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Acuna, Segura both removed from game after nasty collision


Atlanta Braves All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jean Segura were both removed from Sunday’s game after colliding at second base during Acuna’s steal attempt in the seventh inning.

Segura limped off the field with the help of a trainer. The Phillies announced he has a bruised right shin.

Acuna initially stayed in the game, but Charlie Culberson replaced him a half-inning later.

The Braves announced Acuna left the game with neck stiffness.





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White Sox see Jimenez’s future as OF, not DH


CHICAGO — White Sox manager Rick Renteria sees Eloy Jimenez as an outfielder, even after his latest injury.

Jimenez was activated from the 10-day injured list Sunday and inserted into the starting lineup for Chicago’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins. The rookie slugger will be limited to designated hitter while he completes a throwing program after he was sidelined with a bruised ulnar nerve in his right arm.

“We’re still going to limit for him his outfield play as he continues to throw for the next few days,” Renteria said. “But we can at least get his bat in the lineup. He’s been doing a lot of work, looks really good. I’m sure he’ll be a little bit behind, but getting him back in there, just by putting him in there, creates a presence for us.”

The 22-year-old Jimenez is considered one of baseball’s top prospects. He is batting .244 with 17 homers and 39 RBIs heading into the matchup with the Twins.

But Jimenez’s adventures in left field have raised questions about whether his long-term future might be at DH.

He hurt his arm when he collided with teammate Charlie Tilson while chasing a long fly ball in the first inning of an 11-0 loss at Kansas City on July 16. He also missed time with a high right ankle sprain earlier this season after he crashed into the wall trying to catch a home run.

“He’s too young for me to view him as a DH, to be honest,” Renteria said. “And I think he’s shown so much improvement in the outfield that it would be, I think, derelict on my part and on our part as an organization to limit the ability for him to play on both sides of the baseball.

“We want to see if we can maximize his ability to do everything he can as a major league baseball player,” Renteria continued. “And then time will tell us. If that ends up ultimately being his lot — I don’t foresee that. But if that ultimately becomes his lot, that becomes his lot. But I think right now we’re going to continue to use him on both sides of the baseball, for sure.”

Jimenez made no effort to hide his preference.

“It’s hard to be focused on the game when you DH,” he said. “That’s why I don’t like being a DH.”

Infielder Jose Rondon was designated for assignment to make room for Jimenez on the roster. Rondon is hitting .197 with three homers in 55 games with Chicago this year. He was acquired in a trade with San Diego in January 2018 for cash.



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Report: Blue Jays trade Sogard to Rays


The Toronto Blue Jays have traded infielder Eric Sogard to the Tampa Bay Rays, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Medical reviews are still ongoing and the return from the Rays isn’t expected to be a major-league player, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Sogard has been a revelation for Toronto this season, hitting .300/.363/.477 with 17 doubles and 30 RBIs in 73 games.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.





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Volquez to retire but wants to pitch again in ’19


Edinson Volquez said Saturday that the 2019 season will be his last in the majors but that he is working hard to try to return to the mound for the Texas Rangers before the season ends.

The right-hander has been out since suffering a right elbow strain on April 5. He threw a bullpen before the Rangers’ game on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics.

“I don’t want to go out like this,” Volquez, 36, told reporters. “If there is a chance, I can do it for two months or two weeks, why not. I’m not doing this to try and get a contract for next year. I just want to prove it to myself. If I can come out of the bullpen for the Rangers, that would be great.”

The Rangers signed Volquez in 2017 while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. He missed all of last season before returning to the majors this season and making two starts before injuring his elbow in April.

Volquez is 93-87 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 major league seasons. He was selected to his only All-Star Game in 2008 when he won a career-best 17 games and finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting for the Cincinnati Reds. He won a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals in 2015.



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Astros’ Hinch: Munoz’s slide that injured Correa was ‘brutal’


Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hurt his right arm when St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Yairo Munoz collided with him on a slide to break up a double play on Saturday.

