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Muncy enjoys 'incredible' show at Derby

Dodgers slugger bests Baez in Round 1, falls to champion Harper in semis
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Max Muncy stood there Monday night and watched as the crowd roared and Bryce Harper kept mashing breathtaking home runs into the muggy evening air. At some point, he realized he was witnessing something he would remember for the rest of his career.

"The show Harper put on in front of his home fans, that was so great for baseball, just seeing what he could do," Muncy said. "It's hard to be mad that he beat you when you see a show like that and how they reacted. It was incredible."

WASHINGTON -- Max Muncy stood there Monday night and watched as the crowd roared and Bryce Harper kept mashing breathtaking home runs into the muggy evening air. At some point, he realized he was witnessing something he would remember for the rest of his career.

"The show Harper put on in front of his home fans, that was so great for baseball, just seeing what he could do," Muncy said. "It's hard to be mad that he beat you when you see a show like that and how they reacted. It was incredible."

Muncy had himself a special night as well. His season has been a magical ride, and nothing changed with his first appearance in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

Video: HRD Rd1: Muncy cranks 435-foot long ball in Round 1

Muncy unleashed a flurry of booming home runs to rally past the Cubs' Javier Baez, 17-16, in the first round of the event. He blasted 12 more in the semifinals, but fell to hometown favorite Harper of the Nationals, who advanced to the finals with 13 and ultimately won.

"It was incredible," Muncy said. "It's hard to explain. It was so much fun being out there with all the guys. It was unbelievable -- music going, guys out there cheering, fans are cheering. It was a great experience."

All this from a guy who began the season in Triple-A with five career home runs in the Majors. He had 22 in the first half for the Dodgers and showed off that power in his first-round matchup.

"I loved it," Muncy said. "It was a good time. It makes me hungry to get back here next year and actually be on the [National League All-Star] team."

Video: HRD Rd2: Muncy launches 12 home runs in Round 2

He knew Harper had special incentive by playing in his home yard and riding the energy of a packed Nationals Park. Afterward, Muncy was asked if he felt like someone sent to the lion's den.

"Of course," he said. "I think there were some boos in the stands as I was going up to the plate. When you get the fans cheering for you, you really get the energy, especially in those later rounds. You're exhausted. An energy going through you is what you need."

In the first-round matchup, Baez went first and got into a nice groove to finish with 16. But Muncy stepped in and bested him. He took his break after his eighth homer, a low liner down the right-field line.

He returned and hit a series of moonshots, getting the winner with 35 seconds to go on the clock. He was embraced by his teammates and by Baez when it was over.

Video: HRD Rd1: Muncy moves on after launching his 17th HR

He was embraced again after the second-round matchup, then stayed and watched -- cheered for -- Harper in the semis. All in all, the trip had been almost everything he could have hoped for.

"Starting the year in Triple-A and coming up, you never expect something like this," he said. "The way the year's gone, it's been such an incredible ride. Hopefully, it's not over. Hopefully, we've got a long way to go, and we'll be playing baseball until late October."

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Max Muncy

Dodgers All-Stars old and new savor experience

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The three Dodgers representing their team in Washington, D.C., this week have seven All-Star appearances among them -- but only one belongs to pitcher Ross Stripling.

Assuming the first one is always the best one, it's likely Stripling will leave this experience with the same fond memories his teammates have of their past appearances at the Midsummer Classic.

WASHINGTON -- The three Dodgers representing their team in Washington, D.C., this week have seven All-Star appearances among them -- but only one belongs to pitcher Ross Stripling.

Assuming the first one is always the best one, it's likely Stripling will leave this experience with the same fond memories his teammates have of their past appearances at the Midsummer Classic.

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

"Just meeting everybody," Stripling said when asked what he was most looking forward to during the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX). "It's guys that I've played against a couple of years now, and now they're going out of their way to shake my hand and say congratulations."

Stripling, a first-time All-Star who made the team as a replacement for the Cardinals' Miles Mikolas, was referring to intradivision foes such as Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado and D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, with whom he'll share a clubhouse this week for a couple of days of friendly banter and camaraderie, before resuming the normal position as professional enemies when the regular season resumes this weekend.

The right-hander spoke glowingly of his temporary teammates during Monday's All-Star media availability, an annual exercise where the All-Stars -- first the National League, then the American League -- are all ushered into one semi-small area, sit at individual podiums and answer as many questions as possible from hundreds of reporters, over the course of 45 minutes.

In other words, Arenado and Goldschmidt were sitting nearby while Stripling heaped praise on his fellow All-Stars.

