Harper hits three homers, one a 445-foot blast

Youngest player since 1969 to accomplish feat

Harper hits three homers, one a 445-foot blast

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper had quite a game on Wednesday. He had his first three-homer game as the Nationals edged the Marlins, 7-5.

At 22 years, 202 days, Harper is the youngest player to hit three home runs in a game since Joe Lahoud (22 yrs, 53 days) on June 11, 1969. It was Harper's sixth multi-homer game of his career.

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

Jim Breuer calls Granderson's homer

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Jim Breuer calls Granderson's homer

Jim Breuer is an accomplished man. He was a cast member on Saturday Night Live, he had his own show on MTV and he does some of the most inspired recaps of Mets games out there. But his true calling just might be play-by-play broadcasting for the Mets.

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Votto ejected, may face further discipline

Reds slugger appeared to have words with Cole after strikeout, bumps umpire in argument

Votto ejected, may face further discipline

PITTSBURGH -- Reds first baseman Joey Votto was ejected from Wednesday's game vs. the Pirates and could be facing further discipline after bumping home-plate umpire Chris Conroy.

During a scoreless game, Votto struck out to end the top of the third inning and was visibly upset, yelling and spiking his helmet as he walked away. Votto also appeared to say something toward starting pitcher Gerrit Cole in the Pirates' third-base dugout before Conroy ejected him while Votto's back was turned.

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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.

Statcast: Comparing diving catches by Cutch, Schafer

New technology analyzes defense with distance covered, running speed, route efficiency

Statcast: Comparing diving catches by Cutch, Schafer

It's the classic baseball barroom argument: Take two similar spectacular defensive plays and argue about which one was more impressive. It's the perfect baseball discussion simply because one side could never conclusively prove the other wrong. As long as the out was made, the rest was just speculation and perspective. You could take two or 10 or 20 similar plays, and they'd all be essentially tied for first place.

For decades, particularly before the advent of nationally televised games, there was no way to do better.

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

Springer being evaluated, out of lineup tonight

Springer being evaluated, out of lineup tonight

HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder George Springer will miss Wednesday night's game against the Rangers as he continues to undergo further evaluations for a potential concussion, manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday afternoon.

The team expects to have a diagnosis or decision on Springer, who careened into the wall while making a catch during the seventh inning of Tuesday's 7-1 loss to Texas, sometime before or during Wednesday's game.

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

Verlander gets green light, starts throwing

MRI results reveal inflammation has subsided around Tigers righty's triceps

Verlander gets green light, starts throwing

CHICAGO -- Justin Verlander is throwing again. The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner, sidelined since late March with a right triceps strain, threw 50 times off flat ground Wednesday afternoon after doctors reviewed his MRI exam and decided inflammation had sufficiently subsided.

The Tigers confirmed that Verlander was examined Wednesday by Dr. Anthony Romeo, an elbow and shoulder specialist at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, to review the results.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rosario homers on first pitch of career

Prospect is sixth Twins player to homer in first AB, 29th in MLB to homer on first pitch

Rosario homers on first pitch of career

MINNEAPOLIS -- Eddie Rosario didn't waste any time making an impact in his Major League debut.

Rosario, starting two days after being called up from Triple-A Rochester, homered on the first pitch he saw from A's left-hander Scott Kazmir on Wednesday to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the third inning. He became the first Twins player to homer on his first big league pitch and just the 29th player in Major League history to accomplish the feat.

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

Ryu hits snag in shoulder rehab

Dodgers starter scratched from trip with team, throwing slowed

Ryu hits snag in shoulder rehab

MILWAUKEE -- Don Mattingly wouldn't use the word setback, but clearly Hyun-Jin Ryu's rehab from a left shoulder impingement has hit a snag.

"They've slowed him down a little bit," the Dodgers manager said of his No. 3 starter, who was suddenly scratched from making this trip after lack of velocity during a Friday bullpen session sent up a cautionary flag.

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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.

First start, first hit for Friars phenom Hedges

Prospect gets first big league hit and RBI, works well with Kennedy

First start, first hit for Friars phenom Hedges

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you know anything about Padres rookie catcher Austin Hedges, you might not be at all surprised to know he was willing to pass on talking about his first Major League hit Wednesday for a topic more near and dear to him -- his defense.

"All I cared about going into the game was that [starting pitcher Ian Kennedy] and I were on the same page and we go out and followed the game plan," Hedges said. "He made my job easy. He executed all his pitches."

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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.

Samardzija drops appeal; Rodon to start

Righty begins serving suspension, will return Monday; top prospect gets call Saturday

Samardzija drops appeal; Rodon to start

CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija officially dropped the appeal of his five-game suspension, meaning the right-hander began serving his penalty on Wednesday following his seven-inning victorious effort on Tuesday night.

