Category Archives: MLB

Cleveland Guardians stop Tampa Bay Rays from clinching AL wild-card spot, rally to win 2-1

Small plastic strips dangled from the ceiling in Tampa Bay’s clubhouse, which had been cleared of furniture and prepped over the final innings for what was supposed to be wild, wet celebration.

The Guardians had other plans.

“We don’t want people celebrating in our house, right?” Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill said.

Rookies Oscar Gonzalez and Steven Kwan drove in runs in the eighth inning as the Guardians denied the Rays from clinching one of the AL’s three wild-card spots, rallying for a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.

The Central champion Guardians took two of three game in a tight series — and potentially a playoff preview. Two games went to extra innings and all three were decided by one run.

After Baltimore lost in Boston earlier, the Rays took the field needing a win to make the postseason for the fourth year in a row. But they couldn’t hold off a Cleveland team that has fought back all season.

“Kind of been our [modus operandi] all year long,” Quantrill said. “You can’t put us away. I don’t think we’re a very fun team to face.” Coolers filled with beer and champagne were wheeled in and out of Tampa’s clubhouse as the Rays packed their gear and left for Houston still a win away from making the postseason field.

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“There’s disappointment any time we lose,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash, not wanting to put any extra emphasis on one game that slipped away late. “The disappointment is we were up in the eighth inning and we lost.”

Tampa Bay had an opportunity in the ninth inning, loading the bases on three walks by reliever Trevor Stephan. But he struck out Ji-Man Choi and then got Isaac Paredes to fly to short right to earn his third save.

“That’s a really good team,” said Quantrill, who remained unbeaten at Progressive Field in 33 starts. “I know a couple of guys on that team. I like that team. But we don’t want them to celebrate here.

“They can go celebrate wherever they’re heading next. It’s not about proving we can beat them. It comes back to proving that we can continue to play the game the way we want to play it.”

The Guardians have 37 come-from-behind victories and they extended their team record to 29 victories in their final at-bat. 

Enyel De Los Santos (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth as Cleveland improved to 20-4 since Sept. 4.

Shut out for seven innings, the Guardians got a pinch-hit single off Shawn Armstrong (2-3) from rookie Will Brennan to start the eighth. Myles Straw then sacrificed and Kwan doubled to tie it 1-all.

The Rays walked the dangerous Jose Ramirez with two outs to face Gonzalez, who hit a slow roller to the right side just out of Choi’s reach at first as Brennan scored.

“I felt bad for Army,” Cash said. “He threw the ball so well and Gonzalez swings at a pitch that almost hit him and just found that perfect spot.” Cleveland’s comeback kept Quantrill’s perfect mark at home intact. The right-hander allowed just one run and three hits in six innings but appeared to be on his way to a tough loss before his teammates rallied.

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New York Yankees not worried about Aaron Judge’s mental or physical state in his quest for 62 home runs

Aaron Judge has been a mainstay in the New York Yankees’ lineup all season as he keep to put up numbers that could define his MVP-caliber 2022 season as one of the best ever.

Manager Aaron Boone, however, isn’t concern about the mental or physical state of his All-Star outfielder before the playoffs while he is steeped in the chase for home run history.

Judge is one home run from tying Roger Maris’ American League single-season record of 61, but he has played in 45 consecutive matches — he also played 47 straight earlier this season. In total, he has played 147 of the Yankees’ 151 games, and he has 73 starts in center field, which is a career high.

“Hopefully, we can continue to kind of stack up some wins here and put ourselves in a position to where, in the last week, [we can] rest,” Boone said before Saturday’s 7-5 win, in which Judge went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts versus the Boston Red Sox.

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“Paying attention to not just Aaron, but to all the guys and what their needs are. I feel like [Judge] is in a good spot, as fresh as you can be mentally. I don’t think this has been something that’s worn him down. Because if I felt like it was, and he needed a day, I would give it to him.”

