Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

Chris Sale was four strikeouts short of history Monday night — and that wasn't the only thing that was short.

Sale and the Chicago White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays by the count of 4-2 in a game that lasted just one hour and 55 minutes, making it the shortest MLB game in four years. Don't attribute this to those new pace-of-play rules, rather it's what happens when Sale and Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle, two brisk workers on the mound, are matched up against each other.

Back to that other bit of history: Sale could have been the first pitcher to strikeout 10 or more hitters in nine consecutive starts, passing Pedro Martinez in 1999. But Sale finished the game with six Ks, which sync up with the six hits he allowed in his complete-game outing. 

Strikeout history would have been nice, but Sale said he's fine with a White Sox win:

"I'll take this outcome over that any day," Sale said. "I mean, it's one of those things, it's cool, it's fine. But we won the game, and I'm not gonna pout at all."

The outcome looked like it might be flipped when Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer in the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie, but the White Sox scored three runs in the eighth on a Jose Abreu single that tied the game and a two-run Melky Cabrera double that put Chicago ahead.

Your browser does not support iframes.

ROLLINS' GO-AHEAD HIT HELPS DODGERS IN FIRST GAME VS. PHILLIES
In his first game ever playing against the Philadelphia Phillies, Jimmy Rollins delivered. The Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop — traded from Philly to Cali in the offseason — broke a 7-7 with a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh.

The Dodgers won the game 10-7, with Rollins coming around to score that 10th run too. Afterward, he told reporters:

“When you get a hit like that it feels good, no matter who you’re playing against,” Rollins said. “If you don’t, it’s like, ‘Dammit.’ And I definitely didn’t want to have a ‘dammit’ moment against my former team.”

As quick as the Blue Jays-White Sox game was, this was the opposite. It lasted four hours and 13 minutes. 

DOZIER BEATS ORIOLES WITH WALK-OFF HOMER
Put this highlight in Brian Dozier's All-Star campaign. The Minnesota Twins' second baseman, who is one of five players in the AL's "Final Vote," hit a tenth-inning, walk-off homer to sink the Baltimore Orioles 4-2.

It came just hours after Dozier was announced as one of the finalists in the "Final Vote," so the timing couldn't have been better on both accounts. It was also Dozier's first career walk-off homer and, as you can tell, he was thrilled.

METS SCORE THREE IN THE NINTH TO BEAT SLUMPING GIANTS
The San Francisco Giants, losers of six straight, had to be looking at the zeroes on the scoreboard Monday and think it was their night. Problem was, both they and the New York Mets owned those zeroes. It was 0-0 into the ninth inning, and that's when the Mets scored three runs and locked down a 3-0 win.

Johnny Monell hit a two-run double that cracked the game open, and Juan Lagares singled him home for another run. Jon Niese pitched three-hit ball over eight innings to get the win, while the Giants' skid hits seven straight losses.

Want to see more from Monday's slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 7, 2015, 6:59 am

(AP)If you were rooting for anarchy to breakout on MLB's All-Star roster announcement day, then you were disappointed to learn that Alex Rodriguez was named neither an AL All-Star reserve Monday, nor was he one of the five competitors put in the "Final Vote" race.

Has A-Rod been good enough to warrant All-Star inclusion? That's quite debatable, but some people think so. His OPS, for example, is .902 and that's 14th best in baseball, better than All-Star starters Josh Donaldson, Buster Posey, Albert Pujols and Lorenzo Cain. A-Rod's hitting .284 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs. Pretty good. Better than almost anybody expected from him. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

But All-Star worthy? Not to AL skipper Ned Yost, who explained his snubbing of A-Rod on ESPN. And it had nothing to do with PEDs or his soiled reputation. Via NJ.com's Brendan Kuty

"We talked about A-Rod a lot," Yost said. "You look back at this five-man vote and we have three infielders, two outfielders, and we felt that it was important that we don't — we have Brock Holt that can play anywhere in the infield, but any other position we have a starter and a backup. In the outfield we have three starters and three backups. So I just felt very strongly that if we could get another infielder or another outfielder out of that five-man vote it would help us. That's what went in that decision."

Roster flexibility, eh? Well, A-Rod has had two hip surgeries, so flexibility isn't necessarily his thing these days. That's a joke, but seriously, A-Rod is mostly a DH nowadays.

It sure does sound like Yost is trying to build the AL All-Star team in his mold and not just picking the stars that he thinks fans will want to see in a showcase game. It's why the AL roster is deep with relievers and why he puts on a premium on a versatile player like Holt. 

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

That's certainly Yost's prerogative. Home-field advantage in the World Series is on the line and playing in front of the home crowd certainly helped the Royals' playoff run last season (though home-field in the World Series didn't help things end in K.C.'s favor).

His crew looks poised for another postseason run too. So if Yost is playing next week's exhibition game like it matters, you can't really fault him for leaving A-Rod at home.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 7, 2015, 6:06 am

(AP)The process by which we determine who starts the MLB All-Star game is completely up to fans. If you've been paying attention the last two months, you know this quite well. It was hard to miss all the handwringing about how many Kansas City Royals players might start because of their fans' feverish online ballot-stuffing.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

In the end, four Royals were voted as starters — catcher Salvador Perez, shortstop Alcides Escobar and outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon. As many as eight Royals were leading their positions just a few weeks ago, so four Royals seems like a fair enough compromise between over-eager K.C. clicksters and the rest of baseball.

But you know who wasn't nearly as keen on Kansas City's All-Star class? MLB players.

When the entire All-Star rosters were announced Monday, the results of the players' vote was also made public. The "players ballot," as it's called, is cast by players, managers and coaches. Here are the results of that vote and — spoiler alert — not a single Royals player finished No. 1.

AL Starting Pitchers
Dallas Keuchel, HOU – 381
Chris Archer, TB – 365
Sonny Gray, OAK – 352
Chris Sale, CWS – 306
David Price, DET – 242

AL Relief Pitchers
Dellin Betances, NYY – 222
Wade Davis, KC – 208
Glen Perkins, MIN – 131

AL Catchers
Stephen Vogt, OAK – 482

Jose Iglesias, not Alcides Escobar, was the players' vote for AL shortstop. (Getty Images)AL 1B
Miguel Cabrera, DET – 753*
Albert Pujols, LAA – 298

AL 2B
Jason Kipnis, CLE – 529

AL 3B
Josh Donaldson, TOR – 649*
Manny Machado, BAL - 271

AL SS
Jose Iglesias, DET – 369

AL OF
Mike Trout, LAA – 785*
Adam Jones, BAL – 424
Jose Bautista, TOR – 320
J.D. Martinez, DET – 315

AL DH
Prince Fielder, TEX - 533

*Denotes starter chosen by fans

This is all academic, of course, since the fan vote rules for All-Star starters. Winning the players' vote, however, does come with a reserve spot in the game if that player wasn't already voted in by the fans. That's the reason Kipnis, Vogt, Iglesias, Jones, Bautista, Martinez and Fielder were all named reserves. Albert Pujols would have also been a reserve too, but he slides into the starting spot because of Miguel Cabrera's injury.

Academic as this may be, it's still interesting to see the difference between what players think and what Royals fans All-Star voters think.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 7, 2015, 5:42 am

Certainly no one expects much from Jon Lester at the plate. He's a pitcher who spent his entire career in the American League before joining the Chicago Cubs this season. Still, Lester held the dubious honor of the most at-bats to start a career without a hit. We're talking the longest in the history of baseball.

Lester was 0-for-66 for his career when he stepped to the plate Monday night against St. Louis Cardinals starter (and former teammate) John Lackey. Lester put a good swing on Lackey's offering and smacked it back at the mound, where it ricocheted off Lackey. Lester arrived safely at first base, with a history-beating base hit.

It raised his career batting average from .000 to .015. Impressive indeed. If you count the playoffs, this was Lester's first hit in 72 at-bats. He set the record for most at-bats without a hit in May, passing former San Diego Padres pitcher Joey Hamilton, who started his career 0-for-57 before getting a hit in 1995. The longest 0-for in baseball now belongs to Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis, according to ESPN Stats & Info, who is 0-for-30 to start his career.

For a while, it looked like Lester might make hit history twice in one night. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Cards. It ended with one out in the seventh, when Jhonny Peralta ripped one down the third-base line and Kris Bryant couldn't snare it. The Cards went on to score two runs in the inning and four more in the ninth to beat the Cubs 6-0

But, hey, at least Jon Lester finally got a hit.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 7, 2015, 4:25 am
(AP Photo)

The wait is over! At long last, the full All-Star rosters have been revealed. Don't worry, though, there are still plenty of things to debate. Which pitchers should get the starting nod? Who should win the final vote? Why did your favorite player get snubbed?

Let's start to answer those questions by looking at the rosters. First, we'll kick things off in the National League:

The full 2015 National League All-Star Roster: pic.twitter.com/BY9sNI4IvM

— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) July 7, 2015

And now, the American League:

The full 2015 American League All-Star Roster: pic.twitter.com/WC6XL1LFuc

— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) July 7, 2015

Remember, pitchers and reserves are picked by the players and the managers of the game. In this case, that means Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost had a major hand in determining which players came along. 

Were you glad fan voting was over? Well, don't get too comfortable. The final vote candidates appear at the bottom of those lists. Fans will have until Friday to cast their votes for the most deserving player.

In the NL, that includes Johnny Cueto, Jeurys Familia, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez and Troy Tulowitzki.

In the AL, fans can vote for Xander Bogaerts, Yoenis Cespedes, Brian Dozier, Brett Gardner and Mike Moustakas. 

OTHER INTERESTING NOTES

• While Andrew McCutchen and Albert Pujols are technically reserves, both will start the game since Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Cabrera are out due to injuries.

• Notable snubs in the AL include Evan Longoria, Dustin Pedroia, Corey Kluber, Yovani Gallardo and Alex Rodriguez.

• In the NL, that list includes Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman and Matt Carpenter.

• The most surprising choices are probably DJ LeMahieu in the NL and Brock Holt in the AL. Both players are having fine seasons, but few expected they would make the All-Star roster.

• In his 17th, and likely his final, season, 38-year-old A.J. Burnett has been named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career.

• Cincinnati will have two hometown players in the game. That could jump to three if Cueto wins the final vote.

• Both managers are going to have a heck of a time choosing a starting pitcher.

Seriously, look at the talent at starting pitcher on both teams. Both managers are going to receive a lot of guff once they make their decisions, but it's tough to find a candidate who doesn't deserve to start. There are sure to be endless debates about the situation between now and July 14.

The arguments won't end there. Will Royals fans dominate the voting once again and get Moustakas in the game? How will the lineups shake out? How is A-Rod handling the snub? 

If nothing else, at least we'll get the answers to two of those questions by game day. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 7, 2015, 12:43 am
(AP Photo)

Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale will take the mound Monday with a lot at stake. If he can strike out 10 or more Toronto Blue Jays, Sale will set a major-league record with nine consecutive games with double-digit strikeouts. 

The pressure is going to be on in more than one way, however. The Blue Jays have been the best offensive team against left-handers by a wide margin this season. On top of that, Sale will be opposed on the mound by his former mentor, Mark Buehrle. 

Buehrle had a big impact on Sale's development when the two were teammates during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. While Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Chisholm Buehrle's relationship with Sale at that time is exactly how teammates should operate.

"That's the way it should be," longtime White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "Isn't your job to pass along information, help pay it forward, if you will? That's kind of the tradition, and Chris has learned a few things from a lot of people that have come through here I'm sure. And he's also learned by going out there himself, and he's also learned by his experiences."

At that time, Buehrle was, unquestionably, the leader of the White Sox's staff. Once Buehrle left for Miami in 2012, Sale assumed that role. (Getty Images)

The two could not be more dissimilar. According to BrooksBaseball.net, Sale has averaged 95.6 mph with his fastball this season. Buehrle is all the way down at 84.6 mph with his four-seamer. Sale absolutely dominates batters at the plate, and has a 34.6 strikeout rate. You could double Buehrle's 13.1 strikeout rate and you still wouldn't come close to matching Sale. 

At age-36, Buehrle is no longer in his prime, but it should still be entertaining to watch these two face off against each other. Buehrle has taken the mound just once against the White Sox since he left the club, and the fact that he gets to take on his successor in Round 2 makes things even more exciting. Given the White Sox's awful offense, the game might shake out closer than most fans think.

The Blue Jays offense might have something to do with that. Toronto has obliterated left-handed pitching this season. As a team, they are hitting .307/.374/.498 against southpaws. Their 141 wRC+ against lefties is easily the highest figure in the majors. Aside from Clayton Kershaw, there may not be a better left-hander in the game right now, so something has got to give Monday. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

No matter what happens, it should be exciting. Sale has a chance at history, and can do it with his former mentor on the mound. For the second time in his career, Buehrle gets to take on the team he led for so many years. 

At the very least, we'll finally get to see whether the student can best the teacher.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 6, 2015, 10:49 pm

(Getty Images)Robinson Cano hasn't played like a $24 million man this season for the Seattle Mariners. He's hitting .248, far below his career batting average of .306, with five homers and 27 RBIs. He's one of the reasons the Mariners are a disappointing 38-44 and in fourth place in the AL West.

As it turns out, though, this isn't a run-of-the-mill baseball slump. Nor is it a typical decline for a former star. Cano, 32, admitted to USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz, in a Spanish-language interview, that he's been battling a stomach problem for almost a year and the results have been draining. 

Cano was in the midst of his sixth All-Star season last year when he started experiencing stomach discomfort in August. With the Mariners in the playoff chase, he didn't get it checked until their season was over, in October. Cano said he was told he had a common parasite, which was treated with antibiotics, but he was left with acid reflux to this day.

"It still affects me," Cano said. "Sometimes you drink water and it makes you feel like vomiting. I can't eat the same way I did. It's hard to deal with, especially being the first time this has happened to me. Sometimes I eat only once a day before playing, because I feel full. And you just don't have the same energy."

Cano told USA Today that he's been reluctant to speak publicly about his health problems because he doesn't want to make excuses. Making changes to his diet and taking medicine haven't solved it either, Cano says. Again, from USA Today:

An avid seafood eater, Cano has eliminated red meat from his menu because it takes long to digest, and the acid reflux delays the digestive process. Despite diet changes and medication, the condition persists.

"Sometimes I play without any strength or energy, but you have to play, give the best of yourself,'' Cano said. "Some people may say, 'Cano, he's listless.' But (the energy) is not the same."

(Getty Images)

Stomach issues can hurt — and they can make it make harder to focus if the pain is persistent. This obviously isn't as simple as taking a daily pill that Larry the Cable Guy is advertising and asking Cano go about his business. To add to his tough season, Cano tells Ortiz that the death of his grandfather — who Cano describes as a second father — has been weighing on him since March.

From a baseball standpoint, the Mariners need Cano at full ability like yesterday. They put together a team around Cano that many thought would contend this year and into the future. They've all but fallen out of the AL West race for this season. But the concern is bigger than that. He's a long-term investment in Seattle, with $24 million coming his way each year until 2023. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 6, 2015, 8:59 pm
(AP Photo)

Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper will not participate in the Home Run Derby this season. Harper told reporters Monday that he is going to skip the event.

Harper cited a couple of reasons for declining the invite.

Bryce Harper won't participate in HR Derby. Wants to stay in routine & says, more than anything, wouldn't feel right w/o dad throwing to him

— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) July 6, 2015

Harper's father, Ron, had rotator cuff surgery recently, and wouldn't be able to throw to Bryce during the contest. Last month, Harper told the Washington Post that it wouldn't be the same without his dad throwing to him.

“If I win it for the first time, I want it to be with my dad,” Harper said. “That’s something really special. We’ll see. I’ve still gotta make the all-star team.”

