3 ejected after benches clear in Pirates-Braves


Pittsburgh right-hander Joe Musgrove and Atlanta third baseman Josh Donaldson have been ejected from Monday night’s game between the Pirates and Braves for triggering a benches-clearing nike nfl jerseys china

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle also was ejected by plate umpire Brian Gorman for arguing the decision to toss Musgrove.

With two outs in the first inning, Musgrove’s pitch grazed Donaldson’s jersey. As Donaldson headed to first base, he exchanged words with Musgrove and took a few steps toward the mound before Pirates catcher Elias Diaz intervened.10

Donaldson shoved Diaz. That prompted players from both dugouts and bullpens to spill onto the field. No punches were thrown, and the field was quickly cleared.

The ejections followed a brief huddle by the umpires.

Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon, who is on the 60-day injured list with a flexor tendon strain, tweeted his displeasure of the decision to toss nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Right-hander Alex McRae replaced Musgrove. Johan Camargo replaced Donaldson.

Braves’ Keuchel pitches 7 scoreless in minors


Newly signed Atlanta Braves pitcher Dallas Keuchel pitched seven scoreless innings in a minor league start with Class A Rome on Monday, striking out nine Charleston nfl jerseys for cheap

Keuchel allowed one hit, walked one batter and threw 77 pitches (55 strikes).9

The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner had been scheduled to pitch Saturday for Triple-A Gwinnett against Durham, but the game was called off because of inclement nike nfl jerseys china

Keuchel signed a one-year deal last week that pays him $13 million. The two-time All-Star went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA in 34 starts last season for Houston.

Cards place Molina on IL due to thumb injury


Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday because of a strained right thumb tendon.

The 36-year-old, a nine-time All-Star, got hurt during Saturday’s game against Atlanta and tried to play through the injury.

“It’s just a slight little tear between the thumb and the webbing, his right finger, rather,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.

Shildt said the injury affected Molina’s nfl jerseys nike china

St. Louis said the roster move was retroactive to Wednesday.10

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said surgery had not been discussed.

“We did an MRI this morning and that indicated that there is some damage to the tendon in his thumb, throwing hand, and we’ll have him see a specialist this afternoon, as well,” Mozeliak said. “Probably have a better idea of maybe length and what to expect by sometime tomorrow morning.”cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

Matt Wieters will get most of the playing time while Molina is sidelined. St. Louis selected the contract of Andrew Knizner from Triple-A Memphis.

Molina is batting .265 with four home runs and 33 RBIs and started 49 of the Cardinals’ first 53 games.

Knizner, 24, was batting .286 with five home runs and 17 RBIs at Memphis.

Boring? That description fits the Cubs’ bats with men on base


While the Blues were playing the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final across town, Cubs star third baseman Kris Bryant was hearing plenty of boos after calling St. Louis “boring” over the winter. But that word applied to the Cubs at the plate as much as anything else.

The team’s offense has gotten decidedly boring lately.

“We have to give ourselves a better chance, more opportunities than we’re giving ourselves,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep that knocked the Cubs out of first place in the NL Central. “That’s the ebb and flow of the season. We’re grinding right now as a unit. We have to get back on track.”

Rizzo got robbed by Kolten Wong late in Sunday’s contest to help preserve the win for the home team, but this can’t all be about a bad BABIP right now. The Cubs seem to be squeezing their bats about as hard as possible as soon as a runner reaches base. On Sunday, they nearly became just the second team this year to walk at least eight times without scoring — only a ninth-inning run prevented wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“We just have to do a better job, reorganize our strike zones and make pitchers throw the ball over the plate and stay in the middle of the field,” manager Joe Maddon said.9

Maddon has no other answers for an offense that has just one hit in its past 33 at-bats with a runner in scoring position — and even that lone hit didn’t plate a run. If the ball isn’t leaving the ballpark these days, the Cubs aren’t scoring.

“It’s not like we’re in here moping around and, ‘Poor us, we can’t get a hit right now with a runner in scoring position,'” Rizzo said. “We’re doing our best, we’re just falling short.”

Some of this rhetoric is eerily similar to the second half of last season, when the Cubs inexplicably went into offensive hibernation. That led to another “B” word no Cubs fan ever wants to hear again. If Theo Epstein declares the Cubs offense “broken” anytime soon, as he did last October, there might be a mutiny in Chicago.

“We have guys in here that have driven in a lot of runs before,” Rizzo said. “The more opportunities we have, the better off we’ll be.”cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Rizzo isn’t wrong. By year’s end, the top on-base teams are usually the top run-scoring teams. That’s a fact.

