Altuve, Springer make eye-popping plays

Astros second baseman barehands ball in fifth; right fielder slides for grab in sixth

Altuve, Springer make eye-popping plays

HOUSTON -- Any good pitcher can use some stellar defense. Just ask Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, who benefited from a couple of terrific plays made behind him Monday against the Rangers.

All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve bailed out Keuchel with the Astros leading, 1-0, in the fifth inning when he made a terrific barehanded grab and throw to retire the speedy Adam Rosales at first base for the second out of the inning.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Late rally lifts Blue Jays to victory over Yankees

Late rally lifts Blue Jays to victory over Yankees

TORONTO -- Russell Martin had a pinch-hit single and Edwin Encarnacion contributed an RBI double as the Blue Jays rallied in the eighth inning to steal a victory away from the Yankees and take the series opener, 3-1, on Monday night at Rogers Centre.

Toronto entered the eighth trailing, 1-0, until Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista sparked a rally with a pair of one-out singles off Yankees right-hander Chris Martin. New York's Dellin Betances entered, and he was promptly greeted with Encarnacion's RBI bloop double to shallow left field.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hanley exits game vs. Rays with left shoulder sprain

Craig replaces left fielder after he crashed into outfield wall

Hanley exits game vs. Rays with left shoulder sprain

BOSTON -- Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez had to be taken out of Monday night's game against the Rays with a left shoulder sprain after he crashed into the outfield wall at Fenway Park.

In the first inning, Ramirez appeared to hit his shoulder while attempting to catch a hard James Loney liner to left field. He momentarily trapped the ball in his glove before a collision with the left field sidewall jarred it lose.

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Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kershaw makes behind-the-back snag

Left-hander robs former teammate Herrera during Monday's game

Kershaw makes behind-the-back snag

MILWAUKEE -- It must be more than luck when Clayton Kershaw gloves a potential base hit behind his back.

He did it again Monday night, robbing former teammate Elian Herrera of a ball headed toward center field by snagging it with his glove behind his back and throwing Herrera out.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Counsell is Brewers' choice for manager

Former Milwaukee player has been in team's front office since 2012

Counsell is Brewers' choice for manager

MILWAUKEE -- It was true that as he sat on the dais at Miller Park and as the new leader of his hometown Brewers, Craig Counsell had never managed a single inning. But it was untrue to say he had no experience.

Both Counsell and general manager Doug Melvin made that argument forcefully as the team entered a new era on Monday with Counsell as its manager.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

ASG debate: Gordon or Kendrick at second in NL?

Both players flourishing with new squad after being acquired in offseason

ASG debate: Gordon or Kendrick at second in NL?

*** We will be doing daily ASG debates until balloting ends on July 2. We will frequently be pitting one player against another and have a writer make a case for one of them, but that doesn't mean there aren't other great candidates for that position. In fact, your comments could spark a new debate for us to tackle. So let us know what you think! ***

Dee Gordon and Howie Kendrick are highly productive players at second base, and both of them are making a smooth transition to a new team. But that's where the similarities end. They get their job done at a high level in entirely different styles.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jays coach Jacoby suspended, will appeal

Blue Jays hitting coach reportedly got into heated exchange with umpire crew Wednesday

Jays coach Jacoby suspended, will appeal

TORONTO -- Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby has received a 14-game suspension from Major League Baseball for his "postgame conduct toward the umpire crew" assigned to Wednesday's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The suspension was announced by MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre prior to Monday night's game against the Yankees. Toronto later issued a news release stating that the suspension will be appealed and the club would not have any comment on the matter until a hearing is held.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ottavino likely to have Tommy John surgery

Ottavino likely to have Tommy John surgery

DENVER -- Rockies closer Adam Ottavino will visit noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, with the likely outcome being season-ending Tommy John surgery to repair a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Ottavino (1-0, 0.00 ERA, three saves in 10 appearances) was off to a great start this season, and had supplanted LaTroy Hawkins as the Rockies' closer. The Rockies placed Ottavino on the 15-day disabled list last week with what was called right triceps inflammation, but an MRI showed damage in the elbow. All along, the process has been moving toward Tommy John surgery.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yelich could rejoin Marlins during road trip

Left fielder seeing Minor League game action in return from back strain

Yelich could rejoin Marlins during road trip

WASHINGTON -- Don't be surprised if outfielder Christian Yelich joins the Marlins on their 10-game road trip.

Out since April 20 with a lower back strain, Yelich is currently on a rehab assignment in Florida with Class A Advanced Jupiter. He played five innings Sunday, and the plan is for him to play a a full nine-inning game before returning to the Majors.

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Ben Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jackson lands on DL with sprained ankle

Jackson lands on DL with sprained ankle

ANAHEIM -- Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday after spraining his right ankle in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Astros in Houston. The move opened a roster spot for veteran reliever Mark Lowe to be added in time for Seattle's series opener with the Angels.

