Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Saturday, August 1, 2015
    Diamondbacks hang on to closer Chapman
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON -- Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart stuck to the organizational script as the non-waiver trade deadline came and went on Friday, declining to ship a haul of prospects to the Reds for closer Aroldis Chapman, a trade proposal he labeled "uncomfortable."

    • While Arizona has climbed to within one game of .500 with its six-game winning streak, the front office opted not to sell off prospects for immediate help. Stewart acknowledged that interest in Diamondbacks veterans was tepid, and with the franchise mindful of payroll parameters, Stewart stayed the course with the current roster.

      "I wouldn't say we got close. Nothing more than just inquiries that led to nothing," Stewart said.

      Stewart said the conversation over Chapman took up most of his time, and while he declined to reveal the number of prospects Arizona was asked to surrender for renting Chapman, a free agent at season's end, for the next two months, he noted that the price was steep. There were reports that the Padres approached Stewart for an offer for All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, but Stewart has repeatedly deemed Goldschmidt untouchable.

      "I don't know if there was sincerity in it, but the name did come up," Stewart said.

  • Saturday, August 1, 2015
    Angels place lefty Wilson on DL with ailing elbow
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Three days after he was roughed up by the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Angels placed left-hander C.J. Wilson on the DL.

    • Wilson has been pitching with elbow pain and apparently approached manager Mike Scioscia on Thursday and broached the idea of going on the DL to get his elbow examined. The official word for now is elbow inflammation.

      "C.J.'s elbow got to a point where it really was tough for him to make the pitches he needed to make," Scioscia said. "We're going to shut him down, get it evaluated and see where we are.

      "When it's not manageable for a player and he can't execute his pitches, you obviously have to take a step back."

      Wilson was not with the team at Dodger Stadium Friday and was getting tests on his elbow. In an odd twist, the Angels announced after their 5-3 loss to the LA Dodgers that Wilson had undergone an MRI but they would not reveal the results. That will be left to Wilson on Saturday.

      Wilson gave up six runs in four innings at Houston in his most recent start but Scioscia acknowledged Wilson had been dealing with the issue "up and down for awhile."

      The Angels promoted right-hander Drew Rucinski from Triple-A Salt Lake Friday but Scioscia would not say who will start Sunday when Wilson's turn in the rotation comes up again.

      "The elbow is something he's had to manage for most of his career," Scioscia said of Wilson's problem. "It's always been something he's been able to go out there and pitch with. It just crossed that line and we'll see where it leads."

  • Saturday, August 1, 2015
    Nats' Harper shows lack of maturity in loss
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Bryce Harper has been lauded for the maturity he's shown, on and off the field, this season. But the Washington Nationals' right fielder picked a bad time Friday night to lapse into old habits.

    • Harper was ejected for arguing a called third strike call in the 11th inning of the Nationals' 2-1, 12-inning loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field.

      The whiff ended an 0-for-5 night for Harper, who immediately started screaming at home plate umpire Jerry Meals after Meals called him out on a pitch by Mets right-hander Hansel Robles that looked to be a smidge off the outer part of the plate.

      Meals actually gave Harper a few seconds to yell before he tossed him. Harper said he was frustrated by what the Nationals felt were consistently poor calls by Meals.

      "He had been doing it all night," Harper said. "I told him what I said and that was it. Just sticking up for my team, and myself at the same time. He was bad all night."

      That wasn't a good enough explanation for Nationals manager Matt Williams, who had already used three of his five bench players. First baseman Clint Robinson pinch-hit in the eighth inning and was hit by a pitch, after which he was lifted for a pinch-runner, infielder Danny Espinosa. Infielder Tyler Moore pinch-hit in the 10th inning.

      "He needs to stay in the baseball game." Williams said. "We're down. Clint got hit, pinch-ran Espy, we scored the tying run, that burns two guys there. Pinch-hit 'T-Mo.' He needs to stay in the baseball game."

      Especially with the way Harper has been playing. The 22-year-old has managed to rein in the fire that made him an easy target for umpires and opposing fans alike in his first three major league seasons while also finally reaching his full potential. Even after his hitless effort Friday, Harper leads the National League with 29 homers and a .679 slugging percentage while ranking among the top 10 in batting average (.330), RBIs (68) and on-base percentage (.458).

      "At that stage of the game -- I mean, I want him to stay in every game," Williams said. "We talked about it. We'll talk about it again."

  • Saturday, August 1, 2015
    Padres may regret standing pat
    By The Sports Xchange

    MIAMI -- The San Diego Padres, who are eight games out of first place in the National League West and 6 1/2 games out of the wild-card race, have just a four percent chance of making the playoffs this year, according to FanGraphs.

    • Yet, A.J. Preller, the Padres rookie general manager, chose not to sell off any of his top veterans with expiring contracts -- players who could have brought back young prospects to impact the team for years to come.

      Despite an 8-3 win over the Marlins on Friday, Preller will likely regret that decision come the end of this season. But, of course, that's not what he's thinking now.

      "I think we have the pitching and the players here to make up some ground," Preller said. "We have a lot of players who are attractive to other clubs. We were working through a lot of different scenarios.

      "Ultimately, we felt like we didn't get the value wanted."

      In a way, the Padres are a lot like the Miami Marlins. They both "won" the offseason, making a lot of moves that looked good on paper.

      But neither has won the actual season.

      The Padres appear destined for their ninth straight season without making the playoffs.

      San Diego entered Friday rumored to be interested in dealing outfielders Justin Upton and Will Venable, closer Craig Kimbrel and starting pitchers James Shields, Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross.

      Preller was said to be looking for a shortstop, a third baseman and pitching in return, either in the form of young major-leaguers or top minor league prospects.

      Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was said to be on the Padres' radar.

      And yet ... nothing close to that happened. The only deal the Padres made was very minor -- San Diego sent reserve outfielder Abraham Almonte to the Cleveland Indians for left-hander Marc Rzepczynski. Almonte, 26, was hitting just .204. Rzepczynski, a 29-year-old reliever, had a 4.43 ERA.

  • Saturday, August 1, 2015
    Dodgers 5, Angels 3
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Second baseman Howie Kendrick homered against his ex-mates and All-Star right-hander Zack Greinke delivered another solid performance, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels before a sellout crowd of 53,380 at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.

    • Greinke started instead of Clayton Kershaw, who rested his sore hip for an extra day. Grienke allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in eight innings. Only right fielder Kole Calhoun (three) and center fielder Mike Trout (two) recorded hits off Greinke.

      Trout who went 3-for-4 and drove in all three runs, smacked his 32nd home run in the ninth off Kenley Jansen before the closer earned his 18th save despite giving up a run and hitting a batter.

      Greinke (10-2), who had his streak of 45 2/3 innings scoreless innings snapped Sunday against the New York Mets, allowed two earned runs at Dodger Stadium for first time since April 29 against the San Francisco Giants.

      Kershaw (8-6, 2.51 ERA) is scheduled to return Saturday, when he will face Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney (5-0, 1.79 ERA), who the Dodgers dealt for Kendrick during the off-season.

      Third baseman Alex Guerrero also went deep -- his 11th home run this season -- for the Dodgers (58-45), who defeated the Angels (55-47) for the fourth straight time. The Angels have dropped their last four games and seven of their past eight.

