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Passan: When aces could move, and more big trade deadline storylines

One week before the trade deadline, teams around Major League Baseball are starting to get antsy. For 10 consecutive days in what is supposed to be the most intriguing, transaction-heavy time of the year, teams have not struck a single player-for-player deal. This July has put the dead in deadline.cheap youth nfl jerseys

MLB had hoped eliminating waiver trades in August would supercharge the weeks leading up to July 31. On the contrary, since Philadelphia acquired Jay Bruce in early June, only three teams have endeavored to enhance their playoff chances via trade: The New York Yankees dealt for DH Edwin Encarnacion in mid-June, the Boston Red Sox got starter Andrew Cashner on July 13 and the Oakland A’s picked up Homer Bailey on July 14.7

Since then, nothing. July has provided little, if any, clarity in standings rendered opaque with mediocrity. Of the 15 teams in the National League, 12 are on pace to win between 74 and 86 games. When one team struggles and starts to look like a seller (Pittsburgh), another goes on a run and plays itself out of that designation (San Francisco).cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

The lack of clear sellers has emboldened them to ask for strong returns. Buyers are waiting for prices to come down, fearful of overpaying. The ever-shifting market — players available one day may not be the next and vice versa — makes it especially difficult to read. Grinding it to a halt even more is that some of the best available players are not slated to hit free agency this winter. It’s quite the security blanket: Sellers can compare offers now to what they believe they can get this offseason and hold out for the right package.

“Would someone just please make a trade?” one manager said Tuesday, as if uttering the words would will it to be. His wish is likely to be answered sooner than later, though executives do believe the vast majority of deals will occur closer to July 30 and up through the 4 p.m. ET deadline on the 31st. Currently, they say, the stalemate that has manifested itself over the past month or so remains in place, with the exception of a few players. Generating the most buzz Tuesday night was …

Yankees’ Sanchez lands on IL with groin strain

The New York Yankees have placed All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain.

Sanchez suffered the injury and came out of the game after stepping awkwardly on first base while hustling out a ground ball during Tuesday night’s 14-12 victory over the Minnesota Twins. He underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning that revealed a Grade 1 strain, manager Aaron Boone said.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“On the scale of strains, I guess it’s minor — which is somewhat good news,” Boone said. “But still it’s going to be some time. We’ll just kind of see how the next few days, how the next week unfolds, and how he’s feeling, and when he gets to start back up baseball activities.

“But I don’t want to put a timeline or anything like that on it in these early days. We’ll see how he responds.”5

Sanchez was not in the Yankees’ clubhouse when it opened to reporters before Wednesday night’s game at Target Field, but he said just after Tuesday’s game that the injury felt different from the right groin strains he had last season that twice landed him on the injured list.

“It felt kind of like a cramp,” Sanchez said Tuesday through a translator. “It’s nothing like what I had last year. The pain is completely different. It just feels a little tight, and it’s not preventing me from walking or anything like that. So I’m positive about that.”

Sanchez, 26, is batting .229 with 24 home runs and 58 RBIs this season.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Catcher Kyle Higashioka and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. were recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Higashioka will replace Sanchez on the active roster, while Cortes takes over for right-hander Jonathan Holder, who was optioned to Scranton in a corresponding move.

Backup Austin Romine was scheduled to start for Sanchez on Wednesday, but Boone said Romine and Higashioka likely would split time behind the plate until Sanchez returns. It’s possible that Higashioka will get the start Friday in the Yankees’ series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boone added.

“You’ll see them both a lot,” Boone said. “You might see it alternate while we’re in Boston, but we’ll also see how it plays out and see how it unfolds.”

Darvish wins at Wrigley for first time with Cubs

It took 14 home starts spread across two seasons and 17 calendar months, but Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish finally earned his first win at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

“It’s amazing,” Darvish said after leading the Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. “First win at Wrigley. I was always looking for that first win.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

It marked an important step for Darvish since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February 2018.

