Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • MLB notebook: Red Sox add Pomeranz to roster
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    The Boston Red Sox added left-hander Drew Pomeranz to their roster for the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    • Pomeranz, excluded from the roster for the American League Championship Series and AL Division Series, replaces right-hander Brandon Workman, who was with the team for each of the previous series.

      Pomeranz, a key starter for the club in 2017, hasn't pitched in a game since the team's regular-season finale on Sept. 30. He went 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA in 26 games (11 starts) this season, spending separate stints on the disabled list due to a left forearm flexor strain and left biceps tendinitis.

      --Mark McGwire has informed the San Diego Padres that he will not return as their bench coach in 2019 in order to spend more time with his family.

      McGwire, a 12-time All-Star who slugged 583 home runs, joined San Diego's coaching staff in December 2015.

      McGwire, 55, and his wife, Stephanie, are raising young triplet girls and two boys who are in high school. He discussed his departure with Padres manager Andy Green in September, but took the last few weeks to make a final decision.

      Before joining the Padres, McGwire worked as a hitting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals (2010-12) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2013-15).

      --The New York Mets are down to three finalists for their vacant general manager post.

      Player agent Brodie Van Wagenen, former Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom are the last three in the running. Van Wagenen, 44, interviewed with the team on Monday.

      Among Van Wagenen's clients at CAA Baseball are Mets players Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, Todd Frazier and Tim Tebow. His candidacy has sparked conversations of conflict of interest, and he declined to participate in a conference call with reporters "because he is not willing to compromise his current role during this process," a Mets official told MLB.com.

      --Longtime San Francisco Giants broadcaster Hank Greenwald died Monday after a long battle with heart and kidney complications, the team announced Tuesday. He was 83.

      Greenwald spent 16 seasons as the radio voice for the Giants on KNBR 680 AM from 1979-86 and 1989-96. In between, Greenwald was part of the New York Yankees radio team.

      Following his retirement from the Giants in 1996, Greenwald continued broadcasting baseball for CBS Radio. He served as a part-time television broadcaster for the Oakland Athletics during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • McGwire won't return as Padres bench coach
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    Mark McGwire has informed the San Diego Padres that he will not return as their bench coach in 2019 in order to spend more time with his family.

    • McGwire, a 12-time All-Star who slugged 583 home runs, joined San Diego's coaching staff in December 2015.

      McGwire, 55, and his wife, Stephanie, are raising young triplet girls and two boys who are in high school. He discussed his departure with Padres manager Andy Green in September, but took the last few weeks to make a final decision.

      "Honestly, I commend him for it," Green told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "He was definitely appreciated."

      Before joining the Padres, McGwire worked as a hitting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals (2010-12) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2013-15).

      He played 16 big-league seasons with the Oakland A's and the Cardinals, winning a World Series title with Oakland in 1989. "Big Mac" led his league in home runs four times, including a then-MLB record 70 homers with the Cardinals in 1998.

      McGwire, who admitted in 2010 to steroid use during his career, is one of several players from his era whose Hall of Fame candidacies have been harmed by admitted or suspected steroid use. He never received more than 23.7 percent -- less than a third of the required 75 percent -- of the vote in his first 10 years of eligibility and is now only eligible for selection by the veteran's committee.

      --Field Level Media

  • Longtime Giants broadcaster Greenwald dead at 83
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    Longtime San Francisco Giants broadcaster Hank Greenwald died Monday after a long battle with heart and kidney complications, the team announced Tuesday. He was 83.

    • Greenwald spent 16 seasons as the radio voice for the Giants on KNBR 680 AM from 1979-86 and 1989-96. In between, Greenwald was part of the New York Yankees radio team.

      Among his memorable calls announcing Giants baseball was when the team won the National League pennant in 1989, returning to the World Series for the first time since 1962.

      Following his retirement from the Giants in 1996, Greenwald continued broadcasting baseball for CBS Radio. He served as a part-time television broadcaster for the Oakland Athletics during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

      Greenwald also called play-by-play for the NBA's Golden State Warriors.

      "Hank was a broadcasting legend throughout the Bay Area and was a huge part of the Giants throughout his 16 seasons as our play-by-play announcer. He was the key link to our fans listening at home and brought our game to life through the radio," said Giants president and CEO Larry Baer in a statement.

      "Hank and his family continued to stay connected with the Giants following his retirement and he often could be found talking baseball or taking in a game on the broadcast level of AT&T Park. He will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with Carla, Kellie and Doug."

      Greenwald's son, Doug Greenwald, is the broadcaster for the Fresno Grizzlies, who had been the Triple-A affiliate of the Giants from 1998-2014. The Grizzlies are now affiliated with the Washington Nationals following a four-year stint with the Houston Astros.

      "My dad's goal was to be a Major League Baseball broadcaster, the San Francisco Giants provided him with that opportunity and in turn he provided Giants fans everywhere with many exciting moments," said Doug Greenwald in a statement.

      --Field Level Media

  • Red Sox add LHP Pomeranz for World Series
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    The Boston Red Sox added left-hander Drew Pomeranz to their roster for the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    • Pomeranz, excluded from the roster for the American League Championship Series and AL Division Series, replaces right-hander Brandon Workman, who was with the team for each of the previous series.

