Category Archives: MLB

Schwarber goes deep again for Nats in 3-2 win over Pirates

Kyle Schwarber homered again to snap a seventh-inning tie and drove in two runs for the Washington Nationals in their 3-2 triumph over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

Jon Lester pitched 5 1/3 solid innings to help the Nationals win for the third time in four matches.

Schwarber’s homer was his fourth in three days. The Nationals moved him to the leadoff spot Saturday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader. He led off that game with a home run, hit two more on Sunday and launched the go-ahead shot this time against reliever Clay Holmes (2-2).

Schwarber also had an RBI single in the third and walked. His lone out was a line drive caught by leaping second baseman Adam Frazier in the first inning.

Lester made it into the sixth for just the fourth time in nine starts this season. He allowed a leadoff double, then got a line-drive out before being removed. The 37-year-old left-hander is averaging 4 2/3 innings per start this year.Wander Suero replaced him and allowed a soft single and Erik Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly that tied it at 2.

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Kyle Finnegan (3-2) struck out two in a hitless inning for the win. Brad Hand pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 14 tries.

Schwarber pushed Victor Robles home with his single in the third. Juan Soto’s single drove in Trea Turner to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead later in the inning.

Kevin Newman started the scoring with his second homer of the season to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the second.

Pittsburgh starter JT Brubaker permitted two runs and four hits in five innings.

Washington ace Max Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive committee and one of just two association player representatives. So, when he speaks on a broad topic, his words carry weight beyond his Hall of Fame pitching résumé.

He was asked Monday about Major League Baseball’s expected crackdown on pitchers using the “sticky stuff” to improve their grip, and, at times, spin rates, when throwing the baseball.

“There’s solutions to all of us and how we go forward with this and what should be the rules of what the practice should be,” Scherzer stated.

“And specifically, what hitters want. I think that’s the biggest question: What do hitters want? We’ve heard from a lot of hitters. All the hitters that talk publicly, they want the pitchers to have a tack over the baseball, a grip over the baseball. So what that looks like, that’s a conversation we’ll have.”

Scherzer also mentioned he knew as much about baseball’s prospective enforcement as reporters did, meaning MLB is not communicating with the union about it.

“Whatever’s been written is what we know,” Scherzer said. “There hasn’t been additional information other than that.”

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Cleveland Indians send RHP Triston McKenzie back to minors after wild outing

The Indians hope another trip to the minors helps Triston McKenzie eventually stick in the majors.

Cleveland optioned McKenzie to Triple-A Columbus for the fourth time this season on Sunday after the right-hander failed to get out of the first inning against Seattle a day earlier.

President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona met with McKenzie on Sunday morning.

“Like any player, we want to make sure we understand what’s going through their mind and what’s getting in their way of having the results they want,” Antonetti stated.

McKenzie had been called up from Columbus before the match. He issued four walks, including one with the bases loaded, and retired two of the six batters he faced.

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McKenzie, who started the season in the rotation, leads the AL with 39 walks.

He struck out 10 in 5⅓ innings versus the Chicago White Sox, including a club record eight in a row, on May 31 but followed that with Saturday’s short outing.

“We’ve seen he’s capable of pitching really successfully up here, so we know it’s possible,” Antonetti said.

McKenzie, 23, is 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA in 11 games and has struck out 59 in 42⅓ innings. He was a first-round selection in the 2015 draft and pitched in eight games for the Indians last season.

Cleveland used seven relievers Saturday and rallied for a 5-4 win in 10 innings.

The Indians’ rotation has struggled behind Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale. Zach Plesac broke his right thumb when he angrily pulled off his shirt after a poor outing last month. He started playing catch last week, but there’s no timetable for his return.

McKenzie, Logan Allen, J.C. Mejia, Sam Hentges, Cal Quantrill and Eli Morgan have been used as starters, but no one has pitched well enough to secure a rotation spot. Mejia and Quantrill will start the first two games in Cleveland’s upcoming series versus Baltimore. The starter for Thursday is undetermined.

“I don’t think we have any other choice but to look at it creatively,” Antonetti said. “We know we’re going to have to rely on a number of different players. It’s not gonna be able to just, ‘Hey, we’re gonna run the same five guys out there every five days.'”

Infielder Ernie Clement was called up from Columbus.

