Scherzer scratched from start with neck pain

Scherzer scratched from start with neck pain

SAN DIEGO -- Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer was scratched from his start Friday night against the Padres at Petco Park. Matt Grace got the start in his place.

Scherzer has been dealing with a sore neck, the same issue that limited him to one inning in a start earlier this month, though Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he's now experiencing pain on the opposite side of his neck.

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Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pujols ties HR record for foreign-born player

Slugger's 609th home run draws him even with Sosa for eighth on all-time home run list

Pujols ties HR record for foreign-born player

BALTIMORE -- Albert Pujols' first-inning home run, the 609th of his career, moved the Angels slugger into a tie with Sammy Sosa for eighth on the all-time list.

Pujols, 37, lined a pitch from Orioles starter Jeremy Hellickson just over the left-field wall. It wasn't his most prodigious blast, but it was historic. Along with being tied on MLB's all-time home run list, Pujols and Sosa are now tied for the most homers by a foreign-born player.

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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.

Cubs, Arrieta spoil Blue Jays' return to Wrigley

Cubs, Arrieta spoil Blue Jays' return to Wrigley

CHICAGO -- One day after hitting six home runs in a loss, the Cubs needed four run-scoring singles to post a 7-4 Interleague victory on Friday afternoon over the Blue Jays, who were making their first trip to Wrigley Field since 2005.

Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. each singled in one run, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run single and Baez added a two-run homer in the eighth for insurance to back Jake Arrieta, who notched his seventh straight quality start.
 

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Price dealing with stiffness in left arm

Price dealing with stiffness in left arm

BOSTON -- Red Sox starting pitcher David Price didn't throw for the third straight day Friday due to general stiffness in his left arm.

Price is dealing with his second elbow injury this season and last pitched for Boston on July 22.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Little League World Series rich in tradition

Pin collecting, sliding down Lamade Hill some special aspects of event

Little League World Series rich in tradition

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Little League volunteer usher David Stoker sat outside Section 3 of Lamade Stadium wearing a hat so covered in pins that just the bill was exposed. Last year, he and his wife made a set of four dog pins to add to his hat, including one gold one that signified not only their 50th wedding anniversary, but his 50th year as a Little League usher.

Pin trading is one of the biggest traditions of the Little League World Series, and Stoker has used his 51 years as a volunteer to rack up 8,500 pins that he keeps on his hat, in cases and in bags. Almost all of his thousands of pins come with him each year, sitting on the ground beside him, ready to make a trade at any time.

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Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lineup support keeps Stanton thriving

Lineup support keeps Stanton thriving

NEW YORK -- How many home runs Giancarlo Stanton ends up with may ultimately come down to how much protection he gets in the Marlins' lineup. Without support, opponents may eventually start pitching around the 27-year-old, who leads the Major Leagues with 44 homers.

"If they choose to totally not pitch to him, we have other guys who can do damage," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That really doesn't concern me, that part of it."

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gaston honored during Hank Aaron Weekend

Braves legend 'like a father' to former Atlanta player and Toronto manager

Gaston honored during Hank Aaron Weekend

ATLANTA -- Long before he became the first African-American manager to win a World Series or patrolled the outfield at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Cito Gaston was just a young rookie realizing a lifelong dream.

Gaston had the tools to be a prominent outfielder, but he often sought guidance from his teammates. He leaned on the advice of several players, but it was his roommate who left him with a lasting impression.

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Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Excitement builds for 1st Little League Classic

Sunday's Cards-Bucs game in Williamsport, Pa., to celebrate youth baseball

Excitement builds for 1st Little League Classic

The home of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., will host its first MLB regular-season game when the Pirates take on the Cardinals on Sunday at Historic Bowman Field.

The MLB Little League Classic is the latest initiative in MLB's youth outreach. The partnership between MLB and Little League aims to foster interest in youth baseball and softball activities. The partnership will yield a full weekend of events culminating in Sunday's game, which will be broadcast on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball at 7 p.m. ET.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Japan, West win on second day of LLWS

Japan, West win on second day of LLWS

The second day of the Little League World Series is underway on Friday with four more games. Here is a recap of what has happened so far and what lies ahead:

Japan 8, Australia 0

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moroff excited to return to LLWS roots

Moroff excited to return to LLWS roots

PITTSBURGH -- Max Moroff has a specific destination in mind when the Pirates visit Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport on Sunday afternoon.