      Pomeranz, a key starter for the club in 2017, hasn't pitched in a game since the team's regular-season finale on Sept. 30. He went 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA in 26 games (11 starts) this season, spending separate stints on the disabled list with a left forearm flexor strain and left biceps tendinitis.

      The southpaw went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA in 32 starts in 2017. His addition to the roster comes against a Dodgers team that ranked eighth in the National League in OPS against left-handed pitchers this season (.733) compared to first (.796) against righties.

      Pomeranz joins Eduardo Rodriguez as left-handed options out of the Red Sox's bullpen.

      Pomeranz's addition also means right-handed knuckleballer Steven Wright wasn't brought back into the fold by the Red Sox. Wright was originally on the team's roster for the ALDS before being removed with a knee injury. Under MLB rules, Wright could not have been added to the ALCS roster, though he was eligible to return for the World Series.

      The Dodgers also made a change from their National League Championship Series roster. Left-hander Scott Alexander, who had been with the team for the NL Division Series, replaces fellow southpaw Caleb Ferguson. Ferguson was unscored upon in six appearances across the NLDS and NLCS.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mets narrow GM search to three
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    The New York Mets are down to three finalists for their vacant general manager post.

    • Player agent Brodie Van Wagenen, former Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom are the last three in the running. Van Wagenen, 44, interviewed with the team on Monday.

      "My conversations with the Mets continue to be organic. I believe baseball is better when the Mets are competitive and successful," Van Wagenen said in a statement. "As Jeff and Fred [Wilpon] continue their search for a new head of baseball operations, the players, fans and entire organization will be motivated to have a leader with the skills and commitment to win. If the Wilpons believe I am that person, we will have that conversation."

      Among Van Wagenen's clients at CAA Baseball are Mets players Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, Todd Frazier and Tim Tebow. His candidacy has sparked conversations of conflict of interest, and he declined to participate in a conference call with reporters "because he is not willing to compromise his current role during this process," a Mets official told MLB.com.

      Melvin, 66, is considered the favorite for the job, according to the New York Post. He has served as a senior advisor with the Brewers since he stepped down as the team's general manager after holding the role from 2002-15.

      Bloom, 35, is the youngest of the candidates and has had a hand in Tampa Bay's recent unconventional strategies, including utilizing relievers, termed "openers," to start games. On the strength of that approach, the Rays won 90 games this season, finishing third in the American League East.

      Sandy Alderson, the Mets' former GM, took a leave of absence from the role in June after revealing his cancer returned in April. Alderson, 70, said then the team's standing -- the Mets went 77-85 this year -- didn't merit a return.

      Assistant general manager John Ricco and special assistants J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya ran the team for the remainder of the season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Escobar re-signs with Diamondbacks
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 22, 2018

    A couple months with the Arizona Diamondbacks was all Eduardo Escobar needed to decide to stay.

    • Escobar re-signed with the Diamondbacks on a reported three-year, $21 million deal on Monday. The 29-year-old third baseman is coming off a career season split between the Minnesota Twins and Diamondbacks and now is under contract through the end of the 2021 season.

      Arizona acquired Escobar on July 27 in exchange for minor leaguers Ernie De La Trinidad, Jhoan Duran and Gabriel Maciel. Escobar hit .268 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs in 54 games with Arizona and finished the total 2018 campaign with a .272 average, 23 homers and 84 RBIs in 151 games.

      Escobar set career highs in home runs, RBIs, doubles (48), walks (52), runs scored (75), hits (154) and several other categories. He led all switch hitters in doubles on the season.

      Escobar said it was an easy decision to bypass a shot at free agency.

      "I think the most important thing for me coming here was the people here," Escobar told the Arizona Republic. "There are great people here. Everybody took care of my family and that's the most important thing for me. I signed it because I like it here. I'm happy to be here and ready for next season."

      Arizona finished the season 82-80 and narrowly missed the postseason. The team faces additional questions this offseason with outfielder A.J. Pollock and left-hander Patrick Corbin hitting free agency.

      Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said Escobar was a versatile player who could play other positions such as second base or shortstop if needed. Hazen described the signing as "a great first step" but did not indicate what the teams' next moves might be.

      "We feel like this is one very strong step in a direction," Hazen told the Arizona Republic. "But I don't think it finishes off a lot of the work that we're ultimately going to have to do to put the team where we need it to be for me to be able to sit here and say one way or another right now.

      "I would ask and caution not to read into either side of those things, as much as I know fans are definitely going to want to do that. We totally understand. (But) it's a long process for the offseason."

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB announces World Series umpires
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 22, 2018

    Major League Baseball announced the umpires for the 2018 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, and controversial umpires Angel Hernandez and Joe West were not named to the crew.

    • Ted Barrett, who is in his 21st season, will make his first appearance as a World Series crew chief. It will be his fourth Fall Classic. Barrett previously worked the World Series in 2007, 2011 and 2014.

      Barrett will be joined by Fieldin Culbreth, Kerwin Danley, Chad Fairchild, Jeff Nelson, Jim Reynolds and Tim Timmons, while Chris Conroy will be the replay assistant official throughout the series.