Boone stated Judge has benefited not only from the rest days built into the schedule of late — the Yankees had three days off during their latest road trip — but noted that Judge’s physical conditioning and durability are better than last year.

“That’s a unique part of the schedule that I think served [Judge] and us well,” Boone said. “But coupled with the fact that, I think, this year, more than last year where he remained remarkably healthy, there were still days where I knew he was a little beat up and felt like he needed something. It’s been a little cleaner throughout. There were some true strategic [days off] early in the middle of the year around some off days that hopefully served him well.”

Boone stated Judge’s chase for history hasn’t worn him down mentally, either.

“I don’t think it has taken that mental toll, because you are always paying attention to that with players,” Boone said. “Sometimes you feel like a guy does need a break. I haven’t felt that to be the case [with Judge].

“I think it’s the evolution of him. He’s done a better job knowing he doesn’t have to do everything every day. He knows how to preserve and save some bullets, especially when you get into the second half of the season and some of the dog days. He’s really learned how to prepare and understanding that, especially physically, that less is more a lot of times.”

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Royals bullpen clutch in holding off fast-fading Twins 5-2

MJ Melendez homered for the second consecutive day, the Royals bullpen pitched five innings of two-hit ball and Kansas City beat the fast-fading Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Wednesday night to put a positive finish on a difficult day.

The Royals clinched their first winning series in nearly a month just hours after owner John Sherman fired longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, who led the franchise to two American League pennants and a World Series title.

Daniel Lynch allowed two runs on four hits over four shaky innings before giving way to the Kansas City bullpen, which was solid for the second consecutive night. 

Anthony Misiewicz (1-1) and three other relievers got the ball to Scott Barlow, pitched around an error in the ninth for his second save in as many nights and 23rd on the year.

Bailey Ober (1-3) permitted three runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings for Minnesota, which was in an AL Central race two weeks ago but has lost six of seven to start an eight-game trip that’s dashed its playoff hopes.

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The Royals opened the game the same way they finished the previous night: with production at the top of the order.

Melendez, who hit a two-run homer in the series opener, homered leading off the game for the third time this season, driving a 3-1 pitch an estimated 437 feet to center field. And after Bobby Witt Jr. reached on a base hit, Salvador Perez blooped an RBI double to right that was sneakily reminiscent of his two-out, go-ahead double on Tuesday night.

Minnesota got one back in the second on Matt Wallner’s base hit, and when the Royals answered on Edward Oliveras’ two-out single in the third, the Twins again closed within a run thanks in part to a two-bag error by Vinnie Pasquantino.

That was it for the Twins, though, because the stars of the night came out of the Kansas City bullpen.Collin Snider worked around a two-on, no-out jam in the fifth. Misiewicz retired four of the five he faced in the sixth and seventh. 

Dylan Coleman handled the rest of the seventh and the first two outs of the eighth. And Amir Garrett finished that one off before Barlow wrapped up the Twins’ 13th loss in their last 16 games.

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A’s rally for 2 in 9th, use Seager’s error to beat Rangers

Stephen Vogt’s routine grounder with two outs in the ninth inning glanced off Texas shortstop Corey Seager’s glove, scoring the go-ahead run as the Oakland Athletics rallied past the Rangers 8-7 on Wednesday night.

The A’s trailed 7-6 entering the ninth. Pinch-hitter Sheldon Neuse led off with a single and Vimael Machin tied it with a two-out double.

Vogt then pulled a grounder and Seager, shifted to the right side of the diamond, misplayed for an error that let Machin score.

The A’s are now 2-71 when trailing after seven innings.

Tyler Cyr (1-0) got five outs for his first big league win. Jose Leclerc (0-3) took the loss.

Domingo Acevedo earned his first save. With a runner on second base and two out, Acevedo entered to cool off the Rangers’ Mark Mathias by striking him out.

In the second inning, Mathias homered in his third consecutive at-bat. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mathias was the first Rangers player since Roughned Odor in 2019 to hit home runs in three straight at-bats. No Ranger has had a longer home run streak in their 51 seasons.