Manager Lloyd McClendon said Jackson's injury isn't too serious, but he'll be sidelined long enough that it wasn't prudent for the team to play a man short during his recovery period.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cobb hits setback in recovery, plans to see doctor

Cobb hits setback in recovery, plans to see doctor

BOSTON -- Alex Cobb has suffered "a little bit of a setback," according to Rays manager Kevin Cash.

Cobb had been throwing off a mound since April 24 after experiencing right-forearm tendinitis during Spring Training. But he did not throw a "flat ground" on Sunday as expected.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Curry's dad once struck out four batters in MiLB game

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Curry's dad once struck out four batters in MiLB game

On this, the day of Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry earning his first career NBA MVP award, we thought we'd point your attention to something amazing. No, not one of the 7,000 Vines of Steph making impossible shots, but rather, the brief baseball career of his father Dell.

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Denorfia exits vs. Cards with hamstring strain

Denorfia exits vs. Cards with hamstring strain

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs outfielder Chris Denorfia had to leave Monday's game against the Cardinals in St. Louis after aggravating his left hamstring while running the bases.

Denorfia was starting in right field in place of rookie Jorge Soler and hit an RBI single in the first. In the third, he singled with one out, and one out later, he ran to third base on Addison Russell's hit. But Denorfia limped into third, and then took himself out of the game.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton works on timing in extended spring

Slugger went 0-for-4 in first action since being reacquired by Rangers

Hamilton works on timing in extended spring

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's become a question of timing for Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. How long will it take for him to be ready to join the big league club, and when is it going to happen?

On Monday, Hamilton went 0-for-4 with three hard ground balls to first base and a strikeout in his first extended spring game action since joining the Rangers. The veteran is on the 15-day disabled list as he recovers from right shoulder surgery on Feb. 4.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Power Rankings: Cards rely on depth to soar

Marlins make big jump; Astros continue to climb

Power Rankings: Cards rely on depth to soar

April was a weird month. Some teams expected to do great things fell flat. Others with low expectations soared. There was a lot of "Surely, they're not this good" and "No way are they this bad" talk. The season is a month old, and an examination of at least half the teams, and maybe more, leaves us still not exactly sure which direction they're headed.

And that's part of what has made the first one-sixth of the season so compelling. It's fun to play with the numbers, especially the ones that have little to no chance to hold up come September. The Astros are on pace to win 114, for example. The Brewers are on pace to lose 120. Nelson Cruz is on pace to hit 88 home runs, and Billy Hamilton is on pace for 92 stolen bases. (OK, that last one may actually happen.)

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB stressing skin-cancer awareness

Stay safe this summer. Major League Baseball began its Play Sun Smart initiative on Sunday, which seeks to raise awareness of skin cancer and to offer prevention tips to the baseball community.

All 30 teams are involved in the campaign, and Play Sun Smart is a joint effort run by MLB, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the American Academy of Dermatology. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement regarding the start of the Play Sun Smart program.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres promote No. 2 prospect Hedges

Catcher joins club prior to series vs. Giants, will serve as backup

Padres promote No. 2 prospect Hedges

SAN FRANCISCO -- No sooner had Austin Hedges settled into his seat on the El Paso team bus Sunday afternoon, with a three-hour ride to Fresno awaiting him and his teammates, when he was approached by athletic trainer Nate Stewart.

"He came up and asked if I got into trouble last night," said Hedges, who was preparing for a round of trivia hosted by teammate Cody Decker when Stewart approached him. "I told him I was asleep. Then I saw [manager Pat Murphy] outside talking to some guys I'd never seen.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mattingly ejected for arguing Kershaw's balk

Mattingly ejected for arguing Kershaw's balk

MILWAUKEE -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the third inning Monday night for arguing with first-base umpire Paul Emmel after a balk call on Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw appeared to have picked opposing pitcher Kyle Lohse off first base, but Emmel called a balk. Although arguing a balk is grounds for immediate ejection, Kershaw walked toward Emmel, they exchanged words, and Emmel moved toward Kershaw, with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez stepping in front of Emmel.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twitter told David Price he had an off day

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Twitter told David Price he had an off day

Mondays are the worst, right? You have to stop pretending you live in a pillow fort equipped with Netflix, put on real clothes, and go back to work. Well, unless you're David Price.

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Lyons gets crack at filling in for Wainwright

Lyons gets crack at filling in for Wainwright

ST. LOUIS -- Though he won't officially be added to the Cardinals' 25-man roster until after Monday's game, Tyler Lyons arrived in St. Louis earlier in the day in preparation for making his first big league start of 2015 on Tuesday.