Samardzija's absence until Monday in Milwaukee leaves a starting spot open this weekend against the Reds. And that vacancy will be filled by Carlos Rodon, the No. 1 White Sox prospect according to MLB.com, who will likely start Saturday.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres' five-run third snaps Giants' streak

Padres' five-run third snaps Giants' streak

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Diego Padres backed starter Ian Kennedy and took control with a five-run third inning Wednesday to cruise to a 9-1 victory over San Francisco at AT&T Park. The outcome averted a three-game series sweep for the Giants, whose five-game winning streak dissolved.

"We had a good run," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs lash 18 hits in Game 1 win over Rox

D-backs lash 18 hits in Game 1 win over Rox

DENVER -- Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer and Aaron Hill added a long three-run shot and tied his career high with four RBIs in the D-backs' 13-7 victory over the Rockies in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday at Coors Field.

The D-backs, who ended a three-game skid and pushed the Rockies to a season-high sixth straight defeat, took advantage of lefty Tyler Matzek (2-1), whose two innings marked, statistically, the wildest starting performance in the last 15 years.

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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. Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

History swings momentum against Koehler

Previous success against Harper fades with three long home runs

History swings momentum against Koehler

WASHINGTON -- Here's the thing about baseball statistics. Those interesting numbers can serve as a guide to those trying to project the future. Some are stronger indicators than others, yet they are not infallible. There is a reason why the phrase, "That's why they play the game," was first muttered.

For example, Marlins starter Tom Koehler enjoyed tremendous success against Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper entering Wednesday's matinee that doubled as the rubber match for the three-game series. The right-hander held the lefty-swinging slugger to 2-for-15 (.133) with three strikeouts in their previous meetings.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Manfred appreciates Astros' fast start to 2015

Commissioner lauds owner Crane and front office for sticking to long-term plan

Manfred appreciates Astros' fast start to 2015

HOUSTON -- Commissioner Rob Manfred praised the Astros' dramatic reversal of fortune during a visit to Minute Maid Park before Wednesday's Rangers-Astros game.

"The nice thing about this turnaround is that [owner] Jim Crane, [general manager] Jeff Luhnow, the entire front office developed a strategy," Manfred said. "It was a strategy that took into account really significant changes that were going on in the game, most particularly in the talent acquisition area."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

10 potential fantasy saviors to pluck off wire

Paxton, Canha among hidden performers who could pay big dividends

10 potential fantasy saviors to pluck off wire

Fantasy owners should be aggressive on the waiver wire in the coming days, with a pair of top-shelf closers on the comeback trail and several appealing two-start pitchers for the coming week. Those who need hitting help will find the options less plentiful, but there are some available bats that could contribute now or down the road.

Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox: The 23-year-old came into the season ranked as the Red Sox's No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, and he started off hot with a .338 average across 68 Triple-A at-bats. With Ryan Hanigan on the disabled list for a prolonged period, Swihart should be the team's No. 1 catcher for the foreseeable future.

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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.

Walden likely out until after All-Star break

Cardinals may keep eight in taxed bullpen

Walden likely out until after All-Star break

ST. LOUIS -- Diagnosed with a right shoulder strain on Wednesday, right-hander Jordan Walden will be shut down for the next 6 to 10 weeks and unavailable to the Cardinals for even longer as he allows his shoulder to heal.

General manager John Mozeliak announced the results of a second MRI reading and noted that the injury must be allowed to heal with rest before Walden can resume a throwing program. That timeline suggests a very real possibility that Walden might be missing from the Cardinals' bullpen until after the All-Star break.

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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.

Fast times: Kang finally digs in vs. Chapman

Longing to test himself against Reds fireballer, Pirates infielder battles for walk in first meeting

Fast times: Kang finally digs in vs. Chapman

PITTSBURGH -- Jung Ho Kang got right to the bottom of his MLB bucket list Tuesday night. He was neither disappointed, nor hopelessly overmatched.

Four months ago, before boarding the plane that would bring him to the land of baseball opportunity, Kang had been very specific about one of the things he most looked forward to.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Defenses countering Hamilton's bunting game

Reds outfielder looking to stay positive, make adjustments to maintain vital threat

Defenses countering Hamilton's bunting game

PITTSBURGH -- The bunt was not only a weapon in Billy Hamilton's arsenal during his rookie season, but an effective one. In the early going of this season, the Reds' speedy leadoff hitter and center fielder has struggled to get bunts down for hits.

In 2014, Hamilton was 15-for-44 (.341) when he bunted for hits. Entering Wednesday, he was 0-for-6 this season. It's not for a lack of effort or attention to the skill -- Hamilton does early bunting work just about every day. Some credit goes to opposing defenses for neutralizing him.

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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.

100 years later, relive Babe's first HR

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100 years later, relive Babe's first HR

On May 6, 1915, George Herman Ruth hit a home run. It was the first of 714 he'd hit in professional baseball.

The man by then already known as "The Babe" was pitching and batting ninth that day for the Red Sox as they took on the Yankees at the Polo Grounds. Ruth and the Sox lost 4-3 in 13 innings. On the mound, Ruth face 50 batters, striking out only three, but surrendering just two earned runs. 