He also mentioned that he didn't want to alter his routine. There's some evidence that participating in the event can mess up a player's swing for the second half. Harper may have been referring to that theory. 

(Getty Images)

It should also be noted that Harper hasn't participated in on-field batting practice all season. He says taking four or five rounds before games can be tiring, and he's trying to conserve energy. Given how tiring the Home Run Derby can be, it makes sense for Harper to bow out considering his routine this season. 

While Harper's reasons for skipping the event are understandable, his absence definitely hurts Major League Baseball. With Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Cabrera unable to participate due to injuries, the Derby could lack some star power this year.

Paul Goldschmidt and Mike Trout can probably still headline the event, but MLB will miss those three studs. Hometown guy Todd Frazier should get the fans excited, but he doesn't have the same draw for a national audience just yet. 

One would assume Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado could all be asked to participate. And Joc Pederson would be a tremendous candidate if he makes the team. That's not a bad list, and it mixes established stars with up-and-coming youngsters.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Still, Harper's absence is significant. The 22-year-old has established himself as the best player in the game this season. His .347/.474/.722 slash line is completely bananas. He's the one star fans should be lining up to watch, and he's not going to take part in one of baseball's big events. 

It's tough to criticize Harper for the decision, given that his primary focus should be winning a championship for the Nationals, but we're still allowed to be sad that he won't be out there hitting dingers and flipping his glorious hair.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 6, 2015, 8:22 pm

Teams around MLB began hitting the 81-game mark — and thus, the midway point of the season — late last week. As of Monday, 26 of 30 teams are halfway through their season. Yes, the All-Star break isn't until next week, but midseason is upon us. Like, right now. 

So we at The Stew thought the time was right to look back at the first half of the 2015 baseball season and forecast what's coming in the second half. This is the first installment of a five-part series that will run all week. We'll talk about surprises, disappointments, who's poised for redemption in the second half and which managers might be out of jobs next.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

First, though, we look at the big picture: What have been the biggest stories of the MLB season? Our crew of bloggers picked the five biggest and explain why. As you'd expect, our list contains some on-the-field action and some off-the-field controversy. Every story, though, had people talking.

(AP)

THE CARDINALS-ASTROS HACK
Easily the most shocking story of the MLB season so far came in mid-June when the New York Times reported that the FBI was investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for allegedly hacking into the Houston Astros' internal database. The news sent shockwaves through the league and instantly placed one of the model franchises in North American sports in the midst of controversy. It didn't take long for the comparisons to the New England Patriots to follow.

Now as more information has became available, the plot to keep tabs on the Astros might not be nefarious as first feared, but it was at least bad enough for the Cardinals to fire their scouting director last week. St. Louis is a team to watch in the second half for two reasons. They have the best record in baseball at 53-28 and are putting themselves in prime position to add another World Series to their already large collection, if they can continue to withstand injuries the way they did in the first half of the season. It will also be interesting to see what else comes of the investigation into the hacking and if it overshadows another potential historic season in Cardinals land. (Israel Fehr)

• • •

(AP)

BRYCE HARPER'S BREAKOUT
When Derek Jeter retired, Major League Baseball lost the face of the game. Jeter was MLB. He did numerous endorsements all while playing the toughest position for the most popular team in the game. With Jeter gone, MLB would have to find a new superstar to market.

Enter Bryce Harper! The 22-year-old has broken out in a huge way this season. Through 82 games, he's hitting an astounding .347/.474/.722, with 25 home runs. Those are Bonds-ian numbers! Nobody, not even Mike Trout, has been able to match Harper this season. For MLB, it couldn't come at a better time. Harper is young, has personality and plays on a great team. He's undoubtedly the next face of the game, and he's done more than enough to prove it this season. Are you ready for another decade plus of this type of production? I know I am. (Chris Cwik)

• • •

(AP)

ALEX RODRIGUEZ'S COMEBACK
You can love him or hate him, but you can't ignore the fact that Alex Rodriguez has been a positive addition to the New York Yankees lineup this season. But what's truly remarkable and equally fascinating about A-Rod's comeback story is that it's not the story we all envisioned it would be six months ago, because A-Rod has done a great job simply blending in and going about his business. He hasn't talked out of turn, let alone commanded the spotlight, which has allowed him to settle in comfortably and allowed us to truly absorb his impact.

From a baseball perspective, for a guy with so much baggage and so many question marks surrounding his health, it's really quite stunning that's he been so effective — 16 homers, 47 RBIs, hitting .284 with a .902 OPS, which is 14th best in baseball. The milestones get the headlines, but his presence has been real and his impact has been felt. He might not be an All-Star, but he's proven he belongs again. (Mark Townsend)

• • •

(Getty Images)

ALL-STAR VOTING SNAFU
The All-Star game is supposed to pit players from both leagues in a head-to-head matchup of game’s best players. It’s also meant to honor players for their fine performances in the first half of the year. The starting nine for each team, however, is chosen by the fans. So what happens when one fan base hijacks the voting process? Basically you get what nearly happened in 2015 – the National League All-Stars versus the Kansas City Royals.

Royals fans spent weeks stuffing the ballot box for the July 14 game in Cincinnati. So much so that at one point during voting, eight Royals were slated to start. Eight out of nine! The final number ended up being a mere four, but the situation showed flaws in the voting process and led to cries for immediate change. When Omar Infante gets almost twice as many votes as Jason Kipnis, something is wrong. And don’t forget, the game means something. The winning league, of course, gets home-field advantage in the World Series.  The story will certainly die down a bit after the game is played, but it won’t be the last we hear about voting reform. Thanks, Royals fans. (Ian Denomme)

• • •

(Getty Images)

THE YEAR OF THE PROSPECT
As the above sections describe, this 2015 MLB season has been plenty interesting on and off the field, but in the future, when we're looking back at this year, we might forget the results and controversies altogether and just remember all the big-name prospects that arrived. We've got the watch as Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton played their first MLB games. Joey Gallo, Addison Russell, Miguel Sano, Carlos Rodon, Francisco Lindor, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz all got the big-league call. If you add Joc Pederson, who debuted last season but is still considered a rookie, then we've got one youngster playing like a legitimate All-Star.

All these names that we've been hearing about and waiting for, they're finally here. Even if they're not playing for your favorite team, you have to appreciate the influx of young talent hitting the game. It's a great time to be a baseball fan and this proves it further. (Mike Oz)

COMING TUESDAY: The five biggest surprises of the 2015 MLB season

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: July 6, 2015, 6:22 pm

Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer has incredible focus. He's proven as much this season, following up his one-hitter with a no-hitter. In both starts, Scherzer could have crumbled under the immense pressure. Instead, he proved to be unflappable, maintaining his tenacity and energy as the games went on.

Apparently, Scherzer carries that same demeanor off the field. During an interview with the Sunday Night Baseball crew, Scherzer's teammates did everything they could to knock him off his game. It didn't work.

There's a lot going on here, so let's break it down. Catcher Jose Lobaton appears to start the hijinks by pouring sunflower seeds over Scherzer's head. Scherzer doesn't even acknowledge the seeds, and goes on to continue giving an excellent answer to the question he was asked. 

Anthony Rendon steps in with a cup of water to quench Scherzer's thirst, and, again, Scherzer takes a sip in between questions and continues with the interview. 

Both men attempt to come back again in order to throw Scherzer off his game, but continue to fail. Rendon even gives him some bubble gum to potentially ruin the interview, but Scherzer manages to deal with the situation. Eventually, Aaron Barrett feeds Scherzer something. A peanut, maybe? We're not sure. It still doesn't throw Scherzer off his game.

Throughout the interview, the announcers eventually mention Scherzer's teammates messing with him. But, let's assume the camera was never on Scherzer, and the announcers never brought it up. Would the fans at home have any idea some shenanigans were happening? Nope, and that's because Scherzer was an absolute pro. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Unfortunately for us, this performance probably discourages opposing teams from trying to mess with Scherzer the next time he's throwing a great game. We would have paid good money to see a batter walk up to the plate wearing a clown nose, or attempting to use a comically oversized bat. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 6, 2015, 5:58 pm

The best record in the American League belongs to the 48-36 Houston Astros, and it's going to stay that way if they keep getting plays like the one center fielder Jake Marisnick made Sunday.

Taking on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Marisnick showed off his sparkling defensive skills in the sixth inning when Brock Holt lifted a fly ball to left-center field that look destined to carom off the Green Monster for extra bases.

Not on Marisnick's watch though.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Running full sprint to his right, Marisnick crashed into the iconic wall and caught the ball mid-jump. It's definitely one of the best defensive highlights we've seen this season. However, despite Marisnick's efforts, the Red Sox went onto win the game 5-4.

The Green Monster is infamously unforgiving. The way Marisnick went for the ball without any fear is pretty impressive, especially considering he had just been activated off the DL before the game. He even received a round of applause from the fans in Boston for his trouble.

Real recognize real. That's what the cool kids say, right?

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Israel Fehr is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr

Author: Israel Fehr
Posted: July 6, 2015, 4:15 pm

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

The Washington Nationals played with nine fielders against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, but they really only needed two. Jordan Zimmermann and Wilson Ramos starred as the Nats took the 3-1 victory over the reigning World Series champs.

On the mound, Zimmermann was fantastic. He allowed just one run on three hits over seven strong innings. Zimmermann walked one and struck out eight during the contest. His only blemish was a solo home run to Brandon Crawford in the fourth inning. Other than that, the Giants failed to get much going against Zim.

At the plate, Zimmermann's battery mate took center stage. Ramos broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with a solo shot off George Kontos. He would also drive in the team's insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Ramos finished 2 for 3, with two runs scored and two RBI. He also reached on a walk.

Over his past three starts, Zimmermann has been exceptional. In 22 innings, he's allowed just one earned run. He's posted a 17:1 strikeout to walk ratio over that period. Following Sunday's start, Zimmermann now has a 3.04 ERA. After a slow start to the year, he's starting to round into form.

With the victory, the Nationals improved to 46-36 on the year.

BIG ERV IMPRESSES IN SEASON DEBUT

The Minnesota Twins have already made surprised plenty of people this season. They've been able to do so without one of their best pitchers, Ervin Santana. Santana returned from his suspension Sunday and pitched well during a 3-2 loss.

Santana, who was suspended for the first 80 games of the season after testing positive for steroids during the offseason, looked great in his first game back. The 32-year-old allowed two runs on just three hits over eight strong innings. Santana walked three, but struck out eight during the outing.

Santana left with the game tied, receiving a no-decision for his efforts. The Kansas City Royals managed to scratch across a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, saddling the Twins with the loss.

Minnesota's rotation hasn't been particularly strong all season, so Santana should provide a nice upgrade. The club ranks 18th in starting pitcher ERA and 17th in FIP, just below the league average in both categories. 

With the loss, the Twins fell to 43-39 on the season. They are 4.5 games back of the Royals in the American League Central.

PHILLIES PULL OFF LATE RALLY

The Philadelphia Phillies haven't experienced a ton of highlights this season, but that changed Sunday. Philly rallied against the Atlanta Braves, scoring four runs in extras to pick up the victory.

While neither factored into the decision, both starting pitchers deserve a ton of credit. Cole Hamels tossed seven scoreless frames, giving up just six hits. He did not issued a walk, and struck out six during the outing. 

Shelby Miller wasn't as good, but his performance was still impressive. Over 6 1/3 scoreless innings, Miller gave up seven hits. He walked two and struck out eight. 

Both teams received strong bullpen work once their starters were removed. That lasted until the top of the 10th inning, when the Philly bats started to come alive. 

The club feasted on Nick Masset immediately. Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez each singled to open the frame, and Maikel Franco walked to load the bases. Ryan Howard would come through with a sac fly, giving the team a 1-0 lead.

That wasn't enough. Carlos Ruiz would drive in two more runs on a double, and Freddy Galvis would single in the fourth run of the inning. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Jonathan Papelbon came on in the bottom of the ninth, and managed to shut the door. With the win, Philadelphia improved to 28-56 on the year.

MATZ DOES IT AGAIN FOR METS

By the end of the season, New York Mets might regret that they didn't call up rookie Steven Matz sooner. The 24-year-old was excellent his second time out, picking up the 8-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Once again, Matz contributed in both aspects of the game. On the mound, he gave up just two hits over six shutout innings. Matz struck out eight and walked two during the outing. 

At the plate, Matz picked up another RBI. He already has five RBI despite making just two starts in the majors. 

With the victory, the Mets improved to 42-41 on the season. The club remains 4.5 games out of the National League East lead. 

Want to see more from Sunday's slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 6, 2015, 4:15 am

The Boston Red Sox started David Ortiz at first base Sunday, and wound up making franchise history. Given his lack of experience in the field, there was considerable concern that his poor defense could sink the club.

That wasn't the case. In fact, if you were evaluating Ortiz's defense at home, you didn't have much to go on. That's because he was almost invisible out there.

From @EliasSports: Today marked the first time in the franchise's 17,867-game history that the Red Sox did not have a 1B record a putout.

— Jon Shestakofsky (@Shesta_Sox) July 6, 2015

A quick look at the box score confirms that this is a fact. (Getty Images)

The Red Sox induced just two ground ball outs during the contest. Ortiz was involved in one of them, but flipped the ball to pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez for the putout. The second came when the next batter, Jake Marisnick, was called out on a bunt attempt due to batter interference.

Amazingly, every other out against the Red Sox was either a flyball or line drive to a position other than first base. That is pretty amazing!

The fact that Ortiz was involved only intensifies the weirdness of the situation. It was Ortiz's first start at the position in Fenway since 2005

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

It's not often a team can get by without starting a first baseman, but you can argue the Red Sox could have done that Sunday. Ortiz was involved in just one freaking play. 

Coming into the contest, it was looking like Ortiz's start would be the strangest thing to happen on the field. The Red Sox somehow found a way to top that, and Ortiz still remained the focus. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 6, 2015, 1:13 am
(Getty Images)

Forget about East Coast bias, it's time Major League Baseball started looking into their Midwest bias. They can start the investigation in Missouri. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals fared well as the All-Star Game starters were announced Sunday. While neither team dominated the ballots the way they did a few weeks ago, both came away with some solid results.

The Cardinals came away with two starters in the National League, but many of their players finished second at their respective positions. 

The final NL voting results are in for the #ASG: pic.twitter.com/hcobcPsQFk

— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) July 5, 2015

After weeks of intrigue, the Royals wound up with four starters in the American League.

Here are the AL final voting totals for the #ASG: pic.twitter.com/wpSgfrM7zT

— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) July 5, 2015

In the weeks leading up to the announcement, Royals fans seemed to dominate the vote. At one point, the club would have had eight starters. Rival fans came out in force the last few rounds of voting, lowering that number to four. 

The Cardinals never had the same support, though fared exceptionally well throughout the voting. The team only has two starters, but that's because hometown hero Todd Frazier beat out Matt Carpenter in the past few days, and Buster Posey surged over Yadier Molina in that same timeframe. 

OTHER TIDBITS OF NOTE

  • Josh Donaldson was the top overall vote-getter. He actually set a new All-Star Game record with just over 14 million votes.
  • In the National League, Bryce Harper led the way. Harper received 13.8 million votes.
  • The NL outfield could look different on game day. Giancarlo Stanton won't be back from his injury, and Matt Holliday is still working his way back. Holliday told MLB.com reporter Jenifer Langosch that he plans on playing as long as he can return from his quad injury.
  • Miguel Cabrera will also have to be replaced at first base. He's out at least six weeks with a calf strain.
  • The biggest snub in the AL is probably Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis. Jose Altuve isn't a bad choice, but Kipnis is hitting .342/.421/.506 this season while playing solid defense.
  • There are a lot of deserving candidate in the NL. Anthony Rizzo and Andrew McCutchen stand out. A.J. Pollack has been really good, but has flown under the radar since he plays in Arizona.
  • Todd Frazier is the only Red to start the game, which will be held in Cincinnati this year.
  • Overall, the fans cast 620 million votes, setting a new All-Star Game record.