      This will be Nelson's fourth World Series, Culbreth's third, and the second for Danley and Reynolds. Fairchild and Timmons will be making their Fall Classic debuts.

      Timmons will be the home plate umpire for the opener, which is at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. He will be the replay official for Game 3 through the remainder of the series. Culbreth will be the replay official for the first two games before joining the on-field crew for the rest of the series, and he would be behind the plate if there is a Game 7.

      The World Series starts Tuesday night in Boston.

      --Field Level Media

  • Dodgers' Kershaw ready to face Sale in Fenway debut
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 22, 2018

    In 11 major league seasons, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw never has pitched at Fenway Park.

    • That's about to change -- on the biggest stage, no less.

      The Dodgers announced that Kershaw will start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday in Boston, where he will face Red Sox southpaw Chris Sale. The decision to start Kershaw was widely expected, but it did not diminish the excitement for the 30-year-old ace.

      "Obviously, the intensity is different, and things like that," Kershaw said Monday, a day after working out on the Fenway Park bullpen mound. "But that's why I came here (Sunday) to make sure everything was good. Should be good."

      Kershaw went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 26 starts during the regular season. He struck out 155 batters in 161 1/3 innings. The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner appeared in three games in last year's World Series, going 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA.

      In the current postseason, Kershaw is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in four games (three starts). He pitched a scoreless ninth inning Saturday to close out the Dodgers' Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series.

      Sale, 29, was 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 27 starts this season. He fanned 237 batters in 158 innings.

      The Red Sox's ace is far less experienced in the postseason than Kershaw. Sale has logged 20 playoff innings in his career (1-2, 5.85 ERA). By comparison, Kershaw has 141 playoff innings on his resume (9-8, 4.09 ERA).

      Sale is 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA in three games (two starts) this October.

      Kershaw complimented Sale but did not elaborate on going up against the fellow southpaw.

      "I don't take much solace about the matchup," Kershaw said. "I don't really care as much, other than I'd like him to not be as good so we can have a better chance of winning."

      The Game 2 pitching matchup features another pair of left-handers: the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 1.97 ERA regular season; 1-1, 4.40 postseason) vs. the Red Sox's David Price (16-7, 3.58; 1-1, 5.11). Los Angeles will start rookie right-hander Walker Buehler (8-5, 2.62; 0-1, 5.40) in Game 3, then veteran left-hander Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66; 0-0, 2.61) in Game 4.

      Boston's Game 3 and 4 starters are uncertain, as right-handers Nathan Eovaldi (6-7, 3.81; 2-0, 1.88) and Rick Porcello (17-7, 4.28; 1-0, 4.22) will be on call for bullpen duty the opening two games.

      The first two games will be held in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday. The series shifts to Los Angeles for games Friday, Saturday and (if necessary) Sunday. Games 6 and 7 would be played in Boston on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, if necessary.

      --Field Level Media

  • Dodgers manager Roberts remains Boston royalty
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 22, 2018

    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts might always be pinch-runner Dave Roberts in Boston.

    • Roberts had 243 career steals in his 10-year career, but none bigger than swiping second as a member of the Red Sox in 2004 to spark a momentous rally -- Boston won four straight over the New York Yankees to take the American League Championship Series -- and eventually the franchise's first World Series since 1918.

      "Someone mentions it every day," Roberts said.

      Alex Cora, now the manager of the Red Sox, can corroborate Roberts' claim. He's hearing about it now more than ever as the first-year skipper prepares to begin the World Series at Fenway Park with Roberts in the Los Angeles dugout.

      "Dave Roberts in '04, he came here, he stole that base against the Yankees, and the rest is history," Cora said. "And now he comes here and he makes a lot of money signing autographs (laughter). I know he puts, 'The greatest stolen base in the history of the game.' He makes a lot of money in an hour."

      Roberts chuckled that the stolen base wasn't all that lucrative, but he certainly gets that it was memorable.

      The two managers share plenty of memories. They were together in July 2004 when the Red Sox made the move to acquire Roberts from the Dodgers.

      "I still remember with him he was crushed," said Cora. "That was a good baseball team. And they decided to make a few moves, to say the least. And he was part of it. I remember, I told him, I said, 'Hey, man, you're going to a great city. They have a chance to do something special. You never know.'"

      Cora did not set out to be a manager, he said, and never envisioned that Roberts would be either. Cora was comfortable sharing a set with other baseball talking heads at ESPN, where he worked around 70 days per year and could still fly home to Puerto Rico to be with his family 80 percent of the time.

      "Those experiences help," said Cora, who was bench coach with the Houston Astros when they took down the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. "And last year, too. We went through it in Houston. And it's not that we went through it here but at that level, people stay the course and they didn't talk to the media about it or whatever, but you have to deal with stuff like that, trades and releasing guys and sending people down and being around Tito (Terry Francona), Davey Johnson, Jerry Manuel, so on and so on. I learned from them and it really helped."

      Roberts is enjoying the nostalgia of "The Steal" this week in Boston, but he's not planning to shift his focus from beating the Red Sox this time around. Taking a moment to reflect Monday at World Series Media Day was the perfect opportunity to revisit 2004.

