Bryant celebrates first Majors hit, looks forward to other milestones

Third baseman proud of how he bounced back, hopes to continue contributing

Bryant celebrates first Majors hit, looks forward to other milestones

CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant celebrated his first Major League hit and RBI by eating dinner with his family on Saturday night.

He was able to enjoy both personal milestones and a Cubs' 7-6 victory over the Padres.

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

10 tech advances that changed how we watch sports

Instant replay, fantasy sports, streaming video among greatest innovations

10 tech advances that changed how we watch sports

Statcast, a revolutionary player-tracking technology that will allow fans, players and executives to experience Major League Baseball like never before, will make its 2015 debut on Tuesday during the MLB Network showcase game between the Cardinals and Nationals at 7 p.m. ET.

With the latest innovation in sports technology set to take centerstage, it's worth taking a look at 10 other technological advances that have altered the sports-viewing experience throughout the years. Every sport has had its share of revolutionary advancements, many of which now seem essential to the fan experience.

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

Today's starting lineups: April 19

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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Nats activate Span from DL, option Taylor to Triple-A

Center fielder added to starting lineup Sunday; Rizzo says prospect needs regular playing time

Nats activate Span from DL, option Taylor to Triple-A

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span was activated from the 15-day disabled list and in the starting lineup as the leadoff hitter against the Phillies on Sunday.

"We are glad to have him back. It's another good player that we bring to the lineup. It lengthens our lineup. It makes us a better team," general manager Mike Rizzo said.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Travis exits with bruised left rib after HBP

Rookie leaves after getting hit in first inning

Travis exits with bruised left rib after HBP

TORONTO -- Devon Travis was forced to leave Sunday afternoon's game against the Braves in the first inning because of a bruised left rib.

Travis was struck by a pitch in his left rib cage area while leading off for Toronto against right-hander Shelby Miller. Travis initially remained in the game, but he was lifted for a pinch-runner after he dove back to first base on a pickoff attempt.

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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.

Waino, Cards aim to extend dominance over Reds

Waino, Cards aim to extend dominance over Reds

The Cardinals and Reds will close out their three-game series with an edition of Sunday Night Baseball at Busch Stadium. Ace Adam Wainwright will start for St. Louis against Cincinnati's Mike Leake. Wainwright has pitched 17 straight scoreless innings vs. the Reds dating back to 2013, including 15 scoreless innings over his two starts last season.

Things to know about this game:

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

Collins sticking with Familia in closer's role

Mets skipper will let young right-hander close when Black, Parnell return

Collins sticking with Familia in closer's role

NEW YORK -- Jeurys Familia has impressed Mets manager Terry Collins enough to remain in the closer's role, at least initially, when Bobby Parnell and Vic Black return from rehab assignments.

"If Bobby Parnell and Vic Black show up tomorrow, Jeurys Familia will still close," Collins said. "Again, it's been a year since Bobby's been out there. If when he shows up, he shows the same stuff he showed us a year ago, we will try to get him back in the role that he's comfortable with."

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

Louisville wins with walk-off steal of home

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Louisville wins with walk-off steal of home

It's widely known that the straight steal of home is the coolest thing that can happen in a live sporting event, short of maybe an alien invasion.

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Lawrie, Escobar have different takes on text apology

A's third baseman says he sent message to KC shortstop, who says he never got it

Lawrie, Escobar have different takes on text apology

KANSAS CITY -- Before the A's and Royals met again in the middle of the diamond during a 5-0 Oakland victory, contradictory messages raced between their clubhouses.

On one end, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar claimed he had yet to hear from A's third baseman Brett Lawrie, who slid into Escobar while attempting to break up what he thought could be a double play in the seventh inning of Friday's opener, causing a mild strain and contusion to Escobar's left knee.

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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.

Ventura hits Lawrie, gets ejected

Benches clear again after Ventura's ejected for hitting Lawrie; players offer differing viewpoints

Ventura hits Lawrie, gets ejected

KANSAS CITY -- For the second straight day, benches and bullpens emptied at Kauffman Stadium.

On Friday, Oakland's Brett Lawrie slid hard into Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar in the seventh inning, which led to the first fracas. The incident was complicated by the fact that Escobar claims he did not receive a text message apology from Lawrie. More >

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

Boston's healing continues on Patriots' Day

Boston's healing continues on Patriots' Day

BOSTON -- When the Red Sox face the Orioles on Monday, the already significant Patriots' Day matchup will take on added meaning in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing's two-year anniversary.

The Red Sox have traditionally played at home on Patriots' Day, dating back to 1959. Taking place alongside one of the most prestigious long-distance races in the world, the game falls on one of the most important dates on Boston's cultural calendar. As in the past, the game is scheduled for a morning start, with first pitch set for 11:05 a.m. ET.

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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.