The All-Star Game will take place July 14 in Cincinnati. Flip on the game, and cheer on your favorite players. For the first time in a long time, that might be tough to do if your team plays on the East Coast. 

Reserves, pitchers and final vote candidates will be announced Monday. Which players do you want to see make the final All-Star squad?

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 6, 2015, 12:14 am

Anybody who has played sports knows they're at risk of catching one on the nose. We've all been there. Whether it's a ball, an elbow, a hockey stick, another elbow, a forehead or another person's fist, all it takes is that one direct shot to ruin your day.

With that in mind, it's not unusual to see an athlete sporting a bloody nose. However, in the instance of New York Mets ace Matt Harvey, who was spotted bleeding from the nose during his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, it was unusual because he wasn't on the receiving end of any intended or unintended physical violence.

Bloody nose Harvey again #mets pic.twitter.com/EjeTOoA7ib

— Earl (@EarlTSB) July 4, 2015

That was the scene during the second inning. It's actually the second time Harvey has experienced a nose bleed in the middle of a game. Back on May 7, 2013, Harvey pitched through a more noticeable nose bleed en route to his best major-league start — nine scoreless innings with one hit allowed and 12 strikeouts. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

On Saturday, Harvey was able to complete the inning without a delay, but the reoccurring issue had people talking and wondering what the issue might be. Harvey attempted to explain that following the game.

From ESPN New York: 

Harvey said "sometimes the weather, travel, going on long plane trips" induces the issue.
"I've had them for a while," he said. "It's something I had as a kid, and I've kind of dealt with the last couple of years."

It's not a major issue, but it's probably a major annoyance.

Speaking of which, the Mets have several major issues that are also annoying. One of those would be the team's six-man rotation, which Harvey admitted had him out of rhythm on Saturday.

"With the six-man and then the day off, throwing last Saturday and then this Saturday is tough," Harvey said. "We're all having to deal with it. It's not an excuse why things didn't go well today. I just have to do a better job of finding a way to get a rhythm throughout an extended period of rest like that."
Harvey said he might throw off a mound twice instead of his customary once between starts to try to stay sharp.
"Obviously one bullpen didn't work this week," he said.

Harvey labored through five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and five walks. If he wants to make an excuse, we'll excuse him while also nodding our heads in agreement. It's not a matter of finding his rhythm in this set up, it's a matter of creating a new rhythm, which is much easier said than done.

There's also the issue of New York's punchless offense, which only came to life after Dodgers starter Zack Greinke left Saturday's game. They made it interesting, but ultimately fell 4-3, falling back to .500 at 41-41.

What will it take to stop the bleeding following a red-hot start to the season? That's the big question, and the Mets have about four weeks to find some answers.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 5, 2015, 8:41 pm

After leaving his start early on Saturday afternoon with tightness in his left side, Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was officially placed on the disabled list Sunday with a strained left oblique.

It's already the second DL stint for the 26-year-old Strasburg. He was making his third start off the disabled list on Saturday after missing three weeks with neck and back tightness. He'd looked healthy and effective since his return, allowing just two earned runs in 15 2/3 innings. However, one wrong move seems to have created an entirely new issue. 

Strasburg suffered the strain while making a move to field Buster Posey's ground ball in the fourth inning. He came up holding his left side and wincing, but remained in the game to throw three additional pitches. Nationals manager Matt Williams and the team's athletic trainer eventually came out to talk to Strasburg and ultimately removed him from the game. 

"I think I wanted to at least get through the inning and see if we could do something about," Strasburg explained following the game, "but with how it feels right now I think it was the right move."

There's no initial timetable for Strasburg's return. With the All-Star break coming up, that gives the Nationals some flexibility to work around the injury. However, given the unpredictable nature of oblique injuries, there's no telling how much time he'll need to recover. 

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

In the mean time, they've recalled Taylor Jordan to fill his roster spot. 

The Nats announce they've placed Stephen Strasburg on the DL with a left oblique strain. Taylor Jordan called up.

— Tom Schad (@Tom_Schad) July 5, 2015

Brutal news for Strasburg, who just came off the DL less than two weeks ago. Seemed 100% healthy for the first time all season. Then this.

— Tom Schad (@Tom_Schad) July 5, 2015

Tanner Roark, who would already be starting for several teams around MLB, will move from long reliever into the rotation. In five starts this season, he's 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA. 

As for Strasburg, his talent remains unquestioned. It's just a matter of staying healthy, and when healthy, staying consistent. The former is of much greater concern to Washington right now though, and it will be quite interesting to see how much of an impact he can have on their postseason push.  

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 5, 2015, 7:53 pm

The Altoona Curve — Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates — are hoping Sunday will be a beautiful day in their neighborhood.

For this evening's game against the Harrisburg Senators, Altoona will join WPSU Penn State and The Fred Rogers Company in presenting "A Night in the Neighborhood," a celebration of the classic children's series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and current PBS KIDS television show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

Of course, the highlight of almost any minor league promotion is the uniforms. This will be no different, especially for those who grew up watching the original program or have become familiar with Mister Rogers' collection of cardigan sweaters that he'd pluck from the closet to begin every show.

July 5th is A Night in the Neighborhood w/Daniel Tiger + Mister Rogers' Sweater Jerseys. Be ours? #NeighborhoodNight pic.twitter.com/CD8fTVlQXI

— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) June 11, 2015

There was no greater symbol of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, so we applaud the choice.

Now, if they only came in several different colors, that would be perfect.

Oh well, we can't be too picky. And besides, they're also using this promotion to benefit the American Rescue Workers. That fact alone makes it a worthwhile promotion.

Here's more from the Altoona Curve website:

For the game on July 5, the Curve will also be holding a Daniel Tiger/Mister Rogers Sweater Drive to benefit the American Rescue Workers. People are encouraged to donate new or gently-worn sweaters, as well as other clothing, as they come to the game. Neighborhood Sweater Drive bins will be placed at each of the gates at Peoples Natural Gas Field as well as at the Laurel Eye Clinic Customer Service Booth. All of Fred Rogers' original sweaters were knitted by his mother.

That's a factoid you probably didn't know.

The event also sounds like a can't miss for kids.

WPSU will be at the ballpark that day and will hand out 500 books to children during the game. In addition, one special child could win a grand prize of a Daniel Tiger Prize Pack that will feature Daniel Tiger merchandise, including books, a plush toy, and additional items.

There's a little something for several generations to enjoy.

Now won't you grab those tickets, neighbor?

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 5, 2015, 6:51 pm

Your browser does not support iframes.

Looking to shake up his lineup a bit and buy some rest for veterans Mike Napoli and Hanley Ramirez, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell wrote David Ortiz's name into the lineup at first base on Sunday.

That may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but it kind of is when you consider Ortiz has not started a home game at first base since July 16, 2005. That's a nearly 10-year stretch between home starts at first base. In fact, we're just 11 days short of celebrating the 10-year anniversary.

That's a long, long time, even in baseball years.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Ortiz's first base appearances are typically reserved for Boston's interleague games in National League parks, when the designated hitter rule disappears. In fact, Ortiz hasn't even started a non-interleague game in the field since Aug. 5, 2006, when he also started at first against the Tampa Bay Rays. And even on those occasions it's a decision the Red Sox have to wrestle with. 

That speaks to how unusual the arrangement is, and, quite frankly, how ill-suited Ortiz is for playing in the field, especially now at age 39. But that doesn't mean he wasn't looking forward to it

"When I play first base, it’s kind of fun because I’m not just thinking about hitting," Ortiz said. "My only problem is I’m not 20 anymore, so it catches up with me at some point, but it’s fun. When I play first base every once in a while, it distracts me to something else, know what I’m saying? Which is good, because when you’re thinking about hitting, hitting, hitting, hitting, and at the time you’re not swinging well, you probably get stuck on that."

The distraction may do Ortiz some good. He enters play on Sunday hitting just .230/.322/.428 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs. The power numbers are on track and the overall numbers really aren't that bad for a 39-year-old DH. However, the Red Sox need more and Ortiz has shown he's capable of doing more, hitting .298/.389/.556 over the past four seasons.

The one start may or may not help Ortiz in the long run, but Farrell's focus is clearly on buying some rest for Hanley Ramirez and mental rehab for Mike Napoli. 

On Sunday, Ramirez is handling DH duties as a way to get him off his feet and out of left field, where he's struggled to adjust in Fenway Park.  He's actually done quite well in his DH starts already this season, hitting .333 with four homers in six games, so it's a role he seems comfortable in. 

As for Napoli, he gets the day off on Sunday after going 0-for-9 with four strikeouts and an error during the first two games against Houston. His season batting average dropped to .192. With Boston also off on Monday, he'll have two days to recharge and refocus.

“Today’s lineup, I think gives us the best lineup we can put on the field,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “Recognize that it’s been quite some time since David has played first base in an American League game. It also gives us the ability to put [Alejandro] De Aza in left field. It’s about putting the best lineup on the field today.”

That's an interesting quote that seemingly leaves the door open for Ortiz to play some more first base down the road. Farrell wouldn't confirm or deny any plans, simply stating that he didn't know how frequently he'd consider it. 

It's something worth watching at least, and we definitely will be watching on Sunday. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 5, 2015, 6:03 pm

With Miguel Cabrera expected to miss six weeks with a Grade 3 strain of his left calf, the Detroit Tigers are losing an irreplaceable piece of their offense.

With that in mind, we're certain the veteran first baseman would have never even attempted making the catch his replacement Alex Avila pulled off on Saturday afternoon.

Typically the Tigers' starting catcher, Avila was making his first career start at first base in Cabrera's absence. It's a role he's expected to fill at least semi-regularly while Cabrera heals, and he made a great first impression with an outstanding catch while tumbling into the first row of seats down the right-field line at Comerica Field.

It wasn't the most convenient place in the ballpark to made such an attempt, either. Though the ball sailed beyond the Tigers first base dugout and beyond the tarp, Avila had to deal with some signage. Avila actually appeared to clip his right knee on the sign, which made his concentration and ability to hold on even more impressive.

It wasn't Josh Donaldson or Nolan Arenado good by any means. Both of those players literally launched themselves toward the stands with little regard for their health or well-being. Still, it was plenty good, and we're sure there were a few people in the Tigers dugout holding their breath as Avila neared and then impacted the wall.

Avila has only been back with the team for two days after spending nearly two months on the disabled list. Avila had been dealing with continued soreness in his left knee, which the team initially feared would sideline him for the rest of the season. The fact that his right knee clipped the sign had to be of some relief, but we're guessing the Tigers would prefer he avoid any type of contact with his knees.

Avila has also dealt with concussion issues, making the fall into the stands a bit scarier. 

(MLB.TV)
The Tigers probably figure playing Avila more at first base than catcher for the foreseeable future should keep him healthier, but efforts like Saturday's could cast some doubt on that. 

As it turns out, Avila was able to walk away here no worse for the wear. The Tigers are also 1-0 without Miguel Cabrera, as they cruised to an 8-3 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 5, 2015, 4:25 pm

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

After a quiet June, it seems Kris Bryant may be getting ready to get hot again in July.

In the Cubs 7-2 victory against the Miami Marlins on Saturday, Bryant launched his first two home runs since June 22 — when he homered twice off Clayton Kershaw — and did so in each of the first two innings.

In the first inning, Bryant connected for a two-run homer off Miami starter Jarred Cosart that may have clipped the new left field videoboard. One inning later, Bryant unloaded against Cosart for a grand slam, which broke the game wide open and gave him a career-high six RBIs.

The Cubs wouldn't need any more offense the rest of the game, and wouldn't get any either. After Bryant's slam, they couldn't muster another hit against Miami's bullpen.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Veteran left-hander Clayton Richard picked up the win for Chicago in his Cubs debut. That was interesting for a couple reasons. First, Richard was only acquired in a minor trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. Second, he became the 2,000th player to suit up for the Cubs during a regular season game.

He celebrated the opportunity and the milestone with a quality outing, holding Miami to two runs over 6 1/3 innings.

ZACK GREINKE EXTENDS SCORELESS STREAK TO 27 2/3 INNINGS

If you're looking for the National League's starting pitcher in the All-Star game, look no further than Zack Greinke.

The Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander has been outstanding all season long, but he's taken his game to another level over this past four starts by posting 27 2/3 scoreless innings. That's a career best for Greinke, but he still has a ways to go to equal Orel Hershiser's all-time (and franchise) record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings

Greinke was good for seven scoreless in the Dodgers 4-3 win against the New York Mets on Saturday. Greinke allowed just four hits while striking out four. He finished strong, retiring the last 11 batters he faced, and left in good position with his Dodgers leading by four. However, the Mets made things interesting against the Los Angeles bullpen before ultimately falling short.

On the other side, Matt Harvey admittedly struggled getting into a rhythm with his extra day of rest. In five innings, he allowed three runs on seven hits and five walks. That's the very definition of laboring, and it's a concern if the Mets go with a six-man rotation for any length of time.

YANKEES MAKE IT BACK-TO-BACK WALK-OFF WINS

After entering the month of July without a single walk-off win this season, the New York Yankees made it two straight in Saturday's 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

On Friday, catcher Brian McCann provided the heroics, launched a three-run homer in the 12th inning. On Saturday, it was the Rays doing the heavy lifting for New York thanks to a costly throwing error by reliever Brad Boxberger.

After Mark Teixeira started the ninth inning with a double and Chris Young drew a walk, rookie Ramon Flores dropped a sacrifice bunt attempt that Boxberger fielded and then threw wide to first base. As the ball skipped away, pinch-runner Jose Pirela raced around from second to score the winner.

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

The victory was thrilling, but also somewhat bittersweet for New York. Starter Michael Pineda was excellent, shutting out the Rays on five hits over seven innings. He struck out 10. Unfortunately, closer Dellin Betances was unable to lock down the four-out save. In the ninth, he served up a game-tying home run to Steven Souza Jr. Souza had entered the game in an 0-for-25 slump with 15 strikeouts.

A win is a win, which extended the Yankees lead in the AL East to two full games over the Baltimore Orioles. A loss is also a loss for the Rays, giving them seven straight. They've gone from first place to three games back this week.

KENDALL GRAVEMAN OUTDUELS KING FELIX

As is seemingly the case every year, the Oakland A's have another outstanding young pitcher in Kendall Graveman that very few people are talking about.

The 25-year-old right-hander was sent to the minor leagues earlier this season for a minor tuneup. Since returning on May 23, he's posted eight quality starts in nine outings and hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of them. More recently, he's pitched at least seven innings in six straight without allowing more than two runs.

That hot streak continued on Saturday, as Graveman tossed seven scoreless frames to outduel King Felix Hernandez in Oakland's 2-0 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

Hernandez himself pitched seven innings, but was a bit shaky at times. Though Oakland only scored twice, Hernandez allowed a season-high 10 hits. He had a particularly tough time dealing with leadoff man Billy Burns. Burns reached twice, scored twice and stole a bag. Ben Zobrist was responsible for knocking Burns home both times, with a single in the first and sacrifice fly in the seventh.

With the win, Oakland moved to within one-half game of Seattle in the standings. The A's currently occupy the cellar in the AL West. Also of note, it's the first time Oakland has defeated Hernandez at O.co Coliseum in 13 starts.

Want to see more from Saturday's slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 5, 2015, 5:36 am

Holy cow! Chicago White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia made perhaps the defensive play of the year on Saturday, robbing Baltimore's Chris Davis of a game-tying home run with a sensational leaping catch in the ninth inning.

After blowing a two-run lead and Jeff Samardzija's chance at a victory in the top of the eighth inning, the White Sox had regained the lead in the bottom half on pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck's RBI double. That set the stage for what momentarily felt like heartbreak again for White Sox fans, as Davis teed off against closer David Robertson.