      "They all touch me in different ways. I think the key that I've really grown to appreciate is it's not about me," he said. "I understand that it was a big play for me, for the Red Sox and our club in 2004, but understanding that everyone has a moment. That moment is special to them or whoever they're with, and however they identify that play with that particular moment. And for to them to want to share that with me, that's pretty humbling. So I've really grown to love to hear the different stories. I've heard stories of parents on their deathbed and got to see it, and then finally gave way once they saw us win a championship. And it doesn't get more impactful or heart warming than that."

      --Field Level Media

  • Ex-MLB player Dykstra arraigned on drug, threat charges
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 22, 2018

    Retired baseball player Lenny Dykstra was arraigned Monday in a New Jersey courtroom on two drug charges and for allegedly threatening an Uber driver, with his attorney entering a not guilty plea on Dykstra's behalf.

    • Dykstra didn't say anything during the hearing in the courtroom of Union County Superior Court Judge Lisa Miralles Walsh. He is scheduled to return on Dec. 3.

      Outside the courtoom, a group of reporters followed him as he walked away.

      "I'm a man of the people," Dykstra said. "We'll let the process handle itself and the truth will come out."

      Dykstra, 55, played 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. A three-time All-Star, he was a member of the Mets' 1986 championship team.

      David S. Bahuriak, Dykstra's attorney, told reporters his client is innocent.

      "This has been an overblown incident from the very beginning," Bahuriak said. "He is not guilty, he did not commit a crime and the evidence is going to show that."

      Dykstra was arrested May 23 after an alleged confrontation with the Uber driver.

      The driver told police that Dykstra was picked up at Crescent Circle in Linden, N.J., with a listed destination in nearby Clark Township, but changed his mind and wanted to go to Staten Island.

      Dykstra would need to use his phone to change the trip, the driver says he told him, sparking the trouble.

      "Dykstra then placed a black pill bag with an object (the driver) believed to be a gun to his head and stated, 'Take me to Staten Island or I'll blow your (expletive) head off,'" according to the police documents.

      The driver pulled up in front of the Linden police station and fled the vehicle "screaming for help," according to the report.

      An officer patted down Dykstra, who claimed he had no gun and that the driver had kidnapped him.

      Police said that when the officer searched Dykstra's bags, he allegedly found a pill bottle containing a leafy green substance suspected to be marijuana, a glass pipe with suspected marijuana residue and a yellow straw with suspected powder cocaine residue.

      Also allegedly found were two pills suspected to be MDMA, a baggie containing suspected marijuana and a clear vial containing suspected cocaine.

      If convicted, Dykstra could face up to 10 years in prison. He has two previous convictions, including a federal fraud conviction.

      --Field Level Media

  • Angels name Ausmus manager
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, October 21, 2018

    Brad Ausmus is the new manager of the Los Angeles Angels, the team announced Sunday.

    • He replaces Mike Scioscia, who won a World Series title with the Angels but chose not to return for a 20th season in 2019.

      Ausmus, 49, managed the Detroit Tigers from 2014-17, and his team won the American League Central championship in his first season but lost in the league Division Series. His record with the Tigers was 314-332.

      Most recently, he had served as assistant to Angels general manager Billy Eppler.

      "Over the past few weeks, our baseball operations personnel sat down with numerous highly qualified and impressive candidates for our managerial role. We are thankful to all of them for their time and effort throughout the process," Eppler said in a statement. "Ultimately, Brad's balance of connectivity, communication and leadership skills as well as his understanding of evolving strategies and probabilistic approach to decision making led us to him. We believe his knowledge, drive and growth mindset will allow him to integrate seamlessly with our players and staff and will be pivotal in advancing our culture and moving us toward our goals as an organization."

      Scioscia, the two-time American League Manager of the Year, posted a 1,650-1,428 career record with the Angels. They finished with a sub-.500 record in four of the past six seasons, despite having a roster than includes arguably the game's best player, outfielder Mike Trout, who in his seven full seasons has won two AL Most Valuable Player Awards, AL Rookie of the Year and five Silver Slugger awards. He is a seven-time All-Star.

      Ausmus, a catcher in his playing days, spent 18 seasons in the major leagues from 1993 to 2010: 10 seasons in Houston, four in San Diego, three in Detroit and two with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was selected to one All-Star team and won three Gold Gloves. He had a .251 career batting average.

      --Field Level Media

      The Los Angeles Angels announced Brad Ausmus as the club's new manager on Sunday, succeeding Mike Scioscia, who had spent 19 seasons in charge.

      Ausmus, 49, spent four seasons as the Detroit Tigers' skipper from 2014-2017. He led the team to the American League Central title in his first year but had an overall record of 314-332.

      Scioscia stepped down after a nearly two-decade run with the Angels, which included seven trips to the postseason and a World Series title in 2002.

      The Angels have baseball's best player in Mike Trout, but are weighed down by hefty contracts, including the $87 million owed to 38-year-old old Albert Pujols over the next three seasons. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of the year and likely won't be able to pitch until 2020.

  • Reds hire ex-MLB player Bell as manager
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, October 21, 2018

    Former player David Bell has been hired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, replacing interim skipper Jim Riggleman, who captained the team after the firing of Bryan Price 18 games into the 2018 season.

    • Bell, 46, joins the team on a three-year contract with a team option for 2022. He'll be introduced in a press conference on Monday.