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Rookie Gutierrez wins again as Reds beat Brewers 7-3

Vladimir Gutierrez pitched seven effective innings, Tyler Stephenson drove in three runs and the Cincinnati Reds stopped Milwaukee’s five-game win streak with a 7-3 triumph over the Brewers on Wednesday night.

Gutierrez (2-1) permitted two runs and six hits in the longest of his three big league starts. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in his second consecutive win.

Cincinnati backed its rookie pitcher with five runs in the first two innings. Stephenson doubled home Jesse Winker in the first, and Nick Castellanos hit a two-run double in the second.

Stephenson made it 7-1 with a two-run double off Eric Lauer in the fourth, driving in Winker and Castellanos.

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Willy Adames had four hits for Milwaukee. Brett Anderson (2-4) labored through three innings, allowing five runs and five hits.

Daniel Vogelbach hit a towering homer to right against Heath Hembree in the ninth. Christian Yelich then doubled, but Hembree struck out Avisaíl García and retired Manny Piña on a fly ball to right to end the match.

The Brewers dropped into second in the NL Central, a half-game back of the Cubs.

Gutierrez got off to a tough start, plunking Luis Urías with the first pitch of the game. Urías advanced to third on García’s two-out single and scored on a balk.

But Gutierrez settled down from there. He got a standing ovation after inducing an inning-ending ground ball from García in the seventh.

RHP Sonny Gray was put on the 10-day injured list after straining a groin muscle while warming up for the fourth inning Tuesday night. Manager David Bell said Gray likely will miss at least his next two starts.

Right-hander Freddy Peralta, who came within five outs of a no-hitter in his last outing, starts against the Reds in the series finale on Thursday. Right-hander Luis Castillo gets the call for the Reds.

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Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout doesn’t have timetable for return

Mike Trout says his right calf is starting to feel better, but the Los Angeles Angels superstar still doesn’t know when he will be able to return.

The time-time AL MVP went on the injured list on May 18 after straining his calf the night before versus the Cleveland Indians. The Angels said at the time that Trout would miss six to eight weeks, which would sideline him through the All-Star break.

“Today was probably my best day yet, just tolerance-wise. As far as activities, I’m doing as much as I can to strengthen around the calf muscle,” Trout said before Monday’s game versus the Kansas City Royals.

Trout said he would like to start jogging soon but doesn’t have a timetable on when he would be able to do that, much less resume baseball activities. He said he is walking on a treadmill but not with any intensity.

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“I’m happy with my progress so far. It has been good the last couple of days,” he said. “I should have a better idea on a return date once I start moving around, as in jogging and running.”

At the time of his injury, Trout was leading the majors in on-base percentage (.466) and OPS (1.090), with eight home runs and 18 RBI. His .425 batting average in April was the best of his 11-year career.

Juan Lagares has started in center field in 16 of the 19 games that Trout has missed, with Taylor Ward starting the other three.

Lagares and Ward have combined to go 13 of 70 with no homers and seven RBI in games they have started in center.

Los Angeles is 9-10 since Trout went on the IL. It went into Monday’s game trailing Oakland by seven games in the AL West.

Trout said during home games he usually watches the first couple innings from the dugout before going into the clubhouse to continue his rehab. He also continues to attend hitter’s meetings.

“It seems like there are games where we score a bunch of runs and then the next game it is pretty quiet,” he said. “It’s tough being on the bench. You know, there’s only so much you can do and you want to be out there.”

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Atlanta Falcons trade Julio Jones to Tennessee Titans

The Atlanta Falcons agreed to star trade wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

In exchange for Jones, the Titans will send a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to the Falcons. Along with Jones, the Falcons will send a 2023 sixth-round selection to the Titans.

The deal is pending a physical, the Titans stated.

Titans players Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown have expressed on social media their interest in having Jones as a teammate. Late last month, Brown posted a TikTok video to Jones explaining why the Titans would be the perfect fit for the star receiver.

The Titans lost two of their top pass-catchers in free agency as wide receiver Corey Davis signed with the New York Jets and tight end Jonnu Smith signed with the New England Patriots.

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Jones has been the subject of trade conversation over the past two months as Atlanta tries to remedy its salary-cap situation. On FS1 on May 24, Jones said, “I’m outta there,” when asked about the Falcons in a telephone call with Shannon Sharpe on the network’s “Undisputed” show.