But the Cubs seem to do things that don’t go with the norm. For example, despite respectable National League rankings in batting average (fifth) and on-base percentage (second), the Cubs drop all the way down to 14th — just ahead of the lowly Marlins — when it comes to hitting with runners in scoring position. Let that sink in. They hit .255 overall but just .240 when runners are poised to score. Only one other NL team (Pittsburgh) has a drop of that significant. All others hit the same or better when the going gets tough for the pitcher.

That leads to a cruel joke forming for opposing teams: The best way to get out of an inning against the Cubs is to put a runner at second base.

“I don’t think we’re going up there just trying to hit homers,” Kyle Schwarber said. “Some of it isn’t falling right now. It’s the reality. We’re all up there trying to drive guys in.”

Alex Verdugo’s ‘youthful enthusiasm’ keeps Dodgers charged up


Dodger Stadium played “Last Time That I Checc’d,” the hit song by Nipsey Hussle, and Alex Verdugo, who used the track as his walk-up music last season, got excited. He lifted himself onto the top bench of the home dugout and started to sway.

Then there was that time when Clayton Kershaw performed what looked like a sort of Irish dance to “Old Town Road” and Verdugo joined him. And the time when Verdugo got so frustrated at Russell Martin for not nailing their elaborate handshake that he mockingly yelled for a new partner.

He’s a 23-year-old rookie, a bench player until only recently, but Verdugo has been a ray of light on this year’s Los Angeles Dodgers, who could use some untapped energy sources for the long climb to another World Series.

“He’s very endearing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, cracking a smile. “The more you’re around him, the more you understand him.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Verdugo had proved himself as a major-league-caliber player by the end of the 2017 season, after sporting an .825 OPS through 495 plate appearances at the highest minor league level. But the Dodgers’ abundance of outfield depth kept him mired in Triple-A through the following season. Over time, Roberts noticed that Verdugo got “a little bit bored.” The game had become too easy.

“They put me in all kind of situations down there and I felt like I answered the bell and showed them what I could do,” Verdugo said. “I wanted that next step. ‘Hey, let me do it up here. Whether you guys don’t think I can, or you guys think I’ll fail or not, let me show you.’ I’m not scared of failure. I’m not. I thrive off that. I thrive to be in the moment.”10

The Dodgers still didn’t know what to do with Verdugo when 2019 began. They brought up his name in trade talks over the offseason, couldn’t find a scenario that made it worthwhile, then put him on the Opening Day roster so as to not waste an asset.

Verdugo didn’t have a discernible role when the season began, but he batted .333/.353/.636 as a part-time player. He became the primary center fielder after A.J. Pollock injured his elbow on April 28, and has hit .302/.375/.397 ever since. On the whole, his 1.5 FanGraphs wins above replacement — boosted by a strong throwing arm and deceiving speed — trail only Cody Bellinger and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the lead on a Dodgers team that boasts the National League’s best record.

Verdugo felt lost when he first joined the Dodgers as a September call-up in 2017 and often found himself straying from his mechanics during two short stints in 2018. He vowed to stay short with his swing in 2019, a trait intended to counter long stretches of inactivity. He also pledged to be himself. The Dodgers expressed concern about Verdugo’s maturity level in prior seasons, and Verdugo was made aware. His true personality didn’t come nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I kind of tried to act a certain way that I thought they would like,” Verdugo said. “Now, this year, it’s ‘be myself.’ I feel like everybody has opened to it and I think they can kind of see that it’s genuine.”

In the midst of boyish exuberance, Verdugo is in many ways a throwback player. He is a left-handed hitter in an organization that has relied heavily on platoons, but he has recorded a hit in one-third of his at-bats against left-handed pitchers. He plays in an era dominated by launch angle and strikeouts but has never tried to lift pitches and has always prioritized putting the ball in play.

Built on huge homers, Cubs’ big innings a formula for success


He’s been in right field this week, but for the Philadelphia Phillies, not the Chicago Cubs. Bryce Harper might have been at the top of the offseason wish list for more than a few fans last winter, but not many are clamoring for him in Chicago right now. That’s because the Cubs’ offense — once thought broken — continues to put up big numbers in a resurgent season at the plate. At least so far.