      Angels starter Hector Santiago surrendered five runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and a walk in five-plus innings. Santiago (7-5) also hit a batter.

      Kendrick parked a 1-0 off-speed pitch from Santiago into the seats in center for his eighth home run of the season in his first at-bat against his former club in the first inning.

      Trout's RBI triple brought home Calhoun, who reached on a single, to tie the score at 1 in the fourth.

      In the bottom of the inning, Guerrero followed catcher Yasmani Grandal's infield single with a two-run homer to left for a 3-1 Dodgers advantage.

      The Dodgers added two runs in the fifth on RBI singles by right fielder Yasiel Puig and Grandal for a 5-1 cushion.

      NOTES: The Dodgers activated LHP Alex Wood, RHP Jim Johnson and LHP Luis Avilan, optioned RHP Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Chin-hui Tsao to Triple-A Oklahoma City and traded 1B Michael Morse and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Jose Tabata. The club also placed 3B Justin Turner on the 15-day disabled list with a right thigh skin infection. ... The Angels put LHP C.J. Wilson on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 29) with left elbow inflammation. The team also optioned INF/OF Efren Navarro to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees and recalled RHP Drew Rucinski from the Bees.

  • Saturday, August 1, 2015
    New Pirate Soria: 'hopefully I can help this team'
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- Joakim Soria arrived at Great American Ball Park on Friday prepared to join a new team, a new league, and likely assume a new role.

    • The former Detroit Tigers closer was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday in exchange for Double-A shortstop prospect Jacoby Jones.

      "I didn't expect it, but I knew there was a chance I would get traded with the situation with the team," Soria said. "But, I've come to a great team with great chemistry. Hopefully I can help this team win a championship."

      As of Friday afternoon, manager Clint Hurdle hadn't discussed roles with Soria.

      But it was made clear both by Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington that Soria would join left-hander Tony Watson as a dynamic setup duo behind closer Mark Melancon.

      On Friday night, Soria made his Pirates debut in the seventh inning. He retired the first two batters easily before allowing two walks and a single to load the bases. But, Soria snared catcher Brayan Pena's liner to end the inning. The Pirates hung on for a 5-4 win.

      Soria said he's willing to accept any role he's given.

      "I'm here to help the team to win," he said. "The eighth and ninth (inning) is very similar," he said. It's a different league, but same baseball. I just need to go out there and pitch."

      If the current plan holds true, Hurdle might have more late-inning flexibility than any skipper in baseball being able to use Soria and Watson interchangeably in the seventh or eighth.

      "If I've got a heavy one in the seventh, (Soria) could be the guy, Watson could be the guy," Hurdle said. "It's going to free (right-hander Jared) Hughes up as well. I'm going to have complete confidence to use Soria to close, like we've had with Watson when Melancon has been down."

      The Pirates' bullpen needs were magnified Thursday night when the bullpen allowed seven runs in a 15-5 loss at Cincinnati.

      Huntington said Mark Melancon, who's set a club record with 30 consecutive saves, will remain the Pirates' closer with Soria and left-hander Tony Watson forming a dynamic setup duo.

      Soria is 3-1 this season with a 2.85 ERA, 23 saves and a 1.05 WHIP.

      "This is a very good back end of the game pitcher that we've acquired," Hurdle said.

      Pittsburgh (60-42) currently holds the top spot in the National League Wild Card standings.

  • Saturday, August 1, 2015
    MLB roundup: Blue Jays beat Royals on Donaldson RBI
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- Third baseman Josh Donaldson hit an RBI single in the 11th inning to give the Toronto Blue Jays a 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday.

    • The Blue Jays (53-51) have won three in a row while the Royals (61-41) lost their third in a row.

      Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, recently acquired in a trade with Colorado, singled with one out in the 11th against left-hander Franklin Morales (3-1). Tulowitzki took second when Morales was called for a balk on a throw to first with Donaldson at the plate. Donaldson singled to give the Blue Jays and right-handed reliever Liam Hendriks (3-0) the win.

      Right-hander Johnny Cueto, making his Royals debut after he was acquired in a trade last Sunday with the Cincinnati Reds, allowed seven hits, two walks and three runs in six innings. He struck out seven and did not factor in the decision.

      Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison allowed seven hits, one walk and four runs (three earned). He had one strikeout in his five-plus innings.

      Royals first Eric Hosmer baseman went 2-for-4 to increase his hitting streak to 13 games.

      Tulowitzki, who hit leadoff for the Blue Jays, went 2-for-6.

      Orioles 8, Tigers 7

      BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado hit a two-run homer in the sixth that gave Baltimore the lead for good, and Chris Davis added an RBI single later in the inning as the Orioles rallied from an early six-run deficit to pull out the win.

      The Orioles (52-50) nearly rallied from a seven-run deficits on Thursday but the Tigers hung on for a 9-8 victory. In this game, Detroit could not hold an early 6-0 lead as Baltimore scored a total of eight runs in the fourth through sixth innings.

      Right fielder J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer to help build the six-run lead. The Orioles rebounded with the help of a three-run homer from center fielder Adam Jones in the fifth off Detroit starter Buck Farmer.

      Rangers 6, Giants 3

      ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre and shortstop Elvis Andrus each hit two-run homers as the Rangers beat the Giants and Madison Bumgarner.

      Both of the home runs came off Bumgarner, who matched a season high by allowing six earned runs. Texas has now won three straight games at Globe Life Park for the first time since the middle of June.

      Beltre put the Rangers up 2-0 with his homer to left in the first and Andrus capped a four-run second with his shot to left, giving the Rangers a 6-2 edge.

      Mariners 6, Twins 1

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Taijuan Walker threw a complete-game one-hitter for the Mariners.

      The only hit Walker allowed was a solo home run by Twins third baseman Miguel Sano with one out in the fourth inning. He retired nine in a row after that and 16 of the final 17 men he faced in all.

      For Walker (8-7), who entered with an 8.02 ERA in his four previous starts, it was his first victory since pitching six shutout innings against San Diego on July 1.

      Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz finished with four hits and was a triple shy of the cycle.

      Pirates 5, Reds 4

      CINCINNATI -- Andrew McCutchen homered and shortstop Jung Ho Kang doubled three times and scored twice to lead the Pirates to victory.

      Pittsburgh (60-42) won for the first time this season at Great American Ball Park and boosted their season record to 3-8 against the Reds.

      Pirates closer Mark Melancon extended his saves streak to 31, and Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was thrown out at home in the ninth with what would have been the tying run.

      Red Sox 7, Rays 5

      BOSTON -- Mike Napoli, who was one of the Boston Red Sox many figured would be shipped out of town by the trade deadline, launched a go-ahead two-out, two-run homer in the seventh inning to help Boston win.

      Napoli's 13th homer came off left-hander Jake McGee (0-1) and followed a two-out walk to DH David Ortiz.

      The winning pitcher was reliever Junichi Tazawa (2-3), even though he gave up a two-run double to pinch hitter John Jaso that gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 lead.

      Phillies 9, Braves 3

      PHILADELPHIA -- David Buchanan pitched one of the best games of his young major league career, and got all the backing he would need from the Phillies offense.