He spent most of last year on the injured list, then started this season slowly. But after asking for the ball in the Cubs’ first game coming out of the All-Star break, Darvish has put together two gems. On Friday, he threw six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Wednesday, he went six shutout innings again, this time giving up just two hits while striking out seven.5

“It’s not a fun at-bat,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said of the few hitters who have reached first base. “Everyone says it … He just trusts his arm. He’s pitching with conviction. He’s getting stronger and stronger, more and more comfortable.”

Darvish indicated that until recently, despite being healthy, he was favoring his arm angle on his fastball simply because of the pain he used to feel in his elbow. Now he’s just letting it fly, using the proper mechanics and delivery.

The results are showing.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

He threw a first-pitch strike to 82% of the hitters he faced Wednesday, the second-highest rate of any start in his career. Reds hitters were 1-for-14 with five strikeouts after falling behind 0-1 in the count.

“He still takes some time in between pitches, but how he’s spending that time seems to be better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t think he’s wondering what to do next. I think he’s calculating what to do next. And when he gets back on the rubber, ‘here we go.'”

There might have been no better example of that “here-we-go” attitude than when Yasiel Puig stepped into the batter’s box as the tying run, with one man on and two outs in the top of the sixth inning Wednesday. After pitching coach Tommy Hottovoy visited the mound — building drama to the at-bat — Darvish came out firing. He threw five pitches to Puig, and three reached 98 mph, including what turned out to be his final pitch of the game — one that blew Puig away.

Chants of “Yu!” followed as he walked off the mound, showing plenty of emotion after the strikeout.

“The people yelling for him as he comes off the field was awesome,” Maddon said. “I know he feels that in a positive way. And he deserved it.”

Added Darvish: “I’m almost 120% right now. I don’t need anything right now. It’s perfect, everything.”

That’s music to the ears of Cubs fans who have been waiting for this version of Darvish since they said hello to him and goodbye to World Series hero Jake Arrieta two years ago. It has taken a while, but the electric stuff often advertised but sometimes not delivered with Darvish is everything and then some right now.

Catch-22: Reds scramble to fill spot after injuries

The Reds are down to their fourth and fifth catchers after placing two more on the injured list Thursday.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Curt Casali went on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain that manager David Bell said could keep him out for as long as a month. Casali is expected to spend two weeks wearing a brace.6

Kyle Farmer was placed on the seven-day concussion list after taking two foul balls off his mask in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Cubs in Chicago.

Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart has been out since June 28 with a right oblique strain.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Juan Graterol was promoted from Triple-A Louisville and rushed to Chicago to start Wednesday’s day game. The Reds shored up the position on Thursday by signing Ryan Lavarnway, one day after he was released by Yankees.

Cards place Molina on IL amid series of moves

The Cardinals placed catcher Yadier Molina on the injured list with a strained right thumb and activated infielder Matt Carpenter as part of a series of roster moves Thursday.

The Cardinals expect Molina back in action “within a three-week range,” manager Mike Shildt said Thursday.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

His move to the IL was retroactive to Monday. The nine-time All-Star, who missed 12 games in May and June with a similar injury, pinch hit on Saturday but hasn’t started a game since July 3.7

St. Louis will recall catcher Andrew Knizner from Triple-A Memphis before Friday’s game against Arizona to fill in for Molina. Knizner made his big league debut June 2, going 0-for-7 for St. Louis.

The Cardinals also brought up left-hander Chasen Shreve from Memphis, optioned left-hander Tyler Webb and outfielder Rangel Ravelo to Memphis, and transferred pitcher Jordan Hicks to the 60-day IL ahead of their series against Arizona beginning Friday night.

Carpenter has been sidelined since June 29 with a lower back strain.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Shreve appeared in 20 games for the Cardinals last season, and is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in 37 games for Memphis this season.