As the baseball soared off the bat, everybody in the ballpark and watching at home anticipated the baseball landing in or perhaps clearing the Orioles bullpen in right field. Even those not watching would have anticipated the same thing based on the sound of the bat, the initial silence of Hawk Harrelson, and then his disgruntled tone as he finally described the action. 

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

However, if you focus in on Garcia the whole way, you can see he had the baseball measured, and was just hoping to have enough space to make the play. He did, and with a perfectly timed leap snatched the ball out of the air to record a thrilling second out. One batter later, Robertson recorded the final out, striking out Matt Wieters to lock up the 3-2 victory. 

As Harrelson and broadcast partner Steve Stone later noted after calming down from the shear joy of Garcia's perhaps game-saving catch, it's a play an outfielder 6-foot-2 or under would have struggled to make. Even if the outfielder's name is Mike Trout, it would have required a Superman like effort to gain that much air while timing it all so perfectly. 

(MLB.TV)
Fortunately for the White Sox, Garcia is 6-foot-4. But it still wasn't easy for him physically. He just made it look easy. 

By the way, if you thought Garcia got some height on the first jump, check out his celebration. 

(MLB.TV)
You go, Avisail!  

It's not often you see a player celebrate his own defensive play like that, but in this case it was certainly warranted. 

Of course, one person who was even happier and certainly very much appreciative of Garcia's effort was Robertson. After the game, he decided it was appropriate to give Garcia the game ball.

Robertson said he gave the save ball to Avi Garcia for the home-run saving catch. It was deserved.

— Doug Padilla (@ESPNChiSox) July 4, 2015

Garcia was also a contributor at the plate, driving in Chicago's first run with a single in the first inning. But it's his defense that commands the headlines on this Fourth of July, as his leaping catch prevented some unwanted fireworks in Chicago. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 10:55 pm

Your browser does not support iframes.

We're not going out on a limb when we say Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer seems like a fun guy to have in the clubhouse.

Between his unique warm up routine, his desire to fly drones around spring training and his antics wearing boxing gloves during a game against the Kansas City Royals — who were recently in multiple altercations — he at least knows how to keep things interesting.

Such was the case again on Friday night, when Bauer used a rare plate appearance in a National League park to mimic some of his teammates batting stances.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Let us repeat that again so it sinks in. Bauer used a plate appearance during a regular season game to mimic, and therefore amuse his teammates by copying their batting stances.

So much for being serious, right? Right?

Well, actually, he was serious. Throughout his seventh-inning plate appearance against Pittsburgh left-hander Antonio Bastardo, Bauer borrowed from Jason Kipnis, Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn. And there really was a pay off beyond getting a few chuckles, as Bauer managed to work a nine-pitch walk.

(MLB.TV)
Perhaps that result was due to Bauer's razor sharp focus, as he obviously did not want to embarrass himself in the midst of all this. Perhaps the focus was due to Bastardo's focus being completely thrown off by Bauer's constant adjustments. Then again, maybe it was just luck.

Whatever the case, it worked, and it also kept Indians broadcasters Matt Underwood and Rick Manning and their production staff on their toes. 

Here's the final tally. 

For the record: Bauer used Aviles' stance four times, Kipnis' three times and Raburn's twice. This is very important stuff, folks.

— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 4, 2015

We applaud the creativity. We applaud the courage it must take to attempt such antics in a game that counts. But above all else, we applaud Bauer's all-around performance.

Though his walk didn't directly lead to a run, Bauer's pitching was the key in Cleveland's 5-2 victory. In 6 1/3 innings, he allowed just two runs on three hits to pick up his seventh win. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 9:19 pm

In a world where 'Shark Week' is the most anticipated week of television every year, the 'Sharknado' franchise is now on its third television movie, and a shark is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Jeff "Shark" Samardzija, the following lawsuit only makes sense.

According to the Miami Herald, a fan who visited Marlins Park two years ago is now suing the Miami Marlins after alledgedly suffering neck and back injuries as a result of a “bite” from the team's shark mascot.

The fan, Beth Fedornak, was sitting three rows up from the field and watching the Marlins take on the San Diego Padres on June 29, 2013, when Bob the Shark approached her and pretended to bite her head. 

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

Like many baseball teams do these days, the Miami Marlins feature an in-game race with giant mascots lumbering around the ballpark. Naturally, Miami's is called the Great Sea Race with Bob the Shark, Spike the Sea Dragon, Julio the Octopus and Angel the Stone Crab serving as the combatants.

The mascots also roam the ballpark, as Bob the Shark was that day two years ago, to interact with children and add to the family-friendly experience. The pretend head bite is all part of the usual routine to engage and excite the crowd, only this time the antics may have been too aggressive.

According to the lawsuit, Fedornak felt pain in her neck after the impact of the shark's head coming down on the top of her skull. The results of the encounter have allegedly caused Fedornak either permanent or continuing injuries in her neck and back, according to court documents, and have cost her more than $86,000 in medical expenses. Her ability to work has also been impaired, leaving her without a reliable source of income.

As a result, Fedornak and her attorney are suing the team on negligence and battery charges and seeking $15,000 in damages.

It's also noted that staff members at Marlins Park were notified after the initial incident, but the Marlins have yet to comment. 

BLS H/N: Hardball Talk

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 7:34 pm

If you like your baseball a little weird, then Friday night was an especially good night for you.

Between Trevor Bauer's changing batting stances, the St. Louis Cardinals losing their fourth straight home game, and Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier dodging a dive-bombing pigeon, there was plenty to make you scratch your head and/or laugh out loud.

Wait, did we actually just say Kevin Kiermaier dodged a dive-bombing pigeon?

Holy smokes, what in the world is going on out there?

There's Kiermaier, enjoying the fact his 12th inning single just gave Tampa Bay the lead. Then his joy turns to temporary panic as the angry New York pigeon responds with his own version of chin music.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

It appears the pigeon is donning Yankees' colors. He's obviously a fan, and very possibly a regular listener to the postgame show. Since he can't dial a phone, this is just one of the ways he vents his frustration. One of the cleaner ways we should add, because there are obviously much worse things he could have done to Kiermaier.

Here's hoping the pigeon found a good perch following his little stunt. In the bottom half of the inning, his Yankees rallied for their first walk-off win of the season on Brian McCann's three-run homer.

Everybody drove, rode the subway, or in the pigeon's case, flew home happy. And he even got a free dinner out of it.

What a life. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 6:04 pm

How does Bryce Harper celebrate America's birthday?

The same way we all wish we could celebrate America's birthday. By playing baseball for a living, and using a Fourth of July-themed bat featuring the stars, stripes and the colors of the American flag.

Of course that's how Bryce Harper celebrates.

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

But we know one thing for sure, Harper isn't just satisfied using a star-spangled bat. He had to make it memorable, and he did just that by connecting for his 25th home run off San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

Bryce Harper walked up to the plate with the DC / 🇺🇸 bat & hit his 25th home run (off of Madison Bumgarner) #Nats pic.twitter.com/T4KiWPQ0pd

— Danny (@recordsANDradio) July 4, 2015

That's World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, but that wasn't a big deal to Harper or the Nationals early in Saturday's game. After the first two batters reached, Harper capped their first-inning rally with an absolute rocket to the Nationals bullpen in right field. That gave Washington a three run lead just five pitches into the game. It also tied Harper with Cincinnati's Todd Frazier for second in MLB in home runs, trailing only the injured Giancarlo Stanton.  

Harper finished the game 3 for 4, adding a double, single and walk to his total, as Wahington cruised to a 9-3 victory. 

As far as we know, Harper didn't immediately enjoy a celebratory hot dog in the dugout. That will likely come later. Still, this is about as America as it gets on July 4. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 5:00 pm

For the first time in his 13-year career, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is headed to the disabled list. 

Cabrera was forced from Friday night's 8-6 win against the Toronto Blue Jays with a grade-three strain of his left calf, which is expected to keep him sidelined for at least six weeks. 

The injury occurred in the fourth inning when Cabrera was running the bases. Cabrera was stationed at first with no outs and a 3-2 count to Victor Martinez when the Tigers elected to put him in motion. Martinez fouled the pitch off, which ended up being the best-case scenario for Detroit as Cabrera was only able to make it half way to second base. After being tended to by the Tigers athletic trainer, Cabrera struggled to the clubhouse and now limps to the DL for the first time after 1,896 career games. 

Unfortunately, this news doesn't come as a surprise to the Tigers. Following the game, manager Brad Ausmus said Cabrera was in rough shape and unlikely to avoid the disabled list. 

''I'm not optimistic at all,'' Ausmus told the gathered media. ''When Miggy says he can't play, it is serious, because Miggy plays through everything.''

(AP)An MRI confirmed their fears, and now Detroit must move forward without its former MVP for the rest of July and the first-half of August.   

It should be said Cabrera hasn't necessarily been an iron man. He's missed games here and there over the years while dealing with various short-term ailments. He was even questionable to be ready for opening day this season after undergoing offseason ankle surgery. This is just his first truly significant in-season injury, and it comes at a bad time for the Tigers. 

Cabrera is still as good as they come at the plate. Through 77 games, he was hitting .350/.456/.578 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs. He ranks top 10 in MLB in each of those statistical categories aside from the home runs. 

Cabrera's presence is so important to Detroit's lineup because his production is impossible to replace. With Detroit already six games behind Kansas City in the AL Central and behind six teams in the AL wild-card standings, his absence could seal their fate.

If nothing else, it will definitely test their resolves.  

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 4:12 pm

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez nearly carved out a rare place in the history books on Friday night. The 31-year-old from Maracay, Venezuela came up five outs short of pitching his second career no-hitter in Detroit's 8-6 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yes, that score is deceiving. We'll get to that in a moment. 

As for Sanchez, he was looking to become the 28th pitcher in MLB history to throw multiple no-hitters. He also pitched a no-hitter for the then Florida Marlins on Sept. 6, 2006 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The near nine-year stretch between no-hitters would have been the second longest between a pitcher's first and second. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

It takes a special performance just to notch one no-hitter. That's why there have only been 289 of them in the league's history. Sanchez was close to that level on Friday, allowing just two baserunners on a pair of walks through the first seven innings. He just didn't have enough to cross the finish line. 

Sanchez ended up allowing four runs on three hits in the inning. That's because manager Brad Ausmus elected to stick with Sanchez despite his 110 pitches and the clear fact he was wearing out. The decision near'y proved disastrous as the Blue Jays offense caught fire and plated six runs before the eighth ended. Joakim Soria silenced them in the ninth for his 21st save. 

The results were good, but the news isn't all good for Detroit. First baseman Miguel Cabrera was forced to leave the game in the fourth inning with a strained left calf. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday morning for the first time in his 13-year career.

YANKEES PICK UP FIRST WALKOFF WIN IN 2015

The New York Yankees took their fans on a roller coaster ride Friday night, but made sure everyone went home happy with their first walk-off win since Derek Jeter's final home game last September.

Brian McCann played the role of hero, launching a three-run home run off Tampa Bay reliever Steve Geltz in the 12th to set off fireworks and wrap up the 7-5 victory. 

The Yankees needed another big swing just to get to that spot though. Trailing by three runs in the eighth, Mark Teixeira launched a game-tying three-run homer off Kevin Jepsen. That wiped out an excellent start from Tampa's Chris Archer, who tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts.  

The resilient Rays pulled back ahead in the 12th on RBI singles from Kevin Kiermaier and Rene Rivera, but New York would not be denied. Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira all reached base to help set up McCann's big swing. 

ROYALS ALSO NOTCH FIRST WALKOFF WIN

The Yankees and Kansas City were the only two teams without a walkoff win entering play on Friday. That all changed in a matter of minutes. 

Thanks to the speed of Lorenzo Cain and a well-placed ground ball by Jarrod Dyson, the Royals celebrated a 3-2, 10-inning victory against the visiting Minnesota Twins. 

Cain led off the 10th with a double and went to third with one out on a wild pitch. Dyson then hit a chopper to first baseman Joe Mauer. Mauer fired home, but the tag was a split-second late as a headfirst sliding Cain got the plate with his left hand. 

With the win, Kansas City snapped a season-high four-game losing streak and moved to 4 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota in the AL Central. Wade Davis earned the win on the hill with a scoreless 10th inning. His season ERA was lowered to 0.26.  

 

 

CARDINALS LOSE FOURTH STRAIGHT AT HOME

It turns out the St. Louis Cardinals aren't unbeatable after all. After being swept in a quick two-game series by the Chicago White Sox, the Cardinals have now lost two straight to the San Diego Padres, running their losing streak to four.

On Friday, they fell 2-1 despite a strong effort from right-hander Michael Wacha. Wacha allowed just one run over seven outstanding innings. Closer Trevor Rosenthal, who had allowed just two earned runs all season, cracked in the ninth however, allowing a run on a Yangervis Solarte triple and Jedd Gyorko single. That run would be the difference. 

For San Diego, Andrew Cashner was on point, holding St. Louis to one run over six innings. Three Padres relievers combined to allow just one hit over three innings, with Craig Kimbrel picking up his 21st save. Gyorko was the offensive hero, knocking in both of San Diego's runs. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 7:10 am

Friday was another reminder of just how unpredictable and unstable the career of a major-league reliever can be.

Veteran right-handers Joba Chamberlain and Neftali Feliz were both designated for assignment by the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers respectively, leaving both teams with 10 days to trade, release or place the relievers on waivers.

Chamberlain, 29, inked a one-year, $1 million deal with Detroit during the offseason in an attempt to rebuild his value. For Detroit, it was a cheap signing they hoped would add depth to their bullpen despite Chamberlain's up and down 2014.

Chamberlain had performed well in a relief role previously for the New York Yankees, It just didn't work out in Detroit. In 30 appearances, Chamberlain posted a 4.09 ERA and a 1.682 WHIP. He struggled avoiding contact as well, striking out just 15 over his 22 innings.

The final straw appeared to come in Wednesday's 9-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pitching mop up duty in the eighth inning, Chamberlain allowed three home runs in the span of four batters. He walked off the field to chorus of boos that evening. He also walked away with a firm understanding that he'd let the fans and the organization down with his latest performance. .

From The Detroit Free Press: 

"I'd boo myself, too," Chamberlain told reporters after the game. "I mean, you can't be mad at it. You spend your hard-earned money to come see somebody be successful, and you don't be successful."

Self awareness is a good thing to have. Better execution and better results are the name of the game though, so for now anyway Chamberlain will be forced to take a step back.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

As for Feliz, the move comes as a bit of a surprise given his past success in Texas. He was removed from the roster so veteran starter Matt Harrison could be activated from the disabled list.

There's no doubt it has been a struggle for Feliz to stay healthy and remain consistent since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2012. Feliz missed the rest of the 2012 season and nearly missed the entire 2013 season, appearing in only six games. 

In 30 appearances last season, he showed promise, posting a 1.99 ERA over 31 2/3 innings. He also notched 13 saves. This season, he came out of the gate slow, posting a 5.09 ERA in 17 appearances, before landing on the disabled list with an axillary abscess on his right side. He ended up missing six weeks. 

Feliz was once an ace reliever, recording 72 total saves between 2010-11. The Rangers tried moving him to the rotation in 2012, which directly preceded the elbow injury. Whether or not that was a good decision was a hotly debated topic leading up to the change and continues to be debated in wake of his injuries. 

Perhaps it's a topic the Rangers have grown tired of, or more likely the Rangers have simply run out of patience.

