Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Saturday, July 4, 2015
    Nationals' Strasburg exits early with injury
    By The Sports Xchange

    WASHIINGTON -- Washington Nationals right-handed starter Stephen Strasburg left the game against the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning Saturday after appearing to suffer an injury.

    • After his first pitch to first baseman Brandon Belt with two outs in the fourth, Strasburg grimaced and briefly grabbed his left side.

      Manager Matt Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and the Nationals trainer came to the mound. After a lengthy conversation, Strasburg left and was replaced by Tanner Roark with Washington leading 3-0.

      Strasburg had allowed one hit while striking out three and walking two in his third start back since missing 21 games with neck tightness.

      Strasburg had been sharp since returning, winning his first two starts while allowing two runs in 12 innings.

  • Saturday, July 4, 2015
    Tigers place Cabrera on DL with strained calf
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- Manager Brad Ausmus shook up his lineup to get more offense on Friday. Now, he'll need to change his lineup with Triple Crown centerpiece Miguel Cabrera out of the mix for two weeks.

    • Cabrera suffered a left calf strain and is headed for the disabled list for the first time in his career.

      Cabrera, who is batting .350 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs, pulled up running from first to second during the fourth inning as designated hitter Victor Martinez fouled off a pitch. MRI results were not immediately made available but Ausmus is pessimistic about a quick recovery.

      "I was concerned. When Miggy says he can't play, it's serious, because Miggy plays through anything," Ausmus said.

      Cabrera has battled a number of injuries in recent seasons and had ankle surgery after last season. But he's been the picture of health this year, sitting out only two day games to get a breather.

      "You've got to find ways to win without him. We've done it in the past," catcher Alex Avila said. "There's been stretches over the years where he's had to sit because we were trying to get him healthy for the end of the year. I remember a few years ago where he sat out a week, week-and-a-half, and we went like 8-2 without him. We've just got to pick it up by the bootstraps and find a way to do it."

      Ausmus tried to spark the offense with some changes, moving Ian Kinsler to the leadoff spot and Yoenis Cespedes from the No. 5 spot to No. 2. He dropped Anthony Gose from the top spot to No. 8.

      The lineup produces eight runs Friday, the biggest output since June 22. Ausmus wouldn't reveal what he'd do without Cabrera but hot-hitting J.D. Martinez is a candidate to take his usual No. 3 spot in the order.

      "It's big," Martinez said of losing Cabrera. "He's the anchor in our lineup. He, in my eyes, is the best hitter in baseball. A lineup that doesn't have the best hitter, that doesn't have him in it, it's going to hurt."

  • Saturday, July 4, 2015
    Mariners' Iwakuma to return Monday
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Seattle Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma's long wait to return to the rotation will end Monday when he will activated from the disabled list and start against the Detroit Tigers, manager Lloyd McClendon said after his team's 9-5 victory against Oakland.

    • Iwakuma has been on the disabled list since April 21 with a strained right lat. He went 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA in three starts this season before going on the DL. In his first three seasons with the Mariners he went 38-20.

      McClendon announced three other roster moves, all involving pitchers.

      Left-hander Roenis Elias, who had been in the rotation, was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. So were a pair of relievers, right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen and left-hand Vidal Nuno.

      "Elias has thrown the ball extremely well and probably doesn't deserve to go down," McClendon said. "We can only have so many guys on the roster. He has options."

      McClendon said he told the hard-throwing Wilhelmsen that he wants him to work on his command, especially with his fastball. There's a chance that Vidal Nuno will start to Tacoma, McClendon said.

      The Mariners will make more moves Saturday, McClendon said. One move could be to add left-handed reliever David Rollins to the 25-man roster. He's a Rule 5 draft pick who had to serve an 80-day suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. Rollins, who has been on a rehab assignment at Tacoma, must be on the Mariners' roster by Saturday or be returned to the Houston Astros.

  • Saturday, July 4, 2015
    A's Reddick frustrated about sitting vs. lefties
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- One day after publicly airing his frustration about being out of the lineup often against left-handed pitchers, A's right fielder Josh Reddick had a face-to-face talk with manager Bob Melvin.

    • "I didn't want to make it seem like I was throwing my manager under the bus because I didn't want to do that to Bob because Bob's been such a great guy, not only as a manager but as a person to me in the four years I've been here," said Reddick, a left-handed hitter.

      In a pregame radio interview Thursday with broadcaster Ray Fosse, Reddick pointed a finger at A's front office and general manager Billy Beane for keeping him on the bench so often against lefties. Reddick said his frustration boiled over when Melvin told him he was starting against Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa then, an hour later, said he wasn't.

      "I want to be out there every day, despite who's on the mound," Reddick said. "That was the overall message. How it came out wasn't really the way I wanted it to come out. Just miscommunication by me and Bob. I probably just assumed too much and looked into it too much. Who knows at this point how things are worked out. I talked to Bob and got it handled between the two of us."

      Melvin took the blame.

      "We had a miscommunication and it was my fault," Melvin said. "I had told him earlier he was going to be in the lineup that day and I went back and looked -- we have a lot of numbers and there's a metric system I look at that is basically an optimal lineup vs. the pitcher we're facing that particular night, and I hadn't looked at it before. It's a useful tool for me, and I asked for it. I hadn't looked at it. I changed my mind. I got back to him and I didn't really explain to him why and therefore there was a little bit of a miscommunication. We had talked about it in the meantime. He knows that I make the lineup out. We'll leave it at that."

      Reddick started against a left-hander Friday night for the second straight game. He went into the game batting .330 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 209 at-bats against right-handers. He was batting .152 with one home run and nine RBIs in 66 at-bats against lefties.

      "Bob knows I want to be out there every day," Reddick said. "If I don't get there, I get frustrated, especially when I get told I'm playing and then I get told an hour later that I'm not. It definitely (ticks) me off. Because I want to be out there. I want to be out there whether it's Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez or Dallas Keuchel. I want to be out there no matter what my past numbers are against those guys because I feel like I can change the game with one swing or one defensive play in the outfield."

      Reddick said he has not talked to Beane or anyone else in the front office.

  • Saturday, July 4, 2015
    Reds' Pena hopes more Cubans come into league
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Reds catcher Brayan Pena is hopeful that improved relations between the United States and Cuba will create more opportunities for ballplayers from his home country to achieve their dream of becoming major leaguers.

    • "I'm one of those guys who never loses hope," said Pena, who defected in 1999 before signing with the Atlanta Braves. "It's a lot of speculation. It takes time. It's a brand new process that's going to take time. We all grew up with the Castro regime."

