MLB In Full Bloom - Ortiz Belts Two Homers As Red Sox Offense Explodes - 7/22/2014

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The trade deadline is fast approaching and the Red Sox are holding their horses. The hitters who weren’t hitting — Stephen Drew (three-run homer, four RBIs Monday night), Xander Bogaerts (three hits), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (two hits, two RBIs) are now hitting. In addition, David Ortiz slammed a pair of two-run homers off Brad Mills in the Red Sox's 14-1 drubbing of the Blue Jays on Monday. Ortiz has long been known as one of baseball's premier power hitters, and last night, the Red Sox slugger continued to climb through the ranks in the game's record books. In the fourth inning, Ortiz hit his 452nd career homer to deep center field and for a moment, he was tied with Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski at No. 36 on the all-time home run list. Then in the fifth, he broke a tie with Yastrzemski as he went deep for a second time, his team-high 22nd of the season to right field to give Boston a 13-1 lead. It was his third multi-homer game of the season and 44th of his career. The Red Sox have won eight out of nine and are just 7 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. They have 63 games remaining and a second half surge is certainly possible for the defending World Champions.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Cliff Lee returned from the disabled list on Monday night and struggled through 5 2/3 innings. Lee gave up six runs and 12 hits in a loss to the Giants in Philadelphia. Lee's velocity is typically in the 89-92 mph range when healthy, but he was working more at 86-89 mph last night. Combine that with the fact that he still has some rust and the result turned out to be that Lee was very hittable in his return. He will face the Diamondbacks in his next outing, so keep him active in mixed leagues for now.
  • Adam Jones went 2-for-4 with a couple of two-run homers in Monday's 4-2 win against the Angels. Jones' first inning shot off Matt Shoemaker put the Orioles on top 2-0. Five innings later, Jones hit a 443 foot moon shot over the left center wall to give Baltimore a 4-2 lead. Jones has two homers and nine RBI over his last three games. He is now batting .300 is on pace for 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI. 
  • Ian Desmond went 5-for-5 with three runs scored, two RBI and a home run Monday night against the Rockies. Desmond is now has an eight game hitting streak and has gone hitless in only two games during July. The shortstop is slashing .357 with 13 RBI so far in July.
  • Dee Gordon was 2-for-5 in Monday's victory over the Pirates and he collected his 45th base as well. Gordon now has seven hits in his last three games and is batting .297. He's now stolen three bags in his last five games.
  • According to Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, the club has no plans to temporarily shut down Garrett Richards in order to limit his workload. Richards is already at 131 1/3 innings, just short of the 145 innings he threw last season. He has never thrown more than 157 innings in a season before in pro ball, but Dipoto said there haven't been any discussions about giving him a break.
  • Matt Cain (elbow) was placed on the disabled list on Monday with elbow tendinitis. Cain underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed no structural damage. Inflammation can often make MRI results difficult to view, however, so Cain may not be out of the woods just yet. The Giants remain optimistic that he'll be able to avoid season-ending surgery, and will likely take another scan after the inflammation clears up. Cain has landed on the disabled list three times this season and is on pace to post the worst ERA of his career (4.18). Despite all the good news, he remains without a timetable to return to throwing.
  • Tommy Milone has asked the Oakland Athletics to be traded after being demoted to Triple-A earlier this month. Milone was sent to Triple-A. He lost his rotation spot following the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade. Milone was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 starts for the Athletics this year. He is 31-22 with a 3.74 ERA for Oakland over the last three seasons since being acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade. Several teams have contacted Athletics GM Billy Beane about the left-hander, but the team does not want to trade him at this time.

MLB In Full Bloom - Astros Unable to Sign Brady Aiken - 7/21/2014

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The Houston Astros became the first team in 31 years to fail in signing the No. 1 overall pick (Tim Belcher, 1983) when they couldn’t come to terms with Brady Aiken by Friday’s deadline. The high school left-hander and his representation had a public argument with the Astros front office, accusing team officials of negotiating in bad faith. Houston also failed to sign Round 5 pick Jason Nix. According to Tony Clark, union executive director, said the MLBPA and the players’ representatives are considering legal action against the Astros. The Astros messed up the Aiken negotiations from the start of the process. They rescinded a $6.5 million offer after their medicals revealed a slight abnormality in Aiken’s left elbow ligament, amending to a $3.1 million minimum proposal that guaranteed the No. 2 pick as compensation next year if he didn’t sign. It's quite possible the Astros will end up with two top 5 selections in the 2015 MLB draft. The ligament isn’t torn and will not require surgery. Aiken is pondering heading to junior college next year instead of honoring his commitment to UCLA, so he can opt into the 2015 draft.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • The Los Angeles Angels acquired Huston Street on Friday evening (and little-known relief prospect Trevor Gott) from the San Diego Padres on Saturday for minor leaguers Taylor Lindsey, R.J. Alvarez, Jose Rondon and Elliot Morris.  This trade makes so much sense that many several media outlets predicted it over a month ago. The Padres are once again cellar dweller's and don't need a stud closer. They get a handful of intriguing prospects. Lindsey, the No. 37 pick in the 2010 draft was rated by a few services as a top-100 overall prospect this spring and he was also the top prospect in the Angels' system. It’s far too soon for an offensively-bereft organization to pull the plug on a keystone talent like Jedd Gyorko, but Lindsey could press him for playing time beginning next spring.
  • C.J. Cron took over as the Angels' full-time designated hitter after they released Raul Ibanez in June. But, he was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday to make room on the roster for Huston Street. Cron should be back with the club before the season is over, but the curious move makes his fantasy value non-existent in the near term.
  • C.C Sabathia (knee) will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery which officially ends his season. There was some good news on Saturday, however: Sabathia won’t require microfracture surgery, which means he’ll be ready to go at the start of spring training. With his velocity plummeting and his body letting him down, Sabathia is a very risk option in dynasty formats.
  • The beginning of the second half means we’ve officially entered trade rumor season. FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi kicked things off with gossip that the Seattle Mariners are trying to get the Tampa Bay Rays to trade them left-hander David Price and infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist. If Price is headed to Seattle, you can bet Taijuan Walker will be given a one-way ticket to Florida as the package headliner.
  • Saturday was a dangerous day to be at the ballpark, as Brandon Belt and outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Holliday all hit the showers early. Belt was hit in the face during batting practice. The Giants decided to start him anyway, and Belt left the game against the Marlins early due to dizziness. On Sunday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed that Belt will be placed on the disabled list. NL-only leaguers will want to pick up Tyler Colvin. Puig was hit in the left hand by a Joe Kelly pitch. X-rays were negative, but is considered day-to-day. As for Holliday, his fifth inning exit was only a delayed precaution after he ran into Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez at second base in the first inning. He returned to the Cardinals lineup on Sunday night.
  • The Chicago Cubs have filed a lawsuit against a group of people they claim have been dressing in a bogus mascot costume and participating in “inappropriate and unsavory actions” near Wrigley Field, which includes charging fans for pictures and getting into bar fights. Yes, the Cubs are indeed suing the men behind the "Billy Cub" unofficial mascot.
  • The New York Yankees announced that they will honor Derek Jeter on September 7th. This surprise announcement sent ticket prices soaring on the resale market. The average list price for the home game in the Bronx against the Kansas City Royals went from $139.24 before the announcement to $497.98 by Saturday afternoon. On StubHub, the cheapest ticket went from $26 to $328 within a matter of hours.

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