Moroff was there 12 years ago for the Little League World Series, playing third base and shortstop for his team from Maitland, Fla. In the United States semifinal against Vista, Calif., teammate Mike Tomlinson hit a ball off the foul pole. But it was called a double, not a potentially game-changing home run, and there was no replay process in place. Moroff's team went on to lose to the California club, 6-2, and fell out of the tournament.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians activate Miller in time for KC series

Reliever had been sidelined with a knee injury; Almonte placed on DL

Indians activate Miller in time for KC series

KANSAS CITY -- The Indians got a major part of their bullpen back just in time for this weekend's key divisional clash with the Royals.

Prior to Friday's game against Kansas City, Cleveland activated relief ace Andrew Miller from the 10-day disabled list, following his bout with right knee soreness. In order to clear a spot on the roster for Miller's return, the Indians placed outfielder Abraham Almonte on the 10-day DL with a left hamstring strain.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs place Lester on DL with shoulder fatigue

Grimm also sidelined; Zastryzny, Pena recalled from Triple-A Iowa

Cubs place Lester on DL with shoulder fatigue

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester has some fatigue in his left shoulder and simply needs a rest, so the Cubs placed the left-hander on the 10-day disabled list on Friday.

Right-hander Justin Grimm also went on the DL with an infection in his right index finger. In corresponding moves, the club called up lefty Rob Zastryzny and righty Felix Pena from Triple-A Iowa.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Deals not done: A guide to waiver trades

Deals not done: A guide to waiver trades

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is considered the height of the summer transaction season, but trades do not stop on July 31. However, in order to deal a player on its 40-man roster after that date, a team must go through the waiver system.

Just last season, Carlos Ruiz (Phillies to Dodgers), Marc Rzepczynski (A's to Nationals), Coco Crisp (A's to Indians) and Fernando Salas (Angels to Mets) were among the players dealt in August. On occasion, there is also a major trade during the waiver period. For example, on Aug. 25, 2012, the Dodgers and Red Sox pulled off the massive nine-player swap that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Today's starting lineups: Aug. 18

Below are today's starting lineups that have been made public by Major League Baseball's clubs.

A lineup is not official until it is handed to the umpire.

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Giolito to make White Sox debut on Monday

Fellow pitching prospect Kopech also gets promotion to Triple-A

Giolito to make White Sox debut on Monday

ARLINGTON -- Lucas Giolito is set to become the latest Major League arrival from the White Sox rebuild, as the right-hander will be promoted from Triple-A Charlotte to start one game of the doubleheader against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday.

 

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baez dazzles on both sides of ball

Shortstop slugs 20th homer, makes impressive play in Cubs' win

Baez dazzles on both sides of ball

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez hit his 20th home run and made what seemed like his 20 millionth unbelievable defensive play in the ninth inning to help preserve the Cubs' 7-4 win over the Blue Jays on Friday.

"He's a special talent," Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta said of Baez. "He does things that maybe a handful of guys can do. He makes plays that look near impossible possible and gets big outs for us."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Salvy progressing, may be activated Tuesday

Salvy progressing, may be activated Tuesday

KANSAS CITY -- Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez took one round of batting practice before Friday's game against the Indians, and he appears closer to being activated as early as Tuesday.

Perez, who has been on the disabled list because of a right intercostal strain since Aug. 6, also has been performing some catching drills all week. The intercostal is a group of muscles inside the rib cage that help support the chest wall.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Familia to slowly make his way back to closer

Familia to slowly make his way back to closer

NEW YORK -- Within the next few days, Mets closer Jeurys Familia will return to the mound for a second Minor League rehab appearance. Familia, who underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his right shoulder in May, still needs to show the Mets he can throw at least 30 pitches in an inning before they will activate him. The organization plans to take his rehab slowly, likely stretching it into the final days of August.

Even once Familia returns, manager Terry Collins said Friday that the Mets are likely to ease him back into his old ninth-inning role. The Mets do not want Familia to overexert himself in late-game situations, preferring him to ramp his velocity back up earlier in games. The Mets are also intrigued by AJ Ramos, whose ERA in save situations this season is nearly two full runs lower than in non-save situations.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fulmer offers insight, background on 'Play Ball'

Tigers pitcher to be featured on MLB Network show Saturday

Fulmer offers insight, background on 'Play Ball'

DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer will talk about his upbringing in Oklahoma, his childhood basketball aspirations, his offseason plumbing job and of course his pitching when he joins MLB Network's Eric Byrnes on this week's episode of Play Ball, the network's kids-oriented show designed to connect youngsters with the game.

The show airs Saturday at 10 a.m. ET, with a rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seager returns to M's lineup, knocks in 500th run

Seager returns to M's lineup, knocks in 500th run

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kyle Seager is feeling better after a stomach virus caused him to rapidly shed 12 pounds and miss two games this week.

"He did lose a significant amount of weight," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He still looks pretty thin, but he's ready to give it a go tonight."

