Pujols hits 703rd HR to pass Babe for 2nd in RBI; Cards lose
Albert Pujols hit his 703rd home run, breaking a tie with Babe Ruth for second place in career RBIs, but the St. Louis Cardinals lost to Pittsburgh 3-2 when the Pirates drew four consecutive walks in the ninth inning to force home the winning run.
Cards match record with 14th straight win, rip Cubs 12-4
The surging St. Louis Cardinals emphatically matched a team record with their 14th straight win, pounding the Chicago Cubs 12-4 in the second game of a doubleheader behind Tyler O’Neill’s three-run homer and a pair of solo shots by Lars Nootbaar.
Cards win 10th in row, beat Brewers to extend wild-card lead
Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos fanned pinch-hitter Pablo Reyes with the bases loaded for the final out and St. Louis won its 10th straight game, increasing its lead in the playoff chase by holding off the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers 2-1.
LEADING OFF: Crowds back on opening day, Cole starts season
EARLY TESTSThe Washington Nationals will be short-handed due to a positive coronavirus test for the second straight season opener. General manager Mike Rizzo did not reveal who the five players were, and the only certainty as of Wednesday night was that opening day starter Max Scherzer wasn't one of them. The Nationals did not have any players test positive during spring training prior to that. But in a what-are-the-odds moment, all three are set to start on opening day. To be pitching the same day as those guys is pretty cool.”MITTS AND MITTENSNolan Arenado, Kris Bryant and Miguel Cabrera will be wearing gloves on opening day.
LEADING OFF: Crowds back on opening day, Cole starts season
All 30 teams are scheduled to be in action, with Gerrit Cole set to throw the first pitch of the season against Toronto at Yankee Stadium. A year after no fans were allowed during the virus-shortened 60-game season, every stadium is open, in varying degrees as teams adhere to coronavirus protocols. But in a what-are-the-odds moment, all three are set to start on opening day. To be pitching the same day as those guys is pretty cool.”AdMITTS AND MITTENSNolan Arenado, Kris Bryant and Miguel Cabrera will be wearing gloves on opening day. Rain is in the forecast along the East Coast, which could affect games at Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park and Nationals Park.
Chisox star Jiménez out 5-6 months, Rays' Anderson ailing
Sixto Sánchez made his third start, yielding a run on three hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings. Austin Gomber gave up five runs on eight hits, four of them home runs, 5 1/3 innings. Arizona starter Luke Weaver struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings. Right-hander Adbert Alzolay continued to struggle for Chicago, allowing two runs in 3 1/3 innings. BREWERS 2, GIANTS 2Brett Anderson pitched two-run ball over 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and striking out three for Milwaukee.
Diamondbacks' Gallen has sore forearm, might miss opener
SETBACK IN THE BULLPENBlue Jays right-hander Kirby Yates will miss several weeks because of a strained muscle in his forearm. He allowed one run and five hits, striking out five without a walk. Ross Stripling struck out seven and walked none in 3 2/3 innings, but gave up three runs and five hits. Bryan Abreu, a top Astros pitching prospect who turns 24 next month, started and pitched three perfect innings, striking out four. Baltimore starter John Means allowed four hits and walked three over 3 2/3 innings, striking out three.
Spring games begin with fans, new faces, moment for Mancini
AdJazz Chisholm of the Marlins and Adam Haseley of the Phillies did even better — they led off games with home runs. Mancini took off his helmet to acknowledge a standing ovation that included the fans, the Orioles and the Pirates. Marco Gonzales made his first spring start for Seattle, allowing two hits and an unearned run in two innings. Center fielder Trent Grisham, coming off his first Gold Glove last season, doubled and scored a run for San Diego. Top prospect Jeter Downs had a two-run home run and RBI single, while Michael Chavis hit a solo shot.
Happ beats Cubs in arbitration; teams finish with 5-4 record
Happ asked for a raise from $624,000 to $4.1 million during a Zoom session Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, and the Cubs argued he should be paid $3.25 million. Teams finished with a 5-4 advantage in cases that went to a hearing, their second straight winning record after two consecutive years in which players had an advantage. A day after hearing arguments, arbitrators Frederic Horowitz, Steven Wolf and Jules Bloch decided in favor of Happ's figure rather than the team's $3.25 million. St. Louis pitcher Jack Flaherty ($3.9 million), Braves pitcher Mike Soroka ($2.8 million) and Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi ($2.45 million) also won their cases. Teams beat Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson ($6 million), San Francisco infielder Donovan Solano ($3.25 million), Tampa Bay pitcher Ryan Yarbrough ($2.3 million), New York Mets third baseman/outfielder J.D.