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Mathias, a 28-year-old rookie, drove in a third-inning run with a single for his fifth consecutive hit and sixth RBI in a span of six innings, including Tuesday’s two-homer performance.

Texas got him from Milwaukee as part of a deadline-day trade for right-hander Matt Bush, and recalled Mathias from Triple-A Round Rock on August 16.

The consecutive-hit streak for Mathias ended at five when he struck out in the fifth.

Playing third base for the Rangers for the second time this season, Mathias showed defensive ability in the fifth inning. He charged a grounder by Nick Allen and threw across the diamond in time to record an out.

With the roof open, the Rangers’ home played as a hitters’ park. Each team hit three home runs — Mathias, Marcus Semien and Jonah Heim for Texas and Dermis Garcia, Seth Brown and Tony Kemp for Oakland.

Collin Wiles, a 28-year-old right-hander, made his major league debut in relief for Oakland 10 years after the Rangers drafted him in the first round. He gave up two runs and three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

The addition of Wiles extended A’s records to 60 players, 31 rookies, 19 rookie pitchers and 17 major league debuts this season.

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Cardinals beat Diamondbacks 6-4 for seventh straight win

Nolan Arenado quickly fell behind versus a hard-throwing pitcher with a knack for painting corners.

Instead of tensing up, the seven-time All-Star shortened up, found a pitch he could hit and shot the ball through the right side of the infield.

Arenado hit a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning and finished with three RBI, helping the St. Louis Cardinals stretch their winning streak to seven matches with a 6-4 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

“He knows when to take the shots and when to just take whatever is given to him,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “That’s a perfect example of taking what he’s given.” Trailing 4-3, the Cardinals loaded the bases in the seventh after pinch-hitter Albert Pujols singled off Joe Mantiply (1-4) and Kevin Ginkel hit Paul Goldschmidt with a pitch.

Arenado, who had a run-scoring single in the first inning, fell behind 1-2 against Ginkel, but lined a single to right-center to put St. Louis up 5-4.

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Jake Woodford (2-0) allowed a hit in 1 1/3 innings and Giovanny Gallegos worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save to complete the NL Central-leading Cardinals’ seventh sweep this season.

Lars Nootbaar hit his first career leadoff homer and Tommy Edman added a run-scoring single in the eighth inning for St. Louis’ 16th win in 19 games.

“The guys are just continuing to compete regardless of situation, regardless of score, and that’s what you want at this time of the year,” Marmol said.

Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly had been sharp for nearly two months, allowing two runs or less in eight of nine starts.

The veteran right-hander was in trouble almost from the first pitch against St. Louis, giving up Nootbaar’s leadoff homer and Arenado’s run-scoring single. Another run came in when Nolan Gorman hit into a double play, matching the runs Kelly allowed his previous two starts combined.

“Kelly did a nice job,” Marmol said. “Their starter was good and for us to come out the way we did, put together at-bats with the homer and then the singles. That was that was a really good first inning.”

Kelly got a boost from an inning-ending double play in the second and fell into a rhythm after that. He worked around two baserunners twice, permitting three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

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Guardians score 6 runs in 8th, rally past Tigers 8-4

All-Star José Ramírez blooped a go-ahead, two-run double as the Cleveland Guardians scored six runs with two outs in the eighth inning, rallying for a 8-4 triumph over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.

Rookies Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez had RBI doubles, and Amed Rosario and Owen Miller added run-scoring singles in the eighth for the AL Central-leading Guardians. Cleveland trailed 4-1 in the sixth and 4-2 entering the eighth.

“It’s the belief we have in each other,” Kwan said. “Guys were just grinding at-bats out, and it’s the luck of baseball, as well.”

Andrew Chafin (0-3) struck out the first three batters in the inning, but tossed a wild pitch that permitted Luke Maile to reach and extend the frame. Cleveland then rattled off five straight hits and had seven consecutive men reach base.