      Despite trading away several valuable pieces -- including pitcher Cole Hamels, center fielder Ben Revere and closer Jonathan Papelbon -- over the last few days, the Phillies' 11-2 record since the All-Star break is the best in the majors.

      With a 13-12 mark in July, it's the first winning calendar month for the Phillies since last August.

      Buchanan (2-5, 6.44 ERA), who went 0-5 with an 8.76 ERA in five April starts, has gone 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three July starts with the Phillies.

      Padres 8, Marlins 3 (11 innings)

      MIAMI -- First baseman Yonder Alonso, a former University of Miami standout, scored in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk in the top of the 11th inning to lead the Padres past Miami.

      Alonso walked on four pitches from Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, who got into the jam by allowing center fielder Will Venable to stroke a leadoff single. Venable stole second and advanced to third when catcher J.T. Realmuto's throw got away.

      San Diego scored five runs in the inning, including a two-run single by second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who finished the game with three RBIs.

      Cubs 4, Brewers 1

      MILWAUKEE -- Anthony Rizzo homered for the third straight game and Jason Hammel pitched a strong game to lead Chicago's victory.

      Hammel (6-5) went 5 2/3 innings for the Cubs and held Milwaukee to a run on six hits and a pair of walks.

      Brewers starter Taylor Jungmann threw a career-high 112 pitches and also worked 5 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. Jungmann (5-3), a rookie, lost consecutive starts for the first time of his career.

      Right fielder Ryan Braun's team-leading 19th home run of the season gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the first.

      Cardinals 7, Rockies 0

      ST. LOUIS - The Cardinals pounding out 14 hits against six Colorado pitchers, and Michael Wacha worked seven shutout innings to improve to 12-4.

      St. Louis' five-run sixth inning was highlighted by rookie left fielder Stephen Piscotty's two-run double and shortstop Jhonny Peralta 15th homer of the season, a two-run shot.

      Wacha gave up four hits and a walk while fanning seven.

      Mets 2, Nationals 1 (12 innings)

      NEW YORK -- Second baseman Wilmer Flores homered leading off the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Mets the victory.

      The homer caps a whirlwind week for Flores, who wept on the field Wednesday night thinking he was about to be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. But the trade fell through and Flores ended up accounting for both Mets runs -- he had an RBI single in the fourth inning -- for the Mets on the night they acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers.

      The Mets (53-50) snapped a two-game losing streak and moved within two games of the Nationals (54-47) in the National League East in the opener of a three-game series.

      Diamondbacks 6, Astros 4 (10 innings)

      HOUSTON -- Catcher Wellington Castillo capped a three-hit performance with a leadoff home run in the top of the 10th inning to lead the Diamondbacks.

      Castillo finished a triple shy of the cycle for the Diamondbacks (50-51), who extended their winning streak to a season-high six games while snapping the Astros' seven-game home winning streak. Castillo (3-for-5 with three runs) had a single and a double before lining the first pitch from Astros right-hander Pat Neshek (3-2) just inside the left-field pole.

      Third baseman Jake Lamb added his third home run of the season one at-bat after Castillo hit his 11th.

      Indians 2, Athletics 1

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander Danny Salazar allowed one hit and one unearned run in eight innings and the Indians rallied for the victory.

      Salazar (9-6) struck out four, walked one and beat the A's for the second time in July. He gave up one run and five hits in 8 2/3 innings in a 5-1 victory on July 10 over Oakland at Progressive Field.

      This time, Salazar gave up just a third-inning single to A's second baseman Eric Sogard.

      Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall went 3-for-4 with a double, and he scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning when center fielder Michael Bourn bounced a ground-rule double over the center-field fence.

      Yankees 13, White Sox 6

      CHICAGO -- Mark Teixeira went 3-for-4 and smacked two long home runs to center field for six RBIs, including a grand slam in the second inning, to lead the Yankees.

      Right fielder Carlos Beltran (3-for-4) and infielder Brendan Ryan (3-for-6) also finished with three hits, while four other Yankees had multi-hit games.

      White Sox rookie Carlos Rodon (4-4) took the loss after allowing eight earned runs on eight hits in three-plus innings. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (11-2) earned the win by pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits.

      White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche tied a career high with four hits (4-for-5, RBI) and also pitched a scoreless ninth -- striking out Ryan for the third out.

      Dodgers 5, Angels 3

      LOS ANGELES -- Second baseman Howie Kendrick homered against his ex-mates and All-Star right-hander Zack Greinke delivered another solid performance, leading the Dodgers to victory before a sellout crowd of 53,380 at Dodger Stadium.

      Greinke started instead of Clayton Kershaw, who rested his sore hip for an extra day. Grienke (10-2, 1.41 ERA) allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in eight innings. Only right fielder Kole Calhoun (three) and center fielder Mike Trout (two) recorded hits off Greinke.

      Trout who went 3-for-4 and drove in all three runs, smacked his 32nd home run in the ninth off Kenley Jansen before the closer earned his 18th save despite giving up a run and hitting a batter.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Indians stand by young pitchers
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Just as manager Terry Francona expected, the Cleveland Indians held onto all of their young, talented starting pitchers Friday as the non-waiver trade deadline passed.

    • The Indians made only one minor trade, sending left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego for outfielder Abraham Almonte, who was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

      "It kind of starts with pitching," Francona said. "If you can't pitch you're in real trouble. We have guys that although are young and are still learning, have good arms and should get better. It's a hard way to get better when you don't have pitching. I was kind of laughing at some of the reports that were out there because I knew."

      So the Indians' twenty-something starting rotation of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Cody Anderson and Trevor Bauer remains intact.

      Rzepczynski came to the Indians on July 30, 2013, from St. Louis in a trade for infielder Juan Herrera. He went 0-0 with a 0.89 ERA in 27 relief appearances for the Indians that season and 0-3 with a 2.74 ERA in 73 appearances last year.

      This year, Rzepczynski struggled, going 2-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 appearances.

      "It's kind of a bitter sweet," Francona said of the trade. "It happened late. Watching him say goodbye to everybody. He didn't just run out of here. He stayed around and said goodbye to everybody and told me how much he enjoyed it. You get close to guys. Then when you have to say goodbye to them it kind of hits you a little bit.

      "Hopefully this will be good for him. We're in a situation where we probably had righties getting lefties out better than him. Truth be told, relievers start making some money, you got to be the left on left guy."

      For Almonte, this marks the third time he has been traded. The Yankees traded him to Seattle in February 2013, and the Mariners sent him to San Diego in July 2014.

      Almonte is a career .233 hitter in 115 major league games. He has five home runs, 28 RBIs and 100 strikeouts. This year, he hit .204 with no home runs and four RBIs in 31 games for the Padres. He had been up with the Padres since July 22.

      "Switch hitter," Francona said. "Sounds like right now he's a little better from the left side. Kind of a thick body kid that can play probably better on the corner but can play center. Has big league time. But an interesting guy. To be honest with you, you start getting some guys that are close to or have been in the major leagues, we can maybe have more to choose from. It never fails, guys get hurt or somebody falls through the cracks, so having more guys that hopefully will click is good. ... You never know when you hit on somebody."