      President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States and Cuba were reopening their respective embassies after more than 50 years. But as of now, defection is the only means by which Cuban players can pursue pro baseball careers in America, thus deserting their families and often risking their lives to do so.

      "A lot of Cuban players are afraid to leave their country and leave their families behind," Pena said. "For you to be able to do that, you have to defect, take a raft, it's a very difficult thing to do."

      Pena signed with the Braves as a non-drafted free agent in 2000. He has spent eight seasons in the big leagues for the Braves, Royals, Tigers, and Reds.

      He's been a positive clubhouse presence during his two season in Cincinnati in primarily a backup role. This season, Pena is hitting .298 with eight doubles and 11 RBIs in 56 games.

      Currently there are more than 30 Cuban-born players on major-league 40-man rosters, including current Reds Pena, right-hander Raisel Iglesias, who's currently on the disabled list, and left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman.

      Pena said he has family in Cuba that he hasn't seen in years and cousins he's never met.

      "I miss Cuba, but I'm not leaving America. This is my (home)," he said. "I'm living a dream that can't come true for a lot of players in Cuba."

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    MLB roundup: Sanchez's lost no-no nearly turns into oh-no
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez lost a no-hit bid in the eighth inning and the Detroit Tigers also lost Miguel Cabrera, then nearly squandered an eight-run lead before holding off the Toronto Blue Jays 8-6 on Friday night.

    • Ezequiel Carrera smacked a one-out single to end Sanchez's try for a second career no-hitter. The first came against Arizona in 2006 for the Florida Marlins. Sanchez held the Blue Jays to two walks in the first seven innings.

      After Justin Smoak led off the eighth with a walk, Sanchez retired the next batter before Carrera singled. Sanchez gave up singles to the next two batters before he was pulled. Toronto proceeded to score six runs in the inning, capped by Dioner Navarro's three-run double.

      Cabrera exited in the fourth with a left calf strain and was to undergo an MRI. Victor Martinez had three hits and scored twice and J.D. Martinez contributed two hits and two RBIs as the Tigers snapped a three-game skid.

      Nationals 2, Giants 1

      WASHINGTON -- Clint Robinson hit a two-run homer leading off the seventh inning and Gio Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings as Washington spoiled Jake Peavy's return from the disabled list.

      Peavy, who was activated Friday, was making his first start since April 17 after spending more than two months on the disabled list with a back strain. He allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.

      Yankes 7, Rays 5 (12)

      NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira hit a game-tying, three-run homer with one out in the eighth inning and Brian McCann hit the winning three-run homer with one out in the 12th for New York.

      Teixeira forged a 3-3 tie in the ninth when he drove a 1-0 changeup from Kevin Jepsen into the right-field seats.

      After Brett Gardner opened the 12th inning with a walk and Alex Rodriguez singled, Teixeira came up with a chance to win it against Steve Geltz. Teixeira fell behind 1-2 but got the Yankees to within a run by hitting a single to shallow right field. McCann drove a 1-0 pitch from Geltz into the right field seats for his 13th home run and seventh career walkoff hit.

      Marlins 2, Cubs 1

      CHICAGO -- Justin Bour's fourth home run in four games supplied the go-ahead run as Miami beat Chicago.

      Bour snapped a 1-1 tie with a sixth-inning shot to the right field basket for his 10th home run of the season. He has homers in four straight wins.

      Christian Yelich started the scoring with one out in the first inning, belting his fifth homer of the year. The Cubs tied it in the bottom of the first when Miguel Montero's single scored Kris Bryant.

      Braves 2, Phillies 1

      ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran allowed one unearned run in seven innings and improved to 5-0 at home in Atlanta's win over Philadelphia.

      The winning run came on Juan Uribe's seventh homer of the season to lead off the seventh inning against rookie Adam Morgan.

      The Braves opened the scoring in the second when Jonny Gomes hit his fifth homer of the year.

      White Sox 1, Orioles 0

      CHICAGO – John Danks didn't allow a run in seven innings and won a pitcher's duel with Ubaldo Jimenez.

      Danks and Jimenez each went seven innings and only allowed one run between them on a homer by Jose Abreu to lead off the third inning.

      Danks walked two and scattered five hits. Jimenez, who had a string of four straight wins snapped, also went seven innings and gave up the one run.

      Brewers 12, Reds 1

      CINCINNATI – Carlos Gomez hit a grand slam and drove in five runs and Mike Fiers allowed three hits in seven innings to lift Milwaukee over Cincinnati.

      The Brewers led 5-0 in the seventh inning when Gomez crushed a 1-0 pitch from Carlos Contreras for his first career grand slam and sixth homer this year.

      Gerardo Parra and Amamis Ramirez added solo homers for Milwaukee, which has won six straight games for its longest winning streak since April 2014. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun each collected three hits to pace the Brewers' 16-hit outburst.

      Padres 2, Cardinals 1

      ST. LOUIS -- Jedd Gyorko broke a tie in the top of the ninth inning with an RBI single that helped San Diego hand St. Louis its fourth straight loss.

      Yangervis Solarte one-hopped a triple off the right-center field wall with one out. Gyorko worked the count full, fouled off a couple of pitches and then lined a hit into left field to end the scoreless streak of Trevor Rosenthal at 23 2/3 innings.

      Gyorko was responsible for the Padres' other run, tying the score with a leadoff homer in the seventh, a 404-foot blast into the left field seats.

      Rangers 8, Angels 2

      ARLINGTON, Texas -- Erick Aybar had a career-high five hits, Kole Calhoun had four RBIs and Los Angeles' Garrett Richards continued his mastery over Texas.

      Aybar had a hit and Calhoun a three-run double in a decisive six-run sixth inning for the Angels.

      Richards, who gave up one run and six hits, improved to 8-1 with a 3.12 ERA lifetime against Texas. He is 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA the past two years and has won his past six starts against the Rangers.

      Royals 3, Twins 2 (10)

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Lorenzo Cain scored on Jarrod Dyson's fielder's choice in the 10th inning and Kansas City edged Minnesota.

      Cain opened the 10th with a double, took third on a wild pitch and beat Joe Mauer's throw home on Dyson's dribbler. The play at the plate was reviewed but not overturned.

      The Royals tied it at 2 in the eighth when Kendrys Morales' two-out single scored Lorenzo Cain.

      Astros 12, Red Sox 8

      BOSTON -- Rookie Carlos Correa hit a solo homer in the eighth inning and then stroked an RBI single in the 10th to help Houston to its fifth straight win.

      The first-place Astros failed to hold leads of 5-2, 7-5 and 8-7 but came through with four runs in the 10th.

      Correa, who hit his sixth homer in 23 major league games to snap a 7-7 tie in the eighth, delivered his third hit of the game in the 10th for his 17th RBI.