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Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg and covered the Mariners on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kemp eyeing Saturday return; Santana hits DL

Kemp eyeing Saturday return; Santana hits DL

ATLANTA -- It appears Matt Kemp is ready to rejoin a Braves outfield mix that will not include Danny Santana over the next week.

Before Friday night's game against the Reds, the Braves announced Santana had been placed on the disabled list with a left quad strain and Micah Johnson had been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. Another roster move will likely be made Saturday, when Kemp is expected to return from the right hamstring strain that has sidelined him since July 29.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

LA gets Adrian back, starts him at first for now

With Dodgers hitting on all cylinders, veteran knows he'll have to produce to stay in lineup

LA gets Adrian back, starts him at first for now

DETROIT -- On his second swing of batting practice before Friday's game, Adrian Gonzalez sent a ball to the deepest part of Comerica Park and over the wall. It was a way for Gonzalez, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list Friday, to show he feels as good as he claims.

"I think last year is when the whole issue started with the back," said the former All-Star, who had been out with lumbar disk herniation. "Right now, I feel like I'm before that, before it all started. So hopefully this is the end of the back issue."

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Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit who covered the Dodgers on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fantasy411 Podcast: Stanton vs. Harper

Fantasy411 Podcast: Stanton vs. Harper

The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and MLB.com's Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of their discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.

Matthew Leach: We move to another of the game's elite sluggers and a guy who has just been otherworldly lately. Giancarlo Stanton is having a power surge, the likes of which we haven't seen many times, really in our lifetimes. And we've seen a lot of power. If you are over about 15, you have seen a lot of power surges in your life as a baseball fan. But we haven't seen many like this. He's on another planet. It's very early, and we don't know how he finishes the season. If he tails off from here, then it's a great six weeks and not a setting of a new level. But let's figure what we know now. How high is he putting himself in a 2018 conversation?

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Francona keeps things loose with DJ, hoops

Indians manager wants players to have fun this weekend

Francona keeps things loose with DJ, hoops

KANSAS CITY -- Music was blaring inside the visitors' clubhouse as Indians players arrived at Kauffman Stadium on Friday afternoon. The handful who made their way to the park early were gathered around a Pop-A-Shot basketball hoop, and were engaged in a heated competition hours before their game against the Royals.

Welcome to Club Tito.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lopez gets lesson on pitching through pain

Rookie righty dealt with ribcage issue Thursday; Avisail sits another day

Lopez gets lesson on pitching through pain

ARLINGTON -- A great deal of analysis wasn't needed by White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper to dissect Reynaldo Lopez's pitching performance in Thursday night's 9-8 loss at Globe Life Park.

In fact, when Cooper was asked how he thought Lopez looked Thursday, he responded with one word.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Soft-tossers have saved the Rangers' bullpen

Bibens-Dirkx, Claudio proving successful despite below-average velocity

Soft-tossers have saved the Rangers' bullpen

ARLINGTON -- Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Alex Claudio have two of the slowest fastballs on the Rangers. Bibens-Dirkx averages 90.5 miles per hour with his fastball, and Claudio is at 86.7.

But they have been two of the Rangers' more effective relievers this season, and there may be a lesson in that at a time when clubs are trying to overload bullpens with as many hard throwers as possible.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's not rushing Phegley's Triple-A rehab

Catcher sidelined since July 25 by oblique injury

A's not rushing Phegley's Triple-A rehab

HOUSTON -- Nearly a month after being placed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, catcher Josh Phegley is getting close to rejoining the Athletics.

Phegley went 2-for-7 with an RBI and three strikeouts in consecutive rehab games for Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday and Thursday. He'll still need more at-bats in the Minors and the A's aren't rushing Phegley's return, manager Bob Melvin said.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the A's on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kiermaier activated from DL, Smith optioned

Center fielder has been out since June 8 with hip injury

Kiermaier activated from DL, Smith optioned

ST. PETERSBURG -- After missing more than two months, Kevin Kiermaier is finally back with the Rays. To clear a spot on the team's 25-man active roster, outfielder Mallex Smith was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

Kiermaier was in the lineup hitting leadoff for the Rays in Friday night's Rays-Mariners series opener at Tropicana Field.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Soria lands on DL with Grade 1 oblique strain

Royals reliever's injury isn't severe, according to Yost

Soria lands on DL with Grade 1 oblique strain

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals on Friday placed right-handed reliever Joakim Soria on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, but manager Ned Yost indicated the recovery time would be far less than it would be from a typical oblique strain.

Yost said an MRI on Thursday revealed a Grade 1 strain -- the lowest grade there can be. Yost said Soria will be completely shut down for about five days, and he could only miss 10-15 days of action.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.