      The Indians called up outfielder Jerry Sands from Columbus, filling the open roster spot. They also activated right-hander Josh Tomlin (right shoulder surgery in April 2015) from the disabled list and optioned him to Columbus. Right-hander Toru Murata, who made one start for Cleveland this season, was outrighted from the 40-man roster to Columbus.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    A's add two minor moves to previous deadline deals
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Athletics general manager Billy Beane already made three major deals before the non-waiver trade deadline arrived Friday, sending left-hander Scott Kazmir to Houston, closer Tyler Clippard to the New York Mets and super utility man Ben Zobrist to Kansas City for a haul of minor-leaguers.

    • The deadline passed without another major trade, but Beane made a pair of minor deals. The A's acquired Toronto left-hander Felix Doubront for cash. They also sent Triple-A right-hander Ryan Cook, a former American League All-Star, to Boston for a player to be named later or cash.

      Doubront will join the A's roster, likely Sunday. He has appeared in 107 career major league games with 77 starts for Boston, the Chicago Cubs and Toronto, posting a 29-24 record with a 4.78 ERA. He has 399 strikeouts in 461 innings.

      A's manager Bob Melvin said he's not sure how he'll use Doubront, but he has spent most of his career as a starter, and he'll likely be used in that role.

      "We've seen him a couple times over the last couple years," Melvin said. "He's a big guy with an assortment of pitches and at times has pretty good velocity. I know our scouts and our player development people have liked what they've seen out of him. Obviously we're bringing him in here. It's also nice to have a left-handed starter as well, if that's what we're looking to do with him."

      The Blue Jays designated Doubront for assignment Wednesday. He went 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five games, including four starts, for Toronto this season. He went 1-3 with a 2.44 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Buffalo.

      Cook's trade ended his four-year stint with Oakland, which reached its zenith in 2012 when he went 6-2 with a 2.09 ERA and 14 saves and made the All-Star team. He went 6-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 2013, but last year he battled injuries and went 1-3 with a 3.42 ERA.

      This season has been a disaster for Cook. He started the season with Triple-A Nashville after a nightmare spring training. In his only stint with the A's, he went 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA over four relief appearances then was sent back to Nashville.

      "He's been paramount with the success that we've had here the last three years," Melvin said. "I communicated with him today, wished him the best. Sometimes when you get sent down you can get a little bogged down with your confidence and your motivation. Sometimes just a change of scenery and a new organization can really invigorate you. I think that will be the case with him. I know he's excited about the opportunity."

      The A's acquired Cook from Arizona in a five-player trade on Dec. 9, 2011.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Tigers' sell-off doesn't mean they're abandoning season
    By The Sports Xchange

    BALTIMORE -- The Detroit Tigers stayed busy before Friday's trade deadline, hoping that they took some steps to improve their future when they traded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets in exchange for minor league right-handers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.

    • Cespedes banged out three hits in Thursday's win over Baltimore and posted a .293 average with 18 homers and 61 RBIs so far this season. The Tigers traded top starting pitcher David Price to Toronto Thursday and sent closer Joakim Soria over to the Pittsburgh Pirates later in the day.

      These three moves weren't unexpected as general manager Dave Dombrowski had said the team would look to make deals for top players, but still made for a rough two days.

      "I was prepared for it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "But still, when it happens, it stings a little bit."

      Ausmus repeated what he said on Thursday. Just because the Tigers made these moves, they are not quitting or waving the white flag. They still got a shot at a wild-card spot and will go for it.

      "We've got to stay positive," he said. "We don't have the big-name players that we had two days ago. We're 3 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot, and no one's folding up shop. We can't get too far ahead of ourselves."

      The Tigers acquired a bunch of prospects during this flurry of moves, and Dombrowski said this was just the right thing to do, especially in terms of the future.

      He had used the term "re-booting" when talking about what he was thinking about before the trades happened. Dombrowski thought they needed to make some changes to help re-stock their talent pool while looking ahead.

      "We've won the division four years in a row," Dombrowski said. "In my heart, I didn't think we were there with the club. We just weren't deep enough in starting pitchers to do it on a consistent basis. For us, the prudent move is to say 'OK, take a step back.' I'm sure the guys in there don't necessarily feel the same way, and I wouldn't expect them to."

      Now that the trading deadline passed, the Tigers will focus on making a run to get into the playoffs.

      "We did what we really thought we would probably do based upon our conversations and we're set now," Dombrowski said. "We're focused on trying to win games, as many games as we possibly can."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Yankees make a statement by standing pat
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- The non-waivers trade deadline expired Friday and New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made a statement by not doing anything.

    • Rather than forking over a prized prospect or two for more experienced talent to help his American League East-leading team, Cashman did exactly what he told New York's media a couple days earlier. He stood pat, didn't cave into the pricey demands of opposing GMs and put faith in both the current roster and a crop of prospects that already has started helping the effort at the big league level.

      The Yankees might still look to make a trade through the waivers process, but it's not likely to be anything splashy.

      "We're not going to have as much access to other teams, in terms of the blocking and stuff like that, so the best time to get your business done was the time that just passed," Cashman said during a teleconference with reporters Friday, prior to the start of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. "We tried. We engaged. We were willing to do certain things and unwilling to do other things, and so today, obviously, I'm not able to present anything I was able to accomplish ... other than the fact that I am doubling down on what we've got. And that's from this current major league roster that I believe in, as well as the support cast that's behind it, that's knocking at the door in the minor leagues.

      How close did Cashman come to completing a deal Friday?

      "Not close," he said. "We stayed, over the last few weeks, engaged in tire-kicking and spit-balling with all clubs to try to come up with a match that would improve our club -- whether it was on the offensive or defensive, meaning pitching, side. But I was unable to, obviously, get anything done."

      The sticking point was the Yankees' top three or four prospects, whom opposing teams apparently coveted. During Cashman's trade talks with opposing teams, he was asked plenty about right-hander Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge, shortstop Jorge Mateo and first-baseman Greg Bird, who are considered New York's top four prospects.

      He refused to bite on deals involving any of them, and reiterated his "doubling down" decision by announcing that Severino -- the top prospect -- would make his next start in the major leagues, in his big-league debut. Manager Joe Girardi said he's not exactly sure when that will happen, but pointed to the Yankees' next series, which starts Tuesday against the rival Boston Red Sox.

      If it goes well, there's a chance Severino might stay on the roster longer than just a couple starts while right-hander Michael Pineda is on the 15-day disabled list with a right flexor forearm muscle strain.

      "I like the team we have," Cashman said. "I know that we are obviously dealing now with recent trouble (with Pineda), and we certainly are reacting to that trouble with our conversations to try to fortify, but at the same time we will be relying on our farm system, as we have done all year. We're going to continue to promote from within and utilize that. I know there's risk of throwing some of the young guys in the Atlantic Ocean and saying, 'Time to swim,' but that's also something we're not afraid of. We do like this team and we have benefited from the use of a lot of the young guys throughout this season."

      Right-handers Bryan Mitchell and Diego Moreno are prime examples. Each has given the Yankees some needed help recently and each will be counted upon again down the stretch run. Severino could be the next young prospect to do the same. That's why Cashman took such a hard stance against trading him or any of his other minor-league jewels.

      "I approached this deadline with discipline, but also aggressiveness at the same time," he said. "We were willing to do certain things, but we weren't willing to do certain things at the same time. Listen, you don't get anything for making the phone calls. You get something for, at the end of the day, winning the division and hopefully winning a world championship. And that's still our intentions, even though I don't have anything to present to you today that I'm sure would be (included in) articles."