“I went from, ‘Yeah, all right,’ to ‘Well, crap,’ pretty quickly,” Chafin said. “It’s not a nice game and it’s going to get you like that sometimes. That’s baseball for you.” Rosario greeted Alex Lange with a game-tying infield single that scored Myles Straw, and Ramírez followed with a soft fly that landed in front of left fielder Akil Baddoo. Kwan and Rosario scored to put the Guardians up 6-4.

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Cleveland remained one game ahead of Minnesota in the division. Bryan Shaw (6-2) retired one batter for the win.

The Guardians became the first major league team to strikeout three times before scoring six runs in any inning since at least 1961, according to Elias.

“How many times do you hear me say, ‘Keep playing, keep playing,’” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “That was kind of the ultimate example. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to win, but it’s always better than losing.”

Willi Castro hit a solo homer and Victor Reyes and Eric Haase had RBI singles for Detroit, which has lost nine of its last 11 matches and fired general manager Al Avila last week. Rookie Kerry Carpenter had a sacrifice fly for his fourth RBI in the four-game series.

“It happened fast against a contact team, but obviously we should have been out of that inning,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.

Castro’s homer in the sixth extended Detroit’s lead to 4-1. All-Star Andrés Giménez scored on a passed ball in the bottom half to pull Cleveland within two.

Gonzalez had two hits and two RBI, and Kwan and Andrés Giménez had two hits apiece.

Left-hander Daniel Norris, who was released by the Cubs on July 22, gave up four hits, walked two, hit three batters and struck out five in his second outing since rejoining the Tigers.

Detroit went in front 2-1 in the fourth, plating two runs to end Cal Quantrill’s 18-inning scoreless streak. Carpenter drove in the first for his fourth RBI in the four-game series and Haase singled home Javier Báez.

Quantrill permitted four runs in six innings, but remained 11-0 in 28 career games in the ballpark.

The Guardians won 10 of 19 games versus Detroit this season, evening their all-time series at 1,144-1,144.

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Milwaukee Brewers bolster bullpen, acquire reliever Matt Bush from Texas Rangers

The NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers got hard-throwing reliever and former No. 1 draft pick Matt Bush from the Texas Rangers on Monday night for infielder Mark Mathias and a top pitching prospect.

Bush is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA and one save in 40 games this campaign, including five starting in an opener role. He hasn’t allowed an earned run over his past 12 appearances.

He was brought in to help fortify the Brewers’ bullpen on the same day they traded All-Star closer Josh Hader to San Diego for reliever Taylor Rogers and three other players.

“A little shocked, definitely wasn’t expecting it, but I guess just a bittersweet moment,” Bush said. “It’s also really exciting to go to the Brewers, a team that’s really winning right now and has a chance of going to the playoffs and doing big things.” Texas got Mathias and left-handed pitcher Antoine Kelly. Mathias will be added to the 40-man roster with the Rangers, and Kelly will be assigned to their minor league system.

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Bush, 36, has spent all five of his big league seasons with the Rangers (2016-18, 2021-22). He was the first pick in the 2004 draft as a shortstop by his hometown San Diego Padres.

Bush was a 30-year-old rookie when he made his major league debut with Texas in 2016.

That first game came nearly 12 years after he was drafted, the longest gap for a No. 1 pick to make his debut.

hat first game came nearly 12 years after he was drafted, the longest gap for a No. 1 pick to make his debut.

In 180 big league games as a pitcher, he is 12-7 with a 3.34 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 177⅔ innings

“It’s really hard to say goodbye here. This has been home for me for quite a while,” Bush said. “My family and I have been treated so well here, and I feel like the organization’s always taken care of myself first and then baseball.”

While with the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2012, Bush had a DUI crash during spring training that seriously injured, and nearly killed, a 72-year-old man on a motorcycle. Bush spent 3½ years in prison.