It's reported the Rangers will look to trade Feliz in the coming days. Both Feliz and Chamberlain should draw interest given their experience. Chamberlain is the cheaper option with Feliz still due $4.13 million this season, but both have appeal.  Perhaps we'll even see them swap spots as both teams look for answers. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 4:34 am

We've already had our fill of scary flying bat incidents this season. That's why everybody watching cringed and held their breath on Friday night when San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy lost his grip and sent his bat barreling into the stands at Nationals Park.

Fortunately, when the camera quickly panned to the crowd, all we saw was a fan celebrating perhaps the biggest catch of his life.

Catching a bat > catching a ball. http://t.co/oQgNOjz9uq pic.twitter.com/dNtdOmyWyc

— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) July 3, 2015

That man here is a hero, and to the hero go the spoils.

(MLB.TV)
So smooth. So casual. Well done, our man. She won't soon forget that one.  

It's a happy ending this time, but we should also use this as another reminder of just how important it is for fans to constantly pay attention at the ballpark. That's especially true of fans sitting around the home plate and dugout areas. It's a vulnerable position to be in when there's no netting around, and if you're not watching the action a bat or ball can get on you awfully quick.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The rainy weather in Washington on Friday only served to make things more dangerous. Batters and pitchers both struggled with their grips and their footing as the conditions worsened, but fortunately no players went down with injuries either. 

After celebrating the catch, the fans were able to celebrate a victory as well. Clint Robinson's two-run homer in the seventh inning was all the offense Washington needed for a 2-1 victory. Buster Posey provided San Francisco's only offense with a solo home run off Gio Gonzalez. 

BLS H/N: Cut 4 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 3:11 am

Angels owner Arte Moreno and Josh Hamilton shake hands in 2012. (Getty Images)Just when you thought the Los Angeles Angels' week couldn't get any more dramatic, here comes a weekend series in Texas against the Rangers and former outfielder Josh Hamilton.

The story here has been told many times over the past few months. In February, Hamilton suffered a drug and alcohol related relapse, which the Angels condemned and attempted to use as a way out ouf Hamilton's bad contract.

Ultimately, they were forced to eat the majority of the deal in order to trade Hamilton back to Texas, which sets up Friday's big reunion.

A lot has been said about the Angels' lack of support for Hamilton during his difficult time. Many felt they portrayed themselves in a bad light by immediately shunning him and distancing themselves. Before his comeback last month, Hamilton even said that he was denied a meeting with Angels owner Arte Moreno, noting that the two hadn't directly talked since last season.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

That's a stunning lack of consciousness and tact on the organization's part, and it makes this request from Angels manager Mike Scioscia ahead the series sound rather ridiculous.

From USA TODAY Sports' Scott Boeck:

"I'm hoping he'll take an opportunity to thank the teammates that supported him, and to reach out to Arte and let Arte know that maybe some of the things he did weren't what he signed up to do," Scioscia told USA TODAY Sports. "We'll leave it at that."

(Getty Images)Yeah, that's probably a good place to leave it because there's no place else to take it that isn't completely out of touch with the actual situation.

For his part, Hamilton has expressed his gratitude to the former teammates who have remained publicly supportive. In fact, he already met with many of them when the team visited Houston earlier this season, where he was rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery.

"It will be good to see the guys," Hamilton said of his former teammates. "All or most of them were behind me when we met in Houston and had lunch. Everybody was cool."

However, it should come as no surprise that Hamilton has zero intentions of seeking out Arte Moreno.

"No, I've tried many times in the past, even when I played for him. I've gotten turned down. As a player, I wanted to reassure him that I was doing everything I could as a player that he paid for. They said they got the message to him, whether they did or not is his own dealing.
"I can definitely say I can sleep fine at night knowing I tried."

One can't fault Hamilton for wanting to move on completely. If mending fences means that much to Moreno, he's the one who should be reaching out. Otherwise, it looks like he's trying to feed his ego.

As for Friday's game, Hamilton is starting in left field and batting fifth against Angels starter Garrett Richards.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 4, 2015, 12:10 am

Federal investigators have recommended charges be brought against at least one St. Louis Cardinals employee implicated in the probe of an alleged computer intrusion of databases belonging to the Houston Astros, according to a report from CNN.

Per the CNN report, the investigation is complete. It is not immediately clear which employee was in line to be charged or how high up the Cardinals' hierarchy that employee might be, but it's apparent they've pinpointed at least one individual's involvement.

Here's more from the CNN story: 

The probe by investigators at the FBI's Houston office is complete, according to officials briefed on the matter, but is awaiting action by the Houston U.S. attorney's office. A U.S. attorney spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment.

The FBI's Houston office declined to comment on pending charges.

"The FBI aggressively investigates all potential threats to public and private sector systems," FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said. "Once our investigations are complete, we pursue all appropriate avenues to hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace."

As we learned Thursday, Chris Correa, the Cardinals' scouting director, was fired by the club following an imposed leave of absence. The team refused to connect Correa's firing to the ongoing hacking scandal, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed it has sources saying Correa was responsible for breaching an Astros database.

That would seemingly position Correa as the employee in question, but until that's confirmed or denied we're left with the same questions and the same uncertain answers. 

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

Correa’s attorney responded on Thursday, saying his client did nothing illegal and sought only to assess whether Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow had taken proprietary information from the Cardinals when he departed for Houston. That may ultimately be true of Correa's role, but it's difficult to imagine that reasoning being justifiable.  

Officials looking into the computer breach were also known to be focusing on whether senior officials with the Cardinals were aware of the spying. Club chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. and GM John Mozeliak have both continued to deny any knowledge or involvement.

The plot thickens, though at least it would appear we're on the verge of pinpointing the key suspect and analyzing what this means for the Cardinals organization.  

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 3, 2015, 11:25 pm

When the Chicago Cubs initially announced the Wrigley Field renovations, not everyone was on board. Some argued that Wrigley had so much historical relevance that it would be blasphemous to add video boards to the iconic stadium.

Well, the Cubs found a excellent way to get angry fans back on board with all the changes Friday. During the seventh inning stretch, the team played a video of Harry Caray singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Harry Caray sing the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field on 7/3/15 from Billy Krumb on Vimeo.

That is exceptional!

Caray was famous for leading the crowd through the song when he was a broadcaster with the club. Following his death in 1998, the Cubs have opted to bring in celebrity conductors for the event. 

The team will continue to bring in celebrities, but the new video boards allow them to occasionally stray from that plan, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.

“One of the things that we think would be really fun is to bring back a number of our departed historic figures, like Harry Caray, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo,” said Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney. “We want to bring them back to the fans via the video board.”

The Cubs felt Friday was the perfect timing for Caray because they were re-opening the bleachers, which have been under construction as part of the ballpark’s renovation. Caray occasionally did his broadcasts from the bleachers.

“We listen to the fans,” Kenney said. “We’re learning from them.”

By all accounts, the Cubs' fans really seemed to enjoy seeing Caray on the video board.

Video of Harry Caray singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame showing on the #Cubs scoreboards. Crowd really loving it.

— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) July 3, 2015

So, yeah, this is kind of excellent. Caray is a beloved figure to Cubs fans, so any chance to make sure he's still a part of the team is a big win. The club could probably get away with playing this video every day, but the fact that it will only happen occasionally makes it more special. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Not every supporter of the club will get on board with the Wrigley renovations, but you'll probably be hard-pressed to find one fan who is opposed to this idea.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 8:40 pm

(AP Photo)Remember when New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez hit his 660th home run all the back on May 1? While it was a significant moment for Rodriguez, it wasn't all smiles and sunshine.

The hit sparked a debate over whether Rodriguez would receive a "milestone" bonus in his contract. When Rodriguez re-signed with the Yankees, a clause was inserted in his contract that stated he would receive $6 million any time he tied a player on the all-time home run list. With his 660th home run, Rodriguez tied Willie Mays, making him eligible to receive his bonus.

Not so fast! Prior to the start of the season, it was reported that the Yankees would not pay his "milestone" bonus. The club no longer viewed Rodriguez's accomplishments as significant due to his suspension and admission to taking performance enhancing drugs. Because of that, the club felt they did not have to pay the bonus.

After the hit, Rodriguez had until the end of the month to formally file a grievance through the Players Association. Both sides agreed to push back that deadline, and were eventually able to come to a solution Friday.

Rodriguez will not receive $6 million for tying Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. In fact, he won't receive a penny according to the press release.

As part of this resolution, Mr. Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that a total of $3.5 million in charitable contributions will be made by the Club, with $1 million going to the following charities that have long enjoyed the support of one or both: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa, and Pitch In For Baseball; and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, which will use the money to further programs and initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball, particularly in urban areas.  Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. will determine the initiatives to be supported by the $2.5 million contribution after consulting with Mr. Rodriguez, and taking into consideration the focus of Mr. Rodriguez’s past charitable contributions. 

Neither party will have any further comment on the specific terms of the agreement and both look forward to focusing their energies on winning another championship for Yankees fans.

Deciding to give $3.5 million to charity isn't a bad alternative. In fact, our own Mike Oz suggested A-Rod donate the money shortly after he reached the milestone. At the same time, it's unclear why the donation isn't the full $6 million.

There are some who believe the agreement reflects poorly on the Players Association.

Hey, MLBPA folded again! What a shock.

— Howard Megdal (@howardmegdal) July 3, 2015

That's not just a hot take, either. The Yankees and the League come out looking pretty good when you consider the terms.

Seriously, got A-Rod just over half the money he was likely going to get contractually, except MLB gets to choose where most of it goes.

— Howard Megdal (@howardmegdal) July 3, 2015

In the end, it's unclear if A-Rod really had another option. Sure, he could have fought the Yankees tooth and nail for the bonus, but why reopen old wounds? He's playing well, and the local fans have embraced him. There's no need to make himself the villain again.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

By donating the money, both sides look good. Rodriguez doesn't look selfish, and the Yankees get to say, "see, we paid the bonus." It's not a perfect scenario, of course, but nothing is easy when A-Rod is involved.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 6:40 pm

It took just more than two weeks, but New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez will finally receive his 3,000th-hit ball. The Yankees reached a deal with Zack Hample, the notorious fan who caught the ball. Hample initially told the team he was keeping the milestone souvenir. 

So, what did it cost the club to get the ball back? Quite a bit, it appears.

#Yankees will donate $150,000 to Pitch In for Baseball, a charity which @zack_hample has supported since 2009.

— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 3, 2015

But wait, there's more.

Along with $150K donation for A-Rod 3000 ball, Yanks will give @zack_hample memorabilia, tickets & other perks

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 3, 2015

On top of that, it appears Hample will present A-Rod with the ball at a news conference Friday. It's also probably not a coincidence that the Yankees mentioned Hample's Twitter feed in both of their posts about the ball. 

(AP Photo)

Hample is somewhat of a celebrity in the baseball world for his penchant for snagging baseballs. He literally wrote the book on the subject. Catching A-Rod's 3,000th-hit ball has only increased his status in recent weeks.

Not surprisingly, he's using that for all it's worth. Hample will receive a ton of perks from the Yankees for catching the ball, and will even be part of a news conference. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

We have to give credit where it's due, though. He got the Yanks to donate a large amount of money to charity, and that's a good thing. So, yes, he's using the situation to boost his own profile, but at least he's doing something positive in the process.

For Rodriguez, this probably comes as a relief. Things looked bleak for a while, but he will end up with the ball. It's a significant achievement, and it's no surprise why he wants to have it. He'll have to go through the theatrics of a news conference, but that's a small price to pay in this case. 

And so, this is how our story of unlikeable heroes comes to an end. Everyone winds up happy. Hample is happy, A-Rod is happy and the Yankees are happy. What a great day to be a fan of any of them!

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 5:09 pm

Your browser does not support iframes.

Over the first half of the 2015 season, the talk about the “best pitcher in baseball” has been mostly about some usual suspects like Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke, and some budding young stars like Dallas Keuchel and Chris Archer.

But one pitcher having a great season that few have taken notice of is Yovani Gallardo. The 29-year-old former All-Star is in his first season with the Rangers and has been a big part of their surprising start to the season. Over his last eight starts few in baseball have been better than Gallardo.

On Thursday night against the Orioles he extended his scoreless inning streak to 29.1 – the longest streak in the majors this year. The Rangers scored twice in the ninth to earn the win and are 6-2 overall in Gallardo’s last eight starts.

He hasn't allowed a run June 10, and hasn’t lost since May 19. Over those last eight starts he has given up just five earned runs in 51.1 innings, for an ERA of 0.88, with an opponent’s batting average of .169. For the whole season he has a 2.56 ERA (10th best in the majors), and a 72/31 K/BB ratio. He’s 10th in the majors with a 2.8 WAR.

He’s been doing it against some stiff competition, too. On Thursday he cooled off the high-scoring Orioles. In his previous start he was dominant in a win over the Blue Jays, the highest-scoring team in baseball, blanking them over 8.1 innings. Here’s a look at Gallardo’s last four starts.

Opponent

Innings

Hits

Runs

Walks

Strikeouts

Dodgers

7.0

4

0

3

4

White Sox

5.0

5

0

1

3

Blue Jays

8.1

3

0

2

4

Orioles

6.0

2

0

3

2

Perhaps he’s flying under the radar because he doesn’t pass the foolish “eyeball test” with his 7-6 record. If you insist on griping about that, take into account that he gets only 3.31 runs of support on average despite the Rangers scoring the eighth-most runs in the league. Gallardo hasn’t given up more than four runs in a single start, and he’s given up only seven home runs all season and none since May 19. (Also, for you fantasy players out there, he’s still available in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues).

Gallardo was an All-Star while with the Brewers in 2010, and despite few people in baseball taking notice, he’s worthy of another nod in 2015.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

Ian Denomme is an editor and writer for Yahoo Sports. Email him at denomme@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter.

Author: Ian Denomme
Posted: July 3, 2015, 3:08 pm

Your browser does not support iframes.

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

The Atlanta Braves managed to do something few teams have done this season: They registered a victory against Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer.

The win didn't come without controversy, though. With the two clubs knotted 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Scherzer took the mound hoping to send the game into extras. 

Pedro Ciriaco led off the frame with a single, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jace Peterson. That's when controversy struck.

Cameron Maybin hit a walk-off single down the third base line to win the contest. Whether the ball was fair or foul is up for debate. The ball took a big hop on the infield dirt and landed in foul territory once it hit the ground. Umpire C.B. Bucknor ruled that the ball passed over third base in fair territory, making it a fair ball.

Nationals manager Matt Williams did not agree with the call, but due to a strange wrinkle in the replay rules, the umps could not take another look at the play. The rule states that any ball that lands in front of the first or third base umps is not eligible to be reviewed. That seems random, but those are the rules.

With the win, Atlanta improved to 38-41 on the year.

MATT MOORE RUNS OUT OF STEAM

Jose Fernandez and Matt Cain weren't the only pitchers returning to action Thursday. Tampa Bay Rays left Matt Moore also made his return to the mound during the club's 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Moore showed some encouraging signs, but was mostly shaky during his first start of the year. Over 4 2/3 innings, Moore allowed four runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked two during the contest.

Moore looked great early, but seemed to tire as the game went on. Through the first three innings, he did not allow a hit against Cleveland.

A sac fly put the Indians on the board in the fourth, and then the floodgates opened in the fifth. After two quick outs, Moore allowed a single against Giovanny Urshela. Urshela advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was brought home on a single by Jason Kipnis.

Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley would follow that up with RBI singles of their own, chasing Moore from the contest. It was Moore's first start in 451 days. 

After the start, Moore said he was happy to be back.

Felt great to get back out on the mound!Had a tremendous amount of help and feel very thankful tonight.

— Matt Moore (@MattyMoe55) July 3, 2015

Cleveland improved to 37-41 with the win.

KAZMIR SHUTS DOWN SEATTLE

Oakland Athletics lefty Scott Kazmir dominated the Seattle Mariners during a 4-0 victory Thursday.