      If Girardi is disappointed that his front office didn't make any moves to counter the blockbuster trades division-rival Toronto pulled off to get shortstop Troy Tulowitzski and ace left-hander David Price, you couldn't tell by his words or tone.

      "As I've said all along, I count on the guys in that room and how we've gotten to where we are ... the guys in that room," he said. "I think it just tells you we have depth in our minor leagues that we haven't had in a while. When you think about the last time we relied on young players, it was a long run. So, hopefully that transpires and these kids continue to develop the way we think they're capable of and make the impact we think they're capable of."

      Severino will be the next one up, and he's already got Girardi's full attention. Between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the 21-year old fireballer has posted a 9-2 record with a 2.45 ERA and has struck out 98 batters in 99 1/3 innings.

      "He's thrown very well this year at the Double-A and Triple-A level," Girardi said. "They talked about his last start was his best start. I think it was Wednesday night, so I'm curious. He's got a big arm. He's got a very good changeup. His slider has developed. And what I saw in spring training ... there was no fear there. There was a guy who went right at hitters with his stuff, and I think that's important that he continues to do that."

      It's a similar to the way Cashman approached the trade deadline. He went into it with a set game plan in mind and refused to deviate from it. The Yankees might wind up benefiting greatly from it, both in the short term and long range.

      "They are knocking on the door, a lot of these guys," Cashman said. "I've been in the position in the past where we've had a strong system, but it was down low and you had to wait it out. Well, we've done the waiting. We've done the hard part in waiting it out. I know that maybe it's not the traditional way that our franchise has operated, but I think it's a way that we have already communicated is our intention to operate. And we haven't deviated from that game plan."

      Girardi summed it up a different way.

      "I feel good about this team," he said. "We've heard it a number of times. Sometimes the best trade is the trade not made. It happens a lot, so I feel good about the guys in that room and the way they play the game and how they go about their business."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Reds' moves may be just the beginning of sell-off
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- General manager Walt Jocketty said there was a flurry of activity leading up to Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, and his Cincinnati Reds were close to dealing closer Aroldis Chapman and/or right fielder Jay Bruce, but no offer made sense.

    • "Couple things could've gone either way," Jocketty said. "In the end, the value wasn't there. There was interest in both players. But we weren't necessarily looking to move them. The guys we were in the best position to talk about were the potential free agents."

      That would be ace right-hander Johnny Cueto, last year's National League Cy Young Award runner-up, who was traded to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, and durable right-hander Mike Leake, who was dealt to the San Francisco Giants late Thursday.

      Those deals accomplished two goals for the fifth-place Reds -- finding adequate homes for Cueto and Leake where they have the opportunity to reach the postseason and acquiring prospects considered to be on the fast-track to the major leagues.

      In return for Cueto, the Reds got left-handers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. For Leake, they acquired first baseman/outfielder Adam Duvall and right-hander Keury Mella.

      Cincinnati's return was pitching-heavy, but Jocketty deflected concerns that the club wasn't able to fortify the organization's position needs .

      "We always try to build our organization with pitching," he said. "There were a couple deals where we tried to get position players, but those fell through so we settled for pitchers."

      Duvall, 26, is hitting .279 with a .323 on-base percentage, a .548 slugging percentage, 26 homers and 79 RBIs in 99 games for Triple-A Sacramento this year. Jocketty said Duvall will be assigned to Triple-A Louisville where he'll be developed as a left fielder.

      Mella is 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA in 16 starts for Class A San Jose this season. Jocketty sees the 21-year old Mella as a future starter in the big leagues.

      It's possible that Chapman, who is a free-agent after this season, Bruce, left fielder Marlon Byrd, and others could be shopped following the season.

      That is the current reality for Cincinnati which entering Friday's action stood 9 1/2 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and 9 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card.

      "We're sellers more than buyers," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "That's the environment we're in. As far as the impact on the club, we're going to miss both guys, but they're going to make two playoff-caliber teams better."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Rockies' Kendrick leaves after one inning
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. LOUIS -- Colorado Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick departed Friday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals after one inning with right shoulder inflammation.

    • Kendrick allowed four hits and two runs in the bottom of the first. Colorado manager Walt Weiss had Thursday night's starter, Chris Rusin, ready to bat for Kendrick in the second inning before left fielder Brandon Barnes made the third out.

      Left-hander Aaron Laffey relieved Kendrick in the second. The Rockies said Kendrick is day to day.

      At the time of Kendrick's departure, St. Louis led 2-0.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Giants hope Leake fills hole
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- The San Francisco Giants made just one move before the trade deadline but they feel like it's enough.

    • Right-hander Mike Leake, acquired from the Cincinnati Reds late Thursday, hopes that's the case. The newly-acquired Leake made his way to Arlington to meet his new teammates and prepare for his first start with the Giants. Leake will make his San Francisco debut Sunday against Texas and is excited to be in a playoff race.

      "To be able to come in here and be able to watch these guys do their work and learn from them will be pretty good for myself," said Leake, who was acquired for minor league infielder Adam Duvall and minor league right-hander Keury Mella. "The more I can learn from here, the more I can help them throughout the rest of this year."

      Leake is taking the rotation spot of Tim Hudson, who was put on the disabled list Friday with a strained right shoulder. Hudson had already given his blessing about losing his rotation spot before the injury and is someone Leake has watched throughout his career.

      "I kind of watched a lot of video on him when I was first coming up just because he attacked the ball in the zone and had a lot of movement on his pitches that were moving outside of the zone rather than into the zone," Leake said. "I've actually learned a lot from him. I look forward to actually working with him and talking with him, and picking his brain a little."

      Manager Bruce Bochy is happy to have Leake on board. Not only does he help ease the burden of the Hudson injury, but it gives the Giants another arm in the National League West race with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      "It's going to be a battle," Bochy said. "We felt that going into the season, and now it's about what we thought. Two teams are going to be going at it right now, and that's the way it's going to be the next two months."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Mariners make room for young players
    By The Sports Xchange

    MINNEAPOLIS -- With one of the worst records in the American League, the Seattle Mariners approached the non-waiver trade deadline on Friday a little bit differently than they might have hoped when the season began.

    • While several teams are within striking distance of leads in the division or within a couple of games of a wild-card berth, the Mariners aren't one of them -- Seattle entered Friday's game against the Minnesota Twins one game ahead of the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox for the worst record in the American League.

      Seattle trailed the AL West-leading Houston Astros by 12 games and the Twins, the second wild-card team, by eight games.

      So, while the Mariners did not sell any of their biggest building blocks, the club did make a few minor tweaks to get value and restock the farm system.

      By unloading several players off the major-league roster, Seattle is going to take a look at some of the younger players in its system over the next couple of months, including first baseman Jesus Montero and second baseman Ketel Marte.

      In the days leading up to the deadline, the Mariners dealt regulars Dustin Ackley, Mark Lowe and J.A. Happ, getting six minor-league pitchers and an outfielder in return.

      Only two of the players acquired in those deals will head to Seattle to join the Mariners; pitchers Jose Ramirez, acquired from the New York Yankees in the Ackley deal, and Rob Rasmussen, who came in the trade that sent Lowe to the Toronto Blue Jays.