During his follow-through, Munoz briefly stepped on Correa’s arm.

(Video courtesy: MLB.com)

Astros manager A.J. Hinch wasn’t happy.

“It was a brutal slide,” Hinch said, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. “You’re supposed to hold the base, he’s not holding the base, there’s no mechanism to really get an automatic double play if he… It’s an unnecessary slide. He didn’t need to go all the way through the base and hit Carlos.

“The slide rule fails again. We didn’t protect Carlos there.”

Changes were made to the old slide rule in 2015 after Chase Utley broke Ruben Tejada’s leg on an aggressive slide at second base.

The updated slide rule states that “a runner has to make a ‘bona fide slide.’ Such is defined as the runner making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate), and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.”

Correa initially stayed in Saturday’s game to finish the eighth inning, but he was removed in the ninth. The All-Star, who was playing in just his second game after a long injured list stint, doesn’t think the offending slide was intentional.

“I think it was an accident. I looked at the video and he didn’t go for the bag,” Correa said.

“But, honestly, I don’t know,” he added. “I was just worried because my fingers got numb. But, right now, I feel great, the sensation is not there anymore and I should be good for tomorrow.”

Prior to the injury, Correa blasted his first career grand slam, leading the Astros to an 8-2 victory at Busch Stadium.



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Astros vs. Cardinals – Game Recap – July 27, 2019


ST. LOUIS — Carlos Correa launched his first career grand slam and drove in five runs. Paul Goldschmidt homered for the sixth game in a row.

But after Correa and the Houston Astros beat Goldschmidt and the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 on Saturday, it was another hit that attracted all the attention.

With Houston holding a seven-run lead in the eighth inning, Yairo Munoz went hard into second base on a grounder to break up a double play. Munoz slid through the bag and took out Correa, spiking the star shortstop’s right elbow in the process.

“It was a brutal slide,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “You’re supposed to hold the base. He’s not holding the base, there’s not a mechanism to really get an automatic double play if he can’t try to turn a double play. It’s an unnecessary slide, he didn’t need to go all the way through the base and hit Carlos. The slide rule fails again. It didn’t protect Carlos there.”

Hinch said the umpires told him an automatic double play was not an option since Correa made no attempt to throw to first base.

Correa, activated from the injured list Friday after recovering from a broken rib, had numbness in his fingers immediately after the collision. He finished the inning, but was lifted for pinch hitter Aledmys Diaz in the ninth.

“My fingers got numb, so that’s when I started to worry at first, but right now I feel great,” Correa said. “I should be good for tomorrow. . I know him (Munoz). I don’t think he would try to play to hurt me. It didn’t look clean, but I don’t think he would try to take me out and try to get me hurt.”

Goldschmidt tied a Cardinals record with Matt Carpenter and Mark McGwire for consecutive games with a home run. St. Louis had won six in a row before this loss in an interleague matchup of division leaders.

“It’s an impressive feat,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “That’s who he is, what he’s capable of, and just goes out, takes good at bats and lets his talent work.”

Gerrit Cole (12-3) improved to 7-0 with a 1.87 ERA since June 1. He struck out seven, raising his major league-leading total to 212, and allowed four hits in seven innings.

Goldschmidt’s 24th homer was a solo drive in the fourth and accounted for the only run off Cole.

“My command was just not really there today but we did a good job of missing in good spots and mixing pitches,” Cole said. “I thought they did put some good swings on balls, some of the contact worked in our favor in especially regards to keeping the pitch count down and getting a few double plays and getting some quick outs, saved a few bullets for some situations were maybe we could get a little cute kind of around the zone with runners in scoring position.”

Correa’s opposite-field blast drive to right off Michael Wacha blew open the game in the third and was the Astros’ major league-leading 10th grand slam this season. Wacha was brought in to face Correa after starter Daniel Ponce de Leon walked the bases loaded.

Ponce de Leon (1-1) went 2⅓ innings, his shortest career start and the third straight in which he failed to last past the fourth inning. He walked four and struck out none.

Correa added an RBI single in the first as the Astros won for the eighth time in their past 10 games. George Springer drove in two with a triple in the eighth and Yuli Gurriel extended his hitting streak to 15 games.

Correa’s homer was the lone run Wacha allowed through 4⅓ innings of relief. He struck out five and walked none.

“I felt good throughout the whole night,” Wacha said. “I felt like I was throwing strikes and quality strikes down in the zone, getting ahead of guys. I just wish I could have that one pitch back.”

CRYSTAL ANNIVERSARY

Members of the Cardinals’ 2004 team were on hand to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the franchise’s 16th National League pennant. That club went 105-57 and defeated the Astros in seven games in the National League Championship Series before being swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

HOT TICKET

The attendance was 46,518, the 13th sellout of the season at Busch Stadium.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Ryan Pressly (right knee soreness) is day to day.

“Everybody’s got to work through something,” Pressly said. “I’m in the training room getting treatment and I’ve got all the faith in my training staff to get me right.”

Cardinals: OF Dexter Fowler is day to day and was not in the starting lineup after leaving Friday’s game in the eighth inning after fouling a ball off of his left foot. INF Jedd Gyorko (back strain, right wrist) will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Astros: LHP Wade Miley (8-4, 3.18) will pitch in the finale of a three-game series at St. Louis on Sunday. Miley is 2-3 with a 4.41 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals.

Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (10-4, 3.61 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the Astros. In his previous start, Hudson became the first Cardinals rookie to notch 10 wins in a season by game No. 100 since Shelby Miller in 2013.



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Benches clear between A’s-Rangers, 2 ejected after Laureano HBP


Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward and right-hander Rafael Montero were ejected from Saturday’s game against the Oakland Athletics after a benches-clearing incident.

Emotions boiled over after Montero hit Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano in the bottom of the eighth.

Earlier in the game, Laureano took right-hander Adrian Sampson deep, resulting in the two exchanging some choice words.

Both benches were warned after the back-and-forth jawing.

“I told him, ‘Remember you stepped on my bat? Here. You can step on it again,'” Laureano said following the heated game about his exchange with Sampson, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 25-year-old was apparently upset that Sampson stepped on his bat in a June 8 contest, an act he considered to be intentional, according to Slusser.

Laureano’s teammate, Mark Canha, disclosed that Sampson had “a target on his back” after the last time the two teams played.

Sampson, meanwhile, said the only thing that he remembers about that June 8 game was that he pitched nine innings.

Oakland and Texas will finish off their four-game series Sunday.





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Cubs at loss after pen squanders road leads again


MILWAUKEE — The Chicago Cubs say they are in disbelief as losses continue to mount on the road, many coming in late-inning, heartbreaking fashion.

The latest? Saturday’s 5-3, 10-inning loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, which dropped them into a second-place tie with their National League Central rivals.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” reliever Steve Cishek said. “I have no answers. I really don’t.”

Cishek blew a 2-0 eighth-inning lead Saturday night. The Cubs retook the lead in the 10th inning on an Albert Almora Jr. home run. But hot-hitting Brewers Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura both went deep off Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the 10th, sending Chicago to 19-31 away from Wrigley Field this season.

“It’s disappointing,” Kimbrel said. “We need to win games like that. It sucks.”

The Cubs are 1-4 on their current road trip, and in each loss, they were leading or tied in the eighth inning or later.

It has led to some ugly moments:

• Their eight blown saves in July is tied for the most in baseball.

• On Saturday, they blew multiple save opportunities in the same game for the second time this season. Only the Mets have done that more.

• In 542 appearances before this season, Kimbrel had given up multiple home runs in the same outing just only once. In 12 games as a Cub, he has done it twice already.

The meltdown Saturday came after starter Jon Lester asked out after seven innings due to an illness that led to him being scratched from a start earlier in the week. He was pitching a gem against Milwaukee but said he was “gassed.”

“Not too many times I go up to Joe [Maddon] or Tommy [Hottovy, pitching coach] … but tonight was one of them,” he said. “Tonight was very tough. I felt like we were in pretty good control of that game. That’s how quick things can turn around here.”

Maddon went to Cishek despite the right-hander throwing 26 pitches over two innings in Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Brewers. He was greeted with a home run by Ben Gamel and a double by Lorenzo Cain on the next pitch.

Was he gassed, too? Maddon didn’t think so.

“Cishek was ready to go today,” the Cubs manager said.

play

0:31

Christian Yelich belts a solo home run to left-center field to tie the game at 3-3.

The Cubs are 5-11 in one-run affairs away from Wrigley this season. There are many questions but no answers right now for the disparity between their stellar 36-18 mark at home and the results on the road.

“It’s tough to be on this end,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “Seems like when it doesn’t go your way it pours on you at different times of the season. This is one of those stretches. We just have to keep fighting.

“It’s strange. It’s something this era of Cubs baseball hasn’t experienced. It should even out [on the road]. Not to where we want it. This year it hasn’t, but we can start writing our own script tomorrow.”

The Cubs and Brewers are a game behind the first-place Cardinals in the Central. The Cubs head to St. Louis after Sunday’s series finale. With a 4-14 road record within the division, the Cubs are desperate for a victory.

“You see the division,” Cishek said. “It’s close all the way through. We just have to think of it as a rough stretch.”



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Report: Braves, Rays, Blue Jays interested in Mets’ Diaz


The Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays have joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as teams that are interested in trading for New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.

Should the rebuilding Blue Jays land the right-hander they may look to flip him to the Braves for prospects, Puma notes.

It was reported on Friday that Los Angeles was looking into the possibility of acquiring the 25-year-old to shore up its bullpen.

The Mets are rumored to be exploring a scenario where they send Noah Syndergaard to the San Diego Padres for prospects that would be used to land Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman. It’s not clear if Diaz could be involved in that deal, or a separate one, involving Toronto and New York.

Diaz, a former All-Star, has posted a 4.81 ERA this season while going 22-for-26 in save opportunities. He saved 57 games for the Seattle Mariners in 2018 and was arguably the best reliever in the majors. He ended up in Queens via a blockbuster trade during the winter that also saw the Mets acquire Robinson Cano.





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Yanks’ pitching coach — ‘My responsibility’ for woes


BOSTON — At the end of arguably the worst week a New York Yankees pitching staff has ever gone through, pitching coach Larry Rothschild stood before reporters in the team’s clubhouse Saturday evening and took ownership of the poor performances his group has posted in recent days.

“It’s my responsibility to get it right,” he said.

Rothschild’s comments came moments after the Boston Red Sox blasted the Yankees for a third consecutive game at Fenway Park, this one by a 9-5 decision. New York’s loss marked the sixth straight game in the rivalry in which Yankees pitching has allowed eight or more runs.

It also marked the seventh game this week in which New York allowed opposing teams to score seven or more runs. After the Colorado Rockies scored eight in a victory at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, the Minnesota Twins scored eight, 12 and seven runs in a series New York actually won. Since Thursday, the Red Sox have beaten the Yankees by plating 19, 10 and nine runs in respective games.

“It’s been really tough,” Rothschild said. “It’s tough on [the pitchers]; it’s tough on the team.”

Mostly, it has been the Yankees’ starting pitching that has let them down in recent days. Since June 29, the Bronx Bombers’ rotation has posted a 7.09 ERA, the second-worst ERA in the majors across that span. Only the Detroit Tigers‘ 7.30 mark is worse.

Masahiro Tanaka‘s 12 earned runs allowed on Thursday — the second most a Yankees starter has ever given up in a single game — certainly helped inflate that figure. His individual ERA this season even shot up from a 4.00 to a 4.79 following that horrid outing.

Prior to June 29, the day the Yankees beat Boston in a 17-13 offensive explosion overseas at London Stadium, the New York starters’ ERA was a more respectable 4.13.

Saturday’s ineffective pitcher was lefty CC Sabathia, who actually cruised to a 1-2-3 first inning. It was the first time a Yankees starter had a clean opening frame since Tanaka did it last Saturday at home against Colorado.

“Had his slider, had the changeup, had his cutter going early,” manager Aaron Boone said of Sabathia.

And then?

“They got some balls on the plate, and that hurt him a little bit,” Boone added.

Sabathia gave up a 310-foot solo home run to Andrew Benintendi — the shortest non-inside-the-park homer at Fenway Park since 2017 — with two out in the second, then let three more runs come across in the fourth. Another run chased him from the game in the fifth inning.

“Just didn’t make enough pitches,” Sabathia said. “That’s a good lineup over there, and left too many pitches over the middle.”

Sabathia, a noted ground ball, weak-contact pitcher since developing his cut fastball in 2015, failed to induce a groundout on Saturday. Everything the Red Sox put in play against him was either home runs, fly ball outs, line drives off the Green Monster or line-drive singles that cleared the infield.

He became the fourth big league starter this season to fail to get a ground ball out in an outing of at least 4⅓ innings.

“With the stuff I have now, I have to be pitching to the corners,” said the 39-year-old Sabathia, whose days as a power pitcher are long behind him. “A lot of balls left middle.”

Asked what has been the common thread to the struggles his staff has had of late, Rothschild said there wasn’t one specific aspect to point out.

“It’s not one thing. It doesn’t just happen with one thing; it’s different things for different guys,” Rothschild said. “But first-pitch strikes and things like that haven’t been good. It’s just a bunch of different stuff that has been reviewed and talked about and tried to be corrected.

“With each individual, you go with what you’ve seen and what needs to get corrected. We talk about it, and if it’s something mechanical or pitchwise or gripwise or whatever, we do it in the bullpen and try to correct it there.”

The day after Tanaka’s 12-run outing, he and Rothschild were in the visitors bullpen at Fenway Park, working on his famed splitter. It didn’t have the bite in his previous start it had at earlier points this season.

The Yankees also have spent time reviewing their pitchers to see if any are tipping pitches, Boone said earlier this weekend.

“It’s a matter of just continuing to dive in with each guy, where we can make small little adjustments, and attacking the game plan in the best way possible,” Boone said. “Making sure we’re leaving no stone unturned in terms of making the guys make whatever little adjustments or subtle things they need to change — and also not overreacting to a bad week of baseball.”

He might be avoiding the overreaction, but Sabathia admitted that this stretch has been “frustrating.”

“We’ve been the reason why we’ve been losing games,” he said, speaking for the pitchers. “We want to turn that around.”

New York gets its chance to do just that Sunday night, when right-hander Domingo German takes the mound. At 12-2 with a 4.03 ERA, he has been perhaps the Yankees’ best pitcher this season. German’s most recent start didn’t go well, though, as he gave up eight runs — all earned — in an outing at Minnesota on Monday in which he failed to get out of the fourth inning.

German has been sharp for the Yankees when pitching immediately after losses this season, though: He is 5-0 in such appearances. New York is hopeful for that version of the slender righty to show up in the series finale as it seeks to stave off a Red Sox sweep.

“Crazy things happen in this game,” Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said. “You have a couple weeks where every ball is falling, pitching is doing well, and then you have a couple weeks where the offense can’t get it going or the pitching can’t get it done. That’s just part of it. The biggest thing is making sure we can learn from our mistakes, making sure we can improve on this next time we face these guys.”



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