      Bell spent last season in the San Francisco Giants front office, but was a manager in the Reds' minor-league system for three seasons. He was also a bench coach from 2014-17 for the St. Louis Cardinals.

      This is his first big-league managing job.

      "He's smart. He's done everything in baseball. He's been a player, a coach. He's been in player development," Reds owner Bob Castellini told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I like the way he handles himself. He's a one-on-one person."

      Bell was born in Cincinnati and graduated from high school there, and his father, Buddy, and grandfather, Gus, both played for the Reds, though he never did during his 12-year MLB career.

      Riggleman stepped in as manager of the Reds in April after a brutal 3-15 start and was expected to be a candidate for the permanent job. The Reds finished the season 67-95 and haven't made the playoffs since 2013.

      Team president Dick Williams said in September that three internal candidates -- bench coach Pat Kelly, first-base coach Freddie Benavides and third-base coach Billy Hatcher -- also interviewed. Former Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell, who works as a Cincinnati scout -- also had spoken to the team about the job, according to Williams.

      According to multiple reports, former MLB managers Joe Girardi and Brad Ausmus, like Bell, received second interviews last week. Girardi subsequently withdrew from contention.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Sale blames belly ring for illness
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 20, 2018

    If you believe Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale, he already has a ring. A bellybutton ring.

    • Sale raised eyebrows and prompted more than a few skeptics Saturday when he blamed his recent stomach illness on a rash caused by his bellybutton ring. The eccentric southpaw has a history of teasing reporters, and the veracity of his latest explanation remained up for debate.

      The Red Sox will turn to Sale in Game 1 of the World Series. Sale missed his last scheduled start in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

      "I had irritation from a bellybutton ring, just constantly taking it in and out, causing irritation and got a rash down there," Sale said in comments published by the Boston Herald.

      The 29-year-old went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 27 starts during the regular season. He struck out 237 batters in 158 innings. Sale threw a bullpen session Saturday to get ready for the World Series opener on Tuesday night in Boston.

      -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn't rule out the possibility that right fielder Mookie Betts could play second base during road games in the World Series next week.

      Putting Betts, who played second base for six innings in an Aug. 3 game, at that spot would clear a place in the field for designated hitter J.D. Martinez when the Red Sox visit the National League champions -- either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers -- in Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary).

      Otherwise, Martinez would bump center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. -- with Betts shifting to center -- or perhaps left fielder Andrew Benintendi from the lineup. Having Betts play second would take Ian Kinsler or Brock Holt, who have shared the duties, out of the lineup.

      --Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve had surgery on his right knee Friday, a day after his season ended with the American League Championship Series loss to the Boston Red Sox, MLB.com reported. The team has not confirmed the surgery.

      Altuve injured his knee in a game in Colorado in July and battled the injury the rest of the season. He was placed on the disabled list in late July for the first time in his career.

      The six-time All-Star and 2017 American League Most Valuable Player is expected to be ready for spring training.

      --The Miami Marlins reportedly are about to add a pair of highly touted Cuban prospects who also happen to be brothers.

      Victor Victor Mesa and sibling Victor Mesa Jr. will join the Marlins' organization on Monday when their signings are scheduled to be announced, according to multiple published reports. Both are outfielders.

      El Nuevo Herald reported that Victor Victor Mesa, 22, will receive a signing bonus north of $4 million, and Victor Mesa Jr., 17, will net close to $1 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Marlins to sign top Cuban prospects
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 20, 2018

    The Miami Marlins reportedly are about to add a pair of highly touted Cuban prospects who also happen to be brothers.

    • Victor Victor Mesa and sibling Victor Mesa Jr. will join the Marlins' organization on Monday when their signings are scheduled to be announced, according to multiple published reports. Both are outfielders.

      El Nuevo Herald reported that Victor Victor Mesa will receive a signing bonus north of $4 million, and Victor Mesa Jr. will net close to $1 million.

      The Marlins announced Saturday that they planned to conduct a Monday news conference, but did not give a reason for it. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Mike Hill both are expected to attend the event.

      Victor Victor Mesa is 22 years old and considered to be the top international free agent available. His brother is 17 and most recently played for Cuba's under-18 club. Both left Cuba last spring to prepare for their goal of reaching the big leagues.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cora: 'Always a chance' Betts plays 2B
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 20, 2018

    Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn't rule out the possibility that right fielder Mookie Betts could play second base during road games in the World Series next week.

    • "I don't know, man," Cora told reporters Saturday. "He already played second in the regular season. There's always a chance, I guess."

      Putting Betts, who played second base for six innings in an Aug. 3 game, at that spot would clear a place in the field for designated hitter J.D. Martinez when the Red Sox visit the National League champions -- either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers -- in Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary). Otherwise, Martinez would bump center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. -- with Betts shifting to center -- or perhaps left fielder Andrew Benintendi from the lineup.

      Having Betts play second would take Ian Kinsler or Brock Holt, who have shared the duties, out of the lineup.

      "We've got some pretty good second basemen, we've got some pretty good outfielders," Cora said. "Like I said, we're in the World Series. That conversation was gonna come up. One thing for sure, J.D. will play. That's clear. We'll see which alignment is better, which lineup is better and we'll make decisions accordingly."

