LEADING OFF: Pirates-Reds renew bitter rivalry, Acuña ailing

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Cincinnati Reds teammates celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Royals in a baseball game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

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The Reds and Pirates renew what erupted into one of baseball’s most bitter rivalries last season, with one major change at the top. Long-simmering tensions between the Ohio River rivals over batters getting plunked escalated into a benches-clearing brawl at Great American Ball Park last summer and resulted in Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, Reds manager David Bell and six players suspended. Hurdle was fired after the season and replaced by Derek Shelton. The teams are now set to meet again in Cincinnati.


Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. will miss the weekend series in Miami because of a sore left wrist.

The 2018 NL Rookie of the Year was a late scratch prior to Tuesday’s series opener at Yankee Stadium and was evaluated further Wednesday, revealing inflammation in his wrist.


The Yankees will see how star Aaron Judge is progressing, a day after he was out of the lineup because of tightness in his lower body. It’s uncertain whether the oft-injured slugger will be back Friday night for the start of a weekend series against Boston.

“Hopefully this is something we’re out ahead of and will only be a couple of days,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Judge was leading the majors with nine home runs and tied at the top with 20 RBIs before he sat out.


Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had gotten his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal. Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.


Pittsburgh closer Keone Kela is set to rejoin the team after recovering from a positive COVID-19 test.

Kela will return to the injury-ravaged Pirates for a four-game series in Cincinnati. Six Pittsburgh pitchers are on the injured list, including relievers Kyle Crick, Clay Holmes and Nick Burdi.

The last-place Pirates were 27th in the majors in ERA (5.32) this week and the turnover in the bullpen has been particularly jarring. Nearly two dozen pitchers took the hill for Pittsburgh through 16 games.


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