Jays, O's fight for AL East lead on MLB.TV

Wild Card contenders jockey for position in tonight's games

Jays, O's fight for AL East lead on MLB.TV

Over the next five weeks, the Blue Jays and Orioles will play a combined 51 of their 64 remaining games against American League East opponents.

With the East race simply too close to call right now and postseason positions on the line, each ensuing series for these teams will become their new most important series of the season. That starts tonight in Baltimore, when the Blue Jays come into town clinging to a slim two-game lead over the Red Sox and a three-game cushion on the Orioles.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Week Ahead: Puig among trade candidates

Which players could also be moved before Aug. 31?

Week Ahead: Puig among trade candidates

The week ahead in Major League Baseball brings us to one of our favorite months and favorite words to utter every year: September.

The final month of the regular season means percolating pennant races that we've all come to anticipate and absorb, dramatic plays on the field that can define stretch drives, and the type of late season bonding that forge a clubs' identities heading into the postseason.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

5 for fighting: Contenders face off tonight

Postseason chase for 10 teams gets ratcheted up a notch

5 for fighting: Contenders face off tonight

Welcome to the best time of the year. When the pressure and tension are cranked up. When seven months of hard work could be lost in an instant. These next five weeks are going to have the look and feel of postseason baseball, at least in terms of adrenaline and competitive fire.

The pennant chase kicks into high gear tonight when five series begin featuring 10 teams in the thick of the playoff race -- Yankees-Royals, Blue Jays-Orioles, Pirates-Cubs, Marlins-Mets and Mariners-Rangers -- but we've already seen the game's best reach a new level, with the defending World Series champion Royals pummeling the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball to win another high-impact series.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

NFL to MLB: Tebow following Dozier's blueprint

Former Met played football for 5 seasons before transitioning to baseball

NFL to MLB: Tebow following Dozier's blueprint

What Tim Tebow wants -- to go from the NFL to the Major Leagues without having played baseball since high school -- is almost unprecedented in modern-day sports. But not completely.

D.J. Dozier, who played running back for the Vikings and Lions from 1987-91, then left field for the Mets in '92, took that path: from multisport high school athlete, to football-only in college and the NFL, to picking up baseball and reaching the Majors.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Today's starting lineups: Aug. 29

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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Dodgers send Stewart to Double-A, recall Maeda

Dodgers send Stewart to Double-A, recall Maeda

DENVER -- The latest victim of the Dodgers' aggressive roster manipulation is Brock Stewart, who was optioned back to Double-A Tulsa one day after blanking the Cubs for five innings.

Stewart was sent down to clear a spot on the roster for Monday night starter Kenta Maeda, who had been parked for three days on the roster of the Dodgers' Rookie-level Arizona League club. Because that club's season has ended, Maeda is allowed to be recalled without waiting the usual 10-day freeze period.

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Not just a slugger, Sanchez brings power behind the plate

Owns 5 of top 10 hardest throws on attempted steals of second

Not just a slugger, Sanchez brings power behind the plate

By now, everyone in baseball has heard about Yankees sensation Gary Sanchez, who has kick-started his Major League career by hitting 11 homers in his first 23 games, faster than anyone in history. (All 11 actually came in a span of just 15 games, since he didn't go deep in his first seven.) But for all the well-deserved attention he's commanding for what he's doing next to the plate, have you also noticed what he's doing behind it?

We knew when Sanchez was coming up that he had a strong throwing arm; after all, just about every scouting report mentioned it. MLBPipeline.com, for example, noted that he had "two standout tools: huge raw power and an exceptionally strong arm." Now that we've had a few weeks of Sanchez in the big leagues and in front of the Statcast™ tracking cameras, we can confirm that, and then some.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians place Salazar on paternity list

Indians place Salazar on paternity list

CLEVELAND -- The Indians placed right-hander Danny Salazar on the paternity list on Monday afternoon prior to the start of their three-game set against the Twins at Progressive Field. Right-hander Shawn Armstrong was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to take his place on the active roster.

Salazar posted his strongest start in the second half of the season in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Texas. The righty had 10 strikeouts and a pair of walks over 5 1/3 innings in which he allowed just two runs. Salazar made 98 pitches in the loss -- a feat for the Tribe hurler, who has battled with health issues since the All-Star break.

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

Cobb to make long-awaited return Friday vs. Jays

Cobb to make long-awaited return Friday vs. Jays

Alex Cobb's return from Tommy John surgery is imminent. The Rays right-hander will make his first start in nearly two years on Friday against the Blue Jays.