      Betts came through the minor leagues as a second baseman and saw 14 games of action there in 2014, his rookie season, but moved with Dustin Pedroia locked in at the spot for Boston.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sale blames absence on bellybutton ring
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 20, 2018

    If you believe Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale, he already has a ring.

    • A bellybutton ring.

      Sale raised eyebrows and prompted more than a few skeptics Saturday when he blamed his recent stomach illness on a rash caused by his bellybutton ring. The eccentric southpaw has a history of teasing reporters, and the veracity of his latest explanation remained up for debate.

      The Red Sox will turn to Sale in Game 1 of the World Series. Sale missed his last scheduled start in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

      Red Sox manager Alex Cora said earlier this week that Sale spent more than 24 hours at Massachusetts General Hospital because of the ailment.

      "I had irritation from a bellybutton ring, just constantly taking it in and out, causing irritation and got a rash down there," Sale said in comments published by the Boston Herald. "Had to take care of that. Doctors and nurses over at MGH were awesome. Things happen, you handle them and keep moving forward."

      The 29-year-old went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 27 starts during the regular season. He struck out 237 batters in 158 innings.

      Sale threw a bullpen session Saturday to get ready for the World Series opener on Tuesday night in Boston.

      "I'll get a couple more throwing days in," Sale said. "Our team played great. Gives everyone around here a couple extra days' rest. These guys are grinding hard. We get to go through a few workouts, get our feet under us and get ready to go."

      Sale's past suggests that his bellybutton explanation -- although delivered with a straight face -- likely is fiction. In 2015, after he reported to spring training with a broken foot, he told reporters that he was injured while punishing a home intruder with a series of roundhouse kicks.

      He also had a tradition with the Chicago White Sox to include a "word of the start" in each of his postgame interviews. Some of those words included amalgamation, ubiquitous, cacophony, antithetic, repudiate and acquiesce, according to a story by MLB.com White Sox reporter Scott Merkin.

      --Field Level Media

  • Astros 2B Altuve undergoes knee surgery
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 20, 2018

    Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve underwent surgery on his right knee Friday, a day after his team's season ended in the American League Championship Series loss to the Boston Red Sox, MLB.com reported.

    • The team has not confirmed the surgery.

      Altuve injured his knee in a game in Colorado in July and battled the injury the rest of the season. He was placed on the disabled list in late July for the first time in his career.

      He is expected to be ready for spring training.

      The injury limited him in the final three games of the ALCS, when he filled the designated hitter spot instead of taking his customary place at second base. Astros manager A.J. Hinch acknowledged Altuve was in pain last week.

      "He's hurt. If it's any other time of the year, he's not playing," Hinch said. "He would probably be on the DL."

      Hinch told MLB.com: "At this juncture, what he brings is beyond that comparison. He's not going to hurt himself any further. He's part of our heart and soul. You're going to have to drag him off the field and I applaud him for that."

      Altuve, 28, was the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player. He's a six-time All-Star and a three-time AL batting champion.

      In 2018, he hit .316 with 13 homers and 61 RBIs in 137 games. It was the first time since 2012 that he didn't play in at least 150 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Red Sox's Sale to start World Series opener
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    Boston ace Chris Sale will start the opening game of the World Series on Tuesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday during a radio interview.

    • The left-hander was scratched from his second start in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros due to a stomach illness. Sale last pitched in Saturday's Game 1 loss to Houston.

      Cora said that left-hander David Price, who pitched superbly in Thursday's Game 5 ALCS-clinching win over Houston, probably will start Game 2.

      Cora said he wants to see who his team will face in the World Series before making the Game 2 starter official. The Los Angeles Dodgers hold a 3-2 edge over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series heading into Friday's Game 6.

      --Major League Baseball announced the schedule for the 2018 World Series, which will begin Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston.

      With 108 wins during the regular season, the Red Sox led the majors in victories and earned home-field advantage for the World Series.

      The first two games will take place in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the best-of-seven series then shifting to either Milwaukee or Los Angeles for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Saturday. Game 5, if necessary, will take place at the same venue Sunday, with the series shifting back to Boston for two more potential games on Oct. 30-31.

      --Joe Girardi has withdrawn his name from consideration for the managerial job of the Cincinnati Reds, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported.

      According to a tweet from Rosenthal, Girardi had been Cincinnati's top choice to replace interim skipper Jim Riggleman, who captained the team after the firing of Bryan Price 18 games into last season.

      Rosenthal reported that Girardi, who turned 54 last Sunday, plans to remain as an analyst for the MLB Network for the time being, but that he wants to manage again in the future. He led the Florida Marlins in the 2006 season, then managed the New York Yankees from 2008-17.

      --San Francisco Giants principal owner Charles B. Johnson released a statement denouncing a controversial ad released by a super PAC that he donated money to.

      Johnson, who is believed to own the largest stake in the Giants, gave $1,000 to Black Americans for the President's Agenda, a super PAC based in North Carolina. According to financial disclosures, the donation was made this summer.

      The group released an ad in Arkansas that features two women implying Democrats could bring back lynchings if African American voters don't support Republican congressman French Hill as he runs for re-election opposite Democrat Clarke Tucker.

