Harper hits three homers, one a 442-foot blast

Harper hits three homers, one a 442-foot blast

Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper had quite a game on Wednesday, one that had the potential to make big-time Major League history as he hit a home run in each of his first three at-bats against the Marlins at Nationals Park.

Harper's attempt at what would have been a record-tying fourth homer ended when he grounded out in his final at-bat in the seventh inning and didn't get up again as the Nationals won, 7-5.

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Green light for Verlander to start throwing

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

Green light for Verlander to start throwing

CHICAGO -- Justin Verlander has been cleared to begin a throwing program again. The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner, sidelined since late March with a right triceps strain, received the go-ahead after doctors reviewed his MRI exam Tuesday and decided inflammation had sufficiently subsided.

The Tigers confirmed that Verlander was examined by Dr. Tony Romeo on Wednesday 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.

First start, first hit for Friars phenom Hedges

Prospect familiar with San Diego pitching staff from Spring Training work

First start, first hit for Friars phenom Hedges

SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bud Black had absolutely no qualms with inserting rookie catcher Austin Hedges into the starting lineup Wednesday against the Giants.

Hedges, who made his first big league start and got his first hit, an RBI single, in the Padres' five-run third, was promoted from Triple-A El Paso on Monday. He hasn't spent the last two days cramming everything into his head about the pitching staff he will handle moving forward, though.

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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.

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.

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.

Today's starting lineups: May 6

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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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.

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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Werth expected back in Nats' lineup Friday

Left fielder limited by sore right shoulder

Werth expected back in Nats' lineup Friday

WASHINGTON -- Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game on Wednesday afternoon, and manager Matt Williams said Werth's right shoulder is "a little cranky." Thursday's off-day will give Werth three straight days to rest, and he is expected to be back on Friday night against the Braves.

"It's been a little inconsistent," Werth said Wednesday on MLB Network. "At times, it's been good. Other times, my timing just hasn't been there, but I'm starting to figure it out. I had some good at-bats the other night. I think it's coming." 

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Two-sport star Murray opting out of MLB Draft

Allen (Texas) High quarterback/infielder tweets plan to attend Texas A&M

Two-sport star Murray opting out of MLB Draft

Scouts rated Allen (Texas) High infielder Kyler Murray as having one of the highest upsides in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. But in a tweet Wednesday morning, he confirmed what most of them suspected: The lure of playing quarterback at Texas A&M was too strong to get him to turn pro in baseball at this point.

Tweeted Murray: "Opting out of the MLB draft. Looking forward to continuing my football and baseball career at Texas A&M University. See ya down the road!"

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

7 bounceback seasons to be excited about

7 bounceback seasons to be excited about

Miguel Cabrera is all the way back. Is that fair to say about a guy who never left? It is if we're comparing Cabrera to himself, and that's about the only reasonable comparison. As one of his former managers, Jim Leyland, said, "This guy is special. That's the best way to put it. Don't look for comparisons, because there aren't many."

Cabrera fought through all kinds of injuries over the past couple of years, but he continued to produce at a high level. Dozens of other players would have been thrilled to have played the way he did.

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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.

#ASGWorthy: Carpenter building strong resume

#ASGWorthy: Carpenter building strong resume

The Cardinals are the hottest team in baseball, and they've got several players vying to prove that they're #ASGWorthy. Third baseman Matt Carpenter sparked the Cards to their eighth straight win on Tuesday night, when he crushed a tying three-run homer in a 7-4 victory over the Cubs.

Carpenter, an All-Star in each of the past two seasons, hit .346 with a .412 on-base percentage in his first 26 games, delivering a .644 slugging mark. Of Carpenter's first 36 hits, 20 went for extra bases as he makes an excellent case to make the Midsummer Classic again.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

SoCal catcher Betts a coveted Draft target

SoCal high schooler is likely to be first catcher selected next month

SoCal catcher Betts a coveted Draft target

A year ago, the best high school catcher -- actually, the best catcher at any level -- in the 2014 Draft class came from Southern California. This year, the best high school catcher -- actually, the best catcher at any level -- in the 2015 Draft class comes from Southern California.