      Mariners 9, A's 5

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Logan Morrison, Seth Smith, Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller each hit two-run homers to power Seattle over Oakland.

      Seattle's home run outburst -- two shy of its season high -- helped J.A. Happ snap his four-game losing streak and win for the first time since May 9.

      The Mariners trailed 3-2 entering the sixth inning, but Smith put them ahead 4-3 with a two-run blast to right. With two outs, Kyle Seager drilled a single to center and Smith crushed a 3-2 pitch for his seventh homer of the season.

      Seattle added five runs in the eighth when Cruz hit his 21st homer and Miller his eighth. Later in the inning, Miller homered with a man aboard to make it 9-3.

      Indians 5, Pirates 2

      PITTSBURGH --- Brandon Moss opened the scoring with a two-run homer and Michael Broun drove in Cleveland's other three runs on a soggy night.

      Moss' 14th home run of the season came in the second inning. Bourn hit an RBI double in the fourth to make it 3-0, Andrew McCutchen belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth for the Pirates and then Bourn made it 5-2 with a two-run single in the eighth.

      The game was delayed by rain for 2:08 at the bottom of the seventh and did not end until 12:26 a.m. ET.

      Indians 5, Pirates 2

      PITTSBURGH -- Brandon Moss opened the scoring with a two-run home run and Michael Bourn drove in Cleveland's other three runs in the Indians' victory over Pittsburgh.

      Moss' 14th home run came in the second inning, an opposite-field drive by the first baseman that reached the first row of bleachers in left field.

      Bourn hit an RBI double in the fourth inning to make it 3-0 then made it 5-2 with a two-run single in the eighth inning.

      Mets 2, Dodgers 1

      LOS ANGELES -- Kevin Plawecki hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning to give New York a win over Los Angeles in front of 52,570 at Dodger Stadium.

      The Mets broke their three-game losing streak and remained 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals in the National League East while trimming the Dodgers' lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West to two games.

      New York broke a 1-1 in the top of the ninth against right-handed closer Kenley Jansen (2-1). Lucas Duda began the inning with a bloop double down the left-field line. Duda moved to third base when Wilmer Flores singled off Jansen's glove, then scored the winning run when Plawecki hit a fly ball to center fielder Joc Pederson.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Tigers' Cabrera leaves game with calf injury
    By The Sports Xchange

    Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera left Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning because of a left calf strain.

    • There was no immediate report on whether Cabrera will miss additional games. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI.

      Cabrera, the 2012 and 2013 American League MVP, was on first base with nobody out and Victor Martinez at the plate when Cabrera took off with the pitch.

      Martinez fouled off the pitch, but Cabrera pulled up as he approached second and grabbed his left leg.

      He limped off the field and was replaced by Andrew Romine.

      Cabrera went 2-for-2 with an RBI in the game before his departure, lifting his average to .350 to go along with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Cubs acquire Richard from Pirates
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago Cubs acquired left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

    • Richard, who was playing for Triple-A Indianapolis when the transaction occurred, is scheduled to be the Cubs' starting pitcher in Saturday's game against the Miami Marlins.

      Richard, 31, last pitched in the majors in 2013, when he went 2-5 with a 7.01 ERA for the San Diego Padres. His best year was 2010, when he was 14-9 with a 3.75 ERA for the Padres.

      He spent most of this season with Indianapolis, where he had a 2.09 ERA in 56 innings.

      Richard has had shoulder problems throughout his career

      To make room for Richard on the Cubs roster, pitcher Donn Roach was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Rodriguez, Yankees agree on bonuses going to charity
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- If there is one way to describe what this season has been like for Alex Rodriguez, the best way is to call it "the year of the unexpected" for the controversial slugger.

    • The latest unexpected events took place Friday on two fronts for Rodriguez.

      First, he was able to get the ball from his 3,000th hit from collector Zack Hample in exchange for a signed jersey, two signed bats and a $150,000 donation to the charity Pitch In For Baseball, which Hample has supported since 2009 and is dedicated to maximizing the ability to play baseball in underserved communities.

      The second notable event was the announcement that Rodriguez's milestone bonuses will be donated to various charities.

      When Rodriguez's current 10-year contract was negotiated after the 2007 season, it contained clauses that called for bonuses of $6 million for every home run milestone reached. The Yankees said that in light of his suspension for PED use and admission of it that those were no longer "marketable bonuses."

      "I just thought it was important to do the right thing," Rodriguez said. "Like Zack, I was thinking long and hard about doing the right thing, doing something important for a lot of people and turning a negative situation perhaps into a positive one. I think we all did the right thing."

      Rodriguez reached the first milestone bonus with his 661st home run on May 7 but did not file a grievance and that eventually led to the resolution of the dispute with the monies involving charitable donations.

      "Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced today that the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez have amicably resolved their potential dispute regarding Rodriguez's entitlement to bonus monies under the provision of his player contract covering historical statistical accomplishments," the joint statement said.

      "As part of this resolution, Mr. Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that a total of $3.5 million in charitable contributions will be made by the club, with $1 million going to the following charities that have long enjoyed the support of one or both: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa and Pitch In For Baseball; and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, which will use the money to further programs and initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball, particularly in urban areas. Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. will determine the initiatives to be supported by the $2.5 million contribution after consulting with Mr. Rodriguez, and taking into consideration the focus of Mr. Rodriguez's past charitable contributions."

      None of these events seemed possible a year ago when Rodriguez was out of sight and away from baseball and even less likely two years ago, especially after general manager Brian Cashman told ESPN that Rodriguez needed to shut the bleep up for tweeting a picture of himself saying he was cleared for rehab games.

      Those comments paled in comparison with what followed: a yearlong suspension for PED usage and Rodriguez threatening lawsuits and giving controversial interviews on New York sports talk radio host Mike Francesa's show.

      Those events happened and now it seems like they didn't or were in another lifetime ago for Rodriguez.

      "This has been quite a year," Rodriguez said. "Never did I think 12 months ago I would be in a position with 660 and 3,000 with two swings of the bat to be able to influence so many people, kids that are in need. To do this with the Yankees, the union, the commissioner's office, I'm just very proud of us doing the right thing in this situation and I'm especially happy to have the ball back and share it with my girls. That's going to be pretty awesome."

      This also was a year that nobody knew what to expect from Rodriguez, who has a .280 batting average, 15 home runs and 45 RBIs.

      "Coming into spring training, I didn't know what to expect," Rodriguez said. "I kind of told you guys (media) that before. I kind of made a commitment to myself that I wanted to keep my head down and let my bat do the talking and try to help the team win as much as possible. I think so far, it's been a win-win."