It is unclear whether Jones knew the phone call was being televised.

Jones, whose base salary of $15.3 million is fully guaranteed for this season, was programmed to cost the Falcons $23.05 million against the cap in 2021 and has cap hits of $19.263 million in 2022 and 2023.

By moving him after June 1, it offers the Falcons relief against the cap this season because the dead money owed to him would be split between this season and next.

The Falcons drafted Jones sixth overall in the 2011 draft, trading a massive amount with Cleveland to be able to take the Alabama standout. Atlanta, when it moved up to acquire Jones, traded its first-round pick in 2011 (No. 26 overall), its second-round pick, two fourth-round picks and its 2012 first round pick.

Jones, 32, is the Falcons’ career leader in catches (848) and yards (12,896) and is second to Roddy White in touchdown receptions (63). His 95.5 receiving yards per game is the best per-game average in NFL history, almost 10 full yards better than first-ballot Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, who is second (86.1).

Jones, though, had one of his worst seasons in 2020, limited to nine matches because of injury with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns. While his 15.1 yards per catch was his highest since 2017 and his catch percentage of 75 percent was the best of his career, his 85.7 yards per game was his lowest since 2012, his second year in the league.

The Falcons do have options to fill in for Jones. Calvin Ridley, whose fifth-year option Atlanta picked up in May, will slide into the No. 1 role, and a combination of 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts, Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus and sixth-round pick Frank Darby could see bigger roles with Jones elsewhere.

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Cubs’ Trevor Williams Out Indefinitely After Emergency Appendectomy

Cubs hurler Trevor Williams will be out indefinitely after undergoing an emergency appendectomy, per Jared Wyllus of the Chicago Sun-Times. Williams was initially slated to start Monday’s game versus the Padres. It’s looking like Keegan Thompson will step in for a spot start.

The 26-year-old made his first career start in the second game of a doubleheader against the vaunted Dodgers back on May the 4th, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Thompson has yet to surrender an earned run in his young career with 15 scoreless innings over his first nine appearances.

He’s done a tremendous job of keeping the ball on the ground so far with a 58.3 percent groundball rate, though that’s not a tendency he displayed as a minor leaguer.

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Despite a rash of injuries, the Cubs won 12 of 16 heading into the series with San Diego.

Williams, Jason Heyward, Jake Marisnick, Nico Hoerner, Matt Duffy, Alec Mills and Justin Steele have gone on the IL since May 10.

“You want to cry uncle sometimes,” manager David Ross said with a chuckle. “But it is what we’re dealing with and guys have done a nice job of coming up and helping us win ballgames.”

As for Williams, the situation might seem more dire than it is, given the “indefinite” designation of his injury status. Likely, this is simply a matter of wait-and-see, assuming there were no further complications to the surgery.

They will need to replace his production in the meantime. Williams hasn’t exactly been a revelation since joining the rotation from the Pirates – 5.36 ERA/4.76 FIP while averaging less than five innings per start – but if nothing else, he’s striking out batters at a career-best rate of 24.9 percent. He’s also walking more batters than usual with a 10.2 percent walk rate.

To his credit, Williams has permitted two or less earned runs in seven of his ten starts, and he’s coming off his best outing of the year, a six-inning, one-earned-run effort against his former club in Pittsburgh.

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Suddenly short-handed, New York Yankees placing RHP Corey Kluber, 1B Luke Voit on injured list

Yankees right-hander Corey Kluber is expected to miss at least two months with a right shoulder injury, and first baseman Luke Voit is also headed to the injured list with a right oblique strain.

New York manager Aaron Boone revealed the diagnoses Wednesday shortly after the Yankees’ scheduled game versus the Toronto Blue Jays was postponed because of a poor weather forecast. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Thursday.

Kluber was pulled after three innings Tuesday versus Toronto in his first outing following a no-hitter last week. An MRI on his ailing shoulder Wednesday revealed a subscapularis strain, which is expected to keep Kluber from throwing for at least four weeks, followed by at least four weeks of rehabilitation.

The two-time American League Cy Young Award winner is being sent for a second MRI with dyeing, a more invasive exam to ensure there’s no other damage.