"They're guys I've faced in the division the last three years and don't know anything about, besides their on-the-field demeanor," Stripling said. "Now, getting to meet them off the field, it's really neat. It's what I looked forward to the most."

Stripling joins a trio of NL champion Dodgers enjoying seasons exceptional enough to earn a spot on this year's NL All-Star roster, managed by their skipper, Dave Roberts.

The other two, closer Kenley Jansen and outfielder Matt Kemp, are no less thrilled than Stripling to have made the squad, but they have some experience with this. Jansen, a major reason the Dodgers have advanced as deeply into the postseason as they have in recent years, was also an All-Star in 2016 and '17.

"You don't take these moments or minutes for granted," Jansen said. "It's a special time and I'm going to enjoy it."

Video: Jansen on Dodgers' commitment to winning

Kemp's history with the Midsummer Classic dates back a little further, to 2011 and 2012, which is part of what makes him one of the best stories of All-Star season.

Kemp was traded last year from the Braves to the Dodgers, with neither team believing he would make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He was not only voted in by the fans as one of the NL's starting outfielders, he also has made a case to finish high in NL MVP Award voting. Through Sunday's game, which ended the 96-game "first half," Kemp ranked seventh in the NL with a .310 batting average, 10th with a .522 slugging percentage and 12th with an .874 OPS.

Video: Kemp, Jansen discuss first half of season

What Kemp really wants, more than All-Star accolades and award votes, is to help the Dodgers win another NL pennant -- something he wasn't able to do last year, as a Brave. And this time, he wants to win the whole thing.

"Who would get traded to the team that went to the World Series and not want to be a part of that?" Kemp said. "I want to try to help them go further than they did last year. For me to have the possibility to be back in L.A., where I came up in the big leagues, if I can be a part of that and make some things happen, it's a good opportunity. I expressed that to [the Dodgers]."

Kemp has played on three Dodgers teams in the postseason -- 2008, '09 and '14 -- and is anxious to continue helping the resurging Dodgers remain contenders in the NL West, after an abysmal start.

"I want to help the team win that last game of the [postseason]," he said. "That doesn't really happen a lot -- to be able to come back where you started. I'm going to try to make some things happen. It's a cool story."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenley Jansen, Matt Kemp, Ross Stripling

Kershaw fans 8 as LA heads into break in first

Hernandez, Grandal homer as Dodgers win Freeway Series
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- On April 29, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts proclaimed that "when it's all said and done, the Dodgers will be at the top of the [National League West]." Heading into the All-Star break, Roberts' club is in position to fulfill his forecast.

Behind a deep outing from Clayton Kershaw, and solo homers by Yasmani Grandal and Enrique Hernandez, the Dodgers beat the Angels, 5-3, at Dodger Stadium on Sunday to complete the first half a half-game ahead of the second-place D-backs.

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- On April 29, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts proclaimed that "when it's all said and done, the Dodgers will be at the top of the [National League West]." Heading into the All-Star break, Roberts' club is in position to fulfill his forecast.

Behind a deep outing from Clayton Kershaw, and solo homers by Yasmani Grandal and Enrique Hernandez, the Dodgers beat the Angels, 5-3, at Dodger Stadium on Sunday to complete the first half a half-game ahead of the second-place D-backs.

View Full Game Coverage

"The one thing that I really like about this team is how we really figured it out," said Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who tied for the NL lead with his 27th save. "That kind of shows you the type of players that we have in this locker [room], that we've got to put stuff behind us and never panic."

Video: LAA@LAD: Jansen shuts down Angels, earns 27th save

The Dodgers have had plenty of reason to panic. A post-World Series hangover lingered into the start of the 2018 season as they opened 16-26. Their starting pitching has been ravaged by injuries. That includes Kershaw, who appears to be back to full health just in time.

"I think we're playing a little bit more now like what we are," Kershaw said. "I don't think we're a 16-26 ballclub, obviously. Good for us to right the ship; good for us to right the ship that quickly."

For the first time since returning from the disabled list on June 23, Kershaw took the mound without any restriction. He obliged, throwing 108 total pitches while allowing three runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out eight batters, with his fastball averaging 91.3 mph, according to Statcast™.

"I think that if we look back at where we were a month ago, concerning Clayton Kershaw," said Roberts, "we couldn't be more excited."

Video: LAA@LAD: Hernandez, Roberts on win over Angels

Kershaw didn't factor in the decision, despite the Dodgers taking a 3-0 lead in the second frame. Grandal opened the scoring with a home run off Angels starter Deck McGuire, