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  • Brewers' Hader apologizes for insensitive tweets
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader apologized when speaking to reporters Tuesday night when asked about racist and anti-gay comments that were surfaced from years ago on his Twitter account during the All-Star Game in Washington.

    • "I was young, immature and stupid," Hader, 24, said. "There's no excuse for what was said. I'm deeply sorry for what I've said and what's been going on. It doesn't reflect any of my beliefs going on now.

      "It was something that happened when I was 17 years old. As a child I was immature. Obviously I said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn't reflect who I am as a person today. That's just what it is."

      Hader added that he planned to apologize to his teammates for the comments.

      "He was young. We all say some crazy stuff when we're young," said Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain. "So, we'll move on from this. He said it, it's over, it's done with, and we're gonna focus on playing baseball."

      Hader appeared in Tuesday's game, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits while recording just one out. Members of his family in attendance reportedly removed or hid jerseys bearing his name in order to avoid attracting unwanted attention from others, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

      Hader, who has a 1.50 ERA and has struck out 89 batters in 48 innings with the Brewers this season, told reporters he would accept any consequences that may come as a result of the tweets.

      --Field Level Media

  • Take 5: MLB All-Star Game takeaways
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Looking for a one-game example of modern baseball in a nutshell? Look no further than Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game in Washington D.C.

    • The American League defeated the National League 8-6 in 10 innings in a contest that featured a record 10 home runs between both sides, accounting for all but one run of the game. Twenty-five batters struck out, nine walked and only one of the 20 hits came with a runner in scoring position.

      The Midsummer Classic, the importance of which has been criticized for years, even when it mattered toward home-field advantage in the World Series, served as a microcosm for the "three true outcomes" mentality surrounding the sport: home runs, walks and strikeouts. The fielders are so little involved, they might as well join the Fox broadcasters in the booth instead of doing on-field interviews.

      Such is the state of baseball these days, and it's become a hot-button issue for the sport as interest seemingly wanes. The last thing the MLB All-Star Game needs to be is more like its NFL, NBA and NHL counterparts, but Tuesday's game certainly looks as if it fit that mold more than past iterations have.

      Here are four other takeaways from the evening:

      4. Speaking of home runs, it's a shame the Yankees' Aaron Judge didn't attempt to defend his crown at Monday's Home Run Derby. The 6-foot-7 outfielder crushed a fastball from Nationals ace Max Scherzer to left field for the game's opening salvo in the second inning. While the show Bryce Harper put on in front of the hometown fans at Monday's event was something special, it's hard not to discount it when the field didn't include the likes of Judge, Giancarlo Stanton or another larger-than-life slugger to create an extra sense of competition. Here's hoping Judge comes around on the Derby sometime down the line.

      3. Another player to homer in the game, the Angels' Mike Trout, furthered his dominance in the showcase. Trout is now 7-for-15 with two homers and four RBIs in his six All-Star contests, including two MVP wins. The more examples we get as to what Trout can do under the spotlight of a nationally televised stage, the more painful it becomes that the Angels can't get him to the postseason. Trout has played in the playoffs just once, in 2014, and that lasted all of three straight losses. Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that Trout needs to play a role in improving his marketability -- the Angels could certainly stand to do their part as well by giving the 26-year-old more opportunities in October.

      2. How weird was it to see Manny Machado playing for the AL in an Orioles uniform when everyone knows he's expected to be traded to the NL's Los Angeles Dodgers? Machado snapped a selfie with Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp during the game, a moment the two might soon be able to look back on as teammates, potentially as soon as Wednesday. It's a tough watch for Orioles fans to see their franchise star's last game in their uniform potentially come in an exhibition, but at least he had kind words for the organization during a midgame TV interview. "It was a tremendous honor to wear this uniform," Machado said.

      1. NL teams have to be elated that the All-Star Game doesn't matter anymore. The AL won the event for the sixth consecutive year and 18th time in the last 22 seasons (one tie). Though it might not matter anyway -- the Cubs and Brewers lead the NL with 55 wins, a total five AL teams have reached to this point.

      --Kyle Brasseur, Field Level Media

  • Nats' Strasburg to come off DL, start Friday
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be activated from the disabled list to start the team's second-half opener Friday against the Atlanta Braves, manager Dave Martinez told reporters Tuesday.

    • Strasburg has pitched since June 8 because of right shoulder inflammation. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is also a possibility to return from the DL on Friday.

      The moves would be a big boost for the Nationals, who ended the first half at 48-48, 5 1/2 games back of the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East.

      "It starts Friday," Martinez said. "Friday, we're going to come out and start playing like our hair's on fire. Let's really make a run at this thing."

      Strasburg, who also turns 30 on Friday, was 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 starts before hitting the DL. He's made two rehab starts for Triple-A Potomac, allowing four runs (one earned) on seven hits and striking out 12 in nine innings.

      Zimmerman has been out since May 9 as the result of his injury. The 33-year-old, who enjoyed a resurgent 36-homer campaign last season, is hitting .217 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 33 games this year.

      Zimmerman has three hits, including a home run, in five at-bats between rehab games with Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.

      While Zimmerman has been sidelined, Matt Adams has emerged for the Nationals at first base. The 29-year-old is hitting .288 with 15 home runs and 39 RBIs this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Manfred: Can't market Trout without his help
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    He may be the best player in his sport, but when it comes to popularity, Mike Trout is nowhere near the likes of LeBron James, Tom Brady or Cristiano Ronaldo.

    • But while Major League Baseball's failure to market the Los Angeles Angels star is commonly attributed as a major reason for that popularity gap, commissioner Rob Manfred is pointing the finger in another direction.

      Back at Trout.

      Speaking at his annual All-Star Game news conference in Washington on Tuesday, hours before the game was scheduled to begin, Manfred agreed that the league should promote Trout more. But it isn't that simple, he contends.

      "Player marketing requires one thing, for sure: the player," Manfred said. "You cannot market a player passively. You can't market anything passively. You need people to engage with those to whom are trying to market in order to have effective marketing."

      "Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn't want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time," Manfred added. "I think we could help him make his brand very big.

      "But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort."

      Trout has long contended he is far more concerned with playing baseball and trying to help the Angels win the World Series than he is with marketing himself or growing his celebrity. He does not take part in the Home Run Derby. He does not take part in the World Baseball Classic.

      "I'd rather just have that night with my family, spend time with them," Trout said of the Home Run Derby last week, according to The Orange County Register. "I just want to relax and enjoy the day. Just watch it ... I just never had any interest in doing it."

      Trout has not completely avoided the commercial spotlight. Earlier in his career he was involved in a national ad campaign with Subway. He also has a big shoe deal with Nike.

      "I try to do as much as I can, but keep it to a point where I can still play baseball," Trout told USA Today on Monday when asked about endorsements and promotion off the field. "Obviously you want to get out there, but you've got to pick and choose, for sure."

      Trout, who will turn 27 in August, is doing just fine financially. He is scheduled to make just north of $34 million per season through 2020, then hit free agency before he is 30.

      He has made the All-Star Game in every one of his full seasons, has won two American League MVPs and All-Star Game MVP awards, and is on track to post the highest single-season wins above replacement (WAR) in MLB history this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Orioles SS Machado headed to Dodgers
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Manny Machado will be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a package of prospects barring a last-minute snag in negotiations, USA Today Sports reported on Tuesday, hours before the 2018 All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.

    • According to the report, the Baltimore Orioles intend to complete the trade on Wednesday, sending the 26-year-old Machado to the reigning National League champions for a package of prospects unless the Milwaukee Brewers or Philadelphia Phillies emerge with a better offer.

      During the All-Star Game broadcast Tuesday night, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted a separate report also saying Machado would be dealt to the Dodgers "with more certainty."

      Rosenthal interviewed Machado in the AL dugout during the FOX broadcast in the sixth inning; the Orioles shortstop did not admit to knowing for certain if a trade was complete. But he did answer regarding his appreciation toward the Orioles franchise.

      "It was a tremendous honor to wear this uniform. They gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues," Machado told Rosenthal. "That's everyone's dream, they gave me that. They gave me the opportunity to play shortstop again. The organization has done everything [for me].

      "So if this is the last time [wearing an Orioles uniform] ... hopefully I did everything I could for the organization."

      Two hours before the All-Star Game, Machado said in the American League locker room, "I haven't heard anything. I'm just worried about the game today. I'm just worried about the game. There will be a time and place for everything. I'm just going to worry about [the All-Star Game].

      "I'm just not even trying to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. There will be a time and place where I'll be here again and answering questions. I'm just trying to worry about today, not trying to worry about anything else."

      Yusniel Diaz, the Dodgers' top prospect coming off of a two-homer performance in the Futures Game, is expected to be part of the deal with the Orioles.

      Entering the All-Star break, Machado is batting .315 with 24 homers, 65 RBIs and a .963 OPS.

      Several outlets reported Tuesday morning that the Dodgers and Phillies were the frontrunners for the All-Star shortstop, who is in the final year of his contract with Baltimore and projected to fetch a long-term deal approaching $300 million as a free agent this winter.

      Baltimore is scheduled to return to the field Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays without Machado in what likely triggers a pronounced rebuilding effort. Outfielder Adam Jones and closer Zach Britton are reportedly on the block, and other players are also likely to be made available by the Orioles.

      The Dodgers have been aggressive in their pursuit of Machado with their own All-Star shortstop, Corey Seager, out for the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

      Machado has been dealing with constant trade rumors since the start of spring training. The New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians all were bidding for his services, according to reports.

      Machado said Monday at All-Star Game media day that the uncertainty of where he'd play his next game was becoming frustrating.

      "It's the worst," Machado said. "You just don't know what's going to happen. ... Just get it over with already.

      "To go out there and not know where you're going to be tomorrow, it's kind of tough. A lot of packing, a lot of cars shipped. I've got a lot of clothes in my locker and in my room. I'd like to stay at home. I'd like to be with the organization that I've been with, not learning new faces, not learning new names. I'm not good with names."

      --Field Level Media

  • Verlander: MLB should get rid of DH altogether
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    Spending his entire MLB career in the American League, Justin Verlander has only picked up a bat in interleague games and the World Series.

    • On Monday, his pitching side took over.

      Speaking in Washington in advance of Tuesday's All-Star Game, Verlander said that he thinks the league should eliminate the designated hitter altogether.

      "I would take the DH out, even though I know the National League is talking about implementing the designated hitter," Verlander said, per USA Today. "For my pitching purposes, it's fun to face guys like me who can't hit. But I do think, for instance when we were in the World Series, the Houston Astros are playing the Dodgers, when we are at Dodger Stadium, we were a little behind. We were not used to hitting, bunting and things like that."

      Verlander made his major league debut with Detroit in 2005 and remained there until his trade to Houston last Aug. 31. He's a seven-time All-Star and the 2011 winner of both the AL Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards.

      At the plate, however, he is a career .111 batter (five singles in 45 at-bats). He has one RBI in his career. He had three at-bats against the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, striking out each time.

      "When you're playing a championship, that determines the best team in the world, it should be an even playing field. It's the only sport like that with different sets of rules in different leagues," Verlander said.

      He then addressed the NL's potential plan to adopt the DH, and his comments are likely to raise some eyebrows in Houston.

      "I like the game with no DH, personally. But who knows, one day I might be in the National League, so maybe they can keep it out of that league for a while."

      Verlander can become a free agent after the 2019 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Hometown favorite Harper rallies to win HR Derby
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    Hometown favorite Bryce Harper of Washington rallied from a slow start in the final round and edged Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs 19-18 to win the Home Run Derby on Monday night at Nationals Park.

    • Harper is the third player to win the Home Run Derby at his home park, joining Todd Frazier in Cincinnati (2015) and Ryne Sandberg at Wrigley Field in Chicago (1990).

      Harper finished second in the 2013 Derby, but things went better this time.

      Schwarber went first and banged 18 homers. Harper had just nine with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in his four-minute time frame, but then crushed homers on nine straight swings.

      He had earned 30 seconds of extra time to hit and homered on the second pitch from his father, Ron, to win it. Harper said he knew when calling timeout with 1:20 left that things needed to change.

      "I [knew] I better figure it out or I'm going to lose," Harper told ESPN."To be able to do that with [my father] is a dream come true."

      The semifinals began with a battle between Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins of the Philadelphia Phillies. Hoskins opened by blasting 20 homers, the highest number that had been hit to that point.

      Schwarber started slowly but picked up steam late during his four-minute run and outlasted Hoskins, 21-20, with the deciding homer coming as time ran out.

      "It was a ton of fun," Schwarber told ESPN.

      The other semifinal saw Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers go against Harper. Muncy hit 12 homers, and Harper started slowly before going on a tear and scoring a 13-12 victory -- getting the go-ahead homer with 1:11 still left on the clock.

      Hoskins, the No. 8 seed, pulled the biggest upset of the first round when he knocked off top-seeded Jesus Aguilar from the Milwaukee Brewers, 17-12, in the first matchup.

      Next, Schwarber edged the Houston Astros' Alex Bregman, 16-15. Muncy followed with another victory by one, 17-16, over Javier Baez of the Cubs.

      Harper took on Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves and hit several long shots en route to a 13-12 victory.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Scherzer, Sale announced as All-Star starters
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    For the second year in a row, Chris Sale of Boston and Max Scherzer of Washington will be the starting pitchers in the All-Star Game, the highlight of Monday's announcement of the starting lineups.

    • American League manager AJ Hinch of the Houston Astros selected Sale to start Tuesday's game. This will be the third consecutive start for left-hander, who joins Lefty Gomez (American League, 1933-35) and Robin Roberts (National League, 1953-55) as the only pitchers to start three All-Star games in a row.

      Scherzer, 33, will start for the National League squad, managed by the Dodgers' Dave Roberts, in his home park. The Nationals' right-hander is 12-5 in 20 starts on the year. His 182 strikeouts and 134 2/3 innings lead the NL.

      He becomes the 12th pitcher to start an All-Star Game on his home field and the first since former New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey started at Citi Field in 2013.

      --The agent for New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom said the team should think about trading its ace if it doesn't want to lock him up with a long-term contract.

      Brodie van Wagenen told The Athletic in a statement that deGrom wants to discuss "a long-term partnership that would keep him in a Mets uniform for years to come" but added that "if the Mets don't share [the] same interest, we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now."

      DeGrom, 30, can become a free agent after the 2020 season. He leads all pitchers with a 1.68 ERA but has only a 5-4 record with 149 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings as the Mets offense has struggled mightily to score runs for him in his 19 starts.

      --The Toronto Blue Jays could be without center fielder Kevin Pillar for 4 to 6 weeks because of a right clavicle injury.

      Details emerged about the severity of Pillar's injury one day after he was placed on the 10-day disabled list. He hurt himself while making a diving catch Saturday. The injury, reportedly a sternoclavicular joint sprain, could be a major emergency if the clavicle is dislocated backward. Pillar's clavicle reportedly moved forward.

      The 29-year-old Pillar, known for his highlight plays in the outfield, is batting .247 with 37 RBIs and 42 runs scored in 93 games.

      --The Seattle Mariners optioned right-hander Matt Festa to Double-A Arkansas.

      Festa, 25, pitched 2/3 scoreless innings in his big league debut Saturday against the Colorado Rockies. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was selected by the Mariners in the seventh round in 2016. According to MLB.com's Greg Johns, the team sent him down so he can continue pitching during the All-Star break.

      Seattle will make a corresponding roster move before Friday's game against the Chicago White Sox.

      --The Texas Rangers made four roster moves on the first day of the All-Star break.

      The team announced that veteran outfielder Austin Jackson cleared waivers and had become a free agent. The 31-year-old Jackson hit .242 with no home runs and 13 RBIs in 59 games with the San Francisco Giants this season, but he was dealt to Texas on July 8 and did not appear in a game with the club.

      The Rangers also reinstated catcher Carlos Perez from the 10-day disabled list and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock. Left-hander Left-handed pitcher Joe Palumbo was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to High-A Down East. Another southpaw, Yohander Mendez, was promoted from Down East to Double-A Frisco.

      --Field Level Media

  • Agent says Mets should extend deGrom's contract or consider trading him
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    The agent for New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom said the team should think about trading its ace if it doesn't want to lock him up with a long-term contract.

    • Brodie van Wagenen told The Athletic in a statement that deGrom wants to discuss "a long-term partnership that would keep him in a Mets uniform for years to come."

      But, van Wagenen added in the statement, published Monday: "If the Mets don't share [the] same interest, we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now. The inertia of [the] current situation could complicate Jacob's relationship with the club and creates an atmosphere of indecision."

      The agent discussed the comments later on Monday with the New York Post. He sought to clarify his statement later, telling the post it was "not a demand for a trade."

      "It is simply expressing Jacob's interest to stay with the club long term, and if he is not part of the future, he understands that the club is better positioned to trade him," Van Wagenen told the Post.

      DeGrom, 30, can become a free agent after the 2020 season. He is earning $7.4 million this season, which is a contract that would make him an attractive acquisition for many postseason contenders. He is under arbitration control the next two seasons.

      He leads all pitchers with a 1.68 ERA but has only a 5-4 record with 149 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings pitched as the Mets offense has struggled mightily to score runs for him in his 19 starts.

      He was selected to his second All-Star team this season.

      "I would love to play here for my whole career," deGrom said to reporters in Washington on Monday while at the All-Star Game, according to MLB.com. "I think it's just kind of deciding what we see as the future. It's something that's in the Mets' control, and kind of out of mine."

      --Field Level Media

  • Sale, Scherzer rematch highlights All-Star Game starting lineups
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    For the second year in a row, Chris Sale of Boston and Max Scherzer of Washington will be the starting pitchers in the All-Star Game, the highlight of Monday's announcement of the starting lineups.

    • American League manager AJ Hinch of the Houston Astros selected Sale to start Tuesday's game. This will be the third consecutive start for left-hander, who joins Lefty Gomez (American League, 1933-35) and Robin Roberts (National League, 1953-55) as the only pitchers to start three All-Star games in a row.

      Sale is 10-4 on the season with a 2.23 ERA. The 29-year-old has started 20 games and struck out a league-high 188 batters in 129 innings.

      "Obviously, I appreciate it. It's a big honor," Sale told the media of earning another start. "I know this hasn't happened very often in a long time. I appreciate it. I'm going to try and have some fun with it. That's why we're all here, too. Grip and rip, and try to get a win."

      Scherzer, 33, will start for the National League squad, managed by the Dodgers' Dave Roberts, in his home ballpark. The Nationals' right-hander is 12-5 in 20 starts on the year. His 182 strikeouts and 134 2/3 innings lead the NL.

      He becomes the 12th pitcher to start an All-Star Game on his home field. The last one time that occurred was 2013, when former New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey started the game at Citi Field.

      Scherzer's first pitch will be thrown to another Red Sox player, leadoff hitter Mookie Betts. A leading contender for AL MVP this season, Betts will be followed by the reigning AL MVP, Houston's Jose Altuve, and then the two other leading contenders for the award this year, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Boston teammate J.D. Martinez.

      Sale will face Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez to lead off the NL first, followed by Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt, and Atlanta first baseman and NL MVP front-runner Freddie Freeman.

      Goldschmidt also plays first base but will be the designated hitter Tuesday. Outfielder Bryce Harper of the host Nationals will bat sixth.

      Hinch and Roberts also announced a pair of New York pitchers will come in after the starters: the Yankees' Luis Severino and the Mets' Jacob deGrom.

      Here are the full lineups:

      American League

      1. Mookie Betts, RF, Boston

      2. Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston

      3. Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles

      4. J.D. Martinez, DH, Boston

      5. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland

      6. Aaron Judge, LF, New York

      7. Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore

      8. Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago

      9. Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City

      National League

      1. Javier Baez, 2B, Chicago

      2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado

      3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH, Arizona

      4. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta

      5. Matt Kemp, LF, Los Angeles

      6. Bryce Harper, CF, Washington

      7. Nick Markakis, RF, Atlanta

      8. Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco

      9. Willson Contreras, C, Chicago

      Game time is at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday. Coverage begins on FOX at 7:30 p.m.

      --Field Level Media

  • Blue Jays could be without Pillar for 4-6 weeks
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    The Toronto Blue Jays placed Kevin Pillar on the 10-day disabled list with a right clavicle injury on Sunday, but could be without the center fielder for 4 to 6 weeks.

    • Pillar was injured when he made a diving catch and doubled up Tzu-Wei Lin at second to end the third inning of a 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Pillar was diagnosed with a right sternoclavicular joint injury.

      According to Blue Jays play-by-play announcer Mike Wilner, the injury was worse than initially suspected.

      "#Bluejays trainer Nikki Huffman tells us that Pillar's Injury was an emergency situation. The collarbone popped out, though didn't dislocate, just pushed the ligaments out. Had the collarbone pushed in instead of out, it could have been life-threatening, requiring surgery," Wilner said via Twitter.

      Pillar, known for his highlight plays in the outfield, is batting .247 with 37 RBIs and 42 runs in 93 games.

      The Blue Jays also placed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on the seven-day concussion list.

      Gurriel was hit in the back of the head by Red Sox starer Eduardo Rodriguez while diving into first base in the sixth inning of the same game. Rodriguez left the game with a sprained right ankle, but Gurriel stayed in after being checked by trainers.

      Wilner reports that the team said Gurriel didn't begin presenting symptoms of a concussion until after the game ended.

      Gurriel, a rookie, is batting .270 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 31 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Take 5: Major trades to make before July 31
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    All eyes are on Manny Machado as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nears for Major League Baseball, but he isn't the only big name that could be on the move.

    • With disparity perhaps never higher across the league, it's clear which teams are in the hunt for the postseason and which find themselves ready to sell.

      So who else might be dealt -- and where to? Here a five potential deals that could make sense for each of the parties involved.

      5. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire 2B Brian Dozier from Minnesota Twins for SS/2B Gavin Lux.

      The Dodgers were said to have big interest in Dozier after his 42-homer 2016 season, though the Twins' asking price appeared to be too high. That shouldn't be the case anymore, as Dozier has come back to earth offensively, hitting .230 with 16 home runs this season. There's a clear need for the Dodgers to add a rental option in the middle infield with star shortstop Corey Seager (Tommy John surgery) out for the year, and the Twins can stand to part with Dozier, who said in March he intends to become a free agent when his contract expires this fall. Lux, the Dodgers' 2016 first-round pick, is having a strong year at high Class-A, though he isn't considered one of their top 10 prospects.

      4. Houston Astros acquire RHP Raisel Iglesias from Cincinnati Reds for LHP Cionel Perez, RHP Jorge Alcala and RHP Corbin Martin.

      The Astros showed when they swung a deal to acquire Ken Giles in 2015 that they weren't afraid to gut the farm for a reliever. Now, the underachieving Giles is in Triple-A following a demotion last week, and Houston is in desperate need of an established closer. Iglesias, 28, hasn't been doing the job for long, but he possesses the high-powered arsenal for the role and is a bargain at $5 million owed in base salary each of the next two seasons. Breakout lefty Perez could headline a package for the Astros, who have considerable pitching depth to deal from for the arm-needy Reds.

      3. New York Yankees acquire 1B/3B Mike Moustakas from Kansas City Royals for RHP Jonathan Loaisiga and RHP Juan Then.

      The Yankees are said to be among teams interested in Moustakas at first base, where he would be an extreme upgrade over what New York has going on at the position right now. The 29-year-old has played four games at first this season, including two this month, as the Royals market him to potential suitors. Moustakas' 19 homers from the left side of the plate would look good in the lineup between righty sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and he comes with a much lower price tag than Machado, whom the Baltimore Orioles likely don't want to trade in the division. Loaisiga gives the Royals a major-league-ready arm to slot into the rotation while Then, 18, would be more of a future asset.

      2. Boston Red Sox acquire LHP J.A. Happ and RHP Seunghwan Oh from Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Travis Lakins, RHP Kutter Crawford and 2B/OF Kervin Suarez.

      The Red Sox have needs in the rotation and bullpen, but this is the type of deal fans should expect from them. Several big trades in recent years have gutted Boston's farm system, and the team's payroll can't get much higher than the current figure that's already leading the majors. Happ and Oh (vesting option) can both potentially leave after this season, giving the Red Sox the temporary upgrades they need while costing a few lower-tier prospects at most. Happ slots into the rotation, while Oh gives the Red Sox a setup option with closer experience if Craig Kimbrel needs a rest day. And both are American League East tested, which is important come the playoff stretch.

      1. Philadelphia Phillies acquire SS/3B Manny Machado and LHP Zach Britton from Baltimore Orioles for 3B Maikel Franco, RHP Adonis Medina, RHP Franklyn Kilome and SS Arquimedes Gamboa.

      This is the move the Phillies need to make if they are serious about contending this season and beyond. Philadelphia perhaps has more money to spend this offseason than any other club, making it likely the Phillies view Machado, who they are said to aggressively be pursuing, as more than a rental player. Britton is also believed to be on their radar, as the team has lacked an established closer most the season yet is still 53-42 and atop the National League East. The price would be high -- Medina and Kilome are among the club's top arms while the 20-year-old Gamboa is on the rise and Franco is a former top prospect -- but the Phillies can hold on to top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez while getting the chance to convince Machado the City of Brotherly Love should be his home for the next 10-plus seasons.

      --Kyle Brasseur, Field Level Media

  • MLB roundup: Dozier delivers walk-off slam to top Rays
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    Brian Dozier hit a walk-off grand slam with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Minnesota Twins a wild 11-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon at Target Field in Minneapolis.

    • It was the 16th homer of the season and fourth career grand slam for Dozier who drove a 1-1 changeup from Matt Andriese into the left field stands to give the Twins their ninth victory in 11 games. Dozier finished with two hits, five RBIs and two runs scored.

      Eddie Rosario had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice, Robbie Grossman had two hits and Jorge Polanco also scored two runs for Minnesota, which bounced back from a 19-6 thrashing by the Rays on Saturday afternoon.

      Jake Cave opened the 10th inning with a leadoff double off Andriese (2-4), the ninth pitcher used by the Rays. After Mitch Garver sacrificed Cave to third, Joe Mauer and Rosario were both intentionally walked setting the stage for Dozier's heroics.

      Pirates 7, Brewers 6 (10 innings)

      Josh Bell hit a walk-off two-run double in the 10th inning as Pittsburgh won its sixth straight game, 7-6 over visiting Milwaukee, to sweep a five-game series.

      Facing Brewers reliever Dan Jennings (3-3), Bell drove the ball to the wall in center as rain began to pour, bringing home Gregory Polanco and Colin Moran, who had each singled.

      The Brewers, who have lost six in a row and eight of 10, had taken a 6-5 lead in the top of the 10th against Tanner Anderson (1-0) on an RBI single by Brett Phillips, who hit a tiebreaking three-run triple in the eighth inning.

      Cardinals 6, Reds 4

      Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler homered, and Tommy Pham had two hits and two RBIs as St. Louis beat visiting Cincinnati in interim manager Mike Shildt's debut.

      Right-hander John Gant (3-3) pitched four innings of hitless relief as the Cardinals broke a three-game losing streak in their first game under Shildt, who was promoted from bench coach when Mike Matheny was fired after 6 1/2 seasons following Saturday's loss to the Reds. Shildt joined the major league staff in 2016 after winning three minor league titles in eight seasons in the Cardinals' minor league system.

      Yadier Molina also had an RBI single for the Cardinals (48-46), who had lost six straight home games and were in danger of falling to .500 for the first time since April 13, when they were 7-7.

      Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 2

      Xander Bogaerts provided an encore to Saturday's walk-off grand slam with a solo home run and two RBIs to help Boston beat visiting Toronto in the finale of a four-game series.

      Bogaerts' 10th-inning slam gave the Red Sox a 6-2 win Saturday and secured at least a series split. Boston won Thursday's opener 6-4, but lost to Toronto 13-7 Friday to snap its major league-best 10-game win streak.

      Brock Holt drove in two runs and Jackie Bradley Jr. added an RBI for the Red Sox, who enter the All-Star break with an MLB-best 68-30 record. Boston won 12 of its last 13 and 19 of 23 games before the break. The Red Sox lead the AL East by 4 1/2 games over the New York Yankees.

      Rockies 4, Mariners 3

      Trevor Story led off the bottom of the ninth with a game-winning homer, lifting surging Colorado over visiting Seattle.

      Story capped a rainy afternoon when he drove a 2-2 cutter from Nick Vincent (3-2) 434 feet into the right-center field seats, touching off the celebratory fireworks. It was the 20th homer of the season for the All-Star shortstop and his first career game-ending homer.

      Story's homer helped the Rockies head into the break with a flourish, lifting Colorado to its 10th win in 12 games and 13th win in 16 games. The Mariners lost for the eighth time in 11 games.

      Indians 5, Yankees 2

      Michael Brantley led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a tiebreaking home run as Cleveland beat visiting New York.

      Brantley helped the Indians get a split of the four-game series with his 12th homer of the season. He gave Cleveland its first lead of the game by lifting a 94.5 mph fastball from Chad Green (5-2) high enough to clear the right-center field fence. The ball traveled an estimated 387 feet and Brantley needed every inch as right fielder Giancarlo Stanton scaled the fence in an ill-fated attempt to make the catch.

      Masahiro Tanaka gave up two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings in his second start since returning from two strained hamstrings.

      Cubs 7, Padres 4

      The Cubs jumped to a 5-0 lead after two innings and Jon Lester picked up his 12th win of the season as Chicago completed a three-game sweep of San Diego.

      Lester (12-2) allowed three runs on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. With the win, the Cubs head into the All-Star break with a 2 ½-game lead in the National League Central.

      All five of the Cubs' runs in the first two innings were scored against Padres rookie left-hander Eric Lauer, who fell to 5-6. He allowed five runs on five hits and one walk and departed after the second.

      Athletics 6, Giants 2

      Visiting Oakland strung together four consecutive singles in a four-run fourth inning to hand San Francisco its first home series loss since April in the battle of interleague rivals.

      Sean Manaea (9-6) outdueled Andrew Suarez (3-6) in a matchup of left-handers, helping the A's complete a 4-3, 6-2 weekend sweep after the Giants had prevailed 7-1 Friday night in the series opener. Piscotty had two hits, scored twice and drove in two runs for the A's.

      The Giants had won (10) or tied (two) their last 12 home series dating back to April 11 against Arizona. The teams will meet in a three-game rematch immediately following the All-Star break in Oakland.

      Tigers 6, Astros 3

      John Hicks slugged a two-run homer to ignite a surprising power surge and Detroit averted a series sweep with a win at Houston.

      Hicks' 400-foot blast off Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (9-5) keyed a three-run second inning and set the tone for Detroit, which ended a seven-game losing skid. The Tigers slugged four home runs, all against Verlander, after entering the game last in the majors in dingers with 76.

      Facing his former team for the first time since a waiver deadline trade shipped him to Houston last August, Verlander became just the fifth pitcher in history to allow at least four home runs in a start where he posted 12-plus strikeouts. He allowed a season-high six runs (five earned) on six hits without walking a batter.

      Dodgers 5, Angels 3

      Kiké Hernandez's seventh-inning home run snapped a 3-3 tie and helped lead the hosts over the Angels at Dodger Stadium.

      Andrew Toles' two-out RBI single in the eighth inning provided an insurance run, helping the Dodgers take two of three in the series and win their fourth of five games heading into the All-Star break.

      Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw gave up a three-run home run to Jefry Marte, but otherwise held the Angels scoreless in 6 2/3 innings. Kenta Maeda (7-5) relieved Kershaw in the seventh and got the final out of the inning, a brief appearance but enough to earn the victory. Kenley Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 27th save.

      Braves 5, Diamondbacks 1

      Right-hander Julio Teheran took a shutout into the seventh inning as Atlanta salvaged one win in its three-game home series against Arizona.

      Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman each hit RBI doubles to a four-run third inning against Diamondbacks left-hander Patrick Corbin (6-4), giving Teheran and three relievers all the offensive support they would need.

      Teheran (7-6), who had won just twice in nine starts after opening the season 4-1, limited the Diamondbacks to four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.

      Nationals 6, Mets 1

      Daniel Murphy continued to haunt his former team when he laced a two-run pinch-hit single to spark a five-run seventh inning that lifted Washington to a win at New York.

      The Nationals opened and closed the four-game series with wins to reach the All-Star Break at .500. The Mets have lost 34 of their last 48 during their worst first half of a full season since 1993, when they were 27-60 at the All-Star break.

      The teams traded run-scoring fielder's choice groundouts in the second inning before matching zeroes until the Nationals unloaded against three Mets relievers in the seventh.

      Marlins 10, Phillies 5

      Brian Anderson hit a three-run homer as part of an eight-run fifth inning, and last-place Miami defeated visiting Philadelphia.

      Anderson went 3-for-5 and has 109 hits, the most by a major league rookie before the All-Star break since two players did it in 2003.

      In their last game before the All-Star break, the Marlins completed a week in which they took two out of three games from a pair of first-place teams, the Milwaukee Brewers and then the Phillies. Marlins reliever Elieser Hernandez (2-5) earned the win, pitching one scoreless inning.

      Orioles 6, Rangers 5

      Adam Jones lined a three-run double as part of a five-run third inning as Baltimore scored a come-from-behind victory over visiting Texas.

      The Orioles used a bullpen format, after likely starting pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis became ill in recent days. So, manager Buck Showalter began with Miguel Castro, who struggled right from the start. He walked the first three batters and Ronald Guzman hit a grand slam over the wall in right for a quick 4-0 lead.

      But the Orioles battled back, getting a solo homer from Manny Machado in the bottom of the first and doubles from Caleb Joseph and Jones in the third to take a 5-4 lead. Zach Britton came on and closed the game in the ninth for his fourth save.

      White Sox 10, Royals 1

      Lucas Giolito pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings as Chicago walloped visiting Kansas City, which lost for the 13th time in 15 games.

      Daniel Palka and Yoan Moncada each had three hits and a home run for the White Sox, who took two of three games in the weekend series.

      Giolito (6-8), a right-hander, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out six as he improved to 3-0 in his career against the Royals. It was his first scoreless start of the season and his best at home, as he entered the game at 2-4 with an 8.65 ERA at Guaranteed Rate Field.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Cards explain reasoning behind Matheny firing
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    The St. Louis Cardinals officially introduced interim manager Mike Shildt and further explained the dismissal of Mike Matheny on Sunday before their series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.

    • Matheny was fired on Saturday on the heels of a rain-soaked 8-2 loss to the Reds that dropped the Cardinals to 47-46 on the season. Along with Matheny, the Cardinals parted ways with hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller. St. Louis' .245 average this season is good for eighth among NL teams, though it is 10th in runs scored (407).

      "Unfortunately our club has not played up to its capabilities, and it was time for a new voice and new leadership," owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said. "I think with Mike Shildt we have an opportunity to move forward into the second half."

      "We believe in this team. We believe in the talent and the character our players represent. We feel this is an opportunity to do a whole lot better. If it all comes together and they play as a team and respond to the new leadership, we believe we can put together a run hopefully toward the postseason."

      The Cardinals went on to beat the Reds, 6-4, in Shildt's debut.

      --The Chicago Cubs have placed outfielder Albert Almora Jr. on the family medical emergency list and recalled infielder David Bote from Triple-A Iowa.

      Almora, 24, leads the team with a .319 batting average to go along with four home runs and 28 RBIs in 86 games. He also has shined defensively with a .988 fielding percentage in center field, where coaches and teammates routinely have praised his ability to track down fly balls in the gap.

      The team did not disclose the reason for Almora's absence. He must miss at least three days but no more than seven days as part of the designation, according to Major League Baseball rules.

      --The San Francisco Giants placed right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Infielder Kelby Tomlinson, was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to take his place.

      Samardzija, who missed more than a month with shoulder tightness, struggled in a 4-3 loss to Oakland on Saturday, his second game since returning from the first DL stint. After the game, he told reporters he had trouble keeping his shoulder loose during the outing. In his two starts in July, Samardzija, 33, has pitched a total of nine innings, giving up five runs and 10 hits as his team lost both times.

      Tomlinson, 28, is batting .221 in 48 games with the Giants, with just five extra-base hits in 113 at-bats.

      --The Milwaukee Brewers placed second baseman Jonathan Villar (right thumb) on the 10-day disabled list and called up outfielder Brett Phillips from Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Brewers also sent right-hander Aaron Wilkerson back to Colorado Springs after he was called up to be the 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader.

      Villar, 27, is batting .261 with 26 runs and 14 stolen bases this season. Villar was used as a pinch hitter in the first game Saturday and started the second game, drawing a pair of walks.

      Also on Sunday, the Pirates sent right-hander Clay Holmes down to Triple-A Indianapolis after he served as the 26th man Saturday. The team also recalled righty Tanner Anderson from Triple-A and sent slumping outfielder Austin Meadows down.

      --Two days after Jose Fernandez started at first base for the Los Angeles Angels, he was optioned down to Triple-A Salt Lake. The Angels recalled right-hander Eduardo Paredes to take his place on the roster.

      Fernandez, 30, is batting .250 with two doubles and seven singles in 36 at-bats this season -- his first in the majors.

      Paredes, 23, has a 7.71 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season, striking out 13 and walking six while giving up five home runs in only 16 1/3 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cubs place Almora on family medical emergency list
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    The Chicago Cubs have placed outfielder Albert Almora Jr. on the family medical emergency list and recalled infielder David Bote from Triple-A Iowa.

    • Almora, 24, leads the team with a .319 batting average to go along with four home runs and 28 RBIs in 86 games. He also has shined defensively with a .988 fielding percentage in center field, where coaches and teammates routinely have praised his ability to track down fly balls in the gap.

      Bote, 25, hit .300 with one home run and nine RBIs in 19 games earlier this season with the Cubs. This is his fourth stint with the team this year.

      The team did not disclose the reason for Almora's absence. He must miss at least three days but no more than seven days as part of the designation, according to Major League Baseball rules.

      --Field Level Media

  • Angels send down 1B Fernandez, recall RHP Paredes
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    Two days after Jose Fernandez started at first base for the Los Angeles Angels, he was optioned down to Triple-A Salt Lake, the club announced Sunday.

    • The Angels recalled right-hander Eduardo Paredes to take his place on the roster.

      Fernandez, 30, is batting .250 with two doubles and seven singles in 36 at-bats this season -- his first in the majors.

      Paredes, 23, has a 7.71 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season, striking out 13 and walking six while giving up five home runs in only 16 1/3 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants put RHP Samardzija back on DL
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    The San Francisco Giants on Sunday announced they have placed right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Taking his place on the roster is infielder Kelby Tomlinson, called up from Triple-A Sacramento for the third time this season.

    • Samardzija, who missed more than a month with shoulder tightness, struggled in a 4-3 loss to Oakland on Saturday, his second game since returning from the first DL stint. After the game, he told reporters he had trouble keeping his shoulder loose during the outing. In his two starts in July, Samardzija, 33, has pitched a total of nine innings, giving up five runs and 10 hits as his team lost both times.

      Tomlinson, 28, is batting .221 in 48 games with the Giants, with just five extra-base hits in 113 at-bats.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cardinals officially introduce Shildt, expand on Matheny firing
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    The St. Louis Cardinals officially introduced interim manager Mike Shildt and further explained the dismissal of Mike Matheny on Sunday before their series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.

    • Matheny was fired on Saturday on the heels of a rain-soaked 8-2 loss to the Reds that dropped the Cardinals to 47-46 on the season. St. Louis has lost 10 of its past 15 games and is 7.5 games back in the National League Central.

      Along with Matheny, the Cardinals are parting ways with hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller. St. Louis' .245 average this season is good for eighth among NL teams, though it is 10th in runs scored (407).

      "Unfortunately our club has not played up to its capabilities, and it was time for a new voice and new leadership," owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said. "I think with Mike Shildt we have an opportunity to move forward into the second half."

      "We believe in this team. We believe in the talent and the character our players represent. We feel this is an opportunity to do a whole lot better. If it all comes together and they play as a team and respond to the new leadership, we believe we can put together a run hopefully toward the postseason," DeWitt added.

      Matheny, 47, has seemingly been under fire for the majority of the last three seasons after leading the team to the playoffs in his first four years since taking over for Hall of Fame skipper Tony La Russa upon his retirement after the 2011 season. In his second year at the helm of the team, Matheny led the Cardinals to 97 wins and a World Series berth, where they lost to the Boston Red Sox in six games.

      The Cardinals won 100 games under Matheny's guide in 2015, but lost in the NL Division Series to the rival Chicago Cubs. St. Louis hasn't been back to the playoffs since that year, though it never posted a losing record in a season with Matheny as manager.

      In all, Matheny went 591-474 in his 6 1/2 seasons on the job, ranking fifth all time among Cardinals managers.

      "This gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button and evaluate where we are and what we need to do differently," team president John Mozeliak said. "Having a fresh voice is something that we feel is important going into the second half."

      --Field Level Media

  • Brewers put Villar (thumb) on 10-day DL, call up Phillips
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    The Milwaukee Brewers placed second baseman Jonathan Villar (right thumb) on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday and called up outfielder Brett Phillips from Triple-A Colorado Springs ahead of their series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team announced.

    • The Brewers also sent right-hander Aaron Wilkerson back to Colorado Springs after he was called up to be the 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader.

      Wilkerson, 29, pitched the eighth inning of the nightcap, giving up three runs on three hits.

      In three games for the Brewers this season, Wilkerson has given up 10 runs over nine innings.

      Villar, 27, is batting .261 with 26 runs and 14 stolen bases this season. Villar was used as a pinch-hitter in the first game Saturday and started the second game, drawing a pair of walks.

      Phillips has appeared in nine games for the Brewers this season, picking up two hits in 14 at-bats. He's hit .240 with six home runs and 25 RBIs and 42 runs in 71 games with Colorado Springs.

      The Brewers have dropped five straight, including the last four against the Pirates, ahead of Sunday's finale.

      Also on Sunday, the Pirates sent right-hander Clay Holmes down to Triple-A Indianapolis after he served as the 26th man Saturday. The team made another move, recalling righty Tanner Anderson from Triple-A and sending slumping outfielder Austin Meadows down.

      After seven multi-hit games in his first 11 games after making his MLB debut this season, Meadows has just six in his last 37 games, hitting .245 in 110 at-bats since his hot start.

      --Field Level Media

  • Phillies trade lefty reliever Milner to Rays
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    Five days after the Philadelphia Phillies designated southpaw reliever Hoby Milner for assignment, the team has traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays.

    • The Phillies announced the move on Saturday night and receive cash considerations in return.

      Milner, 27, pitched to a 2.01 ERA in 37 relief outings with Philadelphia last season. The sidearm left-hander appeared in just 10 games with the Phillies this season, producing a 7.71 ERA, allowing four runs in just 4 2/3 innings.

      He's been much more effective at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, posting a 2.39 ERA over 25 appearances and striking out 28 batters in 26 1/3 innings.

      Milner was a seventh-round pick by the Phillies in 2012.

      --Field Level Media

  • Scuffling Cardinals fire manager Matheny
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 15, 2018

    With one game to go before the All-Star break, the St. Louis Cardinals dismissed manager Mike Matheny on Saturday night.

    • Bench coach Mike Shildt will serve as the team's interim manager.

      Matheny's ousting comes on the heels of a rain-soaked 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds that dropped the Cardinals to 47-46 on the season. St. Louis has lost 10 of its past 15 games and is seven games back in the National League Central.

      Along with Matheny, the Cardinals are parting ways with hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller. St. Louis' .245 average this season is good for eighth among NL teams, though it is 10th in runs scored (407).

      "These decisions are never easy, but we felt that a change in leadership was necessary as the team prepares to enter into the second half of the season," said president of baseball operations John Mozeliak in a statement. "I would like to thank Mike for his exceptional commitment and devotion to the Cardinals organization, including many fond memories of our years working together."

      Matheny, 47, has seemingly been under fire for the majority of the last three seasons after leading the team to the playoffs in his first four years since taking over for Hall of Fame skipper Tony La Russa upon his retirement after the 2011 season. In his second year at the helm of the team, Matheny led the Cardinals to 97 wins and a World Series berth, where they lost to the Boston Red Sox in six games.

      The Cardinals won 100 games under Matheny's guide in 2015, but lost in the NL Division Series to the rival Chicago Cubs. St. Louis hasn't been back to the playoffs since that year, though it never posted a losing record in a season with Matheny as manager.

      In all, Matheny went 591-474 in his 6 1/2 seasons on the job, ranking fifth all time among Cardinals managers.

      "Mike Matheny has served the St. Louis Cardinals organization with tremendous dedication and pride and I am thankful for his service to the Cardinals over the past six and a half seasons," said Cardinals' chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. in a statement. "On behalf of the entire Cardinals organization, I would like to wish Mike the very best."

      The Cardinals said they will hold a press conference Sunday to further discuss the decision.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB roundup: Cardinals lose, fire manager Matheny
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, July 14, 2018

    The visiting Cincinnati Reds defeated St. Louis 8-2 in a rain-soaked affair Saturday, prompting the firing of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after 6 1/2 seasons at the helm of the club.

    • St. Louis (47-46) announced the decision after the loss. Bench coach Mike Shildt will serve as the team's interim manager, and hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller were also dismissed.

      Cincinnati second baseman Scooter Gennett had two hits and two RBIs and Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run single to cap a go-ahead four-run seventh inning in the Reds' win. Jose Peraza had five singles, his first career five-hit game.

      The game was twice delayed by rain for a total of 2 hours, 43 minutes.

      Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 2 (10 innings)

      Xander Bogaerts delivered a walk-off grand slam to center field as Boston got back in the win column with a victory over visiting Toronto.

      Mookie Betts reached on a fielding error with one out in the 10th against Blue Jays reliever Chris Rowley (0-1). Betts advanced to third after getting a running start from first on Brock Holt's grounder to left field. After J.D. Martinez was intentionally walked, Bogaerts proceeded to drive a 2-0 fastball from Rowley to center to end it.

      It was Boston's first walk-off grand slam since Rico Brogna's slam on Aug. 14, 2000, against the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Martinez contributed a solo shot for his major-league-leading 29th home run.

      Astros 9, Tigers 1

      Alex Bregman reached base three times while Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis recorded back-to-back home runs as Houston pounded visiting Detroit.

      The Astros struck early and often against Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer (3-9), whose struggles continued unabated. Fulmer surrendered season highs in hits (10) and earned runs (seven) in extending his personal losing skid to four decisions over five starts. Fulmer has recorded only one victory over his last nine outings.

      Gerrit Cole (10-2) allowed one run on three hits and four walks and posted eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings, joining fellow Astros starters Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. with double-digit victories.

      Diamondbacks 3, Braves 0

      Zack Grienke pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings and won his fifth straight decision as Arizona shut out host Atlanta.

      Grienke (10-5) allowed just four hits, no walks and struck out seven in winning his fifth straight road start. Over his last six starts, Grienke has a 1.67 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 38 innings. He has not been beaten by Atlanta since 2011, when he played for Milwaukee.

      Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 24th save, his second of the series. The victory was Arizona's 53rd, matching a team record for most wins before the All-Star Game.

      Mets 7, Nationals 4

      Zack Wheeler tossed 7 2/3 solid innings in his longest outing in more than four years for New York in a win over visiting Washington.

      The Mets have won the middle two games of the four-game series to give themselves a chance Sunday to close out their first series win since they swept the Arizona Diamondbacks from May 18-20. Since then, New York has lost 11 series and split four others.

      Wheeler (3-6) allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out seven. He recorded an out in the eighth inning for the first time since his lone career complete game on June 19, 2014. Wheeler didn't pitch in the majors in 2015 or 2016 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

      Pirates 2, Brewers 1 (Game 1)

      Pittsburgh made back-to-back homers by Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco in the first inning hold up for its fourth straight win, topping visiting Milwaukee in the first game of a doubleheader.

      The Brewers were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners.

      Pittsburgh right-hander Ivan Nova pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up one run and seven hits, with three strikeouts and no walks. Four relievers held Milwaukee at bay after Nova, with Richard Rodriguez (2-2) picking up the win and Felipe Vazquez pitching the ninth for his 22nd save.

      Pirates 6, Brewers 2 (Game 2)

      Rookie right-hander Clay Holmes pitched six scoreless innings for his first career win as Pittsburgh swept its doubleheader with visiting Milwaukee for a five-game winning streak.

      Max Moroff, Jordan Luplow (two), Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco hit solo homers, and David Freese added a two-out RBI double for the Pirates, who have won seven of eight. Felipe Vazquez got the final out for his 23rd save and second of the day.

      Jesus Aguilar had a two-run single in the ninth for the Brewers, who have a season-worst five-game losing streak, have lost seven of nine and haven't held a lead in the series.

      Marlins 2, Phillies 0

      All-Star right-hander Aaron Nola took a rare loss as last-place Miami surprised first-place Philadelphia at Marlins Park.

      The Marlins, held to just four hits, were led on offense by third baseman Martin Prado, who went 2-for-3 with one RBI.

      Nola (12-3), who will appear on his first All-Star roster on Tuesday, allowed four hits, one walk and two runs in six innings, striking out five. He was outdueled by Marlins rookie right-hander Trevor Richards (3-5), who allowed four hits, two walks and no runs in six innings, striking out four.

      Rays 19, Twins 6

      C.J. Cron and Jake Bauers each hit two-run homers and Joey Wendle had a two-run triple to highlight three consecutive five-run innings for Tampa Bay, which pounded out 20 hits in a rout at Minnesota.

      Tampa Bay tied a franchise record with 19 runs and became the seventh team in the live ball era (since 1920), and the first since the 1991 Giants, to score five or more runs in three straight innings. Bauers drove in four runs, and six other Rays finished with two RBIs.

      Matt Duffy, Mallex Smith and Adeiny Hechavarria each had three hits, Bauers scored four runs and All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos had a two-run double for Tampa Bay. Ramos left the game after grounding out in the sixth with left hamstring tightness; his condition will be re-evaluated on Sunday.

      Royals 5, White Sox 0

      Left-hander Danny Duffy pitched seven scoreless innings and Jorge Bonifacio drove in three runs as Kansas City defeated host Chicago.

      Duffy (5-8) allowed only four hits, walked three and struck out eight as the Royals won for just the second time in their past 14 games. Jason Hammel and Wily Peralta each pitched an inning of relief to complete the shutout.

      Bonifacio hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the first inning, and added a run-scoring triple in the fifth. All-Star Salvador Perez added a two-run homer in the eighth for the Royals.

      Rockies 4, Mariners 1

      Jon Gray, demoted to Triple-A Albuquerque in June, pitched into the eighth inning in his return to the rotation, Carlos Gonzalez homered and host Colorado beat Seattle.

      Gray (8-7) allowed just the one run on five hits, walked one and struck out six. Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his 27th save.

      Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond had two hits and an RBI apiece for the Rockies, who have won four straight and nine of their last 11.

      Angels 5, Dodgers 4 (10 innings)

      Kole Calhoun hit a go-ahead home run in the 10th inning as the Los Angeles Angels held on for an interleague victory over the host Los Angeles Dodgers.

      The Dodgers had the tying run on third base with one out in the 10th, but Chase Utley hit a shallow fly ball to left field and Yasmani Grandal struck out to end it against Angels reliever Jose Alvarez (4-3).

      The Dodgers forced extra innings with a run in the ninth. Utley delivered a pinch-hit single for the second consecutive night and scored on a double from Grandal. Alvarez ended the rally when he got Joc Pederson to fly out to the base of the center field wall with the bases loaded.

      Orioles 1, Rangers 0

      Jonathan Schoop's sixth-inning sacrifice fly proved to be the difference as host Baltimore defeated Texas.

      The sacrifice fly came in an inning where the Orioles drew a walk and were helped by two Texas errors. The win snapped a three-game Baltimore losing streak.

      Yefry Ramirez was making his fourth major league start for the Orioles and battled some control issues early but threw five shutout innings. He allowed two hits and struck out seven with three walks. Brad Brach (1-2) earned the victory thanks to a scoreless sixth, and Zach Britton got his third save.

      Yankees 5, Indians 4

      Austin Romine came all the way around to score when host Cleveland made two errors on his double to right field in the seventh inning, single-handedly breaking a tie and providing the margin of victory in New York's win.

      David Robertson (7-3) pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth and combined with two fellow relievers on 3 1/3 innings of hitless and scoreless relief, helping the Yankees beat the Indians for the second time in three nights.

      In a 4-4 tie, Romine laced Indians starter Mike Clevinger's first pitch of the seventh into right field for a double. The catcher got waved on to third when Brandon Guyer, the Indians' right fielder, had trouble coming up with the ball, and when second baseman Erik Gonzalez threw wildly toward third base, Romine was able to dash home with the difference-making run.

      Athletics 4, Giants 3

      Mark Canha hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead two-run home run in the seventh inning to lead visiting Oakland past San Francisco.

      The win is the 20th in the last 26 games for the Athletics. The Giants' loss was just their second in the last six games.

      Oakland trailed 3-2 entering the top of the seventh before rallying against Giants southpaw Tony Watson (2-3). Josh Phegley led off the inning with a single before Canha hit for pitcher Yusmeiro Petit and crushed his 12th home run for the 4-3 lead. Petit (4-2) earned the win with 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.

      Cubs 11, Padres 6

      Javier Baez drove in five runs with a two-run double and a three-run homer and Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ also homered for Chicago, which scored six runs in the final two innings to defeat host San Diego.

      With the win, the Cubs moved into sole possession of the National League Central lead for the first time since June 3. San Diego has lost five of the first six games of a seven-game homestand going into the All-Star break.

      The Cubs were already leading 3-2 when Baez hit his double in the fifth off Padres starter Luis Perdomo (1-4). He added his 19th homer of the season in the ninth off reliever Phil Hughes. Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks (6-8) held the Padres to two runs on five hits with three strikeouts over five innings to get the win.