Lyons becomes the second spot starter to fill Adam Wainwright's place in the rotation. Tim Cooney tried unsuccessfully last week before being sent back to Triple-A.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Swisher to return to Tribe on Tuesday

Tribe slugger's knees deemed healthy enough to come off disabled list

Swisher to return to Tribe on Tuesday

KANSAS CITY -- In a meeting on Sunday with Indians manager Terry Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti, outfielder Nick Swisher pleaded his case for coming off the disabled list. After discussing the situation throughout the day, Cleveland decided the time had come to activate the veteran.

On Monday, Francona told MLB.com that Swisher will be activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday's game against the Royals, ending the outfielder's eight-month comeback from surgery on both knees. In order to clear a spot on the active roster, Cleveland will option outfielder Tyler Holt to Triple-A Columbus.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Billingsley eager to get back into Majors routine

Phillies right-hander set to start Tuesday for first time since April 2013

Billingsley eager to get back into Majors routine

ATLANTA -- For the first time in over two years, Phillies right-hander Chad Billingsley will wake up Tuesday morning thinking about the way he plans to attack hitters, instead of attacking his rehab following a pair of right elbow surgeries.

The thought of making his first big league start since April 15, 2013, brought a smile to Billingsley's face Monday at Turner Field.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The first pro baseball game was played 146 years ago

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The first pro baseball game was played 146 years ago

Up until the middle of the 19th century, baseball was an amateur's game. A few players had gone professional -- garnering salaries and whatnot -- but until 1869, no team featured a professional starting nine. Enter the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

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Hale delivers message to D-backs' hitters

Hale delivers message to D-backs' hitters

DENVER -- It wasn't a team meeting, but rather the daily hitter's meeting, in which D-backs manager Chip Hale decided to deliver a message to his struggling offense Monday.

"I just told them, flat-out, what we expect, how good we think they are and how good we are going to be," Hale said.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'01 champ D-backs filling MLB manager roles

'01 champ D-backs filling MLB manager roles

DENVER -- With the Brewers' hiring of Craig Counsell on Monday as manager, there are now three current skippers in the big leagues that have ties to the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

Counsell joins Oakland's Bob Melvin, who was the D-backs' bench coach in 2001, and the Nationals' Matt Williams, who started at third base for Arizona that year, as former champion D-backs now leading a big league club.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers ready to play hard for Counsell

Braun, Lucroy discuss Roenicke's dismissal, playing for former teammate

Brewers ready to play hard for Counsell

MILWAUKEE -- The cell phones started buzzing late Sunday night, as word spread to Brewers players that manager Ron Roenicke had been let go, to be replaced by Craig Counsell. For some, it meant a former teammate would now be the boss.

"It was weird talking to him this morning as manager," said right fielder Ryan Braun, who played five seasons with Counsell. "And then walking into his office for the first time today was definitely an odd experience. I'm sure it will take some time for all of us to get used to that."

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Melvin thrilled for former player Counsell

A's skipper happy to see good friend take the helm in Milwaukee

Melvin thrilled for former player Counsell

MINNEAPOLIS -- A's manager Bob Melvin was absolutely thrilled to hear of good friend and former player Craig Counsell's Monday hiring as the Brewers' new manager.

"Extremely happy for Craig Counsell," said Melvin, who managed Counsell from 2005-06 in Arizona.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Counsell may augment coaching staff

Counsell may augment coaching staff

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers officials offered new Brewers manager Craig Counsell an opportunity to augment the coaching staff, an idea Counsell had yet to rule out as his tenure began Monday night with the current crew intact.

"I'm still throwing some things around in my head," Counsell said.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Guerrero a valuable, versatile player

Guerrero a valuable, versatile player

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero has had a bit of a roller-coaster ride with the Dodgers since defecting from Cuba as a free agent in 2013.

Guerrero played second base for Las Tunas in the Cuban National Series, where he was a member of the 2010-11 All-Star Team. Guerrero was named to the roster of the 2013 World Baseball Classic club, but he did not make the final roster. He sat out the regular season following the tournament.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keuchel, Altuve win monthly, weekly honors

Lefty top pitcher in AL for April; second baseman AL co-Player of the Week

Keuchel, Altuve win monthly, weekly honors

HOUSTON -- The Astros' terrific start has led to some hardware for starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel and second baseman Jose Altuve, who were on Monday named the American League Pitcher of the Month and AL co-Player of the Week, respectively.

Keuchel, who started Monday's game against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park, is the first Astros pitcher to win the award since Wandy Rodriguez was named the National League Pitcher of the Month in July 2009. Keuchel went 3-0 in five starts in April, posting a 0.73 ERA and 22 strikeouts while allowing just 27 baserunners (16 hits, 11 walks) in 37 innings.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.