      --Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove underwent surgery to repair an injury to his abdominal wall, the team announced, saying that he likely would be recovered adequately to report to spring training.

      Musgrove's season ended with two starts left to go in late September because of an abdominal wall muscle strain and a stress reaction to his pelvic bone. The 25-year-old started 19 games for the Pirates in 2018, posting a 6-9 record with a 4.06 ERA. He struck out 100 batters in 115 1/3 innings.

      At the time, the Pirates said Musgrove's injuries required rest, but the pitcher said surgery was a possibility. In their team statement, the Pirates said re-examinations showed "less than the desired amount of clinical healing," and surgery was determined to be the best course of action for recovery for the 2019 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants owner denounces ad from super PAC donation
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    San Francisco Giants principal owner Charles B. Johnson released a statement Friday denouncing a controversial ad released by a super PAC that he donated money to.

    • Johnson, who is believed to own the largest stake in the Giants, gave $1,000 to Black Americans for the President's Agenda, a super PAC based in North Carolina. According to financial disclosures, the donation was made this summer.

      The group released an ad in Arkansas that features two women implying Democrats could bring back lynchings if African American voters don't support Republican congressman French Hill as he runs for re-election opposite Democrat Clarke Tucker.

      "I had absolutely no knowledge that this donation would be used in this manner and I, like the Giants organization, strongly condemn any form of racism and in no way condone the advertisement that was created by this entity," Johnson said in his statement.

      The Giants organization also released a statement:

      "The Giants' reputation as one of the most inclusive and socially engaged professional sports teams in the nation speaks for itself. We are unaware of Mr. Johnson's political donations because they are entirely separate from his stake in the Giants ownership group. In no way do the Giants condone this disturbing and divisive political activity."

      The ad has come under fire, with Hill himself denouncing it on Twitter.

      "I condemn this outrageous ad in the strongest terms," Hill tweeted. "I do not support that message, and there is no place in Arkansas for this nonsense."

      According to ThinkProgress, the ad cost $50,000.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Girardi withdraws from Reds' managerial search
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    Joe Girardi has withdrawn his name from consideration for the managerial job of the Cincinnati Reds, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Friday.

    • According to a tweet from Rosenthal, Girardi had been Cincinnati's top choice to replace interim skipper Jim Riggleman, who captained the team after the firing of Bryan Price 18 games into last season.

      Rosenthal reported that Girardi, who turned 54 last Sunday, plans to remain as an analyst for the MLB Network for the time being, but that he wants to manage again in the future. He led the Florida Marlins in the 2006 season, then managed the New York Yankees from 2008-17.

      Rosenthal's tweet did not reference the Texas Rangers, whom Girardi also interviewed with last week. The Rangers are looking to hire a permanent skipper after Don Wakamatsu performed interim duties in the 2018 season once the team fired Jeff Banister late in the campaign.

      Per the Cincinnati Enquirer, other candidates reportedly under consideration for the position include Brad Ausmus and David Bell, who along with Girardi received second interviews for the Cincinnati opening this week. A club source told the Enquirer that Ausmus and Bell are not the only finalists for the job.

      Riggleman, who stepped in as manager for the Reds in April after a brutal 3-15 start, is also believed to be a candidate for the permanent position. Riggleman, who turns 66 next month, previously managed the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals. In 13 seasons as a major league manager, Riggleman owns a career record of 726-904 (.445), finishing over .500 just three times.

      Team president Dick Williams said in September that three internal candidates -- bench coach Pat Kelly, first-base coach Freddie Benavides and third-base coach Billy Hatcher -- also interviewed. Former Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell, who works as a Cincinnati scout -- also has spoken to the team about the job, according to Williams.

      Williams has said he would like to have a manager in place by the time general managers hold their annual meetings in November, if not earlier.

      Girardi had a 910-710 record in 10 seasons as manager of the New York Yankees before being let go after the 2017 campaign. He guided New York to the 2009 World Series title.

      In his one season with the Marlins, he won National League Manager of the Year honors. Girardi has an overall record of 988-794 in 11 seasons as a manager.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pirates P Musgrove undergoes abdominal surgery
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove underwent surgery Friday to repair an injury to his abdominal wall, the team announced.

    • Musgrove's season ended with two starts left to go in late September because of an abdominal wall muscle strain and a stress reaction to his pelvic bone.

      At the time, the Pirates said Musgrove's injuries required rest, but the pitcher said surgery was a possibility.

      In their team statement on Friday, the Pirates said re-examinations showed "less than the desired amount of clinical healing," and surgery was determined to be the best course of action for recovery for the 2019 season.

      The surgery was performed by Dr. Craig Smith in Los Angeles.

      The Pirates said Musgrove likely would be recovered adequately to report to spring training.

      Musgrove was traded to Pittsburgh in January as part of the deal that sent right-hander Gerrit Cole to Houston. His season also started with injury as he was plagued by a shoulder strain in spring training.

      The 25-year-old started 19 games for the Pirates in 2018, posting a 6-9 record with a 4.06 ERA. He struck out 100 batters in 115 1/3 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • Red Sox ace Sale to start Game 1 of World Series
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    Boston ace Chris Sale will start the opening game of the World Series on Tuesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday during a radio interview.