      With infielder Chris Taylor optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma, that left room for the additions of Montero and Marte.

      Montero -- once a top prospect in the Yankees' farm system -- is the more pressing concern. The Mariners badly need to see what they have in the first baseman.

      "We need to find out about him and see what he's got," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "My hope is to play him as much as possible."

      Marte won't be expected to play every day; but, with Robinson Cano day-to-day with an abdominal strain and the Mariners in a different frame of mind post-July 31, Marte will at least get a taste.

      McClendon said he's excited to see what Marte offers, describing him as energetic and instinctive.

      "(He) certainly brings a different dynamic to what we're doing. I'm going to put him in the leadoff spot and see what he can do," McClendon said.

      Ultimately, it's that change in mindset that may be the biggest takeaway as the season draws to a close.

      "We've gotten a lot younger," McClendon said. "This is a chance to look at some of our young talent and see what happens."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Pirates add depth at deadline
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- With only hours remaining before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, an injury to Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett created an immediate need, which the Pirates filled by acquiring left-hander J.A. Happ from the Seattle Mariners.

    • Burnett, who allowed seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings during Thursday's 15-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, was placed on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

      Moments after the deadline passed, the Pirates announced they acquired Happ in exchange for minor league right-hander Adrian Sampson.

      "We felt J.A. Happ was our best move," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. "A.J. made us aware (of soreness) after his start last night. It pretty much directly influenced our desire to add a starter today."

      Pittsburgh recalled left-handed pitcher Bobby LaFromboise from Triple-A Indianapolis to fill Burnett's spot on the roster, at least initially. Burnett is 8-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 21 starts.

      It is uncertain if Burnett's injury will require more than 15 days of recovery time. If it does, the Pirates are confident in Happ, and right-hander Joe Blanton, who they got from the Royals on Wednesday.

      "We've been fortunate to have our starters stay healthy," Huntington said. "If we get to a point where we have six starters, we'll make a decision."

      Happ pitched Thursday night, allowing six earned runs and three homers in 3 1/3 innings in a 9-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He will step into Burnett's spot in the rotation. Happ is 4-6 this season with a 4.64 ERA in 21 games, including 20 starts.

      Also Friday, Pittsburgh acquired first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse and cash from the Dodgers for outfielder Jose Tabata.

      Morse is expected to be used as a right-handed bat off the bench who can spell first baseman Pedro Alvarez.

      The Pirates acquired closer Joakim Soria in a trade with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.

      The 23-year-old Sampson, who is scheduled to report to Triple-A Tacoma in the next few days, was drafted by the Pirates out of Bellevue College in 2012. With Triple-A Indianapolis this season, he was 8-8 with a 3.98 ERA over 124 1/3 innings with 95 strikeouts in 21 starts.

      LaFromboise, who is in his second stint with Pittsburgh this year, went 1-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 42 appearances for Indianapolis this season. He did not allow a run in his last seven appearances and was scored upon just once in his last 17 Triple-A outings. He made his one appearance with the Pirates and pitched a scoreless inning.

      All in all, Huntington believes this was a productive trade period for the Pirates who lead the National League wild card standings.

      "We feel we've been able to backfill with established major league players and fill some spots that were open because of injury," said Huntington. "Adding Soria will strengthen our bullpen. While we gave up some players of interest, we feel the return was worthwhile."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Rangers' trades signal run at postseason berth
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers made it clear Friday that despite being on the outside looking in, they haven't given up on the postseason for 2015.

    • In addition to completing the trade for left-handed ace Cole Hamels and lefty reliever Jake Diekman from Philadelphia, the Rangers added right-hander Sam Dyson to their bullpen in a move with Miami. The Rangers shipped catcher Tomas Telis and a minor league pitcher to the Marlins for Dyson.

      The Rangers also opted to hang onto right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who will be a free agent following the season, despite several teams having interest in the veteran. That was another signal the Rangers are still in the hunt.

      Now they just have to play like it.

      "We have to play well, we have to play consistently," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "We have to get good pitching across the board. I think with adding Cole in the starting rotation, when you look at it, the pedigree of the pitcher with the quality of the player and what he brings to the clubhouse and adds to the rest of the ballclub, the ability to fit in the clubhouse will be a huge plus. But the real answer is we have to play consistently. It takes all parts."

      Getting both Diekman and Dyson doesn't draw headlines like Hamels does, but they may be just as important. Both are power arms that can only help a bullpen that has the highest ERA in the majors.

      "They're young guys but established already," Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. "Diekman last year (with Philadelphia) was probably just as good as all but a couple of lefties in the game. You don't see many relievers punching out 110 guys in a big-league season and he did that. He's extremely tough on lefties, a different look from what we have in our bullpen and the same thing with Dyson."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Hamels' departure necessary in Phillies' rebuild
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- It was the trade that everybody knew was coming.

    • And yet, to see Cole Hamels leave Philadelphia after being one of the city's more talented and popular athletes over the 10 years he pitched for the Phillies was still tough to swallow for all those involved.

      "I hate to see Cole go," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Friday afternoon, just a few hours after Hamels bid his official good-bye at a press conference. "I think everybody here hates to see him'd like to keep him here the rest of his career, but things change and you have to move on."

      Hamels, a 31-year-old left-hander with one of the best changeups in baseball, is off to Texas, along with left-handed reliever Jake Diekman. In return, the Phillies got lefty Matt Harrison and five minor-leaguers, including three players ranked among the top 50 prospects in baseball by Baseball Prospectus.

      That wasn't the only move the club made at the deadline. Center fielder Ben Revere was sent to Toronto, with two more minor league pitchers coming in to join the Phillies' minor league affiliates.

      After many long years of sending prospects off in exchange for key pieces -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and others -- the Phillies are finally stockpiling their own system.

      "We're moving forward and I'm excited about the young guys that we've got," Mackanin said. "I think it's important that we get some good young arms and get us back on track."

      It has been a trying few years for fans of a team that was one of the best in baseball from 2006-11 but has since been mediocre or worse. This year's 39-64 record is on pace to be the franchise's worst since a 59-97 year in 1972, and with Hamels gone there's a real chance at the first 100-loss season the city's seen since 1961.

      If and when some of those prospects develop into major leaguers, however, and can join the likes of Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco, Ken Giles and other young talent the club already has at the major league level, then the light at the end of the tunnel will be near.

      "I know everybody, especially the fans, are frustrated, but it's a rebuilding phase," Revere said. "Of course I know the Phillies fans don't want to hear that, but they've got some young guys in here that are going to be great major league ballplayers in a couple of years."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Inexperienced Braves happy to play spolier
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- A day after a three-team, 13-player trade sent five Atlanta Braves off to Los Angeles to become members of the Dodgers, all was quiet around the visitors' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.

    • Though rumors swirled that the Atlanta front office could move another veteran before Friday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver deadline, the magic hour came and went without any commotion.

      "I know there's still other deadlines that you can still acquire players or lose players, but I think for the most part we have what we've got," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said shortly after the deadline had passed.