The Rangers scouted Bush in the parking lot of a restaurant where he was employed while in a work-release program for the final months of his prison sentence in the fall of 2015.

Bush twice had surgery on his right elbow while with the Rangers. After a procedure in 2018 to repair and reinforce the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament didn’t work, Bush needed Tommy John surgery in 2019.

It was the second time he had had that ligament replacement surgery since converting from shortstop to pitcher not long after getting drafted.

After missing all of 2019 and 2020, his only appearance for Texas last year was a scoreless inning in the season finale.

Mathias, who turns 28 on Tuesday, has started five games at second base for the Brewers this season. He made his big league debut playing 16 games for Milwaukee in 2020 before missing all of last season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Kelly, who is 22 and was a selection for the All-Star Futures Game, was a second-round pick by the Brewers in the 2019 draft. He was 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts at Class A Wisconsin this season.

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Mike Trout dealing with ‘pretty rare’ back condition, but Los Angeles Angels star says it’s manageable, plans to return this season

Mike Trout stated he appreciated all the support he received Wednesday after the Los Angeles Angels’ head athletic trainer revealed the three-time American League MVP had a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career.

Even if Trout thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

“I think he meant that I have to stay on top of the routine I do on a daily basis to keep it from coming back,” Trout said after watching his Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 to clinch their first series victory in nearly a month.

“I’m appreciative of all the prayer requests, but my career is not over.”

The 10-time All-Star left a game versus Houston on July 12 with what was first called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with what was called rib cage inflammation.

On Wednesday, Angels athletic trainer Mike Forstad revealed it to be a rare spinal condition.

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“This is a pretty rare condition that he has right now in his back,” Frostad said. “The doctor (Robert Watkins III), who is one of the most well-known spine surgeons in the country — if not the world — doesn’t see a lot of these.

“And for it to happen in a baseball player — we just have to take into consideration what he puts himself through with hitting, swinging on a daily basis just to get prepared, and then also playing in the outfield, diving for balls, jumping into the wall — things like that. There’s so many things that can aggravate it. But this doctor hasn’t seen a lot of it.”

Trout smiled when thinking about the absurdity of the overreactions he’d been seeing online after Frostad’s comments.

“I got back and my phone was blowing up: ‘My career is over,'” he said. “It’s just rare for a baseball player. I just have to stay on top of it.”

Trout received a cortisone injection last week that has already begun to produce results. He has a follow-up visit next week and “we’ll go from there,” he said, though he has every intention of being back this year.

“Of course,” he said. “That’s my goal.”

The Angels have had no discussions about shutting him down.

“I don’t think we’re at a point where we’re going to make that decision,” Frostad said. “He’s going to have a follow-up here once we get back and we’ll just kind of see what the doctor thinks at that point.”

Trout, the second-highest-paid player in the game at $37.1 million, had been enjoying a nice bounce-back season after a calf injury limited him to just 36 matches last season.

He was hitting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs through 79 games, a rare bright spot in what has been a dismal season for the Angels. “He’s been a great teammate,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.

“He’s been [in] the dugout, helping out his teammate — he’s obviously a good sounding board for a lot of young players. For them to have him here and know that he’s supporting them is huge, I’m sure, for some younger guys.”

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Mets top Yanks 6-3 in Subway Series matchup of leaders

Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer that capped a four-run, first-inning rally, and the New York Mets defeated the Yankees 6-3 Tuesday night in a rare Subway Series matchup of first-place teams.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo quieted many of the 42,364 fans at Citi Field in the first inning with opposite-field home runs on consecutive pitches from Taijuan Walker (8-2).

But the Mets stormed right back in the bottom half when Starling Marte homered with one out against Jordan Montgomery (3-3). Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso permitted with back-to-back doubles, and Escobar’s two-run, two-out homer put the Mets ahead 4-2.