Kazmir allowed just two hits during the contest, both of which came against outfielder Frankin Gutierrez. No one else in Seattle's lineup could touch Kazmir.

Kazmir actually had a perfect game going until the fifth inning. With one out, Gutierrez broke up the perfecto with a double. Gutierrez would add a single in the eighth inning, but was stranded on base both times.

Over eight shutout innings, Kazmir allowed just two hits. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk during the contest.

With the start, Kazmir lowered his ERA to 2.56 on the year.

BOYD BEAT BY BOSTON

It was a bad day for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Matt Boyd. Boyd was absolutely crushed against the Boston Red Sox during a 12-6 loss. 

Boyd got the start for Toronto, and exited the game without recording an out. He allowed three straight singles to open the game, the last of which brought in a run. David Ortiz would then follow that up with a three-run homer, giving Boston the early four-run lead.

They weren't done yet, though. Hanley Ramirez would follow that up with a solo shot of his own. Pablo Sandoval added a single, and Mike Napoli walked, and that was the end of the day for Boyd. 

Both of those runners would come around to score, meaning Boyd was charged with two runs after leaving the contest. He allowed seven runs on six hits during the appearance. Boyd walked one and failed to strike out a batter. He was sent down to the minors after the game.

Toronto briefly attempted a comeback attempt, but Boston managed to pull away in the late innings. With the victory, the Red Sox improved to 37-44. 

Want to see more from Thursday's slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 7:14 am

(@Brewers)If you live in Wisconsin, you are legally required to consume foods covered in cheese in large amounts. Because of that, it's no surprise a member of the Milwaukee Brewers just set a record for most cheesesteaks consumed at Citizens Bank Park.

Bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel emerged as both the hero we deserve, and the hero we need Thursday. During the team's four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Hanel ate an astounding 23 cheesesteaks. 

Hanel actually broke a couple of cheesesteak records. Through three games, Hanel had consumed 18 cheesesteaks, breaking the three-day record set by New York Mets bullpen catcher Eric Langill. 

Miami Marlins pitcher Mat Latos held the four-day record with 18, but Hanel blew past that before Thursday's game even started. 

The Brewers even captured the glorius event for all to see. 

Cheesesteak history has been made at Citizens Bank Park by bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel (@Markoos55)! Congrats, Koos! pic.twitter.com/oSvkswc4pV

— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 2, 2015

By the time the game had ended, Hanel had eaten three more cheesesteaks, bringing his final total to 23. He didn't just break the record, he obliterated it, and we respect the hell out of that. 

The Phillies clubhouse attendants are responsible for keeping track of the records, and Hanel made sure to thank them after he made history.

Thanks @mikechernow @Bparks1987 @erichaels @garoooch for all the cheesesteaks! #20 pic.twitter.com/g3NIfWcs4X

— Marcus Hanel (@Markoos55) July 2, 2015

It should come as no surprise that former Brewers dominate the cheesesteak record books. Corey Hart holds the one-day record after eating seven cheesesteaks. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Following the stunt, Hanel explained to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he's always eaten a ton.

"My mom and dad both came from Germany, and they didn't have anything," Hanel said. "So if they put anything on the plate, you ate it. … I remember in high school, as a ballplayer you want to gain weight. I was 6-foot-3, 170 or 175, and I would eat all the time. My mom would make these huge sandwiches. She would make five of them, and during the course of the day at school I would eat them … I would eat three sandwiches, and I would sell two of them for a dollar apiece and order two hot lunches and five chocolate milks."

We bow down to you, Mr. Hanel. We worry about the state of your stomach, but we bow to you anyway. You know, there's a famous hot dog contest coming up, and Coney Island isn't all that far from Philadelphia. Think about it, is all we're saying. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 5:06 am

If you're going to play baseball, you better wear a cup. In fact, that might be rule No. 1 when it comes to the game. Nobody should ever experience what Adrian Beltre had to deal with when he was hit while not wearing one.

Beltre's division-rival Oakland Athletics seem to understand this. That's probably why they decided to conduct a cup check during Thursday's game. 

That's Oakland reliever, and occasional closer, Sean Doolittle. It looks as though he may have failed the test. Doolittle at least has somewhat of an excuse. He's currently on the disabled list, so it's not like he's being reckless while on the field.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

And now, a brief aside. When I played Little League, my coach would occasionally line us all up on the bench for a cup check. This involved lightly tapping each of us with a bat in order to make sure you were wearing a cup. If you had forgotten your cup that day, you were definitely telling him before it was your turn.

The lesson here: Always wear a cup, kids! Also, some of your coaches may actually be insane people.

(BLS H/N: Deadspin)

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 4:10 am

We here at The Stew love to celebrate the bat flip. When it comes to flipping bats, we'll consider all options. Bat flip on a walk-off home run? Love it. Bat flip on a single? Still good. Pitcher bat flip? Even better.

Well, step aside, people of the internet, because the greatest bat flip of all time may have been unearthed. First, let's set the stage. With his team down by one run in the top of the ninth inning, Jae-Gyun Hwang stepped to the plate with a chance to knot things up. He did not disappoint.

If you are impatient, you can skip to about 47 seconds in order to experience the flip in all its glory.

So, that is something. 

Hwang's reaction is somewhat reminiscent of Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair. Instead of using his hands, though, Hwang opts to use his bat to follow the path of the ball. Once it lands it fair territory, Hwang unleashes one hell of a bat flip.

Overall, the flip was pretty strong. What makes this exceptional was the buildup. Hwang's reaction to whether the ball would go fair, combined with the movements of the bat take this one to another level. We love it.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The homer, while excellent and heroic, wound up being all for nothing. The NC Dinos would come away with the 3-2 walk-off victory in the bottom of the inning.

We here at The Stew are going to file a formal protest to the Korean Baseball Organization about the result of this game. A bat flip of that magnitude should always count for at least one extra run.

Just try and argue with that rock-solid reasoning, KBO. 

(BLS H/N: Cut 4)

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 3:06 am
(AP Photo)

If Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose bet on baseball games while he was still a player, he's not going to admit it any time soon.

Rose was interviewed for the first time since an ESPN report surfaced alleging he gambled on games while he was still an active player. During that interview, Rose told Fox Sports 1's Chris Myers that he would not comment on anything pertaining to his case for reinstatement. 

According to Ron Clements of Sporting News, Rose said he will be completely honest when he meets with commissioner Rob Manfred to discuss the case.

“I’m going to keep my end of the bargain,” said Rose, who was hired by Fox Sports 1 in April as a baseball analyst. “I’m sure those questions will come about when I meet with the commissioner.

“I’ll be as honest as I can be with the commissioner. ... I'll admit my whole past to him."

Rose applied for reinstatement shortly after Manfred was elected commissioner. Manfred said he would seriously consider the request

(AP Photo)

Between that and Rose's involvement in the upcoming All-Star Game, things appeared to be looking up for the hit king. The ESPN report has shed some doubt on his credibility, however.

While Rose has admitted to gambling on baseball in the past, he's adamantly denied doing so while he was still an active player. If Rose lied during his admission, that could further hurt his credibility, swaying Manfred's opinion.

In the end, Manfred's opinion is the only one that matters, so it makes sense for Rose to remain quiet about the latest report. If he's guilty of gambling while still playing, there's no reason to draw more attention to himself now. If he denies the report, those who believe he should be barred from the game won't change their opinion.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Rose still has a long way to go before reinstatement, and it's beginning to look like it will be an uphill climb. For now, at least, he's doing the smart thing by avoiding any questions about his situation. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 3, 2015, 12:03 am
Photo of pitcher Yadiel Alvarez, who signed with the Dodgers for $16 million. (Image via @LasMayores)

The Los Angeles Dodgers have boatloads of cash, and are willing to spend it. They've shown off their spending ability with the major-league roster in the past, but now the club is focusing on prospects.

The Dodgers dominated the first day of the international signing period, grabbing two top-five prospects, according to MLB.com. The club signed pitcher Yadiel Alvarez for $16 million, and outfielder Starling Heredia for $2.6 million.

Alvarez and Heredia are the second and fifth-ranked international prospects respectively, according to MLB.com. Most intriguing is Alvarez, a 19-year-old who has a fastball that touches 98 mph. The club also added infielder Ronny Brito, who ranked 21st on the list.

The Dodgers are no stranger to adding talent via international signings. Over the past few seasons, the club has inked Yasiel Puig, Hector Olivera, Erisbel Arruebarrena and Alex Guerrero, to name a few. 

For those unaware of how the international signing period works, here's a primer via MLB.com:

An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of next year if the prospect turns 17 before Sept. 1 of this year or by the completion of his first Minor League season. Additionally, any prospect who is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.

The Dodgers' international talent splurge doesn't come without a penalty, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Due to the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team receives a base amount they can spend on international prospects. That number is then supplemented based on the team's record the previous season. 

The Dodgers were slotted just over $2 million for this signing period (and they spent nearly 10 times that much on Wednesday alone), and now will be subject to the maximum penalty for exceeding their limit. This means the club will pay an 100 percent tax on every dollar spent over their limit, and will not be able to sign an international player for more than $300,000 during the next two years.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The Dodgers aren't the first club to violate those rules. The Yankees, Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays and Red Sox are currently unable to sign players for more than $300,000 due to going over slot last year.

Despite those penalties, the Dodgers still appear to be active on the international market. They've been heavily linked to outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez, the No. 1 prospect available according to MLB.com. Martinez reportedly won't sign Wednesday, but is actively looking for a deal. The club was also linked to high-ranking shortstop Lucius Fox before the division-rival San Francisco Giants scooped him up. 

OTHER SIGNINGS OF NOTE

  • The Toronto Blue Jays picked up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for $3.9 million. He's the son of ... you guessed it ... former superstar Vladimir Guerrero.
  • The Guerrero family actually had quite the day. Vlad Sr.'s nephew, shortstop Gregory Guerrero, signed with the New York Mets for $1.5 million.
  • Aside from Alvarez and Fox, the next most expensive player signed was outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz. Ortiz inked with the Philadelphia Phillies for $4.2 million. 
  • Pitcher Anderson Amarista, the 20th-rated prospect according to MLB.com, has yet to sign. He's in the same situation as Martinez. Amarista is looking to sign a deal, but he's not expected to do so today.
  • Henry Henry signed with the San Diego Padres for $400,000. Henry didn't appear on MLB.com's list, but his name is Henry Henry, so it's significant to us. 

With both Martinez and Amarista still available, there's some talent left on the market. The Dodgers have shown a willingness to go all in despite the cost, so it will be interesting to see if they bite on either prospect. Given that they'll be excluded from making a big splash the next two seasons, the club doesn't have much to lose by spending more.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 2, 2015, 11:03 pm

Chris Correa, the St. Louis Cardinals' scouting director, has been fired by the club, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has learned after "an imposed leave of absence." The team isn't officially naming Correa a culprit in its ongoing hacking scandal, but the Post-Dispatch has sources saying Correa breached a Houston Astros database. 

(MLB.com)

From The Post-Dispatch's Robert Patrick and Derrick Goold:

Correa has admitted hacking into a Houston Astros database but said it was only to verify that the Astros had stolen proprietary data, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Correa did not leak any Astros data, and is not responsible for additional hacks that the FBI has alleged occurred or leaking any data, said the source.

A lawyer for Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak would only say that Correa had been terminated, but didn't directly connect him to the hacking scandal, citing the ongoing FBI investigation. Authorities believe a person or persons employed by the Cardinals accessed an Astros database in 2014 from a home near the Cardinals spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla. The data breach resulted in internal Astros trade notes going public. Reports indicate that other Astros data — scouting reports, player health information, etc. — was allegedly accessed, but not shared publicly.

A lawyer representing Correa released a statement to The Post-Dispatch on Thursday that denied any wrongdoing and pointed the finger back at the Astros:

"Mr. Correa denies any illegal conduct. The relevant inquiry should be what information did former St. Louis Cardinals employees steal from the St. Louis Cardinals organization prior to joining the Houston Astros, and who in the Houston Astros organization authorized, consented to, or benefitted from that roguish behavior."

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow worked for the Cardinals before leaving for his current job. It's been reported that Cardinals employees allegedly attempted to access to the Astros' databases using old passwords belonging to Luhnow and Sig Mejdal, an analyst who left the Cardinals for the Astros with Luhnow. Correa was actually hired by Luhnow, leaving a Ph.D program at the University of Michigan to join the Cardinals in 2009. He was named St. Louis' director of amateur scouting in December.

The big question since the hacking story broke has been "how high did it go?" As our own Jeff Passan wrote at the time, if the data breach was proven to be the work of a low-level employee working on his or her own, the Cardinals front office could walk away from this a lot easier.

The director of amateur scouting certainly isn't a low-level employee. He has a direct link to the general manager, so the drama has effectively thickened now that Correa's name is in the mix.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 2, 2015, 8:57 pm

Your browser does not support iframes.

The afternoon dubbed #JoseDay didn't start out as the Miami Marlins hoped, but by the end of it, Jose Fernandez had his first MLB win in more than a year, six strikeouts and he managed to hit a baseball over the fence.

So, #JoseDay, as it turned out, was pretty excellent.

Fernandez, the 22-year-old Marlins ace, made his return from Tommy John surgery on Thursday, but let's just skip the pitching stuff for now and focus on the video above. Yep, that's Fernandez going yard off San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain. The bar for pitcher's hitting has gotten higher recently, but Fernandez homering in his first game back should at least be bulletin board material for division rival Max Scherzer

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The homer by Fernandez was part of a four-run fifth inning by the Marlins and that's what eventually — just as much as his pitching — contributed to the Marlins' 5-4 win over the Giants.

(AP)

Things actually starting rocky for Fernandez, who allowed two hits to start the game and left the first inning trailing 2-0. Fernandez gained more control as the game went on, but wasn't the menacing ace that we'd seen before his surgery. He showed flashes though, like when he K'd Matt Duffy in the first on a 99 mph fastball or when he whiffed Justin Maxwell and Gregor Blanco with his curve.

He finished the game after six innings, throwing 89 pitches and allowing seven hits and three runs.

You don't come back from Tommy John and dominate right away. Matt Harvey might have, but he was close to 18 months removed from surgery, while Fernandez is pitching in the big leagues 13 1/2 months after surgery.

Credit to Fernandez, even though he wasn't at his absolute best on the mound, he figured out a way to make #JoseDay a home run.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 2, 2015, 8:26 pm

We loved free-swinging Vladimir Guerrero during his playing days and soon enough, we'll see if we love the sequel.

Vlad Guerrero Jr., the most recognizable name in this year's international free-agent class, which was allowed to begin signing with MLB teams Thursday, has agreed to join the Toronto Blue Jays. According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, Vlad Jr. is getting a $3.9 million deal from the Jays that should allow him to start his baseball career in Canada like his famous father.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. at the @BlueJays facility in the Dominican Republic. So proud! pic.twitter.com/YDgXAnZsBU

— Guerrero Academy (@mhallbaseball) July 2, 2015

The moment Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became a Toronto Blue Jay! He is worth the hype everybody! pic.twitter.com/dwzjxJckNa

— Guerrero Academy (@mhallbaseball) July 2, 2015

Vlad Jr. #27, what else would you expect? @BlueJays pic.twitter.com/yCvGl85wxl

— Guerrero Academy (@mhallbaseball) July 2, 2015

The elder Guerrero signed with the Montreal Expos in 1993, as an 18-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He proceeded to win an MVP and hit 449 homers in his 16-year career. The younger Vlad is just 16 years old, but scouts (and baseball fans) have already been watching him for a while.

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

His highlight videos have made the rounds of the baseball-loving Internet and fans have enjoyed comparing his swing to his dad's. See this GIF we made last year:

(Yahoo Sports)

This isn't a case of famous bloodlines giving a kid a shot. Vlad Jr. was the No. 4 international prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Scouts love his powerful swing and big body — he's bigger than his dad was at 16.