Upton's quad feeling 'much better'

Padres using caution, keep left fielder out of Sunday's lineup

Upton's quad feeling 'much better'

CHICAGO -- Left fielder Justin Upton, who strained his left quad in the ninth inning against the Cubs on Saturday, wasn't in the lineup on Sunday but said his leg was feeling "much better."

"I got a lot of treatment yesterday after the game and getting some treatment this morning. It's feeling pretty good," Upton said.

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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.

Fans opted for beers over gloves Saturday

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Fans opted for beers over gloves Saturday

There are some who bring baseball gloves to the ballgame, hoping that the addition of some leather and padding will help them make a great play on a foul ball or home run.

Others are a little more ingenious. Like this Cubs fan at Saturday's game against the Padres. Armed simply with a cup of beer, she managed to both snag the lucky souvenir, and as befits such a prize, she ritualistically chugged the sudsy beverage in celebration. 

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Legends, astronauts celebrate Astrodome's 50th anniversary

Members of first Astros team to play in Astrodome join pre-game ceremony

Legends, astronauts celebrate Astrodome's 50th anniversary

HOUSTON -- Bob Aspromonte hit the first official home run in the Astrodome for the Astros. Bob Bruce was on the mound for the Astros and threw the first official pitch in the building known as the "Eighth Wonder of the World." Larry Dierker called the Astrodome home for more than a decade as a player, and even longer as a broadcaster and manager.

Fifty years after the Astros played their first game in the Astrodome, several members of that team, including Aspromonte, Bruce, Dierker, Ron Brand, Dan Coombs and Jimmy Wynn, caught the ceremonial first pitches prior to Saturday's game against the Angels at Minute Maid Park. The Astros were known as the Colt .45s for the first three years of their existence before moving to the Astrodome in 1965.

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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.

Statcast showcases Simmons' ability to anticipate

Braves shortstop's great plays against Mets' d'Arnaud provide an interesting study

Statcast showcases Simmons' ability to anticipate

It's no secret by now that Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons has seemingly made a habit out of taking hits away from opposing batters -- specifically Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

Simmons made an outstanding play on April 10 to rob d'Arnaud of a base hit and, while it may have appeared at the time to be a near-mirror image of a play Simmons made against d'Arnaud last Aug. 27, Statcast shows everyone why this year's version was even better.

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

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

Bryant drives in run on first career hit

Top prospect singles to center off Ross to tie ballgame

Bryant drives in run on first career hit

CHICAGO -- After a whirlwind Major League debut, Kris Bryant looked more comfortable in his second game with the Cubs.

He didn't strike out either.

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

Starlin's single lifts Cubs past Padres in 11

Starlin's single lifts Cubs past Padres in 11

Starlin Castro knocked in the game-winning run in the 11th inning with a bases-loaded single on Saturday as the Cubs edged the Padres, 7-6, before a crowd of 33,958 at Wrigley Field.

"Last year and the year before, we lost a lot of games like that," Castro said. "We played a lot of extra-inning games and lost. We play more than nine and we keep fighting and try to win."

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

Yost expects to hear from league on Ventura

Royals right-hander was ejected after hitting A's Lawrie with a pitch

Yost expects to hear from league on Ventura

KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost said he has not heard from Major League Baseball regarding the hit batter and subsequent ejection of his star right-hander Yordano Ventura on Saturday night.

But Yost expects to.

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

Victorino returns after resting sore left side

Victorino returns after resting sore left side

BOSTON -- Though he wound up a late scratch from Saturday's Red Sox starting lineup, Shane Victorino had little doubt about his availability against the Orioles on Sunday.

"I don't know, I haven't seen the lineup," the veteran said. "I'm assuming I'm going [to play]. I feel fine."

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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.

Mets hold off Marlins, win seventh straight

Mets hold off Marlins, win seventh straight

NEW YORK -- The only thing to slow Jacob deGrom down on Saturday night was a rising pitch count. After seven shutout innings, the Mets right-hander exited with eight strikeouts and 101 pitches, but not before being backed by homers from Wilmer Flores and Travis d'Arnaud.

deGrom's dominance set the tone early, and the Mets held off a ninth-inning rally to claim a 5-4 victory over the Marlins, extending New York's winning streak to seven straight. The 2014 National League Rookie of the Year now hasn't given up a run in 18 1/3 innings.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tanaka zeros in with 7 shutout innings

Yankees thrilled with right-hander's fastball command in third start of season

Tanaka zeros in with 7 shutout innings

ST. PETERSBURG -- From a distance of 60 feet and six inches, Brian McCann peered between the bars of his catcher's mask and saw the most encouraging thing that the Yankees could have put on display Saturday evening: a healthy and efficient Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka was not thrilled with his first two outings of the year, but even the harshest critic could not find much to be upset about in No. 3. Tanaka handcuffed the Rays to two hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking none in a 9-0 victory at Tropicana Field.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix strikes out side to end 12-K night

Seattle ace strikes out side to cap 12-K outing

Felix strikes out side to end 12-K night

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez likes ending losing streaks. Now he and his Mariners teammates are hoping to enjoy starting a winning one.

