Tagged in: MLB

Torres HR in 9th lifts Yanks over Rangers 2-1 in DH opener

Gleyber Torres hit a game-ending homer to lead off the ninth inning and the New York Yankees defeated the Texas Rangers 2-1 Sunday in the opener of a doubleheader.

Torres gave the Yankees their third walk-off triumph of the season when he lifted a 3-1 sinker from John King (1-1) into the short porch in right field. His fourth homer this year propelled New York to its 12th win in 13 matches.

Torres also had a game-ending single April 23 against Cleveland and now has seven career walk-off hits, including two homers.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth after Rangers starter Dane Dunning lost his no-hit bid on an infield single by Aaron Judge to open the inning. Kole Calhoun homered on Yankees starter Gerrit Cole’s final pitch, but the Rangers committed three errors and ended a four-game winning streak.

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Cole allowed a run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

He struck out 10, walked one and threw a season-high 114 pitches, reaching 100.6 mph on the radar gun.

Cole allowed three of his hits in the first two innings, when he threw 47 pitches. After allowing his only walk, Cole retired 14 of 15 hitters before Calhoun connected.

Dunning allowed one run and two hits in six innings. He struck out five, walked three and did not throw any of his 100 pitches over 90.8 mph.

Calhoun ended Cole’s bid for a third consecutive scoreless start when he lined a full count 97.6 mph fastball to the right field seats and just inside the foul line with one out in the seventh. It was the only fastball Cole threw in the seventh.

Dunning lost his no-bid on his 86th pitch when Judge hit an infield single to third baseman Brad Miller and easily beat the throw. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single that moved Judge to third, and Stanton’s fly ball to left gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Jonathan Loáisiga followed Cole with 1 2/3 innings. Clay Holmes (3-0) worked around Mitch Garver’s double in the ninth.

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Ian Happ gets 3 hits as Cubs beat Brewers 5-4 on opening day

Ian Happ offered Nico Hoerner some friendly advice after he hit the majors’ first homer of 2022.

“Keep hitting more,” Happ cracked. “Yeah, try not to get cold after that.”

It was that type of opening day for the Chicago Cubs.

Happ had three hits, including a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning, and the Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Thursday.

Hoerner hit a two-run homer and Kyle Hendricks pitched neatly into the sixth, leading Chicago to the triumph on a chilly, overcast afternoon at Wrigley Field. Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki reached three times and scored in his first big league game.

“Who had Nico in the first homer pool?” Cubs manager David Ross joked after the win.

On a day stuffed full of firsts and debuts, Milwaukee ace Corbin Burnes and catcher Omar Narváez became the first battery to use baseball’s new electronic pitch-calling system in a regular-season game. The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner permitted three runs and four hits in five innings.

“Never really actually found the command of the cutter,” Burnes said. “Kind of one of those things, I found it a little bit in the third, but then I just kind of lost it.”

Suzuki singled in the fifth for his first big league hit and walked twice. The 27-year-old finalized an $85 million, five-year contract with Chicago in March in the Cubs’ biggest move of the offseason.

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“In all my at-bats I was able to be myself,” Suzuki said through a translator, “so just enjoyed the game today.”

Andrew McCutchen, Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez each had two hits for Milwaukee, and Lorenzo Cain drove in two runs. McCutchen served as the designated hitter in his first game with his new team after agreeing to a one-year deal last month.

The Brewers erased a 3-1 deficit with two runs in the seventh, but the Cubs went ahead to stay in the bottom half.

With runners on the corners and two outs, Happ hit a drive off Jake Cousins that caromed off the wall in center. Clint Frazier and Willson Contreras scored on Happ’s second double of the day.

Happ, who homered on baseball’s first pitch of the 2018 season, had elbow surgery in February, but he is feeling pretty good now — about himself and his team.

“Burnes starting Game 1, to be able to kind of put up some runs there and then get a few more and tack on, that says a lot for where we’re at as a team,” Happ said.

The reigning NL Central champions got one back on Cain’s sacrifice fly in the eighth, but David Robertson worked the ninth for his first save since 2018 and No. 138 for his career.

Milwaukee went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base.

“It felt like a game, we didn’t time our hits very well,” manager Craig Counsell said.

Aaron Ashby (0-1) got the loss. He was charged with one run and three hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Making his third consecutive opening-day start, Hendricks permitted one run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander, who had a career-high 4.77 ERA last year, struck out seven and walked three.

Chris Martin (1-0) got two outs for the win in his Cubs debut.

The Brewers jumped in front when McCutchen singled and scored the majors’ first run on Cain’s groundout in the fourth. But the Cubs responded with three in the fifth.