Talk about history repeating itself. A year ago, Alex Jackson was taken early in the first round out of Rancho Bernardo High School by the Mariners. This year, it's Chris Betts' turn to be a first-round pick, out of the storied program of Wilson High in Long Beach, Calif. The left-handed-hitting prospect is No. 21 on MLB.com's Draft Top 100 list.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs activate Grimm from DL, recall Szczur

Lake optioned to Triple-A Iowa, Varvaro designated for assignment

Cubs activate Grimm from DL, recall Szczur

ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs got a key member of the bullpen back on Wednesday, activating right-hander Justin Grimm from the disabled list.

The Cubs also recalled outfielder Matt Szczur and optioned Junior Lake to Triple-A Iowa. Right-hander Anthony Varvaro, who was added on Tuesday after he was claimed off waivers from the Red Sox, was designated for assignment.

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

Perez lifts Angels with walk-off homer in MLB debut

Perez lifts Angels with walk-off homer in MLB debut

ANAHEIM -- Welcome to the big leagues, Carlos Perez.

The Angels' young catcher made his Major League debut on Tuesday afternoon and became the hero by Tuesday night, hitting a walk-off home run to send the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the Mariners at Angel Stadium.

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Alden Gonzalez and Greg Johns are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dodgers recall Wieland for start vs. Brewers

Dodgers recall Wieland for start vs. Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers recalled Joe Wieland to start Wednesday's 5:10 p.m. PT game against the Brewers, and they optioned reliever Daniel Coulombe back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Coulombe pitched the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 8-2 win over the Brewers, allowing one run.

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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.

Upton making progress in foot rehab

Upton making progress in foot rehab

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Padres head to Arizona late Wednesday to begin a four-game series with the D-backs beginning Thursday.

They'll also get a chance to catch up with outfielder Melvin Upton Jr., who has been at the team's Spring Training facility in Peoria since April 10.

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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.

Cards, Carpenter down Cubs for 8th straight 'W'

Cards, Carpenter down Cubs for 8th straight 'W'

ST. LOUIS -- Off to their best start (through 26 games) in modern franchise history, the Cardinals scored another come-from-behind victory -- this one a 7-4 win over the Cubs at Busch Stadium -- to run their winning streak to eight on Tuesday. It's the longest winning streak by the club since July 2010.

After erasing deficits of five and four runs in a series-opening win, the Cardinals climbed out of a three-run hole to bump the Cubs 6 1/2 games back in the division and become the first team since the 2003 Yankees to open a season with 20 wins in its first 26 games. It hasn't happened in the National League since '00 (Braves).

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

An investigative report on Bartolo's dominance

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An investigative report on Bartolo's dominance

We here at Cut4 have a deep and abiding love of Bartolo Colon. Here is a pitcher who looks more like the guy in your office who is always talking about sports than someone who actually plays sports, who missed all of 2010 with a shoulder injury -- which are not your now-run-of-the-mill Tommy John injuries -- and is the second-oldest pitcher in the Majors.

He's played for the Montreal Expos and was on the Angels when they were still known as the team from Anaheim and not the "Los Angeles Angels of." He won his Cy Young in 2005 -- the year that Felix Hernandez reached the Majors and three years before Clayton Kershaw made his debut. 

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Matt Kemp celebrates Cinco de Mayo by dancing

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Matt Kemp celebrates Cinco de Mayo by dancing

While you were out celebrating Cinco de Mayo by drinking a margarita and having a burrito plate at your local Mexican restaurant, baseball players were out, you know, playing baseball. Fortunately for Matt Kemp and the Padres, they got a little taste of the holiday when a Mariachi band played before their game in San Francisco. Kemp made sure to show his appreciation.

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Harris becomes first Navy grad to earn MLB win

Harris becomes first Navy grad to earn MLB win

ST. LOUIS -- Having already joined Nemo Gaines as the only graduates of the United States Naval Academy to ever throw a big league pitch, Cardinals reliever Mitch Harris accomplished what Gaines never did in his time with the Washington Senators some 94 years ago: That is, earn a Major League win.