      Then there was the development that led to Rodriguez holding a joint press conference with Hample, who caught the milestone home run in the right field seats.

      Initially, Hample said he wasn't giving the ball back and tweeted that Rodriguez would have to mug him on 161st Street to retrieve it. Hample apologized for thet tweet and other negative things he said. That was accepted by Rodriguez, who jokingly said he has "a Ph.D in saying dumb things."

      After catching the ball, Yankees executives Randy Levine and Lonn Trost met with Hample. Hample said he was not bullied or threatened in the meeting and also reached out to Rodriguez on Twitter before Friday.

      "I don't catch baseballs to get rich," Hample said. "When I see a home run ball flying at me, I don't see dollar signs in the air. It's not like that. I do this for fun."

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    MLB notebook: Fan presents A-Rod with ball from 3,000th hit
    By The Sports Xchange

    Zack Hample, the fan who retrieved Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit, has decided to present the milestone baseball to A-Rod.

    • The Yankees announced details of the agreement and held a press conference Friday.

      Meanwhile, the ongoing dispute between Rodriguez and the Yankees over whether he would be paid for home run milestone bonuses in his contract has been resolved, according to a joint statement released Friday by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

      In exchange for the 3,000th-hit ball, the Yankees will donate $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball, a charity which Hample has supported since 2009 that is dedicated to maximizing the ability to play baseball in underserved communities.

      With a solo home run in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on Friday, June 19, Rodriguez became the 29th player all-time to reach the 3,000 hits plateau. He became the second player to record his 3,000th career hit with the Yankees, joining Derek Jeter, who accomplished the feat on July 9, 2011 against Tampa Bay.

      The league and the MLBPA announced the resolution between the Yankees and Rodriguez in the dispute after A-Rod hit his 661st career home run on May 7.

      The disagreement was over the home run that pushed Rodriguez ahead of Willie Mays on baseball's all-time list. The Yankees were unwilling to pay the $6 million bonus because of A-Rod's year of lost service and subsequent admission of PED use.

      As part of the resolution, Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that a total of $3.5 million in charitable contributions will be made by the club.

      ---The Yankees placed outfielder Carlos Beltran on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a left oblique strain.

      The move is retroactive to July 1. The 38-year-old Beltran is hitting .260 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs this season.

      The Yankees also recalled outfielder Ramon Flores and infielder Gregorio Petit from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In addition, the club optioned outfielder Taylor Dugas to Triple-A.

      ---The Detroit Tigers designated two veteran relievers, right-hander Joba Chamberlain and left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, for assignment and called up right-hander Drew VerHagen from Double-A Erie and right-hander Jeff Ferrell from Triple-A Toledo.

      Chamberlain was 0-2 with a 4.09 ERA, while Gorzelanny was 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA.

      "You're looking for effectiveness," general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "They've been effective at times but not on a consistent basis."

      The Tigers also sent catcher Bryan Holaday to Toledo to make room for catcher Alex Avila, who was in the lineup Friday after being activated from the 15-day disabled list.

      ---The Toronto Blue Jays recalled the contracts of left-hander Felix Doubront and right-hander Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.

      They filled the roster spots of left-hander Matt Boyd, who was sent to Buffalo late Thursday, and right-hander Todd Redmond, who was designated for assignment.

      Boyd became the first starter in team history to give up seven runs without recording an out in Thursday's 12-6 loss to Boston.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Marlins 2, Cubs 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Justin Bour's fourth home run in four games supplied the go-ahead run as the Miami Marlins claimed a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon.

    • Bour snapped a 1-1 tie with a sixth-inning shot to the right field basket for his 10th home run of the season.

      The Miami first baseman and cleanup batter now has homers in four straight wins for the Marlins (35-46).

      Miami right-handed starter Tom Koehler (7-4) pitched six innings for the win, his fifth in his last six starts going back to May 24.

      Right-hander A.J. Ramos, the fourth Marlins pitcher of the afternoon, allowed one base runner in scoreless ninth for his 13th save.

      Chicago right-hander Jason Hammel (5-4) lost his second straight as the Cubs (42-36) saw a three-game winning streak end.

      Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich started the scoring with one out in the first, sending Hammel's 2-2 pitch to left-center for his fifth home run of the season.

      The Cubs replied and tied in the bottom of the inning as catcher Miguel Montero's single to right drove in third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant had reached with a two-out double, his 14th of the season.

      Bour gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead with a solo home run in the sixth, ending Hamel's run of 14 straight retired batters.

      Koehler worked through six innings and was replaced by right-handed reliever Steve Cishek. Koehler gave up one run on five hits, struck out four and walked just one.

      Hammel departed one-half inning later after throwing 97 pitches and allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked one while giving up two solo home runs.

      Cubs left-hander Travis Wood, the fourth Cubs pitcher of the afternoon, entered with two outs and runners on first and second.

      Wood issued a walk to Bour to load the bases and then faced catcher J.T. Realmuto, who fouled out three straight pitches on a 3-2 count before striking out to end the threat.

      NOTES: The final totals won't be announced until Sunday but Marlins 2B Dee Gordon had a comfortable 1.5-million vote margin over the Cardinals' Kolten Wong for the starting spot in the upcoming All-Star game. Gordon entered Friday with 114 hits, most in the big leagues. ... Gordon is among a contingent of young Marlin batters ages 27 and under who have collectively accounted for 75.7 percent of the team's hits entering July 3. ... The Marlins will send RHP Jarred Cosart (1-3, 4.12 ERA) against Cubs RHP Donn Roach (0-1, 10.80 ERA) in Saturday's middle game. It will be Roach's second Cubs start of the season. ... Chicago OF Jorge Soler was expected to play nine innings for Triple-A Iowa on Friday as he continues a rehab assignment. He went 1-for-3 on Thursday against Round Rock. ... SS Starlin Castro was given Friday off and that allowed the Cubs to move Addison Russell to shortstop and keep 2B Jonathan Herrera in the lineup. On Thursday, Herrera tied a career high with three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the Cubs' 6-1 win over the Mets. ... Fireworks are common at major league games except at Wrigley Field, which hosts a post-game fireworks show for the first time on Saturday night.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Yankees place Beltran on DL
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New York Yankees placed outfielder Carlos Beltran on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a left oblique strain.

    • The move is retroactive to July 1. The 38-year-old Beltran is hitting .260 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs this season. He exited Tuesday game in the fifth inning.

      Beltran, in the second season of a three-year, $45 million contract, joins center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list. Ellsbury is currently on a rehab assignment for a sprained knee suffered on May 19.