      The trade that sent left-handers Luis Avilan and Alex Wood, righties Bronson Arroyo and Jim Johnson plus minor league infielder Jose Peraza to the Dodgers wasn't the only major move the Braves made recently. A week ago, they also sent utility man Kelly Johnson, third baseman Juan Uribe and cash considerations to the New York Mets for a pair of minor league arms.

      That leaves behind a small core of veterans, including catcher A.J. Pierzynski, first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Cameron Maybin, that Gonzalez is hoping will help set the tone for a young group around them.

      Where the Braves are especially inexperienced is on the pitching staff -- and in the bullpen in particular -- with three relievers who made their major league debuts this season and one more, Matt Marksberry, who was just called up for the first time Thursday.

      "I'm still kind of in shock right now, to be honest with you," Marksberry said in the clubhouse before Friday night's game. "Especially since I started off the season in high-A, it's unreal for me."

      Though there are bound to be some rocky moments over the closing months of the season, the Braves are happy to embrace the role of spoiler and try to improve as they focus on 2016.

      "We're going to try and go forward and win some games," Gonzalez said. "We're going to play a lot of teams that we can ruin their seasons.

      "They're going to come in hopefully and say 'we're scared to play the Atlanta Braves because they could ruin our seasons, our hope for making the playoffs, our hope for winning the division.' That's what I want to keep instilling in our guys."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Orioles get stronger at deadline
    By The Sports Xchange

    BALTIMORE -- The Orioles definitely strengthened their lineup and defense with the moves they made before Friday's trade deadline.

    • The acquisition of outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for minor league right-hander Zach Davies could help Baltimore's inconsistent offense in a number of ways. Although manager Buck Showalter said that Parra could hit in a few different spots, it's a safe bet that he likely will spend a lot of time batting lead-off.

      That spot's been a problem all season. Baltimore hasn't had a natural lead-off hitter the past few years, even though right fielder Nick Markakis did pretty well there for most of the final two-and-a-half years he was with the Orioles.

      Markakis left to go to the Atlanta Braves in the offseason, and third baseman Manny Machado took over that role for much of this season, but that also left a hole in the middle of the order -- especially since the Orioles also lost power-hitting DH Nelson Cruz to free agency this year. The Parra trade will let Showalter drop Machado lower and give him more chances to come up with runners on.

      "He's very good at getting on base," said Orioles general manager Dan Duquette. "He's got some really good numbers at the top of the order, gives us a good set-up hitter and a good defender to play in the field ... his presence at the top of the lineup should be a real additive. That's an ingredient that we've been missing, and we're glad to have him join us."

      The Orioles made one other trade, sending right-hander Tommy Hunter to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for outfielder Junior Lake, who was sent down to Triple-A Norfolk. Hunter had been with the Orioles since they acquired him from the Rangers during the 2011 season and eventually transitioned from a starter to a relief pitcher.

      Hunter is a free agent at season's end and said he'd certainly be open to coming back.

      "There's not going to be any shut doors," Hunter said. "I'm not going to run, stomp out of here like I didn't like it because I loved it here. It's been good for the last four years."

      It also opens the door for a bunch of younger pitchers that Showalter can look at and/or use. The Orioles later brought up right-handers Mychal Givens from Double-A Bowie and Mike Wright from Triple-A Norfolk. Since both have options, it gives the team more flexibility in terms of making moves, which is something Duquette thinks can help the Orioles.

      "He will help the Cubs," Showalter said of Hunter. "Very infectious personality and he can pitch."

      The Orioles also finally gave up on right-hander Bud Norris, designating him for assignment. He won a career-high 15 games last year, playing a big role in Baltimore capturing the American League East title, and also won the clinching game in the American League Divisional Series in Detroit.

      But this year was a much different story. Teams banged him around throughout spring training and continued into the regular season where the right-hander went just 2-9 with a 7.06 ERA in 18 games. He made 11 starts before being sent to the bullpen but no matter what the Orioles tried, it just didn't work.

      "I think Bud needs a fresh start, and he's going to pitch well for whoever picks him up and he's going to pitch well for somebody next year," Showalter said. "He just never really got going from spring training on. He's got some real good pitching ahead of him. It just wasn't going to happen here."

      First baseman Chris Parmelee also was designated for assignment. He played very well in the field but hit only .216 in 32 games. Ryan Flaherty, who usually plays at second and short, has been seeing more and more time at first in recent days and was there for Friday's game while Chris Davis still spends most of his time in right field.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Jepsen gives Perkins some help in Twins' bullpen
    By The Sports Xchange

    MINNEAPOLIS -- In the days leading up to Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan said he owed it to his overachieving club to try to make a move to better the team.

    • Ryan believes he did just that in acquiring right-handed reliever Kevin Jepsen from the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in exchange for a pair of minor-leaguers.

      Jepsen has the chance to provide the Twins with perhaps their best bullpen arm short of All-Star closer Glen Perkins, who leads the American League with 29 saves this season.

      Before Perkins, the Twins had done an admirable job of keeping their bullpen together using the baseball equivalent of duct tape and dental floss.

      "We've had some issues here in the back part of our bullpen," Ryan said. "I don't think there's any reason he can't pitch in the eighth. He can pitch in the seventh or even in the sixth; it wouldn't surprise me.

      "He'll help us, there's no question. We had to try and upgrade the bullpen and Jepsen has got experience, he's been to the postseason and he's pitched in the back part of the bullpen for contending teams."

      But the bullpen has started to show its flaws of late, especially since the All-Star break, as Perkins has shown that he is human, after all.

      Twins first-year manager Paul Molitor has mixed and matched so much this season, he has virtually scrapped the pecking order found in most bullpens and simply played matchups.

      Molitor said Friday that he will continue with that approach, but he said he is excited to have an experienced arm like Jepsen's to add to the mix.

      "We'll talk to him and see where he's most comfortable, and then we'll see what happens. It could be the seventh inning one day or the eighth inning the next day," Molitor said. "We have options. Because of our fluidity of our situation, you just have to be ready."

      Jepsen's 22 holds this season are fourth in the majors, one behind a trio with 23. He also had five saves with the Rays and a 2.81 ERA in 41 2/3 innings. Jepsen's strikeout totals are down and his walk rate is up, but Jepsen's mid-90 mph fastball is something the Twins don't have in their bullpen, beyond Perkins.

      "He's a hard thrower, a big, durable guy," Ryan said. "I would say he is more of an effectively wild guy; he doesn't pinpoint. He's the type of guy, he doesn't have much fear; he's got good makeup."

      Jepsen is also under team control through 2016, which Ryan said was an added bonus.

      "That was big," Ryan said. "We wanted to add a guy that was going to stay with us for more than just the two-month period."

      Jepsen will be in the Twin Cities in time to join the team on Saturday for the final two games of a series against the Seattle Mariners.

      To make room for Jepsen on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar for assignment. Thielbar had a 5.40 ERA in six appearances with the Twins this season, but he has been at Triple-A Rochester for most of the year.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Mets pull trigger to acquire big bat ... officially
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Terry Collins smiled Friday afternoon as he sat behind the same microphone into which the manager of the New York Mets spoke angrily less than 48 hours earlier following one of the most embarrassing near-misses in franchise history.

    • "I haven't been through somebody of this magnitude or this kind of a bat ever joining a club," Collins said just minutes after news began trickling out that the Mets had acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. "I just know from talking to other people what an impact they can make.