Lucroy recalls vicious collision, not much after

Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy remembers getting leveled by the Astros’ Jake Marisnick and nothing else until he was carried onto the golf cart in Houston.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“He knocked me out,” Lucroy said Friday, reliving the play that led to a hospital visit for Lucroy and a two-game suspension for Marisnick.

Lucroy was positioned in front of home plate to receive a throw from Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning of a tie game Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Marisnick made a last-second move to his left and collided viciously with Lucroy, seemingly regretting the decision instantly. Lucroy sustained a broken nose and his third diagnosed concussion. Marisnick reached out via text message later that night.5

“A situation like that, split-second decisions have to be made,” said Lucroy, who will have his nose repaired Monday and doesn’t expect to spend much time on the injured list. “I don’t think he was trying to hurt anybody. However, I did give him the whole lane, the whole foul territory, to slide. I did tell him that in the text. As a catcher, when the play’s at home, I always try to give the runner some place to slide. That’s what the new rule says. You’re supposed to do that. If you don’t, you can get called for interference. We communicated. And it is what it is.“nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Marisnick, who was also fined, appealed his suspension in part because he wants to elaborate on the matter with officials from Major League Baseball. In his initial statement, Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, said that though Marisnick might not have intended to injure, the Astros outfielder nonetheless violated rules designed to protect catchers from this.

The Angels have since added some depth behind the plate, activating backup Kevan Smith off the injured list and acquiring veteran Josh Thole — along with left-handed reliever Adam McCreery — from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations on Friday.

Lucroy has made it a point to position himself in front of home plate while awaiting a throw ever since he was called for interference while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers and facing the Angels a few years ago. He hopes baserunners will do their part to abide by the rules in the future.

“I mean, you can look at my face,” Lucroy said, pointing to his black eye. “There’s a reason why the rule is in place.”

Cutoff men: Reds go with sleeveless jerseys

Sleeves were optional when the Cincinnati Reds donned vintage jerseys for their game Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.

The Reds were wearing the uniforms the team had used for one year only in 1956 — a look that featured a sleeveless, button-up shirt with the player’s number on one side of the front and the club’s “Mr. Redlegs” mascot on the other.wholesale nfl jerseys cheap

Most of the 1956 Reds wore red T-shirts under the jerseys to complete the look, but on Sunday several members of the 2019 team decided to follow the example of legendary slugger Ted Kluszewski and let their bare arms feel the breeze.6

Joey Votto, Derek Dietrich, Eugenio Suarez and most of the bullpen were among those to show off their guns, but the effect was perhaps most effective on the bulging biceps of Yasiel Puig.

When Kluszewski joined the Reds in the 1940s, he famously cut off the constricting sleeves on his jersey so they wouldn’t affect his swing. The change didn’t seem to help the Reds’ bats too much against the Indians on Sunday, however, as they lost 11-1.nfl jerseys cheap wholesale

The Reds are wearing throwback jerseys at 15 home games this season as part of the ballclub’s celebration of its 150th anniversary. Players will have another opportunity to ditch the sleeves when they wear the 1961 style on July 21.

Fighting cancer, Carrasco saluted in 5th at ASG

The Indians right-hander, who was recently diagnosed with a form of leukemia, was saluted in the fifth inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday as part of Major League Baseball’s “Stand Up To Cancer” campaign.cheap nfl jerseys wholesale

The 32-year-old stood in the third-base coach’s box, flanked by four All-Star teammates and Indians manager Terry Francona. Carrasco held a sign that read “I Stand,” while Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor’s said “Cookie,” which is the pitcher’s nickname.

“[It was] special, man. We all believe in Cookie,” Lindor said. “We all believe that he is going to be fine and we are all standing up alongside of him. That is a special moment.”4

Carrasco had been feeling fatigued in May, and was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia following an exam at the Cleveland Clinic.