      The Yankees also recalled outfielder Ramon Flores and infielder Gregorio Petit from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

      In addition, the club optioned outfielder Taylor Dugas to Triple-A.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Fan to present A-Rod with ball from 3,000th hit
    By The Sports Xchange

    Zack Hample, the fan who retrieved Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit, has decided to present the milestone baseball to A-Rod.

    • The Yankees announced some of the details of the agreement and held a press conference Friday.

      Meanwhile, the ongoing dispute between Rodriguez and the Yankees over whether he would be paid for home run milestone bonuses in his contract has been resolved, according to a joint statement released Friday by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

      In exchange for the 3,000th-hit ball, the Yankees will donate $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball, a charity which Hample has supported since 2009 that is dedicated to maximizing the ability to play baseball in underserved communities.

      With a solo home run in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on Friday, June 19, Rodriguez became the 29th player all-time to reach the 3,000 hits plateau. He became the second player to record his 3,000th career hit with the Yankees, joining Derek Jeter, who accomplished the feat on July 9, 2011 against Tampa Bay.

      Yankees president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost met recently with Hample.

      Hample, a collector who claims to have caught more than 30 home run balls and 8,000 hit during batting practice at major league games, snagged the ball when Rodriguez homered to right field off Detroit's Justin Verlander.

      On Twitter, Hample had said he didn't like Rodriguez and had no intention of returning the ball, but he later appeared to be softening his stance.

      "Maybe some perks will come my way at the Stadium, maybe some memorabilia I wouldn't otherwise have gotten my hands on," Hample told the New York Daily News recently. "I'm envisioning a scenario where everybody comes out of this feeling good."

      Hample, 37, reached out to Rodriguez on Twitter, asking the Yankees slugger to follow him.

      "It's just a nice, symbolic gesture of goodwill," Hample told the Daily News. "I don't expect him to see that tweet, and if he sees it, I don't expect him to think anything positively about me right now. I had posted some disparaging tweets about him in the days before he hit the home run. I was just being snarky and trying to be funny and didn't think the eyes of the world would be on me."

      Once scorned and despised by many throughout baseball, Rodriguez with his historic hit continued a remarkable reversal that has included standing ovations at Yankee Stadium. The hit came over a year after he fought MLB before accepting the 162-game suspension for PED usage, something he admitted to in 2009 but was not suspended for that time.

      The league and the MLBPA announced the resolution between the Yankees and Rodriguez in the dispute after A-Rod hit his 661st career home run on May 7.

      The disagreement was over the home run that pushed Rodriguez ahead of Willie Mays on baseball's all-time list. The Yankees were unwilling to pay the $6 million bonus because of A-Rod's year of lost service and subsequent admission of PED use.

      The agreement by the two sides involves donations to charities.

      "Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced today that the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez have amicably resolved their potential dispute regarding Rodriguez's entitlement to bonus monies under the provision of his player contract covering historical statistical accomplishments," the joint statement said.

      "As part of this resolution, Mr. Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that a total of $3.5 million in charitable contributions will be made by the club, with $1 million going to the following charities that have long enjoyed the support of one or both: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa and Pitch In For Baseball; and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, which will use the money to further programs and initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball, particularly in urban areas. Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. will determine the initiatives to be supported by the $2.5 million contribution after consulting with Mr. Rodriguez, and taking into consideration the focus of Mr. Rodriguez's past charitable contributions.

      "Neither party will have any further comment on the specific terms of the agreement and both look forward to focusing their energies on winning another championship for Yankees fans."

      Yankees manager Joe Girardi commented about the Rodriguez news on both fronts.

      "I think it's great what they decided to do with the money, the organization and Alex because there's obviously a lot of people that are going to benefit from this," Girardi said before Friday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. "Three and half million dollars is a lot of money and the charities can do really good things with it and I think it's a wonderful gesture on both parts and I think it's a wonderful gesture on the Yankees part to really go to work on getting the 3,000th hit for Alex.

      "Relationships that get strained in life are really meant to get fixed again and a lot of times when you get to the other side and those sort of the struggles that you have, the relationship can get stronger than ever and that's kind of what you hope happens. I'm sure that the less things that he has to worry about and the more that he can just worry about what he loves to do, I think it's a huge benefit for him.

      "I've always said that if he came back and was productive, I thought things would go (well) and that's what he's done. He's worked really hard to be productive and has been a big part of our lineup and I think that's why you see the things going the way they're going."

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Latest clunker highlights Jays' need for pitching
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- With each hit in the Boston Red Sox's eight-run first inning Thursday came a reminder.

    • The Blue Jays need pitching.

      Since right-hander Aaron Sanchez went on the disabled list June 6, right-hander Scott Copeland and then left-hander Matt Boyd, despite some first-start success, showed they aren't a short-term answer.

      Even with Sanchez, who was on a roll before sustained a strained right lat, pitching was a Blue Jays' priority.

      Boyd did not get an out Thursday in Toronto's 12-6 loss to the Red Sox. After the game he was returned on option to Triple-A Buffalo, where he will join Copeland.

      Next up on the Buffalo shuttle could be highly touted left-hander Daniel Norris, who opened the season in Toronto but was soon back in the minors when he seemed surprisingly fragile in the mental part of the game.

      If the Blue Jays are to contend in the wide-open American League East, general manager Alex Anthopoulos must make a move. Losing three of four games on home turf to the division rival Red Sox not only is embarrassing but unacceptable for a contender.

      Anthopoulos said he would even be open to considering what is often called a rental pitcher.

      "I think we're always interested in taking a rental," Anthopoulos said. "It's just that the rental component impacts what you're willing to pay. That's the hardest part -- managing the short term and the long term. You want to be in a position to have to make a tough decision, but it is much easier to swallow when you're giving up a young player when you know you can keep the guy you're getting."

      Anthopoulos would prefer to add a starter, but now is not the time to get picky.

      "We would take either (a starter or a reliever) to improve, but I think clearly the rotation is the area that has the most need," he said. "Not that the bullpen can't use some work, but I think the bullpen is starting to settle in a little bit."

      Anthopoulos said he nearly made a trade in May.

      "We thought we had a deal 90 percent of the way there, I guess," he said. "It just didn't get done."

      He left it at that. No names, no details.

      He likes being cute about such things.

      It is getting too late for that. It is about time he filled in the blanks and did something about an obvious need.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Red Sox at midseason: 37-44, same as last year
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- A miserable season for the Boston Red Sox is taking an upturn.

    • By scoring eight runs in the first inning Thursday, mostly against rookie left-hander Matt Boyd, the Red Sox were able to absorb a mediocre effort from their own starter, left-hander Wade Miley, to win 12-6 over the Toronto Blue Jays.