      "So hopefully we'll announce this in a few minutes and we can move forward."

      The Mets certainly did that Friday in sending a pair of minor leaguers -- right-handed pitchers Luis Cessa and Michael Fulmer -- to the Tigers in exchange for Cespedes, who ranks among the American League leaders in doubles (third with 28), hits (fourth with 114) and RBIs (ninth with 61) while playing in all 102 games.

      Cespedes -- who won the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field -- addresses a pair of glaring needs for the Mets, who entered Friday last among major league teams in batting average (.235), slugging percentage (.364) and runs scored (363).

      He is expected to play left field, a position from which the Mets received just a .238 average with 15 homers, 48 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .300.

      "A very dynamic player," said New York general manager Sandy Alderson, who stepped to the podium at 4:57 p.m. ET, four minutes before the Mets issued a press release officially announcing the trade. "He's a solid defender. Excellent arm. Very athletic. Power and hitting for average this year. So we think he's going to impact us in a number of different ways."

      On and off the field.

      A long-suffering Mets fanbase was furious Wednesday, when the club appeared ready to trade infielder Wilmer Flores and injured right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for center fielder Carlos Gomez.

      But the trade fell apart late Wednesday night -- after Flores, who had been told by fans and teammates alike that he was being traded, broke down and cried while playing shortstop in the eighth inning of a loss to the San Diego Padres. Following the game, Collins insisted he didn't know a trade was imminent and declared, "there's a lot of BS out there."

      Various outlets reported the Mets backed out over concerns regarding Gomez's right hip. There were also reports that the Mets, whose payroll has sunk since ownership lost $500 million in the Bernie Madoff scam in 2008, called off the trade due to financial concerns.

      "Those issues of salary and everything else unrelated to medical considerations was a total fabrication," Alderson said Friday. "Period."

      Earlier in the press conference, he said he felt no additional pressure to make a deal following Wednesday's hiccup.

      "I don't think we felt we were under the gun to do something because that deal did not go through," Alderson said.

      Yet just minutes later, Alderson referred to the impact the trade could make with fans.

      "I hope it raises the energy level in the dugout and in the stands," Alderson said. "I think this is the kind of player that could have a big impact both in terms of the game on the field and how the team is perceived. So we'll see."

      There was little doubt the Mets had to do something this month to convince the paying customers of Citi Field, as well as the rest of baseball, that they were serious about addressing an anemic offense.

      Despite their woes at the plate, the Mets -- who rank third in the majors with a 3.31 ERA -- began Friday just three games behind the Washington Nationals, their opponent for this weekend's three-game series at Citi Field, in the National League East. They are also 4 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the race for the second wild card.

      The Mets haven't finished above .500 since 2008, which is tied with the Houston Astros for the longest drought in the game. New York is also one of just four teams that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2006.

      "I think it does reflect the fact that we believe we're in a position to compete throughout the rest of the season for a playoff spot," Alderson said. "And we're going to do everything we can to ensure that competitive level. I think that's reflective what we've done the last week or so."

      The Cespedes trade is the third deal in seven days for the Mets. A week ago, New York acquired infielders Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, along with cash considerations, from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league right-handers John Gant and Rob Whalen.

      On Monday, the Mets sent another right-handed pitching prospect, Casey Meisner, to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Tyler Clippard, a right-handed reliever who will pitch the eighth inning for New York. That move proved to be especially valuable a day later, when right-handed pitcher Jenrry Mejia -- who was serving as the eighth-inning man -- was suspended 162 games for failing his second drug test.

      Now it's time to find out if three moves are enough to finally end the Mets' long period of dormancy.

      "I don't feel complete," Alderson said with a chuckle. "I don't know that the team appears complete. But I think we've significantly improved the team over the last week or 10 days. In that sense, I think we're all pleased."

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Marlins trade RHPs Haren, Dyson
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Miami Marlins traded right-handers Dan Haren and Sam Dyson for minor-league prospects on Friday.

    • In a deal with the Chicago Cubs, the Marlins received right-hander Ivan Pineyro and shortstop Elliot Soto in return for Haren and cash. Haren, 34, was 7-7 with a 3.42 ERA in 21 starts this season.

      Miami traded Dyson to the Texas Rangers for minor-league catcher Tomas Telis and left-handed reliever Cody Ege. Dyson, 27, had a 3.68 ERA for the Marlins in 44 games this season.

      Miami also released infielder Jeff Baker, 34, who was hitting .208, and called up rookie right-hander Jose Urena, who will start on Saturday.

      Infielder Donovan Solano was reinstated from the paternity list.

      Right-handed pitchers Jeff Brigham, Victor Araujo and Kevin Guzman -- the prospects the Marlins got when they traded right-hander Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday -- all reported to Miami's Class A affiliates.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Dodgers' Kershaw again misses start
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Los Angeles Dodgers scratched ace Clayton Kershaw from his scheduled Friday start against the Los Angeles Angels because of a sore right hip.

    • Right-hander Zack Greinke was moved up a day by the Dodgers to make the start in place of Kershaw, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

      Kershaw also missed his Wednesday start because of the hip issue. He is now scheduled to pitch Saturday's game against the Angels.

      The left-hander is 8-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 20 starts this season. Greinke entered Friday's game with a 9-2 record and a 1.37 ERA in 20 starts.

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    After trades, Mariners call up Montero, others
    By The Sports Xchange

    After sending out three players in trades over the past two days, the Seattle Mariners recalled Jesus Montero and three others from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday.

    • Also called up were infielder Ketel Marte, right-hander Jose Ramirez and left-hander Rob Rasmussen. The Mariners optioned infielder Chris Taylor to Tacoma to even out the 25-man roster after the Mariners traded outfielder Dustin Ackley and pitchers Mark Lowe and A.J. Happ.

      Montero, 25, is in his second stint with the Mariners. In five games earlier this season, he went 3-for-10. In 93 games with Tacoma, he has hit .346 with 16 home runs, 75 RBIs and a .938 OPS.

      Marte, 21, will be making his major-league debut. In 65 games with Tacoma, he was hitting .314 with three home runs, 29 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.

      Marte was rated as the third-best prospect in the Mariners' organization by Baseball America entering the season. He played in the Futures Game during All-Star weekend in Cincinnati and also was a Triple-A All-Star.

      Taylor, 24, has hit .170 in two stints with Seattle. In 48 games with Tacoma, he has hit .289 with four triples, 16 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.

      Ramirez, 25, was acquired Thursday in a deal that sent Ackley to the New York Yankees. He was 3-0 with 10 saves and a 2.90 ERA with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season.

      Rasmussen, 26, was acquired Friday in a deal that sent the right-handed Lowe to the Toronto Blue Jays. Rasmussen has recorded a 2.92 ERA in 11 appearances over two seasons for the Blue Jays, while going 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 34 games with Triple-A Buffalo this year. He will go on the Mariners' 40-man roster.

      Also on Friday, the Mariners traded the left-handed Happ to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor-league right-hander Adrian Sampson, who is scheduled to report to Tacoma in the next few days.

      Sampson, 23, was drafted by the Pirates out of Bellevue College in 2012. With Triple-A Indianapolis this season, he was 8-8 with a 3.98 ERA over 124 1/3 innings with 95 strikeouts in 21 starts.