Patrick Wisdom hit a sacrifice fly before Hoerner drove a 1-1 pitch from Burnes into the bleachers in left for a tiebreaking two-run shot. It was Hoerner’s first big league homer since Sept. 21, 2019, against St. Louis.

“Sometimes it just lines up,” a smiling Hoerner said.

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Aaron Judge to receive extension offer from New York Yankees, ‘pencils down’ by Opening Day, GM Brian Cashman says

New York Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge will soon get a proposal for a long-term contract extension, general manager Brian Cashman stated Saturday.

“Between now and opening day we’ll make an offer and he’ll obviously receive an offer and all the conversions will have taken place and will either resolve into a multiyear deal or it won’t,” Cashman said.

“We’re committed. We’ll make an offer and hear what he has to say in response and then it will be pencils down before opening day,” he said.

The Yankees open on April 7 at home versus the Boston Red Sox.

Judge said Saturday he was “pretty sure” he doesn’t want to negotiate a new contract during the regular season. The outfielder, who turns 30 next month, is eligible to become a free agent after the World Series.

“We haven’t decided yet, but for right now that’s what we’ve got,” Judge said. “I want to be here. Get a chance to play here for quite a few more years, that would be great. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m not too worried.”

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The Yankees and Judge so far have failed to reach a deal for 2022, which could result in the two sides heading into arbitration during the season. He asked for a raise from $10,175,000 to $21 million, and the Yankees offered $17 million.

“Our position has always been, we wind up only in a hearing if we’re dragged there,” Cashman said. “We only go when forced to go. We’re not afraid of going. Our history shows that we stay out of that arena unless we’re compelled to get there. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

Judge, who hit .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBI in 148 games last season, hopes an agreement can be reached to avoid arbitration.

“Go back and forth until we, maybe, can settle on something before the court date and if not, we’ll see each other in court,” Judge said.

Judge said the contract talk isn’t a distraction. “Not really, I’m a baseball player,” he said.

“I’m going to come out and do my usual on the field. I’ve got people that are going to worry about the other stuff for me and put me in the right position and give me the right answers. If I take care of what I’ve got to do on the field, everything is going to workout.”

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New York Mets hire Elizabeth Benn as director of major league operations

The Mets have hired Elizabeth Benn as director of major league operations, making her the franchise’s highest-ranking female baseball operations employee ever.

Benn has worked for Major League Baseball since concluding a master’s degree in philosophy at Columbia in 2017.

She has had roles in youth programs, labor relations and baseball operations with the league. Several women hold prominent roles in front offices across the male-dominated sport, including Marlins general manager Kim Ng.

The crosstown Yankees have had two women serve as assistant general managers in Ng and Jean Afterman.

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The Mets are shaking up their front office for the second consecutive offseason, a series of moves that included the brief tenure of Jared Porter as general manager following the 2020 season.

Porter was fired over sexually explicit text messages he had sent to a female reporter in 2016 while working for the Cubs.

Billy Eppler was hired as general manager in November. His front office now has women working in analytics, player performance and minor league operations, but none has held the director title given to Benn.

The Mets also hired Gretchen Aucoin as a minor league coach this offseason, making her the team’s first on-field female coach.

Benn has been an adjunct lecturer at Lehman College and is also a right-handed pitcher who was the first woman to play in the New York City Metro Baseball League, a weekend rec league that incorporates many former college players.

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Free agent Matt Harvey could be suspended by MLB after admission of opioid distribution

If Matt Harvey can find a team willing to sign him, he could immediately be suspended for at least 60 days for saying that he provided opioids to Tyler Skaggs on several occasions, a Major League Baseball official told ESPN on Wednesday.

Harvey’s admission in federal court Tuesday qualifies as distribution under MLB’s drug policy, the official told ESPN on the condition of anonymity.

Harvey, currently a free agent, would be able to appeal any suspension.

“Once the trial is complete, MLB will conduct a comprehensive review of the potential violations of our drug program,” MLB said in a statement.

MLB can’t take any action, however, until it reaches a new labor agreement with the players’ association.

Harvey received immunity from the government in order to testify, and may not be criminally prosecuted for anything he admitted to in court, unless he lied.

The other players who testified — C.J. Cron, Mike Morin, Cam Bedrosian and Blake Parker — testified to their own opioid use but did not say they ever distributed drugs to anyone else.

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Under MLB’s drug policy, those players would not face suspensions, unless they previously violated the policy regarding drugs of abuse.

Unlike players caught using performance-enhancing drugs, player using drugs of abuse like opioids or cocaine are referred to an evaluation treatment board for their first offense, and the violation is not made public. The board then develops a treatment plan that the player must follow.