      It was Boston's 81st game of the season -- the halfway point -- and after a 5-2 road trip, the Red Sox equaled their unimpressive mark after 81 games last season, 37-44.

      The winning trip -- two of three at Tampa Bay and three of four at Toronto -- helped the club's frame of mind.

      "Without a doubt," manager John Farrell said. "And a trip that we needed to claw our way back to within six (games of the lead in the American League East).

      "Granted, we're not looking at the scoreboard every night but, at the same time, the way we had gone through the first 2 1/2 months of the season in the division, to go 5-2 was certainly timely, and we go back home with a little momentum."

      The Red Sox open a three-game series Friday with the Houston Astros, who lead the American League West.

      "We're hopeful that it does continue," Farrell said. "We've been able to go through this stretch here with solid starting pitching. Tonight was a little bit shaky, but Wade (Miley) kept it together good enough. Our starters have been able to allow our offense to get on the board early and keep things in check."

      Well, not quite on Thursday. The Red Sox scored eight runs before Miley pitched, and then he gave back half of the lead in the second inning.

      Fortunately for Boston, the Blue Jays stranded 14 runners on the night.

      "Wade turned in what I would consider a blue-collar night," Farrell said. "He didn't have much command, anywhere consistent to where he's been, but found a way to make some big pitches."

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Mariners part ways with valued veteran Bloomquist
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Some days are tougher than others for major league managers. Seattle Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon had one of those tough moments Thursday when he had to tell veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist he was designated for assignment.

    • The move opened a spot on the roster for shortstop Chris Taylor, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma and started against the Oakland A's, going 0-for-2 in a Seattle 4-0 loss Thursday night.

      "Obviously, it was a pretty difficult decision to release Bloomquist," McClendon said. "He's meant so much to this organization, great in the playoffs, his work ethic was second to none. It's always tough when you let the good guys go. We just felt that Taylor was at a point now where he was playing consistent baseball down there. I think to a man we all thought he was a better option."

      Bloomquist, 37, was drafted by Seattle in the third round in 1999 and played 622 games in two stints with the Mariners. Bloomquist was batting .159 in 35 games during an injury-plagued season this year.

      Taylor hit .129 in 20 games with the Mariners after being called up in early May and was optioned to Tacoma on June 1. He said he simplified his hitting approach and got back into a groove in the minors.

      "I think the biggest thing is there was a lot of pressure up here and I was struggling," Taylor said before the game. "You find yourself in a hole. Sometimes you try too hard, you think too much. I think being sent down there was good for me. It helped me relax, just take it one day at a time and work my way back."

      "I feel like my approach has been pretty good to where I simplified things. I think when I was here earlier I might have been thinking too much. I just tried to keep it simple and put the bat on the ball."

      McClendon spent time Thursday thinking about his history with Bloomquist.

      "Most people don't know I managed Willie years ago in California in the Fall League," McClendon said of his first managerial job in 1999 at Lancaster. "He was one of my players. He was a joy to be around there, he's been a joy to be around ever since. We've got a lot of history together. It's never easy, particularly when it's somebody you like."

      Taylor, a right-handed hitter, will be used primarily against "real tough lefties like (Scott) Kazmir," McClendon said of the Oakland starter Thursday, who pitched eight shutout innings.

      Seattle's regular shortstop, Brad Miller, hits left-handed.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Twins hope prospect Sano adds punch to lineup
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Minnesota Twins promoted prospect Miguel Sano from Double-A Chattanooga and he made his debut as the designated hitter Thursday night.

    • Sano, 22, was a Southern League All-Star pick and hit .315 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs since May 1. In 66 games, he hit .274 with 18 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs and 48 RBIs in 66 games.

      Sano was primarily a third baseman for the Lookouts, but manager Paul Molitor said he would be utilized mostly as the DH and Terry Plouffee would remain as the regular third baseman.

      Molitor said in addition to third, Sano would take ground balls at first base and do some work in left field during pregame drills.

      The Twins are hopeful Sano can add some punch to the lineup. In 445 games in the minors, Sano had a .564 slugging percentage with 105 home runs and 339 RBIs.

      "This is the opportunity I wanted my whole life," Sano said. "I (will) try to stay here my whole career and never get sent down. This is a great day, you know. My goal is try to help the team win tonight."

      Said Molitor, "He is where he wants to be, but now is where you put your foot on the pedal and you go even harder. I think he gets that."

      Sano had a 9 a.m. flight out of Chattanooga, made a connection through Atlanta and arrived at 1:30 p.m. in Kansas City.

      "Whatever they put me to do, I do," Sano said.

      Sano said he tries to compete with the pitcher.

      "They throw me a bad breaking ball, I let it go," he said. "The good ball in the zone, that's what I hit."

      In his debut, Sano went 1-for-4 with an infield single in the ninth, which lead to the Twins' second run in a 2-0 victory over the Royals.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Athletics' Gray back with team after nasty illness
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander Sonny Gray rejoined his Oakland A's teammates Thursday after a harrowing three-day stay in the hospital battling severe bacterial gastroenteritis.

    • The culprit? Salmonella, said A's trainer Nick Paparesta.

      "That bacteria is what caused the gastroenteritis, which obviously had gone after and attacked his colon, which caused most of the issues and his lengthy stay at the hospital," Paparesta said.

      Gray almost certainly will miss his scheduled start Sunday against the Seattle Mariners, although no official decision has been made. There also is a chance he could miss his final scheduled start before the All-Star break, which runs July 13-16.

      Paparesta said the team will be very careful with Gray.

      "You look at the time of the season we're in right now at this stage, moving into the All-Star break. I think that's something we need to account with where he is with his innings load and so forth, and this isn't the normal, 'Hey, I was sick for a few days and I feel a lot better now,'" Paparesta said. "Because he's not able to go in there and eat like he normally would, he can't go in there and just start grabbing every piece of meat and start wolfing it down because we still have to be careful.

      "He's going to be on antibiotics for four more days to help with the circumstance he had to deal with in the hospital. We're just going to have to keep taking it day to day."

      Gray, who played light catch and rode an exercise bike Thursday, said he was just happy to be out of the hospital and on the road to recovery after a very scary ordeal.

      "Monday night, I knew I was really dehydrated," Gray said Thursday before the Athletics' 4-0 victory against Seattle. "I think I got five bags of fluids in one night and still felt dehydrated. My internal organs were just so out of whack.

      "I feel much better. Finally woke up this morning feeling somewhat normal. Started eating solid foods again, which was nice."

      None of Gray's teammates had the illness.

      "We feel he most likely did not get it our facility, but we're going to do everything we can internally to investigate that and verify that that wasn't the case," Paparesta said. "He did eat at two venues away from our facility on Thursday night and Friday before he came to the ballpark, so that would be a possibility as well. So we're just going to do our due diligence from the medical side of things."