He has been cleared to resume conditioning and throwing activities to the extent he can tolerate them. Carrasco could pitch a bullpen session later this week and believes he’ll return to the team at some point this season.nfl jerseys cheap wholesale

He had been scheduled to start against Minnesota on June 5, when the Indians issued a statement saying he was stepping away to get treatment for a “blood condition.” Carrasco had been struggling on the mound before his diagnosis.

Cubs’ Strop: Puig ‘stupid’ for fuming after HBP

There aren’t likely to be any Christmas cards exchanged between Chicago Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig after the two had words with each other as the benches cleared in the Cubs’ 6-0 win on Saturday.

Puig got hit in the hip by a 3-0 pitch from Strop in the bottom of the eighth inning and began to walk toward the mound while screaming at the pitcher. Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and first baseman Anthony Rizzo held Puig back while Puig and Strop kept yelling at each other. Things eventually calmed down, and after the game, Strop didn’t understand why Puig was so upset.

“He just reacted like that,” Strop said. “Maybe because it was a 3-0 pitch, maybe it looks weird. I wasn’t commanding my sinker, and I didn’t want to leave a cookie 3-0. He’ll swing 3-0 and hit it way out of the park. He just acted stupid.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“I told him, ‘Why are you talking?'” Strop said. “‘You have a chance to do whatever you need to do on the mound. Now you’re just screaming.’8

“It’s not a secret he’s stupid. He’s stupid as f—. I have nothing against him, but he’s stupid. There’s no doubt about it.”

Puig told reporters that he hasn’t had any previous issues with Strop and wasn’t sure why he was hit with a 3-0 pitch.

“I don’t know. You need to ask [Strop],” Puig said. “Myself and my teammates want to go out tomorrow and win the series. … We’ll play the game tomorrow and forget about what happened today.”

Neither player got ejected from the game, as Puig took first base before Strop ended the inning by striking out Jose Iglesias. Reds manager David Bell did get tossed in the ninth inning, when Cubs righty Dillon Maples hit Reds infielder Jose Peraza without any punishment from the umpires.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Bell said he was asking why Maples was not ejected after both teams had been warned and was told that the pitch that hit Peraza was unintentional. It was Bell’s sixth ejection of the season.

“The bottom line is I don’t like it when our players get hit,” Bell said.

Strop said there is no history of bad blood between him and Puig, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon stressed that Puig got hit in the hip — not up high.

“I told Strop he threw his three best sliders of the year after that, to Iglesias, so he rose to the occasion,” Maddon said.

Braves reliever Swarzak on IL with inflammation

Atlanta Braves reliever Anthony Swarzak has been placed on the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, a significant blow to the bullpen for the National League East leaders.

The team hopes the right-hander will be ready to return July 12, immediately after the All-Star break.

The move was made Sunday, retroactive to Saturday. Right-hander Chad Sobotka was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett before Atlanta’s series finale against the Mets.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Swarzak mentioned some discomfort when he came off the mound Friday night after escaping a bases-loaded jam to preserve a one-run lead in the seventh inning of a 6-2 victory over New York.6

“It’s nothing structural, nothing bad, so hopefully this little time off, he’ll be good to go in San Diego after the break,” Snitker said. “Just hope it’s nothing more than what it is. But he checked out and everything and they don’t feel like it’s anything that’s going to be a problem.”

The 33-year-old Swarzak, pitching for his eighth big league team, has provided a major boost to the Braves since arriving from Seattle in a May 20 trade. He has allowed only one run and eight hits in 17⅓ innings, striking out 21.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Swarzak has thrown 13 consecutive scoreless innings over his past 13 appearances, and his success earned him a late-inning role in high-leverage situations.

Sobotka had a 7.07 ERA in 14 relief outings with Atlanta this year. He had given up 13 hits, nine walks and three home runs in 14 innings.

In other injury news, second baseman Ozzie Albies was out of the starting lineup. Albies exited Saturday’s game after getting hit by a pitch on the inside of his left elbow. He wore a protective sleeve on the elbow Sunday afternoon but was available off the bench, Snitker said.