The Mets, who won four of six games versus the Yankees last year, held on for a victory before just their third home sellout this year, what they hoped is a World Series rehearsal. Both teams had been in first place when they met in only one previous season, a three-game series from April 24-26, 2015, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“If we’re playing against each other in November, that would be awesome,” Alonso said. “If that happens, the city will just be on fire.”

Two of baseball’s big boppers went head to head. Judge’s major league-high 38th home run gave him 82 RBI, tying for the big league lead. Alonso surged back ahead with his 83rd in the bottom half and went 3 for 3 with a walk. The Yankees arrived a big league-best 66-31 with a 12 1/2-game AL East lead. The Mets had the second-best National League mark at 59-37 and a two-game NL East edge over Atlanta.

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Former Met and Yankee Darryl Strawberry threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Chants of “Let’s Go Mets!” started 10 minutes before the first pitch and the Yankees were booed when their lineup was announced.

“This year, obviously, seems even bigger with both teams doing as well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “During a 162-game season, the grind of it, these kind of series, especially as we enter the dog days of summer and things like that, are series that gives give guys a little shot in the arm, a little life.”

Walker improved to 5-0 in his last eight starts, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Adam Ottovino got five outs, and Edwin Díaz struck out four for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

The Yankees put two on with one out in the ninth when Jose Trevino reached on an infield hit and Díaz dropped the ball for an error while throwing to second on Judge’s comebacker. Díaz struck out Rizzo and Gleyber Torres.

Montgomery, 0-2 in last seven starts, allowed five runs — four earned — and five hits, needing 71 pitches for seven outs. When Boone came to the mound to remove him, he stared at his manager and appeared to mouth: “Why?”

The Yankees went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and hurt themselves with a pair of outs on the bases: Isiah Kiner-Falefa was picked off in the first and Rizzo was caught at second on an attempted double steal in the seventh.

Judge and Rizzo combined for the Yankees’ 14th back-to-back homers, tying the team record set in 2009. The drive into the right-field bullpens made Judge 10 for 20 with five homers in a span of 20 at-bats. Rizzo ended a 14-game homerless streak with his 23rd this season.

Walker had not previously permitted a home run at Citi Field this year

The Mets opened a 5-2 lead in the third when third baseman Josh Donaldson hit Francisco Lindor with a throw near first base, and the ball caromed into right field as Marte scored from second.

The Yankees got a run back on DJ LeMahieu’s RBI grounder in the fourth but left the bases loaded when Rizzo flied out to Brandon Nimmo a step in front of the center-field wall.

Jeff McNeil ended an 0-for-19 rut with a run-scoring single off Albert Abreu in the eighth.

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Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout placed on 10-day IL with left rib cage inflammation

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday with left rib cage inflammation, the team stated.

Scratched from the Angels’ lineup moments before the start of Saturday night’s 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, their final game before the All-Star break, Trout has missed the last four games with back spasms, and on Sunday, he elected not to participate in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

“It’s just one of the things that’s got to get right before I start swinging,” Trout said. “It is frustrating for sure. I can’t really pinpoint what caused it. It just started to bother me.”

Trout was in the Angels’ posted pregame lineup as the center fielder but was removed about three minutes before the first pitch.

Trout said afterward that his back felt wrong while swinging in the cage before the match.

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Originally scheduled to start in the outfield Tuesday for the American League, Trout is batting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs in 79 games this season, although he has just one multihit game and six total RBIs in the past three weeks.

His transaction was one of several roster moves from the Angels, who claimed infielder Phil Gosselin off waivers from the Atlanta Braves and outrighted outfielder Monte Harrison to Triple-A Salt Lake after he cleared waivers.

Later in the day, the Angels announced on social media that Trout was named captain for Team USA in next year’s World Baseball Classic.

“It means a lot. I missed an opportunity the first time and I knew this was one I couldn’t miss,” Trout said. “I’ll be able to ramp it up a little bit quicker. I’m looking forward to playing for our country.”

The Angels, who return to action on Friday versus the Braves, entered the break at 39-53, 20 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.

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