      Right-hander Chris Bassitt filled in for Gray on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies, when he allowed one run in five innings during a 2-1 loss, and A's manager Bob Melvin said it looks likely Bassitt will start Sunday.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    First shoe drops in Cards' hacking scandal
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. LOUIS -- The first casualty from "Hackgate" was claimed Thursday, and it was the man who oversaw the St. Louis Cardinals' amateur draft less than a month ago.

    • Scouting director Chris Correa was fired for his actions in a computer hacking incident of the Houston Astros' database that occurred last year. The 34-year old Correa rose through the St. Louis system after being hired in 2009 and became the club's scouting director in December 2014.

      Correa was involved in signing most of the team's draft choices until being placed on administrative leave last week. General manager John Mozeliak actually signed third and 11th-round choices this week.

      Correa declined comment, but his lawyer, Nicholas Williams, was swinging from the heels in a Thursday story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

      "Mr. Correa denies any illegal contact," Williams said. "The relevant inquiry should be what information did former St. Louis Cardinals employees steal from the St. Louis Cardinals prior to joining the Houston Astros."

      Translation: Correa and his lawyer intend to make this messy and they intend to aim at Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow, the former head of the Cardinals' analytics department. One shoe might have dropped, but a lot of others remain.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Nats dive into Dominican talent market
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Washington reached into the Dominican Republic and signed a pair of 16-year-old prospects Thursday on the first day of the international signing period.

    • The Nationals gave outfielder Juan Soto a team-record $1.5 million and also added infielder Luis Aquino.

      Soto (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) is ranked No. 22 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list. He was ranked No. 13 by Baseball America. He is an outstanding left-handed hitter who is said to possess a graceful swing.

      Soto has average power, but reports say he makes good contact, isn't prone to strikeouts and has shown an ability to hit line drives. Scouts believe he could become a power hitter as he matures.

      In the outfield, Soto is rated to have an average arm. He is rated as a corner outfielder who has good instincts in the field.

      "Soto is a left-handed hitter with advanced feel for hitting and projection for power," said Johnny DiPuglia, Washington's director of Latin American operations.

      Aquino has good speed, and his athleticism makes him a potential shortstop or second baseman. He is a switch hitter who has the bat control and approach that makes him a potential top-of-the-order guy.

      Aquino is the nephew of former Washington shortstop Cristian Guzman.

      Washington has been a cautious player in the international market since signing Esmailyn Gonzalez for $1.4 million in 2006. Gonzalez's real name was actually Carlos Alvarez. He was playing under a false identity, which led to the dismissal of general manager Jim Bowden and an overhaul of the organization's international operations.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Moore's return should boost Rays' rotation
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Lost in the offensive futility of the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-game sweep by the Cleveland Indians was the long-awaited return of left-hander Matt Moore, who pitched for the first time in nearly 15 months in Thursday's loss.

    • Moore pitched well for four innings, taking a 2-1 lead into the fifth, but gave up four hits in that inning, leaving the game with a 4-2 deficit.

      "I thought there might have been more nervous body-control type issues, but it felt normal," Moore said. "It felt good to get out there and finally throw to (catcher Rene Rivera) for the first time."

      Moore had no expectations for his first start, but was disappointed he couldn't get out of the fifth inning, getting two outs but then giving up three hits and a walk before his early exit.

      "I've got to be better than four singles and a walk," Moore said. "Anytime we can put up two like that against a guy like Corey Kluber ... it was a tough in-game adjustment but I have to be better than that."

      Moore's return will be a major boost to the Rays rotation, with another key starter due back soon in Jake Odorizzi, which should also be help to an overworked bullpen.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    After strong start, Mets are back at .500 again
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- For the third time in 10 days, the New York Mets are a .500 team.

    • The Mets fell to the break-even mark Thursday, when the Chicago Cubs completed a three-game sweep at Citi Field with a 6-1 win.

      If the Mets lose the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night, they would hit the halfway point of the season at 40-41, which may not sound too newsworthy for a team trying to halt a streak of five consecutive losing seasons.

      However, with a loss Friday, the Mets would have a sub-.500 record halfway through a season in which an 11-game winning streak moved them 10 games over .500 in late April. And if the Mets stumble Friday, there will be one person at Wrigley Field who knows what it is like to see such a magical start disappear so fast.

      Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio was a swingman on the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers, who set a still-standing record by winning their first 13 games, including seven by two runs or fewer. On May 2, the Brewers were 20-3, with 12 wins by two runs or fewer, and they held a five-game lead in the American League East.

      "We got every bounce, every break, we were healthy," Bosio said Wednesday. "Everything clicked. We were winning a lot of one-run games. Key hits, key plays, favorable schedule."

      Sound familiar? The Mets were 13-3 following their 11-game winning streak, during which they won seven games by two runs or fewer, allowed three runs or fewer seven times and beat a trio of non-contenders in the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins.

      The Mets began play May 2 with a 16-8 record and a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League East. And then they began to experience what the Brewers went through in 1987, when Milwaukee went 22-40 from May 3 through the All-Star break to hit the Midsummer Classic with a losing record (42-43).

      "I remember a lot of injuries hit us," Bosio said. "(Paul) Molitor getting a ball off the face at third base on a play coming into third. We ended up getting dinged up. All the things that were going for us seemed to be going against us."

      The Mets lost their franchise third baseman, David Wright, to a hamstring injury on April 14. During his rehab, Wright began feeling back pain that was diagnosed as spinal stenosis in late May. He has yet to resume baseball activities and isn't likely to play for the Mets this month.

      In addition, catcher Travis d'Arnaud broke his right pinky finger April 19, when the Mets won their eighth straight game, and didn't return until June 10. In the same game, shutdown left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins broke his pitching arm when he was hit by a comebacker. He hasn't even begun throwing yet.

      Second baseman Daniel Murphy missed 22 games with a strained left quad he sustained June 4. D'Arnaud played in just eight games in June before spraining his left elbow, sending him back to the disabled list retroactive to June 21.

      Add it all up and the Mets are 27-37 since their hot start. They already fell under .500 once: A seven-game losing streak from June 17-24 dropped them to 36-37, which made New York the first team since the 1987 Brewers to fall below .500 after moving at least 10 games over .500 via a winning streak of 11 games or more.

      "The one thing I've learned in this game is that you make your own breaks," Bosio said. "And we had to fight and scratch and claw to get to where we were early, and then we had to do the same thing late trying to keep our head above water."