Braves beat shortstop Dansby Swanson in salary arbitration
Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, center, is unable to make the throw as Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, left, breaks up the double play as Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) is shown during the fourth inning in Game 6 Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, for the best-of-seven National League Championship Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)The Atlanta Braves beat Dansby Swanson in salary arbitration, and the shortstop will earn $6 million rather than his request for $6.7 million. The 27-year-old Swanson hit .274 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs last season in an NL-high 237 at-bats. Atlanta pitcher Mike Soroka ($2.8 million) won, as did St. Louis pitcher Jack Flaherty ($3.9 million) and Tampa Bay first baseman Ji-Man Choi ($2.45 million). Davis ($2.1 million) and Baltimore outfielder Anthony Santander ($2.1 million) lost.
MLB players to wear electronic tracers, face discipline
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)NEW YORK – Major League Baseball players, on-field staff and non-playing personnel who require access to them at ballparks must wear electronic tracing wristbands from the start of spring training and face discipline for violations. However, MLB and the MLBPA will strongly encourage players to undergo vaccination at the appropriate time,” the manual states. MLB and the players' association combined to spend about $35 million on COVID-19 testing and rules last year. PCR testing will take place at least every other day starting in spring training and continue as long as a player's team advances until the postseason ends. Any spring training game may end in a tie.
MLB renews 7-inning doubleheaders, runners on 2nd in extras
The deal did not include last year’s experimental rule to extend the designated hitter to the National League or expanded playoffs. After allowing 16 teams in the postseason last year instead of 10, MLB had proposed 14 for this year before withdrawing that plan last month. “We’re comfortable with both rules,” San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler wrote in a text to the AP. About 12% of games were part of doubleheaders, the highest percentage since 13.6 in 1978. “I actually liked both the seven-inning doubleheaders and the runner on second,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin wrote in a text to the AP.
Mets' Davis, O's Santander lose arbitration, Rays' Choi wins
FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2020, file photo, New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis and the Mets argued the first of 13 scheduled salary arbitration cases this month. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)NEW YORK – The New York Mets defeated third baseman and outfielder J.D. Davis, the Baltimore Orioles beat outfielder Anthony Santander and first baseman Ji-Man Choi defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the first three of 13 scheduled salary arbitration cases this month. Santander gets a raise from $572,500 to $2.1 million rather than his $2,475,000 request, the same figures exchanged by Davis and the Mets.
On Baseball: MLB work stoppage in 2022 increasingly likely
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)NEW YORK – A work stoppage at the start of spring training 2022 seems increasingly likely after baseball players refused to negotiate with owners over a one-month delay for this spring training and regular season. “I hope we don't have a work stoppage. Clark said in an email he was not more worried about a work stoppage because of the current state of relations and that player anger at club behavior did not frame the relationship. AdSince the last baseball work stoppage, the NFL had a preseason lockout in 2011, and the NBA had lockouts that cut 1998-99 to 50 games per team and 2011-12 to 66 games per team. Publicly, baseball players and owners say they have to work together.
MLB to start on time after players reject delay
Major League Baseball players rejected a proposal to delay the start of spring training and the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, vowing Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, to report under the original schedule. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)NEW YORK – Major League Baseball will proceed with an on-time start to spring training and the season after players rejected a plan Monday night to delay reporting by a more than a month. “We were able to complete a 2020 season through Herculean efforts and sacrifices made by our players, club staff and MLB staff to protect one another,” MLB said. MLB believed the virus situation would improve during the month delay. Players know first-hand the efforts that were required to complete the abbreviated 2020 season, and we appreciate that significant challenges lie ahead.
Lindor, Bryant, Bellinger, Seager get big-money deals
Lindor, the star shortstop acquired last week by the New York Mets from Cleveland, got the largest of the deals at $22.3 million. Bellinger and Seager got big raises after helping the Los Angeles Dodgers win their first World Series title since 1988. He asked for a raise from $8 million to $12.5 million, and the Astros offered $9.75 million. Ace pitcher Walker Buehler asked for $4.15 million and was offered $3.3 million, and catcher Austin Barnes asked for $2 million and was offered $1.5 million. Also exchanging were New York Mets third baseman-outfielder J.D.
White Sox say they understand 'seriousness' La Russa case
(AP Photo/File)CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox are sticking with new manager Tony La Russa for now, saying they understand the “seriousness” of his latest drunken driving case and will have more to say once it plays out in court. The White Sox were aware of the case when they hired him. He is friends with chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and started his managing career with the White Sox during the 1979 season. The White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and ended a string of seven losing seasons with a 35-25 record. The White Sox plan to hire Ethan Katz as their pitching coach, a person familiar with the situation said on Thursday.