Wednesday was one of the few good hitting nights at Wrigley Field this season, as the ballpark has played favorably for pitchers. But the temperature — and the winds — made a dramatic change overnight, and the Cubs took advantage. Three long home runs, including Albert Almora Jr.’s first career grand slam, helped the home team coast to a big victory after trading a pair of one-run wins in the first two games of four between these division-leading teams.
cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Almora’s first-pitch slam in the fifth inning broke a 3-3 tie and the Cubs never looked back, eventually beating the Phillies 8-4. While collecting eight hits and four walks, the Cubs maintained a hefty lead in the National League in an all-important offensive category: on-base percentage. They lead the Dodgers and Cardinals by six points after Wednesday. No other major statistic correlates to runs scoring better than getting on base. For whatever reason, the Cubs forgot how to do that in the second half of last season, but they got it back.6

Their thump is back, too. The Cubs finished 11th in the National League in home runs in 2018 but rank third so far this year while playing fewer games than the two teams ahead of them as well as almost every team behind them. And they’re doing it in a more pitcher-friendly Wrigley Field. Perhaps the return of their power coincides with a change in hitting coach they made after last season, but it’s more likely tied to the maturation of a lineup built around their young veteran hitters.

Almora is a key example. He hit his fifth home run Wednesday after hitting five all of last year. And there’s a reason Chicago manager Joe Maddon is batting him lower in the lineup, behind OBP stalwarts such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras: Almora doesn’t strike out much.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“By putting him down there I have a strong belief the ball is going to be moved with people on base,” Maddon said.

There’s that on-base thing again. The Cubs love to clog up the basepaths and, yes, sometimes they strand too many, but over time, those clogged bases will turn into big run totals.

Irvin got to Almora twice Wednesday, but the third time was the charm for the Cubs outfielder. His grand slam was preceded by a game-tying, third-inning blast from Rizzo, a bomb that hit the Budweiser sign beyond the right-field fence.

Struggling Tebow hits first Triple-A home run


What started off as a tough spring for Tim Tebow with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, New York, took a turn for the better Sunday when he hit his first International League home run.

It came in his 105th at-bat of the season, and the former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t exactly receive a hero’s welcome when he returned to the dugout.

At least not at first.

Tebow’s teammates largely gave him the silent treatment before the celebration at NBT Bank Stadium began in earnest.

Tebow went 1-for-4 in an 8-2 home loss to Columbus, lifting his batting average to .157. He has 11 RBIs on the season. He has a hit in seven of his past nine games.

On Thursday, he told The Associated Press that he was unfazed by his slow nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think I’m improving. I’m working, developing,” Tebow said. “I think I’m getting better, adapting to some really good players, and I think that’s important.”10

Tebow’s average was at .130 after the team’s first 23 games before his productivity increased of late, a stretch that he said has helped with his confidence as he’s found more of a rhythm at the plate.

“I think sometimes if you’re not in rhythm, you can press a little bit, swing at pitches you don’t want to swing at,” Tebow said. “But when you’re in a rhythm, it just flows a little bit better. I think that’s important.”

Syracuse Mets manager Tony DeFrancesco told The Associated Press that the move from Double-A to the top rung of the minor leagues has proved nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Double-A pitching is a lot of younger guys that have good velocity on the fastball but no secondary pitches,” DeFrancesco said. “Here, Tim is seeing everything coming at him but the kitchen sink. They’re throwing fastballs hard in on him, they’re breaking balls, they’re elevating. He just hasn’t seen enough of that right now — and they’re throwing strikes.”

DeFrancesco said Tebow’s recent surge has been encouraging and he was hoping that the power production would arrive after Tebow had six homers and 36 RBIs in 271 at-bats in Double-A before an injury ended his season after 84 games.

“He’s playing a corner position in baseball, which is offensive production, so he’s going to definitely need to drive some home runs soon,” his manager said. “Getting into June, you’ve got to be able to put up the numbers.”

Dodgers’ Ryu extends scoreless streak to 31 IP


Ryu blanked the Reds over seven innings to extend his major league-leading streak to 31, Cody Bellinger hit his 17th homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Cincinnati 8-3 on Sunday.

“He’s just locked in right now with all of his pitches,” manager Dave Roberts said of his starting pitcher. “It’s fun to watch. He’s healthy. The conditions, the situations don’t matter.”

Ryu (6-1) had baserunners in each of his first five innings, but none of them got past second base and he retired his last eight batters. Ryu allowed five hits with one walk and five strikeouts and lowered his ERA to a National League-best 1.52 for the season. He went into the game second behind Milwaukee’s Zach nike nfl jerseys paypal

“I wasn’t crisp, especially early in the game,” Ryu said through a translator. “There was a lot of traffic out there. I was able to execute the right pitches at the right time.”9

Alex Verdugo drove in three runs and Russell Martin added a solo homer for the West Division-leading Dodgers.

Verdugo’s RBI double gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the second inning and they added a run in the third on a fielder’s choice.