      The Mets, who scored one run or fewer for the eighth time in the past 14 games Thursday, seem about ready to be washed away. But at least the 1987 Brewers provide some evidence that the momentum can once again be turned around.

      Milwaukee went 49-28 following the All-Star break to finish 91-71, though in the pre-wild-card days, the Brewers never got closer to first place than six games and ended up in third place, seven games behind the Detroit Tigers.

      "I think it was the lessons that we learned early in the season that enabled us to battle through," Bosio said. "When you can win a lot of one- and two-run games, it shows a lot of character. And you remember how you played in those games that got you to that point. Those are the lessons that I think we learned."

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Braves sign two Dominican 16-year-olds
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Continuing to change the long-term structure of the organization, the Atlanta Braves signed a pair of 16-year-old players from the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

    • The Braves signed outfielder Cristian Pache for $1.4 million and shortstop Derian Cruz for $2 million.

      Pache is ranked No. 10 on MLB.com's list of top 30 international prospects. He was ranked No. 21 by Baseball America.

      According to reports, Pache (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) is an excellent defensive player who has the speed to get to balls in the outfield with relative ease. His arm is rated as average to below average but seems to be consistent with players his age.

      Pache was clocked in 4.0 seconds going from first to home. He was timed at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash. Scouts say he runs hard all the time and is considered a max-effort player.

      At the plate, the right-handed hitter shows the ability to take a good approach and knows how to work the count.

      Cruz is ranked No. 24 on MLB.com's Top 30 list. He is ranked No. 5 by Baseball America. Cruz (6 foot, 170 pounds) is considered to be one of the best runners available in the international pool, as well as one of the best athletes for his age.

      Cruz isn't considered a power hitter, but he is known for being able to find the gaps with line drives. Although he was signed as a shortstop, Cruz also has the versatility to play second base and possibly center field. His skills are compared to those shown by Jose Reyes.

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Maddon pleased with Cubs' closer-by-committee setup
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon spent part of his pregame press conference Wednesday talking about how he wasn't necessarily going to use right-hander Jason Motte as he would a conventional closer, even though Motte earned the Cubs' past two saves.

    • Hours later, Maddon lived up to his word. Instead of waiting for the Cubs to take the lead, he used Motte in the 10th inning of a scoreless game against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

      After the Cubs scored twice in the 11th, Maddon opened the bottom of the inning with left-hander James Russell, who recorded two quick outs before allowing up a hit to left fielder Darrell Ceciliani. Right-hander Justin Grimm entered and walked second baseman Wilmer Flores before striking out catcher Kevin Plawecki to earn his first professional save.

      The Cubs didn't need a closer Thursday, when they completed a three-game sweep of the woeful Mets with a 6-1 win. However, Maddon said beforehand that Wednesday epitomized his bullpen philosophy.

      "Exactly what I'm talking about," Maddon said. "We've got to put another zero up there to get another at-bat. There's no sense in waiting right there. And the other part is I have a lot of faith in the other guys out there. I know we had two left-handers that I felt very good about. There was two right-handers that I felt very good about. It just played (perfectly)."

      On Wednesday, Maddon didn't deny that Motte is probably his first pick for a traditional save opportunity. In typically unique Maddon style, he said he liked Motte because of his experience -- he led the National League with 42 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 -- as well as for the "pure blunt force" of his stuff.

      "He's just more carnal," Maddon said.

      However, the manager won't be locked in to using Motte in the set closer's role, either. With Grimm notching a save, the Cubs now have five relievers with at least one save.

      Right-hander Hector Rendon, who threw the seventh inning Tuesday and the ninth inning Wednesday, has 12 saves. Motte has three saves. Right-hander Pedro Strop, who threw the eighth inning Tuesday and Wednesday, has two saves, and Grimm and left-hander Travis Wood have one save apiece.

      Not relying on a set closer means Maddon won't have to worry about bruising anyone's feelings as he tries to navigate the final outs of a victory.

      "Unless you have the one guy that you really want to hang your hat on -- unless you have that guy, why do it?" Maddon said Wednesday. "It makes everybody's life miserable. Now, when you don't put the guy in the game, then all of a sudden he's disappointed and he goes home and he doesn't sleep as well.

      "I don't want that. I just want us to win."

  • Friday, July 3, 2015
    Tigers looking for spark to turn around season
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- The questions are coming more often now and they're getting sharper.

    • What is going on with the Tigers, is what every Detroit fan wants to know, and is there a sense of urgency as the club plods along to the All-Star break.

      "There definitely seems to be the sense that we need to start winning some games," backup catcher Bryan Holaday said Thursday after Detroit lost, 8-4, to complete Pittsburgh's sweep of the Tigers in their three-game inter-league series.

      "I think I said (Wednesday)," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We're not combining things well.

      "When we're hitting, we're not pitching, when we're pitching, we're not hitting. I think that's another example. I don't want to say we're snake-bit because we gotta go out there and do it.

      "To say you're snake-bit is like you're making an excuse. We gotta go out there and do it. I don't want to have an excuse. I want to go out there and get it done. We have to do that."

      Detroit scored four runs in the last two innings Thursday and it seems a recent trend is for the club to dawdle along through the first half of the game and then try to turn on the jets in the last three innings.

      The Tigers were down, 4-0, Thursday when a three-run home run by right fielder J.D. Martinez got them close. A four-run ninth by the Pirates put the game out of reach again.

      Pittsburgh clubbed Detroit in the middle game of the series and Tuesday night rallied in the eighth (a two-run Martinez home run) and got the game to the 14th before falling.

      Against the Chicago White Sox the previous game Detroit rallied to tie with four runs in the eighth and won on walk-off home run in the ninth.

      "Oh, we're definitely still in it," Ausmus said. "To say that we're out of it would be ludicrous.

      "Quite frankly, the Pirates played much better than we did this series. We've been at .500 before.

      "We're middle of the season now. But we're definitely still in this thing. Not for a second do I think we're not in this thing."

      But playing losing baseball will ratchet up the number of questions and rile up the fans, whose expectations for the Tigers in recent seasons have been high.

      "I think sometimes in my experience there's something that sparks a team and sometimes for an unknown reason, a team turns around," Ausmus said, "whether it's a gradual turnaround or a spark that turns it around. you just don't know.

      "It's possible, maybe a spark, maybe something helps, whether it's -- I don't want to say a brawl but something, whether it's a big hit or a big game. We hoped the White Sox game on Sunday would have maybe been a spark.

      "Four days later we're looking at a sweep at the hands of the Pirates. You just don't know what it is. Sometimes it's good and sometimes you don't need it.

      "We need to pitch better. We haven't pitched well recently. There's no question we need to pitch better. The backbone of a good baseball team is generally pitching, pitching and defense."