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What to watch for in today's games

Cole looks to continue surge; Sale, Simon to duel in AL Central clash

What to watch for in today's games

Settle in early and stay late for a full day of baseball today that features all 30 teams in action. Here are four things to watch for:

Cole streaking: CIN @ PIT, 7:05 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh right-hander Gerrit Cole, the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, has won his last eight decisions dating back to September 2014 and has only lost one of his last 14 PNC Park starts since August 2013. Mike Leake and the Reds will need to bring their A-game to PNC Park.

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

Hochevar may return to Royals this weekend

Hochevar may return to Royals this weekend

KANSAS CITY -- As expected, Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar could be activated as early as Saturday once his 30-day rehab assignment ends.

The Royals, though, will have 48 hours to activate him once the rehab ends. He is out of options.

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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.

Pedroia shows off range, makes stellar grab

Pedroia shows off range, makes stellar grab

BOSTON -- Red Sox starter Justin Masterson received plenty of help from his infield defense during Wednesday night's game vs. the Rays, but at no point was this more apparent than in the third inning.

With runners on first and second after Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the previous at-bat, James Loney swatted a first-pitch fastball hard toward the second-base gap. Much to Masterson's delight, however, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a nifty leaping grab, extending his body to stop the chopper before firing to first base to end the frame.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Harper appears ready to carry Nationals

Young slugger maturing into team leader

Harper appears ready to carry Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Hiccups and haywires, Matt Williams said. That's how the Nationals manager refers to what's gone wrong for his team so far this season, the seemingly endless string of buzzard's luck that has afflicted a team many expected to run away with the National League East this season.

Left fielder Jayson Werth, coming off shoulder surgery, missed his 10th game of the season Wednesday afternoon against the Marlins at Nationals Park. Center fielder Denard Span came back from core surgery two weeks into the season, missed a couple games and has now played four straight. Third baseman Anthony Rendon has yet to appear as he recovers from a sprained left knee. He was on a rehab assignment, pulled his oblique and has been shut down.

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

Hardy's season debut could be close

Hardy's season debut could be close

NEW YORK -- Shortstop J.J. Hardy makes his third rehab start for Double-A Bowie on Wednesday night, and manager Buck Showalter said that it's possible he will join the team at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.

Hardy has been rehabbing along with infielder Ryan Flaherty, who isn't eligible to come off the disabled list until Friday. Still, the pair could travel together, and Hardy, who hasn't played in five weeks, could be nearing his season debut.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

ASG debate: Jeter's shortstop successor

Tigers' defensive star has big first month at the plate; young Sox infielder expected to heat up

ASG debate: Jeter's shortstop successor

*** 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! ***

Say what you will about those instances when sentimentality swallows statistics in the All-Star Game voting, but at least it made last year's choice for American League shortstop last summer an unusually easy one. In his final go-around, Derek Jeter, a.k.a. No. 2, was No. 1, no question.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Relive George Springer's best diving grabs

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Relive George Springer's best diving grabs

Though his glove might indicate otherwise, Astros outfielder George Springer still has less than a full season of MLB experience under his belt. Springer got the call to The Show in April of last year, but was shut down at the All-Star break thanks to a strained quad.

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Two rainouts? Try some bottlecap baseball

Two rainouts? Try some bottlecap baseball

DENVER -- The D-backs players found different ways to remain occupied during Monday night's two-hour rain delay that resulted in a postponement at Coors Field, and they were thankful that Tuesday's game was called before the game started.

That's because baseball players hate just sitting around.

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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.

Greinke unleashes a bat flip ... on a double

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Greinke unleashes a bat flip ... on a double

The maestro of the bat flip may be more restrained with his lumber these days, but after the Dodgers' win over the Brewers Tuesday night, the nation can sleep soundly knowing that there's at least one enthusiastic pupil ready to carry on the Ways of the Wood. The name on the jersey may be different, but make no mistake: You can take the bat flip out of the Puig, but you can't take the Puig out of the bat flip.

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Song in your heart: Great MLB team anthems

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Song in your heart: Great MLB team anthems

Maybe you've had a rough morning. Maybe your commute was a pain, or you spilled your morning coffee, or you happen to be a pitcher scheduled to face Nelson Cruz at some point in the near future. 

Well fear not, weary traveler, for whatever may be ailing you, YouTube user Mcx110 has the cure: a ridiculously exhaustive, 37-video list of classic MLB team anthems -- from a rare '70s bootleg of "Meet the Mets" to at least four -- yes, four -- separate Indians fight songs. 

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Celebrate Willie Mays on his 84th birthday

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Celebrate Willie Mays on his 84th birthday

Willie Mays' 3,283 career hits, 660 home runs, .941 lifetime OPS, two NL MVP Awards and the 1951 Rookie of the Year Award give him all the introduction he needs. 

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