Vlad Jr. now joins a few of his family members in the pro baseball ranks. His cousin Gregory Guerrero signed with the New York Mets on Wednesday, where brother Jose Guerrero signed last season. Older cousin Gabriel Guerrero is in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. They've all trained at the Guerrero Baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic where former big leaguer Wilton Guerrero, Vlad's older brother, is one of the instructors.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 2, 2015, 7:32 pm

Your browser does not support iframes.

The Houston Astros just swept the Kansas City Royals, have won four in a row, and are competing for the best record in the American League. They’ve been one of the early feel-good stories of 2015. But if they’re going to keep the good times rolling they’ll have to do it without George Springer.

The sophomore outfielder is second on the team with a 2.5 WAR but is headed to the disabled list with a fractured wrist. He was hit by a Edinson Volquez pitch on Wednesday night and left the game. The Astros confirmed the move to the DL on Thursday.

#Astros officially place OF George Springer on the 15-day DL (right wrist fracture) and select OF Alex Presley from Triple A Fresno.

— #VoteAltuve (@astros) July 2, 2015

After an impressive rookie season in which he hit 20 home runs with 51 RBIs in just 78 games, Springer has been even better in 2015. He was batting .264/.365/.457 with 13 homers and 14 stolen bases. He joins fellow outfielder Jake Marisnick, infielder Jed Lowrie, and pitcher Scott Feldman on the DL.

With injuries pilling up, Springer will be hard to replace. He’s their leadoff man and table-setter while playing sterling defense in right field. Manager A.J. Hinch told MLB.com that the Astros keep rolling by simply using a next-man-up mentality.

"I don't want to lose any of these guys," Hinch said. "I love all the guys and the way they play, but if we need a replacement anywhere from a short time to a long time for any of these guys, the next guy has got to step up. We've got a system in place below us, guys are playing well and we've got a great culture in there of a winning style of baseball. We're going to test that because we're going to need a lot of good things to happen for us to continue this momentum."

The Astros have one of the best farm systems in baseball. When Lowrie went down, they called up No. 2-ranked prospect Carlos Correa. It will be interesting to see if the Astros can stay hot as injuries pile up.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

 

 

Ian Denomme is an editor and writer for Yahoo Sports. Email him at denomme@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter.

Author: Ian Denomme
Posted: July 2, 2015, 5:48 pm

(ESPN)Good news, dudes and dudettes, you can still get as ripped as Bryce Harper and love donuts and cookies.

The Washington Nationals slugger is one of the star athletes who agreed to strip down for ESPN's "Body Issue" this year (as evidenced by the photo at right). He joins Prince Fielder and Matt Harvey as MLB players who have bared all for ESPN in the past few years.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

In his "Body Issue" interview, Harper gives us the usual factoids about his workout regimen and physique — he squats 405, has eight percent body fat and still wishes he had better abs — but Harper also admits he still loves sweet and his cheat days.

"My mom's cookies are unbelievable. So what I do: I'll put the cookies inside the microwave for, like, 12 seconds. It's got to be 12 seconds. And then I'll grab the ice cream and I'll make an ice cream sandwich. And I mean it's unbelievable. I have my cheat days."

Head over to ESPN to watch a video in which Harper talks about his love for donuts and ice cream. If you want to see him naked swinging a baseball bat, that's there too.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 2, 2015, 5:28 pm

Mark down Thursday afternoon’s Marlins-Giants game as a must watch. Two former All-Star pitchers coming off serious injuries make their debut in the finale of their three-game series.

Veteran Giants ace Matt Cain hasn’t pitched since July 9, 2014 after having season-ending elbow surgery last season. The three-time All-Star missed the Giants run to their third World Series title in five years, but should be a boost to their rotation. The Giants are in a tough, close race with the Dodgers in the NL West.

The wait has been even longer for Miami’s Jose Fernandez though. The 2013 NL rookie of the year hasn’t pitched in 14 months, since May 9, 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery. Fernandez was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball as a 20 year old in 2013 and his return to the Marlins rotation is being widely celebrated.

The Marlins have dubbed Thursday #JoseDay at the ballpark and every fan in attendance will receive a “Jose Head” giveaway. A Jose Head appears to be a cutout of Fernandez’s head, on a stick. A fun giveaway for the whole family.

Josés for days. pic.twitter.com/lGv6knGTuN

— #VoteMarlins (@Marlins) July 2, 2015

Fernandez got the festivities started earlier on Wednesday. Marlins superfan Andres Salgado, to show solidarity with Fernandez, had not cut his hair since his Tommy John surgery last year. Fernandez himself grabbed the clippers and cut Salgado’s hair to celebrate his return.

Ready for his season debut, @JDFernandez16 helped give The José Guy a haircut: http://t.co/eRt0X75lBv #JoséDay pic.twitter.com/5nPhlb8IQX

— #VoteMarlins (@Marlins) July 2, 2015

There’s a lot of hoopla, but it should be a fun day and a great pitching matchup. And maybe Fernandez is exactly what the disappointing Marlins need to get going as the second half of the season approaches.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

Ian Denomme is an editor and writer for Yahoo Sports. Email him at denomme@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter.

Author: Ian Denomme
Posted: July 2, 2015, 3:40 pm

Your browser does not support iframes.

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

If for some reason you're still not convinced the Houston Astros are for real, perhaps their three-game sweep of the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals can sway your opinion. The Astros completed the sweep with a hard-fought 6-5 victory on Wednesday night.

After falling behind 3-0 in the second inning, Houston rallied to score five in the middle innings to take the lead. Chris Carter's 100th career home run opened its scoring. After Marwin Gonzalez homered and likely All-Star Jose Altuve tied the game with an RBI single, Evan Gattis put the Astros ahead with a two-run single in the fifth.

The resilient Royals didn't fade away, though, tying the game again in the seventh on Jarrod Dyson's two-run triple. Houston scored the winner in its half of the seventh on Carter's fielder's choice – not exactly the most thrilling winning run, but very fitting for the Astros.

With the win, Houston now owns the AL's second-best record at 47-34. They're only percentage points behind Kansas City, which fell to 44-31.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The only dark cloud hovering for Houston is the condition of outfielder George Springer. Springer was hit with a pitch on the wrist and left the game with a reported contusion. However, the team didn't sound overly optimistic about his condition following the game.

AJ said he's not optimistic Springer will avoid the DL. #Astros

— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) July 2, 2015

Springer has been a stabilizing force since being moved into the leadoff position on May 24. In 36 games since, he's hitting .317/.391/.504. In other words, the Astros can ill-afford to lose his bat.

JUSTIN BOUR LAUNCHES THREE-RUN WALKOFF HOMER

The Miami Marlins aren't contenders, but they're starting to look like awfully good spoilers. Since losing Giancarlo Stanton to a broken hamate bone on Friday, they've gone 3-1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, including a dramatic 6-5 walkoff win against San Francisco on Wednesday night.

Justin Bour was the hero. After Christian Yelich and Adeiny Hechevarria started the ninth inning with singles against Giants closer Santiago Casilla, Bour lifted off, depositing a three-run shot into the right-field seats.

The home run was Bour's seventh of the season. More important for Miami, it completed a rare late comeback. Miami had been 0-38 when trailing after seven innings this season. It also helped the Marlins overcome hitting into a franchise record five double plays during the game.

Four of those double plays came against Giants starter Chris Heston, who was in line for his ninth victory before the ninth inning. Now the Giants will focus on avoiding a sweep on Thursday, and it won't be easy with Marlins ace Jose Fernandez making his return from Tommy John surgery.

BLUE JAYS ERUPT ON CANADA DAY

Wednesday was a day of celebration in Canada, and the Toronto Blue Jays' offense provided plenty of fireworks to make the celebration even grander.

In an 11-2 victory against the Boston Red Sox, the Blue Jays connected for five home runs, including two from first baseman Justin Smoak. Toronto also got a three-run shot from Edwin Encarnacion, which opened the scoring in the first inning. Jose Bautista and All-Star vote leader Josh Donaldson each added a two-run shot later in the game to complete a thrilling performance for the 45,392 fans at Rogers Centre.

Jose Reyes did not homer, but contributed four hits and scored four runs. Donaldson, Smoak and Kevin Pillar each had three hits in the 16-hit attack.

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

On the hill, Toronto's Mark Buehrle improved to 9-4 with six innings of one-run ball. Buehrle's remarkable season of run support continued as Toronto has now topped 10 runs in six of his 16 outings

On the other side, Rick Porcello was lit up for seven runs over two innings, including three home runs. His ERA ballooned to 6.08 over 94 2/3 innings.

CUBS SILENCE METS WITH ANOTHER SHUTOUT

For the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets, offense has been difficult to come by in recent days. Well, for the Mets it's actually been much longer, but you get the point.

In Tuesday's series opener, one run was enough for the Cubs to be victorious. The same would be true again on Wednesday, only this time the Cubs went and scored twice in the 11th inning to win 2-0.  

How the Cubs rallied was actually quite fitting given how the teams are playing. With runners on first and second and one out, Chris Coghlan laced a single to right field that should have scored a run or loaded of the bases. It did neither. Anthony Rizzo was held at third base while Kris Bryant continued around second base completely unaware that Rizzo wasn't headed home. 

Bryant was tagged out, which seemed to set the stage for another missed opportunity. However, Starlin Castro followed with about a 75-foot infield single to get Rizzo home. Miguel Montero then followed with an RBI single to make it an insurmountable two-run lead. 

Jon Lester and Bartolo Colon each got a no-decision. Each pitched seven scoreless innings, but perhaps more notable than that, each was 0 for 2 at the plate. Colon lined out to right field with the bases loaded in the second inning in what may have been New York's best scoring chance. 

Want to see more from Wednesday’s slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 2, 2015, 7:13 am

Your browser does not support iframes.

Aside from October, July might just be baseball's most dramatic and unpredictable month. Of course, that's mainly because the non-waiver trade deadline always falls on its final day, and now that we've officially crossed the threshold from June, the craziness is bound to begin very soon.

One pitcher whose future is almost certain to be impacted in the next 30 days is Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. The 2014 All-Star and Cy Young Award runner-up is having another season that will put him in the conversation for both honors. In 15 starts this season, Cueto is 5-5 with a 2.84 ERA over 104 2/3 innings. Last season, he was 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA over a league-leading 243 2/3 innings.

The only difference this season is he's doing it for a Reds team on the outside of the postseason picture looking in, and with a contract that's set to make him a free agent come season's end. Basically, he fits every criteria there is for a player who is certain to be traded, the only questions now are when and where.

If the when falls any time between now and July 17, which marks the beginning of Cincinnati's first home series following the All-Star break, that means Cueto's latest gem on Wednesday will mark his final start at Great American Ball Park while wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform.

(AP)It many ways, it felt like a proper farewell to Cincinnati. In eight innings, Cueto held the Minnesota Twins to one run while striking out eight in the Reds 2-1 victory.

In the bigger picture though, it felt like a start that would cement the interests of contenders looking to add a top of the rotation starter for the stretch run. In turn, that would make the next week to 10 days a really good time for Cincinnati to pull the trigger.

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The only concern that could impact Cueto's current and future value is durability. In 2011, he was limited to 24 starts. During the 2012 postseason, he exited his NLDS start after just eight pitches after suffering a mild oblique strain that proved too much for Cincinnati to overcome. His 2013 regular season was marred by injuries as well, limiting him to 11 starts.

His healthy 2014 season was a good step forward, but he's again shown some cracks this season. He was forced to miss two starts at the end of May with elbow soreness. He also had a scheduled start last week pushed back with stiffness in the elbow, but has looked fresh and rebounded well with two excellent starts since. That's perhaps the key point that should have his value on the rise right now. 

Like Cole Hamels, the other major ace known to be available, Cueto will draw interest from multiple teams. The Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals have already been connected. The San Francisco Giants recently had scouts looking at both Cueto and Mike Leake, but there figures to be a slew of teams in position to make a run, and it's possible we'll see one emerge with some urgency to get that trade done soon.

Really, aside from not being healthy in the 2012 postseason, he's been everything the Reds hoped he'd be as a pitcher. For his career, Cueto is 89-62 with a 3.25 ERA in 208 starts. At the Great American Ball Park, which is undoubtedly more hitter-friendly than pitcher-friendly, Cueto is 47-22 with a 2.97 ERA over 96 starts. 

It's just time for both to move on and move forward in new directions. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 2, 2015, 5:48 am

(Getty Images)Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray was unable to make Tuesday's scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies with what was simply described as illness. On Wednesday, we learned Gray wasn't battling the flu or a common cold, but rather a severe case of bacterial gastroenteritis, which forced him to spend Monday and Tuesday night in the hospital. 

The good news, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, is that Gray was improving on Wednesday. Following Oakland's 4-1 win against the Colorado Rockies, she was also among the first to report that Gray was discharged from the hospital. But there's still some question about when he might be able to return to the mound.  

Gray was feeling better after IV fluids and antibiotics, however, according to Dr. Allan Pont, the specific bacteria has not yet been identified despite ongoing testing. No other A’s players are sick, so the source is not the Oakland clubhouse, and Gray’s family is fine.
Recovery time is usually a couple of days, but Gray had a high fever and he will have lost some weight, so the A’s haven’t pinpointed a day for him to return to the rotation.

Chris Bassitt made the start for Gray on Tuesday, tossing five innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 loss to Colorado. Bassitt will remain with the A's through the weekend in case he's needed again to make Gray's scheduled start against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

The illness is not expected to impact Gray's availability for the All-Star game, unless of course it changes his schedule and lines him up for a start on Sunday, July 12. That would make him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star game itself. 

Gray is not only expected to make the American League roster, but should be considered a favorite to start. Gray's 2.09 ERA ranks second in the AL to Houston's Dallas Keuchel, who at this point might be his stiffest competition.

As great as that honor would be, the concern for the A's and their fans will be getting Gray back to one-hundred percent. The next 48 hours or so in his recovery will be telling in terms of how soon that will be realistic. One can safely bet though that Gray will be pushing to take his regular turn on Sunday.  

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 2, 2015, 3:44 am

Your browser does not support iframes.

The Butler did it on Wednesday night. Not once, but twice.

Of course, we're talking about Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Joey Butler, who in one game managed to spoil Carlos Carrasco's bid for a perfect game and no-hitter in two separate late-inning plate appearances. 

Carrasco entered the seventh inning having retired all 18 batters he'd faced to that point. He made it 19 straight when he retired Kevin Kaiermeir leading off the inning, which led to an epic battle with Butler. After eight pitches, including four two-strike pitches, Butler ended up drawing a walk to end the perfect game.

Carrasco's bid for his professional no-hitter would continue in the ninth inning. Despite a rough start to the inning — Asdrubal Cabrera walked and Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch — Carrasco moved to within one out of history. Only Joey Butler stood in his way again, and Butler spoiled it again, lining a two-strike single just out of the reach of a leaping Jason Kipnis at second base.  

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Oh, the heartbreak.

Oh, the pain.

(Getty Images)
Actually, Carrasco didn't express those emotions outwardly. Instead, he smiled and applauded Kipnis' effort before manager Terry Francona elected to remove him from the game. Carrasco walked off to a standing ovation from the respective Rays crowd, and then watched as Austin Adams recorded the final out in Cleveland's 8-1 victory.  

Carrasco's final line was 8 2/3 innings pitched with one run and one hit allowed, He walked two and hit one, while striking out a career-high 13 batters. His 124 pitches were also a career high. 

Carrasco, who inked a four-year, $22 million extension during the offseason, has definitely emerged as a top flight pitcher over the past two seasons. He's considered a late-bloomer, because it wasn't until his age 27 season that everything began to click. But now that it's clicking, he's become a threat to dominate any offense on any given night. 