Reds right fielder Yasiel Puig hit the wall while making a catch with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning.

Puig leaped and reached into the stands down the right-field line to catch Ryu’s fly ball while colliding with the padded wall. He was on the warning track for a few seconds before jogging off the field, rubbing his left elbow.

He batted in the bottom of the inning before leaving the game after the seventh with what manager David Bell said was a sprained right nfl nike jerseys from china

“I felt a little bit tight,” Puig said. “I take that AB after that I told them I don’t feel good. My elbow I hit on the concrete, but I feel good about that.”

Bellinger, who entered the game second in the NL in home runs behind Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, smacked left-handed relief pitcher Wandy Peralta’s first pitch deep to center field, where it glanced off the glove of the leaping Nick Senzel and over the fence for a two-run homer.

“With Cody right now, it doesn’t matter who’s coming into the game,” Roberts said.

The Dodgers added six runs against a Cincinnati bullpen that went into the game with a league-best 3.10 combined ERA.

Bellinger’s homer made it 4-0 in the seventh inning. Martin gave Los Angeles a 5-0 lead in the eighth and the Dodgers added three runs in the ninth on a wild pitch and Verdugo’s two-run double.

“The bullpen has done such a good job,” Bell said. “That’s going to happen. The game came down to one hit. The Bellinger home run was the difference in the game. It changed everything.”

MLB places Dodgers’ Urias on leave after arrest


Major League Baseball has placed Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias on administrative leave in the wake of his Monday arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.

Urias was arrested and charged with domestic battery after an alleged physical altercation with a woman in the parking lot of the Beverly Center, an upscale shopping mall in L.A., at 7:30 p.m. PT, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He was released at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after posting $20,000 bail and did not join his teammates later in the afternoon.

MLB said it was conducting an investigation into the matter and is “in the process of gathering facts” while Urias is on administrative leave.

In a statement Tuesday morning, the Dodgers said the team also was gathering information and would have no further comment. Manager Dave Roberts met with the media before the Dodgers’ home game against the San Diego Padres and said he was “choosing my words wisely,” adding, “I don’t know the facts.”nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“Obviously, it’s not ideal in any sense of the word,” Roberts said. “But until we know more, it just doesn’t behoove me to make any comments. Fortunately, Major League Baseball is kind of digging into this, as it well should. We’ll know more later.”

In the meantime, the Dodgers, who should soon benefit from the return of lefties Tony Cingrani and Caleb Ferguson, added right-handed reliever JT Chargois to the active roster.10

Urias’ leave expires after seven days, but the league can extend it until its investigation is complete. Urias can also technically come off leave before the seven-day mark, but in prior circumstances, this process has dragged out for several weeks and even nike jersey cheap

Eleven players have been investigated and nine have been suspended since 2016, the first full season of MLB’s current domestic violence policy. Suspensions ranged from 15 games (Steven Wright and Jeurys Familia) to 100 (Jose Torres). In between were cases involving household names such as Jose Reyes (51-game suspension), Aroldis Chapman (30 games), Addison Russell (40) and Roberto Osuna (75).

The Astros caught flak for acquiring Osuna in the wake of his domestic violence suspension, as did the Cubs for activating Russell last week.

“Every allegation of domestic violence must be taken seriously and addressed promptly,” the Dodgers said in their statement, “and we will cooperate fully with the authorities and Major League Baseball to ensure that that happens in this case.”

Urias is considered one of the most promising young pitchers in the league. He was beginning to build a special connection with the Dodgers’ fan base in L.A. largely because of his Mexican heritage, drawing comparisons to Fernando Valenzuela.

Cubs’ Zobrist remains on leave amid divorce


Cubs veteran Ben Zobrist remains on a personal leave of absence from the team, and court documents filed in Chicago indicate he is getting nike jersey cheap

According to the documents, his wife, Julianna, is listed as the plaintiff. Julianna Zobrist is a professional singer who has performed the national anthem for teams that her husband has played for. She also sang “God Bless America” before Game 4 of the 2016 World Series between the Cubs and Indians at Wrigley Field.9

Zobrist, 37, is in the final season of a four-year contract that he signed with the Cubs after beginning his career in Tampa Bay in 2006. He helped the Kansas City Royals win the title in 2015 and did the same the following season with the Cubs.

The team has not given an official reason for his absence, which began May 8, nor a potential return nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I feel for him,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Having gone through that process myself, it’s no fun. For him to do it under these circumstances, we’re going to respect his privacy. There is no timeline involved. He’ll let us know.”

Zobrist was hitting .241 with 10 RBIs in 26 games prior to taking his absence from the team.