Lieutenant Harris, whose professional baseball career was preceded by a five-year service commitment in the US Navy, pitched a scoreless sixth in relief on Tuesday and then watched from the dugout as the Cardinals broke a tie game with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. The club held on for a 7-4 win over the Cubs, leaving Harris a line of handshakes and a game ball that he plans to display in his home.

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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.

Closer Report: Change in Toronto

Closer Report: Change in Toronto

Blue Jays change closers again
Toronto yanked rookie Miguel Castro from the closer role and handed it back to Brett Cecil. Castro has been inconsistent this year, flashing dominant stuff at times and looking inexperienced at other times. Things got worse for the youngster over the weekend as he was optioned back to Triple-A. Barring injury, he'll certainly be back in the Majors at some point and it wouldn't surprise me if it came soon. As for Cecil, he's clearly a must-own as the closer on a talented roster. He's still striking out opponents at a nice rate, but the hard contact has been discouraging. Since Cecil has better than his competition, his job should be safe for now. But the Blue Jays have been too quick with their decisions in this bullpen to be overly confident in them staying with the status quo for any period of time.

Garcia still the closer in L.A. for now
After Joel Peralta landed on the disabled list, Yimi Garcia jumped to the top of the depth chart. To his credit, Garcia has done nothing to lose trust from the Dodgers. He's allowed one earned run in 13 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts and just four walks. In short, he's been dominant. Chris Hatcher did vulture a save from him on Saturday, however. In fact, Garcia didn't get a save all week. With that being said, he's still the man to own on this roster. Not only is Garcia the most likely to get saves, but he's going to help you in other areas as well. Luckily for certain fantasy owners, Kenley Jansen just made his second rehab appearance and is getting closer to his return to the ninth inning.

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

Community legacy effort getting All-Star treatment

MLB, Reds unveil summer initiatives, projects to serve Cincinnati and beyond

Community legacy effort getting All-Star treatment

As fans continue to decide which players will start the 86th All-Star Game on July 14 in Cincinnati, Major League Baseball and the host Reds on Wednesday announced details of the annual community legacy effort that will be headed there as well.

The All-Star summer community effort will consist of a range of renovation projects that will leave a lasting impact within communities of Greater Cincinnati and beyond. It features the contribution of nearly $5 million toward national charitable programs and local projects, including nine area youth baseball field renovations.

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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.

17 years ago, Kerry Wood struck out 20 batters

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17 years ago, Kerry Wood struck out 20 batters

You know how when you say a word over and over again, it loses all meaning? Eighteen years ago, Kerry Wood did that to the letter K.

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Springer undergoes tests after crash into wall

Astros right fielder robs Rangers' Beltre of hit with tremendous catch

Springer undergoes tests after crash into wall

HOUSTON -- Astros right fielder George Springer was being tested for a possible concussion late Tuesday and wasn't expected to play in Wednesday's series finale against the Rangers after crashing into the wall in the seventh inning while making a tremendous catch on an Adrian Beltre fly ball.

Springer, who has made several highlight-worthy catches against the Rangers early in his career, ran off the field under his own power after making the catch, but manager A.J. Hinch said the club isn't taking any chances with their up-and-coming outfielder. The Astros lost to the Rangers, 7-1.

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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.

Greinke wins 10th straight decision

Greinke wins 10th straight decision

MILWAUKEE -- Zack Greinke remained undefeated since August and the Dodgers hit three home runs to power past the Brewers, 8-2, at Miller Park on Tuesday.

Justin Turner hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth inning and Jimmy Rollins and Adrian Gonzalez added two-run shots in the seventh to back Greinke, who hasn't lost a decision since these Brewers beat him last Aug. 9. He improved to 10-0 with a 1.99 ERA in 14 starts since that defeat by holding his former team to one unearned run on two hits over 7 2/3 innings.

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