      --Field Level Media

  • Manager, Harper mum on lack-of-hustle conversation
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, July 14, 2018

    Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez says he spoke with Bryce Harper on Saturday about the star outfielder's lack of hustle after he hit what turned out to be a double-play ground ball on Friday night at Citi Field in New York against the Mets.

    • Neither party to that conversation cared to elaborate afterward.

      "I've spoken to Bryce and that's a conversation that will stay between Bryce and I," Martinez said.

      Chelsey Janes, who covers the Nationals for The Washington Post, tweeted that Harper didn't appear comfortable to be asked about Friday night's play.

      One reference that Harper did make to the play, according to Janes, was whether she meant that play where "I hit the ball 108 miles per hour?" She said he ended the conversation not long afterward.

      With the Nationals trailing the Mets and fireballing right-hander Noah Syndergaard 4-1 in the top of the fifth, Harper came to the plate with runners on first and second and one out. He hit the first pitch for a ground ball to shortstop Amed Rosario, who began a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning in a game the Nationals lost 4-2.

      After taking a few fast steps out of the batter's box toward first base, Harper slowed down noticeably the rest of the way.

      "Harper didn't even both running," Mets TV announcer Gary Cohen said during the SNY broadcast.

      Keith Hernandez, also on the broadcast, added, "Wow. Your star player, that kind of effort. That's not good."

      Martinez said on Friday that the play didn't involve an injury, saying he thinks it just "out of frustration. ... He hit the ball hard. I mean, he crushed the ball, and it was going to be a double play."

      Harper, whose contract ends this season and is expected to be one of the biggest names in free agency, has 23 home runs and 54 RBIs this season, but is hitting only .214, far below his career average of .277. He does, however, lead the National League with 78 walks, only three off the major league leader Mike Trout, who began Saturday with 81.

      Before Saturday's game, which the Nationals lost to the Mets, 7-4, and in which Harper had a run-scoring single in four at-bats, Martinez said he was ready to put Friday's incident behind him.

      "I forgot about it, I really have," the first-year manager said. "We have a ballgame to win today and he's been a big part of that."

      This isn't the first time Harper's apparent lack of hustle has become an issue in the Nationals dugout. In a September game in 2015, former teammate Jonathan Papelbon verbally challenged Harper after the outfielder failed to fully run during a flyout, leading to other teammates being forced to separate the two and Papelbon grabbing harper by the neck.

      Harper, who will be making his sixth All-Star appearance next week, is just 9-for-49 (.184) in July and has just three hits in his past 20 at-bats.

      "He wants to win, that's all he cares about," Martinez said. "Regardless of his average, he has 23 home runs and 53 RBI (entering Saturday). I believe that he's going to hit 40 (home runs) and drive in 100. I'm a big fan of Bryce. I love the kid because of what he brings every day. He's a good kid, that's all I can say."

      Harper will participate in Monday's Home Run Derby and was elected to start in Tuesday's All-Star Game, set to be played at Nationals Park in Washington.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Machado talks narrow, Phillies a prime suitor
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, July 14, 2018

    The Baltimore Orioles have made progress and narrowed their focus to a smaller group of teams in talks to trade shortstop Manny Machado, according to an ESPN report Saturday.

    • Per the report, the Orioles are "definitely motivated" to find a deal for the four-time All-Star, and they've had extensive talks with the Philadelphia Phillies, who would be major suitors for Machado if he reaches free agency after the season. Baltimore is evaluating several of Philadelphia's top prospects, including right-handers Franklyn Kilome and Adonis Medina, and outfielders Jhailyn Ortiz and Arquimedes Gamboa.

      Phillies president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and assistant Ned Rice were all with the Orioles when Machado was drafted in 2010.

      The Orioles have also reportedly discussed possible deals with the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians.

      --New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez will begin a rehab assignment with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday and could return Friday after the All-Star break, according to manager Aaron Boone.

      Sanchez was hurt on June 24 trying to beat out the throw to first on a double-play grounder. He landed on the 10-day disabled list on June 25 and was given a three-to-four week timetable to return.

      Boone told reporters the plan is to have Sanchez start the team's first game after the All-Star break -- Friday versus the New York Mets -- barring any setbacks. The Yankees' last game before the break is Sunday.

      --Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos expects to miss Tuesday's All-Star Game after departing the team's 19-6 win at Minnesota because of tightness in his left hamstring, an injury he thinks will land him on the disabled list.

      Ramos, a second-time All-Star (also in 2016) but first-time starting catcher, told reporters that he will still attend All-Star festivities, but he said the injury will "probably" require a DL stint. He suffered the injury while running to first trying to beat out an infield grounder in the sixth inning, after going 1-for-3 with a two-run double in the fourth.

      Ramos, who turns 31 next month, is hitting .297 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs in 78 games this season, getting most of his at-bats in Tampa Bay's cleanup spot in the lineup.

      --A day after leaving his team's game in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee outfielder Eric Thames was placed on the 10-day disabled list with hamstring tightness. It was one of several moves made by the Brewers, for whom the All-Star break can't arrive soon enough.

      Friday night's starting pitcher, Junior Guerra, also went on the 10-day DL. After giving up six runs on nine hits in only four innings -- his worst start of the season -- against the Pirates, the right-hander was shelved with a forearm injury.

      To fill their voids, the club activated left-handed pitcher Brent Suter from the DL and called fan favorite Nate Orf back up from Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Brewers also recalled righty Aaron Wilkerson to serve as their 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader in Pittsburgh. The Pirates also made a couple of moves, putting catcher Francisco Cervelli (concussion symptoms) on the seven-day DL recalling catcher Jacob Stallings Triple-A Indianapolis to take his place.

      --The Boston Red Sox recalled left-handed pitcher Bobby Poyner from Triple-A Pawtucket, optioning lefty pitcher Robby Scott to Pawtucket to make room on the roster.

      This will be Poyner's fifth call-up this season, his first in the majors. The 25-year-old has a 1.69 ERA with 10 strikeouts and one walk in 10 2/3 innings over 10 relief appearances. He has a 2.70 ERA in 21 minor league appearances.

      Scott, who turns 29 next month, has given up four runs in 2 1/3 innings with Boston. He has a 1.15 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings pitched in Pawtucket this season.

      --Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and supermodel wife Kate Upton are expecting their first child, Upton announced.

      The couple was married in Italy in November following Verlander's World Series triumph with the Astros. The 26-year-old Upton revealed the news in an Instagram post with the hashtag #pregnantinMiami and tagging Verlander.

      Verlander was selected for Tuesday's All-Star Game, but isn't expected to pitch given that he is scheduled to start for the Astros on Sunday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: O's narrow Machado talks; Phillies a major suitor
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, July 14, 2018

    The Baltimore Orioles have made progress and narrowed their focus to a smaller group of teams in talks to trade shortstop Manny Machado, according to an ESPN report Saturday.

    • Per the report, the Orioles are "definitely motivated" to find a deal for the four-time All-Star, and they've had extensive talks with the Philadelphia Phillies, who would be major suitors for Machado if he reaches free agency after the season. Baltimore is evaluating several of Philadelphia's top prospects, including right-handers Franklyn Kilome and Adonis Medina, and outfielders Jhailyn Ortiz and Arquimedes Gamboa.

      Phillies president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and assistant Ned Rice were all with the Orioles when Machado was drafted in 2010.

      The Orioles have also reportedly discussed possible deals with the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians.

      Machado, who turned 26 earlier this month, will start for the American League at shortstop in Tuesday's game in D.C. He is on pace for what would comfortably be the best season of his already impressive career, batting .313 with 23 homers and 64 RBIs through 94 games.

      Machado acknowledged last week that the constant trade chatter surrounding him "gets a little distracting at times," adding that he's trying to enjoy the season without worrying about being dealt.

      Taken third overall in 2010 by the Orioles, the seventh-year veteran is a career .283 hitter with 161 homers and 470 RBIs. This is his first full season at shortstop after he spent six years playing third base.

      --Field Level Media