On Wednesday evening at Tropicana Field, it just so happened to be the Rays in his way. Though to be honest, the Rays have been poised to be on the wrong side of history for the better part of two weeks now. In each of the previous two games in this series, Cleveland starters carried no-hit bids deep into the game. On Monday, Cody Anderson lost his bid in the seventh inning. On Tuesday, Danny Salazar carried a no-hitter into the sixth. Going back to last week, Toronto's Marco Estrada had a perfect game against Tampa into the eighth inning. 

A lot of things have to come together for a pitcher to go the distance with a historic performance, but an offense as cold as the Rays' right now certainly helps. 

That's something we should keep in mind for Thursday, as the Rays will wrap up the series aganst 2014 AL Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 2, 2015, 2:37 am

The interleague series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers got off to an intense start Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

The spark happened in the fourth inning when Tigers starter Justin Verlander clipped Pittsburgh's Starling Marte on the forearm with a 1-2 pitch. During the next half-inning, Pirates' ace Gerrit Cole drilled Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez with a 95-mph fastball to the backside. That did not sit well with Martinez, who shot a glare toward Cole as he slowly made his way to first base. 

Martinez wasn't alone in feeling the pitch was intentional. In the next half-inning, Justin Verlander returned the favor again by drilling Pedro Alvarez with his first pitch. At that point, both benches were warned, but the bad blood was already boiling and it doesn't appear to have settled down as the teams entered play on Wednesday. 

In fact, Martinez was quoted as saying he's lost respect for the Pirates organization as a result of the perceived targeting, which sets the stage for some more potential hostilities. 

"I mean, I have no respect for no one on that team, including Cole and their coaching staff," said Martinez, who was adamant that Cole intentionally hit him.

"Yeah, everyone knows that," Martinez said when asked by 97.1-FM's Jeff Riger if he thought it was a retaliation pitch.

Martinez is casting a wide net, but he's probably safe to assume the Pirates are in this together. 

As we noted over the weekend, the Pirates have grown frustrated this season with the number of times they've been hit by a pitch. Entering play on Wednesday they've been hit a league-high 44 times. Andrew McCutchen, who's been hit 27 times over the past three seasons, was particularly annoyed after being forced from Saturday's game after being hit on the left elbow by Atlanta's Julio Teheran.

McCutchen later joked that he might dropkick the next pitcher who plunks him, but the greater point was clear and serious. He's fed up with the aches, pains, bumps and even the broken rib he sustained last season, and the Pirates as a whole are losing patience. 

With that said, Cole and the Pirates weren't admitting to any form of retaliation in Tuesday's game. Here's what Cole had to say on the subject. 

"I mean, that's his opinion, man. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I can't control who he respects and who he doesn't."  

Added Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

"I wasn't aware that [Martinez] was the voice of reason," said Hurdle, adding that he is "never surprised by what players say."

The problem with the Pirates being so outspoken is that it will immediately create suspicion when an opponent is hit. It's also likely to create a few new enemies for them moving forward. We can already count Victor Martinez among them, and one can also bet the league will be taking a closer look at how business is handled as well. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 2, 2015, 12:29 am

Your browser does not support iframes.

Joc and Giancarlo, that pair sounds like it could be a lot of things — a melodic rap duo, for instance, or twin sons of a move star. Maybe a pair of chefs with a hip food truck.

They're also the two guys who ruled baseball's home-run distance game in June. We're talking, of course, about Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. And now that the calendar has flipped to July, it's time for The Stew, like we always do, to look at the longest homers from the month that just ended. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Unlike May, when it was four Stanton homers and one other dude, June is a little more of a party. We've got two Stanton blasts, two Pederson blasts (from the same day!) and a somewhat surprising overall leader — Hanley Ramirez, who has been injured and whose name isn't quite as fun to say as the others.

Here's the entire top five list with details and data from MLBAM's very precise Statcast tracking system:

(Getty Images)

1. HANLEY RAMIREZ, JUNE 21, 480.53 FEET
Hanley only hit three homers in June, a month in which he missed time with a hand injury, but he made this one count. 

2. GIANCARLO STANTON, JUNE 23, 478.61 FEET
Because it might be hard to tell the Stanton mega homers apart, this is the one he hit 119 mph.

Your browser does not support iframes.

3. GIANCARLO STANTON, JUNE 5, 478.38 FEET
At the time, this was the longest homer of the year.

Your browser does not support iframes.

4. JOC PEDERSON, JUNE 2, 476.83 FEET
Young Joc had a field day at Coors Field in early June ...

Your browser does not support iframes.

5. JOC PEDERSON, JUNE 2, 471.55 FEET
... see what we mean? And if we took the list out to the top 10 homers, Pederson would have also had No. 8. 

Your browser does not support iframes.

PREVIOUSLY: Top homers of May | Top homers of April 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 1, 2015, 11:36 pm

With Jerry Dipoto officially out as general manager, the Los Angeles Angels have named Bill Stoneman, the architect of their 2002 World Series championship team, as the Angels' interim replacement, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports. 

The news was revealed just moments before the Angels took on the New York Yankees Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

Source: Bill Stoneman will become the #Angels' interim GM, with Matt Klentak basically serving as his No. 2. No Bud Black.

— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) July 1, 2015

According to Gonzalez, the Angels could open a wider search for a permanent replacement this offseason, or could promote assistant general manager Matt Klentak. It was reported earlier Wednesday that both Klentak and Scott Servais, the team's other assistant GM, would remain with the club. 

Stoneman, 71, served as the Angels general manager from 1999-2007, a stretch that netted Los Angeles a World Series championship in 2002 and four postseason appearances overall. When Stoneman stepped down following the 2007 season, Tony Reagins held the position until 2011, when Dipoto was hired. Stoneman has been serving as the team's senior adviser of baseball operations. 

[David Price joins The StewPod to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

Following Stoneman's run as GM, the Angels have made the postseason three times, but only once in the past five seasons.  

Though not in line to take over full-time, Stoneman seems like a good fit to bridge the Angels. He was the man who hired Mike Scioscia as manager in 2000, so the two obviously have a good rapport. His experience will be valuable as the Angels transition into the next full-time GM. But above all else Stoneman provides stability at a time of chaos. 

It won't solve all of their issues, but Stoneman should help pave a smoother road back to normalcy. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 1, 2015, 11:26 pm

(AP)At this rate, we're going to run out of high-profile prospects! OK, not really, but baseball's year of prospect continues with another big bat headed to the big leagues.

Miguel Sano, the freakish third baseman in the Minnesota Twins organization, is the latest to get the call, reports MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. After losing 2-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, the Twins sent Kennys Vargas to Double-A, a move that had some mouths in Minnesota watering for Sano. And it will be so, reportedly.

Just heard from a well-placed source that Miguel Sano will be getting the call up to the Twins.

— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) July 1, 2015

Sano is a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic who swings a big stick. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 240 pounds, so he's very much an imposing physical specimen. Sano had been crushing the ball in Double-A lately, hitting .329 in June with a 1.090 OPS and six homers.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Sano after his 2013 season, in which he hit 35 homers and drove in 103 runs. He missed all of 2014 after needing Tommy John surgery (yes, position players need it sometimes too), so the hype train got delayed a bit. 

[David Price joins The StewPod this week to talk social media, baseball brotherhood and more.]

Prior to this season, both Sano and fellow Twins prospect Byron Buxton figured to be bright spots in the future, as two of the top prospects in the game. Neither were great bets to reach the big leagues this year, but the Twins have been better than expected (currently 41-37 and second in the AL Central), so they figured the future is now. Buxton was called up to the big leagues two weeks ago, but has already landed on the disabled list.

Now we get Sano, who is expected mostly to DH for the Twins. As Bollinger notes, the Twins need some power in the middle of their lineup. And power is something Sano knows.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 1, 2015, 10:48 pm

This is The StewPod, our weekly baseball podcast with a dash of pop culture. If you dig us, please subscribe on iTunes.

One of the best things about Detroit Tigers pitcher David Price is that he's just as much of a baseball fan as anybody. He truly enjoys the game, his fellow players and the opportunities baseball affords him. That's not just money, either, that's a front-row seat to watch Miguel Cabrera do Miguel Cabrera things every day.

(Getty Images)

"This is a brotherhood," Price tells The Stew. "The coolest part for me is just to get to meet different people, to have different relationships, to get to know people on a personal level that you see on ESPN on an everyday basis doing really cool stuff in their sport. To me, that's what I'm always going to take away from this game, the relationships that I've been able to make."

Price has no problem praising a player on another team (it helps if he's a Vanderbilt pitcher, but hey) and he'll tell you how honored he is to be an ambassador in the Delta Dugout program along with people the caliber of Mariano Rivera and Matt Harvey. The program — check it out here, if you're interested — offers fans the chance to win baseball memorabilia, flights and pre-game VIP experiences.

With July upon us and baseball a lot more interesting these days, Price joined this week's StewPod to talk about a litany of things — the pre-game mood in the Tigers clubhouse, how players use social media, how the trade deadline affects players rumored to be dealt and the relationships he's made around baseball. It's an enlightening chat with one of baseball's best pitchers and we think you'll enjoy it. 

Here's the full rundown of the show:
• Intro
• David Price joins the StewPod
• What's the mood like in your clubhouse before a game?
• Is it nice to not have to worry about trade rumors this time of year?
• The baseball brotherhood
• Pablo Sandoval, Instagram and how players really use their phones
• How awesome is Miguel Cabrera?
• Which pitchers have impressed him this season?
• Where do the Tigers go from here?
• Elsewhere in MLB: How awkward is the rest of the season going to be in Philly?
• Yasiel Puig's teammates are annoyed by him. Does that change our opinion of him?
• How we'd make the Home Run Derby better
• Our take on bullpen roles and what Huston Street thinks of them
• Important questions about ballpark food, RBIs and leap seconds.

 [Music: "Straighten It Out" and "I Got a Love" by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth]

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 1, 2015, 9:34 pm

(Getty Images)Baseball streaks can be fickle. One minute, you're on a five-game winning streak, then, presto chango, all of the sudden you've lost eight straight contests. 

[On this week's StewPod: Looking back at a fun week in baseball with Jeff Passan]

Nobody understands this better than Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Maddon is known for keeping his clubhouses pretty loose, particularly when things get rough. That's why he decided to hire a magician to inspire the Cubs during a recent five-game losing streak.

Maddon apparently pulled the idea out of his ... hat after a weekend series in St. Louis, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN. 

Maddon thought of the idea "on the plane or bus" after the Cubs' weekend series in St. Louis, where they were swept. They were on a season-high five-game losing streak, having fallen 11½ games behind the Cardinals going into Tuesday's games.

"It was about time," Maddon said. "Tough series in St. Louis. I don't want our guys to get all distraught for the wrong reasons. We played a good game. They beat us. Let's keep moving it forward."

Maddon even talked about baseball magic prior to introducing the magician to the club.

While some players were initially skeptical of the proceedings, it seems like everyone came around in the end. 

"I'm not a big magic fan," pitcher Jon Lester said. "It kind of creeps me out a little bit, but it was cool. That's Joe."

In the end, the magician must have cast a spell on the Cubs. They went out and won Tuesday's game 1-0, putting an end to the losing streak. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

Some might view magic as lame, but it got the job done in this instance. Nobody was sawn in half during the stunt, either, so that has to be viewed as a success. 

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 1, 2015, 8:18 pm
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

UPDATE: It's official. Jerry Dipoto has resigned as general manager of the Angels. Dipoto confirmed the news to the Los Angeles Times himself. 

Jerry Dipoto's resignation, now official, was inevitable. When you're a GM without authority to run a team as you see fit, what's the point?

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 1, 2015

There will be more to this story once the parties involved start talking — like who will take over, what manager Mike Scioscia has to say and what the players think. But for now, we know for sure, the GM job is open in Anaheim.

ORIGINAL POST: What seemed likely late Tuesday night on the West Coast looks to have become a reality Wednesday morning with multiple reports emerging that general manager Jerry Dipoto is no longer the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels.

Friction between Dipoto and longtime manager Mike Scioscia over the in-game use of scouting information is believed to be the main cause of conflict. Yahoo's Tim Brown termed the rift between the two as "irreparable."

According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Dipoto went to Angels owner Arte Moreno with an ultimatum and was rebuffed, leading Dipoto to pack up his stuff and leave with an eye on stepping down.

A 2nd source confirms Jerry Dipoto is done as #Angels GM. "Scioscia definitely won that power struggle,'' he says.

— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 1, 2015

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

The Angels have yet to issue an update about Dipoto's current status with the team. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez writes that an announcement may come before Wednesday's game. However, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports is reporting that Moreno and Angels president John Carpino are attempting to get Dipoto to reconsider his resignation.

One source called the Angels situation "chaotic." High-ranking members of the organization remain unclear as to Jerry Dipoto's status.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 1, 2015

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Israel Fehr is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr

Author: Israel Fehr
Posted: July 1, 2015, 7:37 pm

(USA Today)Each week, millions of workers around the globe look forward to payday. Getting a check, or seeing that extra money magically appear in your account, is always a good thing.

[On this week's StewPod: Looking back at a fun week in baseball with Jeff Passan]

It's probably even better when you're no longer working. Former New York Met Bobby Bonilla knows the feeling well. Due to a strange clause in his contract, Bonilla will receive close to $1.2 million from the Mets once a year until 2035. Keep in mind that Bonilla hasn't played in the majors since 2001, so he's clearly doing something right.

That annual payday just happens to come every July 1. We're guessing Bonilla is celebrating somewhere right now. 

So, how the heck did this happen? Following a poor season in 1999, the Mets wanted to cut Bonilla, but would have had to eat his $5.9 million salary in order to make the move.

Bonilla agreed to leave the club, but only if they deferred his salary, gave him an eight percent interest rate and paid it off over 25 years starting in 2011. The Mets agreed to this arrangement, and now Bonilla gets a open a check while sitting on the beach sipping on a Mai Tai once a year. 

[Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

All in all, not a bad gig for Bonilla. He gets to enjoy the spoils of retirement and occasionally gets paid a fairly large sum of money. We're not sure if this is another case of the Mets being the Mets, or Bonilla being incredibly savvy. Either way, we salute him for this one.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 1, 2015, 6:43 pm
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Max Scherzer isn't content with dominating MLB on the mound. He wants to show that he can handle a bat too.

Scherzer has nine hits, all singles, in 35 at-bats this season for a .257 batting average and apparently thinks he could do even better given a few more opportunities at the plate.

According to Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams, Scherzer has been asking to be used as a pinch-hitter in games he's not starting and he's pretty darn persistent:

Matt Williams said Max Scherzer is regularly seeking pinch hit opportunities and leaves his offensive stats on his desk from time to time.

— Jeff Joyce (@JeffJoyce19) July 1, 2015

[On this week's StewPod: Looking back at a fun week in baseball with Jeff Passan]

That is awesome. We can just imagine Scherzer swaggering into the manager's office with a printout of his numbers and planting them on Williams' desk with a huge knowing smile across his face.

Now we aren't likely to see Scherzer's wishes granted any time soon as he's simply too valuable as a pitcher for the Nationals. The injury risk is small but it's still there, and just earlier this year we saw the St. Louis Cardinals lose Adam Wainwright for the season with a torn Achilles he suffered while batting.

Scherzer, who pitched a no-hitter in June, will have to make do with getting his hits every fifth day while mowing down opposing hitters. So far that's been more than enough in helping get the Nationals to the top of the NL East in his first season in Washington and put himself in the early Cy Young Award discussion.

BLS H/T: /r/baseball

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Israel Fehr is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr

Author: Israel Fehr
Posted: July 1, 2015, 6:15 pm

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


× 4 = twenty eight

Looking for older news? Search in the archive