Hernandez was in brilliant form on Saturday night when his team needed it the most -- on the mound and in a discussion with Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon prior to his final inning, the seventh, in which he struck out the side to help seal his team's 3-1 win over the Rangers.

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

Rays DFA former All-Star closer Balfour

Gomes recalled to replace veteran reliever in Tampa Bay's bullpen

Rays DFA former All-Star closer Balfour

ST. PETERSBURG -- Grant Balfour struggled mightily in Saturday's 9-0 loss to the Yankees, with the veteran reliever surrendering a grand slam to Chris Young, issuing three walks, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch.

Immediately following the game, the Rays designated Balfour for assignment and filled the roster spot by selecting right-hander Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

DraftKings picks: Ellsbury, Headley, Ortiz

DraftKings picks: Ellsbury, Headley, Ortiz

Offensive options will be plentiful for DraftKings participants on Sunday, as several clubs have scheduled struggling or backend-type hurlers. The challenge will be to pack a lineup full of productive hitters and still find room for at least one of the high-end starters. A few of the best options to consider can be found below.

Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees): The owner of a career .794 OPS vs. right-handers (.750 against lefties), Ellsbury could have success against Rays right-hander Matt Andriese. The Yankees outfielder could display extra-base power or swipe a base against the Tampa Bay 25-year-old, who has 4 2/3 innings of Major League experience.

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Fred Zinkie is a senior fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets' Torres earns first save wearing new protective headgear

Mets' Torres earns first save wearing new protective headgear

NEW YORK -- Alex Torres earned his first career save Saturday and made Major League history doing it.

After becoming the first Major League pitcher to wear protective headgear of any type last season with the Padres, Torres, in Saturday's 5-4 win over the Marlins, became the first to sport a lighter, two-piece protective design.

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Joe Trezza is an associate producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dodgers extend streak to six wins, despite LeMahieu's homer

Dodgers extend streak to six wins, despite LeMahieu's homer

LOS ANGELES -- Torrid Adrian Gonzalez drove in three runs and Howie Kendrick had a pair of doubles as the Dodgers win streak reached six games with a 6-3 victory over the Rockies at Dodger Stadium Saturday night. More >

Zack Greinke got the win, despite being chased with a two-run homer by DJ LeMahieu with two out in the top of the seventh inning. Since joining the Dodgers, Greinke is 6-1 against Colorado and 20-1 against the NL West, while the Dodgers are 43-20 in his starts.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson wasting no time making mark on Blue Jays

Third baseman's walk-off vs. Braves just latest act for Toronto newcomer

Donaldson wasting no time making mark on Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Whether it's batting out of the two-hole, swinging for a game-winning hit, or adjusting to an offspeed pitch, Josh Donaldson keeps the same approach every at-bat. It just so happens this one ended with a dramatic walk-off blast.

Donaldson made it rain inside Rogers Centre on Saturday, collecting three more hits, a pair of runs and his third homer of the season to power the Blue Jays to a 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves.

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

Simmons amazes with pair of sick plays

Simmons amazes with pair of sick plays

TORONTO -- Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons put his Gold Glove defense on full display in Saturday's 6-5 loss in Toronto, executing a pair of attention-grabbing plays that demonstrated his athleticism and awareness.

In the sixth, Simmons made a heads-up play that prevented Devon Travis from gaining extra bases after he sent a chopper over the glove of third baseman Chris Johnson and into the outfield

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

King of K's: Felix fans 12 to snap skid, Rangers bats fall quiet

King of K's: Felix fans 12 to snap skid, Rangers bats fall quiet

SEATTLE -- The Mariners had been in search of a momentum starter, and the Rangers were seeking to continue the good vibes from the previous night's victory. Saturday's game was set for high drama on a beautiful night at Safeco Field, but when it was over, Felix Hernandez had become the story once again. On his bobblehead night, Seattle's ace gave up only two hits and a run while striking out 12 in seven innings, and the Mariners got enough timely hits to break a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win before 43,017.

Things weren't looking good early for the Mariners, who followed a recent pattern of knocking on the door but not capitalizing on chances early in the game. They took a 1-0 lead on a Seth Smith sacrifice fly in the fourth inning against Rangers starter Colby Lewis, but Texas tied the game in the top of the fifth on an Elvis Andrus fielder's choice RBI.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Puig has big night in return, but limp concerns Mattingly

Dodgers outfielder had a double, single and walk in Saturday's win

Puig has big night in return, but limp concerns Mattingly

LOS ANGELES -- Is he injured, or isn't he, only Yasiel Puig really knows.

Puig missed three games with a tight left hamstring, returned to the Dodgers lineup Saturday night with a double, single, walk and RBI, limped around enough for his manager to notice, but played all nine innings.

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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.