9 Padres pitchers blank Cardinals 4-0 in Game 3, reach NLDS
San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr., center, celebrates with teammates after the Padres defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 in Game 3 of a National League wild-card baseball series Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in San Diego. San Diego became the first team in baseball history to use eight or more pitchers in three straight postseason games. The Padres rewarded their long-suffering fans by winning one of the most meaningful games of any kind in San Diego in a long time. The city’s only major professional championship remains the San Diego Chargers’ 1963 AFL title. The Padres lost 4-1 to the Detroit Tigers in the 1984 World Series and were swept by the New York Yankees in the 1998 Fall Classic.
Tatis, Myers homer twice, Padres stay alive with 11-9 win
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)SAN DIEGO – Fernando Tatis Jr. had been waiting for a breakout game, and boy did “El Niño” get it. Wil Myers also homered twice and Manny Machado connected, but Tatis — with his signature exuberance and flair — was the one who carried the party at empty Petco Park. It was the 23rd comeback win of 2020 for the close-knit Padres, who have pushed each other all year. “I feel like we needed that big swing for the entire team to get us going," Tatis said of his first homer. It was the Padres’ first postseason win at Petco Park, which opened in 2004.
Lots of unfamiliar territory in 2020 baseball playoffs
Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts flies out to right field during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Los Angeles. Welcome to the first round of the 2020 playoffs, a class with an unusual amount of homework — and precious little room for error. After the pandemic-shortened regular season was limited to regional play, seven of the eight wild-card series involve teams that haven't played any meaningful games against each other since last year. “It’s like the old days, man, when you played a team you’ve never played before. That means a lot of video and scouting work before the AL playoffs begin Tuesday and the NL postseason starts Wednesday.
LEADING OFF: NL playoff race wide open, AL nearly locked in
The Marlins, Phillies, Cardinals, Reds, Brewers and Giants are the top teams still in contention -- and they’re packed tightly with slots available for one team from the NL East, another from the NL Central and then two wild cards. The Mets (26-31) and Rockies (25-31) are mathematically eligible but need to win out just to have a shot. AL-MOST OVEROnly one playoff spot remains open in the AL, and Michael Brantley and the Astros are on the verge of clinching it. The Twins are trying to seal the AL Central. The Chisox have lost five in a row, dropping them out of the AL Central lead and one game behind Minnesota.
Wieters has 19-pitch at-bat as Cardinals split DH with Twins
St. Louis Cardinals' Harrison Bader celebrates after scoring during the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)ST. LOUIS Backup catcher Matt Wieters acknowledges he might have to get in better shape for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wieters hit 14 foul balls during a grueling 19-pitch at-bat that finished with a deep flyout with the bases loaded during a wild rally that sent the Cardinals over the Minnesota Twins 6-4 Tuesday night for a doubleheader split. Wieters set the Cardinals record for a plate appearance in that span, topping 17 pitches seen by Rick Ankiel in 2008. Everyone says St. Louis is a baseball town, and my father absolutely was a baseball guy.
LEADING OFF: A's back in action after 4 virus postponements
Chicago Cubs' Yu Darvish throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. Oakland returns to the Coliseum as Jess Luzardo (2-1, 3.74 ERA) faces Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres. General manager David Forst said Mengden is asymptomatic and was placed on the 10-day injured list. CHECK HIMThe Astros will see how second Jose Altuves knee is feeling, a day after he made an early exit. Asked if his tribute is going to become a regular thing for the rest of the season, the typically low-key Reynolds provided a typically low-key response.
LEADING OFF: Cards, Brews try again after virus postponement
The Cardinals will see if they can begin their series at Milwaukee after St. Louis became the latest team to get shut down by the coronavirus. The Brewers home opener was postponed Friday because two Cardinals players tested positive for COVID-19. TV Show suggestions please, tweeted Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who had been scheduled to start. Max Scherzer and the World Series champs wont play again until hosting the New York Mets on Tuesday. San Diegos plus-19 run differential (52 runs scored/33 allowed) is its second best through eight games in team history.
LEADING OFF: Yelich, Springer slumping, Blue Jays wandering
Yelich also has struck out 12 times going into the series opener at home against Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals. Former World Series MVP George Springer (.048), two-time batting champ Jose Altuve (.174) and former All-Star Game MVP Alex Bregman (.174) will look to break loose when the Astros visit the Angels. TORONTOS TRAVELSVladimir Guerrero Jr. and the wandering Blue Jays will figure out where to spend this weekend after a three-game series in Philadelphia was called off because two Phillies staffers tested positive for the virus. Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and the Jays will stay in DC and work out at Nationals Park. The Blue Jays eventually will play home games in Buffalo at the stadium of their Triple-A affiliate.