The players testified Tuesday and Wednesday in the federal criminal trial of Eric Kay, the former Los Angeles Angels communications director. Kay faces two felony charges of distributing fentanyl and causing Skaggs’ drug-related death in July 2019.

Both sides will give closing arguments Thursday. With the exception of Parker, the players stated Skaggs introduced them to Kay and said they could get oxycodone from him. Parker said he couldn’t recall who introduced him to Kay.

The players went on to describe how Kay sometimes left pills for them in their lockers, and how some snorted or ingested the pills in the clubhouse.

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Buck Showalter, Joe Espada, Matt Quatraro to get second interview for New York Mets’ managerial vacancy

Buck Showalter will be among the candidates to get a second round of interviews with the New York Mets regarding their vacant managerial position, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Matt Quatraro started the second round of interviews with the Mets on Tuesday, while Joe Espada is scheduled for Thursday and Showalter for Friday, sources confirmed to ESPN.

New general manager Billy Eppler, who spent 2015 through 2020 in the Angels’ organization, stated last month that he would talk to the baseball operations department about the best approach on hiring a skipper, balancing the factors between in-game management, analytical approach and clubhouse culture creation

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The Mets fired Luis Rojas after a season in which the team held onto first place for 103 days but ultimately finished 77-85 and missing the playoffs.

Showalter, 65, has been a major league manager for four teams between 1992 and 2018.

He won American League Manager of the Year honors during stints with the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. He also managed the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has a career record of 1,551-1,517.

Espada, 46, has previously interviewed for multiple major league managerial vacancies but has yet to be hired. He has served as bench coach of the Houston Astros since 2018 after also spending time with the Yankees and Miami Marlins as a third-base coach.

Quatraro, 48, has served on coaching staffs with Cleveland and Tampa Bay, where he is the current bench coach.

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Pittsburgh Pirates trade Gold Glove catcher Jacob Stallings to Miami Marlins

Gold Glove catcher Jacob Stallings is coming to the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins obtained Stallings from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in exchange for pitcher Zach Thompson and prospects Kyle Nicolas and Connor Scott.

Stallings, 31, is coming off the best season of his career. He earned his first Gold Glove for his handling of an inexperienced pitching staff that ranked among the worst in the major leagues while hitting .246 with career-highs in home runs (8) and RBIs (53) in 112 matches.

Stallings joins a team that is trying to elbow its way into contention in the NL East. Miami signed outfielder Avisail Garcia to a five-year deal worth $56-million and agreed to terms with pitcher Sandy Alcantara.

Stallings finds himself going from handling a staff that pitched to a 5.08 ERA — 28th in the majors — to one that posted a respectable 3.98 ERA and is anchored by Alcantara.

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The 26-year-old Alcantara has gone 20-34 with a 3.48 ERA in four campaigns with the Marlins. He started 33 games this past season for Miami, going 9-15 with a 3.19 ERA and had 201 strikeouts in 205 2-3 innings.

The only other pitchers with at least 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in 2021 were Zach Wheeler and Walker Buehler.

Pittsburgh is in the middle of a franchise-wide reboot focused on hoarding as many prospects as possible. Nicolas and Scott, both 22, fit that mold.

Nicolas, a right-handed pitcher, made 21 appearances between Class A and Double-A in 2021 and struck out 136 batters, the most among players in Miami’s minor-league system.

Scott, an outfielder, hit .276 with 25 doubles and 10 home runs in 2021 while playing for Class-A Beloit.

Thompson, originally drafted by the Pirates in the 48th round of the 2011 draft, went 3-7 with a 3.24 ERA in 75 innings for Miami in 2021. He began the season as a starter before shifting to the bullpen in September.

Pittsburgh also finalized a $4 million, one-year deal with first baseman/outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo and one-year deals with left-hander Jose Quintana and outfielder Ben Gamel.

Gamel had been eligible for arbitration.

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Seattle Mariners acquiring utility player Adam Frazier in trade with San Diego Padres

The Seattle Mariners have got second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier in a trade with the San Diego Padres. Going to San Diego will be hard-throwing left-handed reliever Raymond Kerr and outfielder Corey Rosier.

Frazier, who turns 30 in December, was an All-Star last season for Pittsburgh, which dealt him to the Padres. He’s in line to play in a super-utility role, especially if Seattle signs a big-name free-agent infielder.

“We thought we were at the goal line to acquire Adam at trade deadline last year,” Mariners president Jerry Dipoto stated.

“Obviously we missed out and we stayed in touch with the Padres as we headed into the offseason knowing that they had a pretty robust roster. And we just liked the player so we stuck with it.”

