      Watson's wife, Cassie, was scheduled to give birth to the couple's second child on Wednesday.

      Watson has a 1-0 record with a 2.18 ERA in 20 relief appearances this season for the Pirates.

      Scahill and Lobstein both return to the Pirates for the second time this season. Scahill has a 6.00 ERA in eight games for Pittsburgh and three saves and a 2.89 ERA in nine outings for Indianapolis. Lobstein pitched in nine games for the Pirates and posted a 4.79 ERA and made one start for Indianapolis last Friday, working four scoreless innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.