Cobb, 28, was one of baseball's most promising young pitchers before suffering a full ulnar collateral ligament tear in September 2014. Cobb enjoyed his best season that year, going 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA over 27 starts.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Dodgers just outside top 5 in Power Rankings

Nationals, Blue Jays move past Indians; Royals crack the top 10

Dodgers just outside top 5 in Power Rankings

The notion that the strength of a starting rotation typically dictates where a team will end up by the end of the season is a nice theory and all, but one particular team in the National League is making a strong case that starting pitching is way overrated.

How else can you explain the Dodgers, with six starting pitchers on the disabled list, firmly holding their grasp onto the top spot in the NL West? They're without Clayton Kershaw and a whole mess of others, while piecing together a rotation consisting of (for now at least) Rich Hill, Bud Norris, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, and ... well, pick someone.

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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.

5 notable facts about Splendid Splinter's life and career

5 notable facts about Splendid Splinter's life and career

Ted Williams had a season for the ages in 1941. But the Hall of Famer also enjoyed a remarkable career -- and life. Here are five highlights from his iconic life you should know about.

1. Military career
Like many ballplayers of his era, Williams was called to service -- first during World War II and again during the Korean War. Yet, unlike many of his MLB comrades, the Splendid Splinter was a casualty of active combat -- losing part of his hearing and surviving many dangerous encounters while flying 39 missions as a captain in the Korean War, according to the Marine Corps Association.

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_ This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

To the races: MLB postseason schedule announced

AL Wild Card Game opens playoffs on Oct. 4; World Series begins Oct. 25

To the races: MLB postseason schedule announced

Major League Baseball announced its 2016 postseason schedule on Tuesday, opening with the American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on TBS on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and followed by the National League equivalent on ESPN one night later. The 112th World Series on FOX will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 25, in an AL city to be determined.

While the 10 participants and eventual matchups are gradually being determined, the full postseason schedule can be found at MLB.com/postseason.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez is AL Player of the Week -- again

Yankees catcher hits 5 more homers, becomes first rookie to win consecutive awards

Sanchez is AL Player of the Week -- again

Gary Sanchez is once again the American League Player of the Week.

The Yankees rookie catcher earned the honor for the second consecutive week after hitting .522/.608/1.304 with five home runs and nine RBIs.

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

Marlins recall righty Brice, option lefty Nicolino

Marlins recall righty Brice, option lefty Nicolino

NEW YORK -- One of the expected September callups for the Marlins has joined the team a couple of days early. Right-hander Austin Brice was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Monday, and lefty Justin Nicolino was optioned to the Zephyrs.

The move isn't surprising, because Nicolino was brought up as a spot starter to face the Padres on Sunday at Marlins Park. The 24-year-old was filling in for Andrew Cashner, who was scratched due to a blister.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. 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.

Nationals promote Taylor, option Giolito

Nationals promote Taylor, option Giolito

The Nationals are adding even more speed to their already swift center-field situation.

Washington recalled speedster Michael Taylor from Triple-A on Monday, giving them another blazing outfield option to go along with Trea Turner and Ben Revere. Right-handed starter Lucas Giolito was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse in a corresponding move.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs looking for answer at closer

Club has had a revolving door in the ninth inning since July trades

D-backs looking for answer at closer

PHOENIX -- Since the D-backs traded Brad Ziegler to the Red Sox on July 9 and dealt Tyler Clippard to the Yankees on July 31, they've had no reliever step up to claim the closer role.

Arizona manager Chip Hale has opted to use various pitchers in save situations based on either matchups or which pitcher has the hot hand. So far, it hasn't worked all that well for any of the relievers thrown into those opportunities.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Fantasy411 chat: Best help down the stretch

Fantasy411 chat: Best help down the stretch

MLB.com fantasy expert Fred Zinkie fielded questions from fans during a live Twitter chat (@fantasy411) on Monday. Read through the best of the Q&A below. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity.

@mosjeffinitely: Which player should I drop out of Adam Duvall, David Dahl, Hernan Perez, Jake Lamb, Alex Bregman and Dee Gordon?

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Fred Zinkie is the lead 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.

Cardinals place Leake on DL with shingles

Kiekhefer called up from Triple-A Memphis

Cardinals place Leake on DL with shingles

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals placed right-hander Mike Leake on the 15-day disabled list with shingles, retroactive to Aug. 22, on Monday and called up left-hander Dean Kiekhefer from Triple-A Memphis.

The Cardinals, who had Alex Reyes start in Leake's place on Saturday, had hoped to avoid placing Leake on the DL, but they also anticipated a quicker recovery. On Sunday morning, manager Mike Matheny noted that Leake was "not progressing quickly."

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals rally with mantis that 8 the Monster

Royals rally with mantis that 8 the Monster

BOSTON -- The surging Royals, who have thrived on the big stage in recent years, stunned the Red Sox with an eight-run sixth inning that fueled a 10-4 victory on Sunday night at Fenway Park.