    • The left-hander was scratched from his second start in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros due to a stomach illness. Sale last pitched in Saturday's Game 1 loss to Houston.

      Cora said that left-hander David Price, who pitched superbly in Thursday's Game 5 ALCS-clinching win over Houston, probably will start Game 2.

      Cora said he wants to see who his team will face in the World Series before making the Game 2 starter official.

      The Los Angeles Dodgers hold a 3-2 edge over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series heading into Friday's Game 6.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB sets World Series schedule
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    Major League Baseball on Friday announced the schedule for the 2018 World Series, which will begin Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston.

    • With 108 wins on the regular season, the Red Sox led the majors in victories and earned home-field advantage for the World Series. The Red Sox qualified by beating the Houston Astros four games to one in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

      The Red Sox will meet either the Los Angles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers. The Dodgers hold a 3-2 lead in the National League Championship Series and could close out the series Friday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee. If Game 7 is necessary, it will be played Saturday night in Milwaukee.

      Here's the schedule, with game times (Eastern), for the World Series. An asterisk means the game will only be played if one team has not yet reached four wins. All games will be televised on Fox.

      Game 1: NL winner at Boston, Tuesday, 8:09 p.m.

      Game 2: NL winner at Boston, Wednesday, 8:09 p.m.

      Game 3: Boston at NL winner, Friday, Oct. 26, 8:09 p.m.

      Game 4: Boston at NL winner, Saturday, Oct. 27, 8:09 p.m.

      Game 5*: Boston at NL winner, Sunday, Oct. 28, 8:15 p.m.

      Game 6*: NL winner at Boston, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 8:09 p.m.

      Game 7*: NL winner at Boston, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 8:09 p.m.

      --Field Level Media

  • Astros lament missed opportunity, vow reset for 2019
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    Heading home for the winter, the Houston Astros are already plotting a triumphant return in 2019.

    • Houston's bid to become the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the 2000 New York Yankees was shredded in the American League Championship Series loss to the Boston Red Sox. Boston's bats did consistent damage and the Red Sox ended the series in Game 5 on Thursday night in Houston.

      "It's a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes you have to give credit to the other guys and understand that they got the big hit in the big situation, made the big pitch, made a big play. That's the game," said Astros outfielder George Springer, whose postseason exploits in 2017 were a big reason the Astros were fitted for championship rings. "You put it behind you, let it soak in for a few days, and you're on to next year already."

      Right-hander Justin Verlander, in the playoffs for the seventh time in 14 seasons and carrying a 4-1 record in elimination games, took the loss for the Astros in Game 5.

      "We had a good season. Didn't end up where we wanted," said Verlander. "We lost to a great team. I said it last year: Playoffs, it's flip a coin sometimes. It's whoever's playing the best baseball at the time. We were dealing with a ton of injuries, as you could tell, but the guys battled, and I feel like we gave them a good fight. It just wasn't enough at the end."

      When the World Series begins Tuesday night at Fenway Park, third baseman Alex Bregman will be down the path to preparing for next season.

      "This year's team was better than last year's team," Bregman said. "The ball's got to bounce your way in the postseason. It's tough, and we'll learn from it. Everyone in here will have a little bit of an edge to play with next year, a little bit of a chip on their shoulder, knowing that we believe we should have been back-to-back champions."

      There are likely changes afoot in the rotation. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel is a free agent, as is righty Charlie Morton. Keuchel, 31, could command more than $20 million per season on a four- or five-year deal.

      "It's a weird feeling," Keuchel said. "I don't know where I'm going to be next year, and I put my heart and soul into this team for seven years. I'd love to be here for the long haul, but I know the business side doesn't always meet the human side, so we'll see."

      First baseman Marwin Gonzalez, designated hitter Evan Gattis and catcher Martin Maldonado are also eligible for free agency.

      "It sucks," manager A.J. Hinch said of the feeling of finality in Houston after Thursday's loss. "This is a press conference you never really prepare for. I don't know the right words, the right tone, the right content. I mean, it's an extremely disappointed clubhouse because we want to keep playing. We feel like we set the bar exactly where it should be around here, which -- the World Series is the only thing that was going to make this team feel like we accomplished much."

      --Field Level Media

  • Wainwright must wait to re-sign with Cardinals
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, October 18, 2018

    Adam Wainwright wants to return to St. Louis, and the Cardinals want him back.

    • But first, the 37-year-old pitcher will have to wait.

      A clause in baseball's labor contract means that Wainwright will have to become a free agent before he can re-sign with the Cardinals. The veteran right-hander is coming off a five-year, $97.5 million deal, and labor rules stipulate that his guaranteed salary cannot drop by more than 20 percent if he stays on the roster continuously.

      The Cardinals announced Oct. 11 that they would re-sign Wainwright. Terms of the agreement were not released, but the deal reportedly pays less than the $15.6 million that would need to be met to abide by the labor clause.

      Wainwright was 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA in eight starts in 2018, missing much of the year due to elbow and hamstring ailments. He is fifth on the Cardinals' all-time list in victories (148) and second in strikeouts (1,623). The franchise sees him as a valuable mentor for younger pitchers such as Jack Flaherty and Luke Weaver.

      --Field Level Media