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The Mariners revealed the move on Twitter with a nod to the TV show “Frasier.”

Frazier is under contract for $7.5 million this season and can enter free agency after the 2022 season. He finished fifth in the National League last season in hits (176) and batting average (.305) and added five home runs and 43 RBIs.

“Adam, to me, is one of the better strike-zone managers in baseball,” Dipoto said. “He’s got great contact skills. In an era where strikeouts are prevalent, he doesn’t strike out. His strikeout rates would be good in any era, really.”

“That’s how I feel I can impact the team; play good defense and try to hit the baseball. Get on base any way I can,” Frazier said.

Dipoto stated the club is having conversations with multiple free agents and made contract offers to a couple of them, one of whom he called “notable.”

“We felt like adding Adam made us a deeper team without stopping us from doing anything else we would have wanted to do,” Dipoto said. “That’s double the fun. We can continue to add to our team because Adam is so versatile.”

In six MLB seasons, Frazier has a career .281 average with 313 runs scored and 215 RBIs.

Kerr, 27, is a power lefty who can hit 100 mph. Rosier, 22, had an excellent debut in 2021.

Kerr was added to the Mariners’ 40-man roster just last week. He split time between Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Tacoma last season. Rosier was a 12th-round pick in the 2021 amateur draft out of UNC Greensboro. He spent last season at Single-A Modesto.

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Kansas City Royals reliever Wade Davis announces retirement

Reliever Wade Davis, a three-time All-Star selection who has 141 saves in 13 major league seasons, is retiring, the Kansas City Royals revealed Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Davis, who led the National League with 43 saves in 2018, clinched the World Series title for the Royals in 2015 with a game-ending strikeout versus the New York Mets.

Davis returned to the Royals in 2021, going 0-3 with two saves in 40 appearances.

“Wade will forever be remembered by our fans, his teammates and our organization as an elite competitor and a very classy person,” Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore said in a statement.

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The Royals acquired Davis from Tampa Bay in December 2012, converted him to a full-time reliever in 2013 — he had 47 saves over four seasons with Kansas City — and then traded him to the Chicago Cubs after the 2016 season.

He spent one season in Chicago, completing a four-year, $12.6 million contract with three options that wound up totaling $35.1 million in salary.

He then signed a three-year, $52 million contract with the Colorado Rockies.

Davis was 63-55 with a 3.94 ERA and 141 saves in 161 chances over 88 starts and 469 relief appearances for Tampa Bay (2009-12), Kansas City (2013-16, 2021), the Chicago Cubs (2017) and Colorado (2018-20). He was an All-Star from 2015-17.

The right-hander was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA and eight saves in the postseason, counting 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA and four saves for the Royals in 2014 and ’15.

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Boston Red Sox exercise club option on manager Alex Cora for 2023-24 seasons

The Boston Red Sox have exercised Alex Cora’s club option through the 2023 and 2024 seasons, the team revealed Monday.

Cora, 46, is 284-202 in three seasons as Red Sox manager, having led the club to a winning record in all three seasons at the helm, including setting a franchise record with 108 victories and a World Series title in 2018.

“I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to manage the Red Sox,” Cora said in a statement. “We experienced so many special moments as a team and as a city in 2021, but we still have unfinished business to take care of. I am excited about the current state of our organization and eager to continue my work with our front office, coaches, players, and everyone who makes this such a special place.”

Cora was let go after he was identified as the ringleader in the Houston Astros cheating scandal.

After Ron Roenicke managed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Cora was brought back to the Boston dugout.

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Cora, who finished fifth in AL Manager of the Year voting, led the Red Sox to a 92-70 record during the 2021 regular season, counting a Major League-best 47 come-from-behind wins.

The Red Sox advanced to the American League Championship Series after defeating the rival New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game and the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series. Boston fell in the ALCS to the Astros in six games.

“There’s so much that you can say about what an organization looks for in a manager,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. “I think a lot of it comes down to leadership and partnership. You’re seeking a leader, not just for your clubhouse, but for the entire organization, and a partner in our goal of bringing championship caliber baseball to Fenway Park on an annual basis. And in Alex, we have both of those things.

“One of the unique things about Alex is that he combines a lot of different qualities that help bring the best out of players, his feel for the game of baseball, his intellect, just the way he notices things on the field and is able to combine them with the preparation that he does to maximize what goes on the field. He can really take a clubhouse to another level, there’s not that many people that bring both of those things to the table in abundance like Alex does. On top of that, he’s just a great guy to work with. He’s charismatic, he’s funny, he’s real.”

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