The impressive barrage, led by rookie Raul Mondesi's three-run triple that put Kansas City on top for good, gave the defending World Series champions a series victory and their 17th win in the last 21 games.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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.

Cabrera earns NL Player of Week nod

Shortstop comes off DL to hit three homers, but ends week with injury

Cabrera earns NL Player of Week nod

Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the disabled list with a performance that earned him National League Player of the Week honors.

The Mets shortstop hit an NL-best .545 (12-for-22) this week, with three home runs, eight RBIs and a .583 on-base percentage. His 25 total bases and 1.136 slugging percentage last week led the NL.

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

LA 'Vins' by a toenail; Cubs' W not meant 2B

LA 'Vins' by a toenail; Cubs' W not meant 2B

LOS ANGELES -- A grounder from Adrian Gonzalez, a foot race won by Corey Seager and a run scored by Andrew Toles were the difference in a 1-0 victory for the Dodgers over the Cubs on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, a contest that legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully said "all boiled down to a whisper, a toenail, a 'toe dance' around second base."

With the game in a scoreless tie going into the bottom of the eighth inning, Toles got aboard on a hit-by-pitch from Trevor Cahill, then advanced to third when Howie Kendrick reached base on Cahill's throwing error.

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Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

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.

N.Y. tops Seoul to give U.S. Little League title

N.Y. tops Seoul to give U.S. Little League title

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Sixteen teams from around the world played weeks' worth of tournaments, and by Sunday, it all came down to one game. In a contest dominated by pitching and defense, Maine-Endwell, N.Y., defeated Seoul, South Korea, 2-1, in the 2016 Little League World Series title game on Sunday, finishing the tournament undefeated and becoming the first U.S. team to win in five years.

Maine-Endwell broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the fourth inning against South Korea starting pitcher Junho Jeong, who struck out nine batters in four innings and didn't give up a hit to the potent New York lineup until there was one out in the fourth.

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Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Yanks' Sanchez, Giants' Slater repeat on Prospect Team of the Week

Yanks' Sanchez, Giants' Slater repeat on Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

We here at MLB Pipeline are running out of superlatives for Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. Luckily for us, we're running out of weeks for the Prospect Team of the Week.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

8 times MLB fans became rather emotional in the presence of their favorite players

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8 times MLB fans became rather emotional in the presence of their favorite players

Even though the Angels won Sunday's contest against the Tigers, 5-0, we're pretty sure the most exciting part of the day for one fan happened before the game even started. He got an autograph from Mike Trout, and let's just say that it unleashed a tide of feelings.

In that moment, he joined the ranks of fans that have been driven to emotional extremes after meeting their favorite players. Let's look at a few now.

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A's reinstate Butler from DL, option Alcantara

A's reinstate Butler from DL, option Alcantara

Billy Butler is returning to the field for the A's for the first time since the clubhouse incident that landed him on the disabled list.

Oakland reinstated Butler from the 7-day concussion disabled list Monday, the first day he was eligible. Infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara was optioned to Class A Stockton in a corresponding move.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson hits 3 HRs; Blue Jays sweep Twins

Donaldson hits 3 HRs; Blue Jays sweep Twins

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson brought the rain with his first career three-homer game, and the Blue Jays brought the brooms, completing a sweep of the Twins, 9-6, and handing Minnesota its season-high 10th straight loss on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Toronto's third come from behind victory of the series was fueled by the reigning American league MVP. Donaldson's two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh put the Blue Jays in front for good, and his second solo home run of the day in the eighth put the icing on the cake.

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Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Twins on Sunday.

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

Inbox: Who is Padres' second baseman of the future?

Beat reporter AJ Cassavell fields San Diego fans' questions

Inbox: Who is Padres' second baseman of the future?

SAN DIEGO -- As the Padres enter the home stretch of the 2016 season, many of their most pressing questions are centered around the upcoming offseason.

Spring Training in 2017 will feature position battles galore, and several players will be looking to boost their stock during the season's final month. With that in mind, here are a few answers to the most intriguing questions in Padres-land.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Nats will call up Latos in September

Veteran right-hander had clause to opt out of Minor League deal Monday

Source: Nats will call up Latos in September

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Mat Latos is expected to join the Nationals once the Major League rosters expand to 40, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com.

The Nationals have not confirmed the report.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs' boom keeps pressure on in Wild Card

Bucs' boom keeps pressure on in Wild Card

MILWAUKEE -- Right on schedule, here come the Pirates.

John Jaso and Gregory Polanco hit solo home runs in a go-ahead sixth inning Sunday, and Starling Marte added an insurance shot in the eighth as Ivan Nova and charging Pittsburgh finished a four-game sweep of Milwaukee with a 3-1 win at Miller Park.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Sunday.

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