Kluber was coming off a 101-pitch effort against the Texas Rangers for the 35-year-old’s first no-hitter. It was a milestone high for a former ace recently beset by injury — his 2019 season with Cleveland ended that May 1 when he was hit on the forearm by a comebacker, and his debut for Texas in 2020 lasted just one inning before he tore a muscle in his right shoulder on July 26

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Boone stated he doesn’t believe the no-hitter caused Kluber’s injury. Kluber called the whole situation “frustrating” Tuesday, saying he felt some tightness in the shoulder warming up, but it’s unclear what caused the injury.

“He wasn’t as sharp,” Boone said Tuesday in his postgame availability. “And there was a handful of pitches where there were some misfires up.”

Kluber dropped to 4-3 with a 3.04 ERA.

Deivi Garcia and Michael King are the chief candidates to fill his rotation spot.

Garcia, currently with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was already scheduled to rejoin the big league team and make a spot start this weekend versus Detroit as New York plans for 13 games in 13 days.

“We’ll have to pick up the slack for him, obviously,” Boone said.

New York entered Wednesday 28-20, one game behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays and a half-game behind the Boston Red Sox.

Voit’s diagnosis was even more of a shocker. Boone said the slugger started to feel discomfort in his side Saturday that worsened Tuesday, prompting an MRI that revealed a Grade 2 strain.

Voit, who led the majors with 22 home runs last campaign, is hitting .182 with one homer in 12 games after missing the start of the season following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee during spring training.

DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford are expected to fill in for Voit at first base. Miguel Andujar could also see time there.

New York is hoping to get slugger Giancarlo Stanton back from the injured list this week. Stanton, out with a quadriceps injury, ran on the field Tuesday and Wednesday, and Boone said he’s eyeing a Friday return, although he didn’t rule out Stanton as an option for Thursday.

The Yankees are also without outfielder Aaron Hicks, who was scheduled to have left wrist surgery Wednesday that could keep him out the rest of the season. LeMahieu returned to the team Wednesday after going on the paternity list Tuesday for the birth of his first child. He was slated to play first base.

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Padres rally in 9th vs Brews stalls, 9-game win streak ends

Brewers closer Josh Hader stopped San Diego’s rally in the ninth inning and the Padres’ nine-game winning streak ended Monday night with a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee.

Fresh off sweeping a nine-game homestand, the Padres trailed 5-0 going into the ninth.

Tommy Pham hit a two-run homer off Angel Perdomo in the ninth. Hader relieved with a runner on first and no outs, and gave up Eric Hosmer’s RBI double with one out and then a walk.

Hader settled down to retire Austin Nola on a popup and Ha-Seong Kim on a lineout for his 11th save of the campaign.

Brandon Woodruff (3-2) gave up three hits over seven innings versus a Padres team that had won 12 of 13. He struck out eight and walked none.

Woodruff hasn’t permitted a run in three of his nine starts this season.Manny Pina hit a two-run homer in the second off Blake Snell (1-1).

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Avisail Garcia led off the fourth with a homer and Kolten Wong’s two-out, two-run single later in the inning finished Snell.

Snell allowed a season-high five earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Keston Hiura went 1 for 3 with a walk and scored a run as he returned to the Milwaukee lineup for the first time since being sent to Triple-A Nashville this month after batting .152 with a home run and five RBI. In nine games for Nashville, Hiura hit .438 with six doubles and three home runs.

“Obviously, that first month wasn’t an ideal situation for me,” Hiura said. “It was more trying to clear my head, get things right. I knew things weren’t far off.”

Dinelson Lamet will return from the bullpen to start Friday when the Padres face the Astros in Houston. San Diego manager Jayce Tingler is turning to a six-man rotation with his team playing 20 straight games without a day off.

“It’s good for everybody,” Tingler said. “Look, things can change quickly, but as of right now, I like the idea of everybody getting an extra day of rest in between their starts.”

Lamet made three starts and worked out of the bullpen twice in an effort to ease him back to form following a strained elbow ligament last September.

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Tatis homers, 4 for 4 in return, Padres beat Rockies 3-0

Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return from the COVID-19 injury list was nothing short of extraordinary.

Cleared to play by Major League Baseball late Wednesday morning, the star shortstop got to the ballpark about an hour before first pitch, took a few swings in the batting cage and then played for the first time in 10 days.

“Go to that jungle, boy, survive,” he said. Did he ever.

Tatis hit a remarkable home run, went 4 for 4, finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and even did the splits after stealing second base, leading the Padres over the Colorado Rockies 3-0 for a three-game sweep.

Tatis missed eight matches. Forced to isolate at home, he said he was able to take just a few dry swings and went jogging one day. Otherwise, he said he did his best to stay mentally sharp.

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“It’s crazy. It’s crazy,” the 22-year-old Tatis said. “I was even feeling like kind of weird at shortstop, like, ‘Damn, is something looking different or is it just me?’ It’s a thing when you’re far from the game, but here we are, healthy, thank God.”

Tatis, who had been out since May 11, helped the Padres win their sixth consecutive game and for the ninth time in 10 games.

Jake Cronenworth had an inside-the-park home run and Joe Musgrove struck out 11 in seven innings. Craig Stammen struck out the side in the eighth, and Mark Melancon finished the two-hitter with a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 15th save in as many chances.

Manager Jayce Tingler said what Tatis did Wednesday “is incredibly unique. I don’t know how to explain it. There’s not many that can kind of roll out and be able to do that.”

Tatis came up in the eighth needing a triple for the cycle and got his third extra-base hit of the game, an RBI double. He did a little dance after reaching the bag.

“It would have been great if we would have checked the cycle out of my things to do list but we were a little short and it’s definitely something I’m looking to the future for,” Tatis said.

The Padres were 7-1 without Tatis, who was placed on the injured list before a match at Colorado on May 11. Right fielder Wil Myers and first baseman Eric Hosmer were pulled from that game, Myers after he returned a positive test and Hosmer due to contact tracing.

Tatis and Hosmer were activated before Wednesday’s match and Myers is expected back this weekend. Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo, also placed in the contact tracing protocol on May 11, returned Monday night.

Tatis drove the first pitch he saw from Chi Chi González to right-center field with two outs in the fourth for his 10th homer. Tatis, batting cleanup for the first time in his three-year big league career, singled leading off the second and then stole second, doing the splits after sliding feet-first.

The Padres have encouraged Tatis to cut back on head-first slides after he experienced left shoulder discomfort during spring training and then suffered a partially dislocated left shoulder on a hard swing on April 5 that landed him on the 10-day injured list.

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Rangers snap 6-game skid with 5-2 win over Yankees and Cole

Adolis Garcia and Willie Calhoun homered as the Texas Rangers ended a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday night, denying Gerrit Cole’s bid to become the American League’s first six-game winner.

Cole (5-2) permitted season highs of five runs and seven hits, getting pulled after Garcia led off the sixth with a sharp single on the right-hander’s 89th pitch.

Cole struck out seven, but also issued two free passes after walking none over his previous five starts.Garcia’s 11th homer was an opposite-field shot leading off the second, and was the first of three consecutive extra-base hits. 

David Dahl and Isiah Kiner-Falefa followed with back-to-back doubles that made it 2-1 and put Texas ahead to stay. Garcia stole home, part of a double steal with two outs in the sixth after Cole exited, for a 5-1 lead.

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The Rangers, coming off their first winless road trip of at least six games since 1991, hadn’t won since their previous home game, May 9 versus Seattle when they reached .500 for the second time this season.

Jordan Lyles (2-3) struck out six in six innings for his first win in eight starts since winning his season debut April 4. Three of the first four Yankees batters had singles, and Gio Urshela’s run-scoring hit put them ahead 1-0. But they got only one other runner past first base against the Texas right-hander.

Ian Kennedy worked a perfect ninth for his AL-leading 11th save in 11 chances.

Luke Voit’s first homer of the season was a solo shot in the Yankees’ eighth.

Calhoun, who had a double leading off the first, hit his fifth homer to open the fifth.

Cole’s franchise record-matching streak of 12 consecutive starts allowing two earned runs or less ended, keeping him tied with Whitey Ford (1963) and Chad Green (2017-19).

Cole also snapped a run of five starts in a row going at least six innings and not walking a batter, one off the team record David Wells set 18 years ago. Cole’s span of 41 2/3 innings without a walk since April 12 ended when Joey Gallo reached with one out in the third.

The ball got past catcher Kyle Higashioka, and Gallo took off and rounded first base before tripping and then having to scamper back to the bag to avoid an embarrassing out.

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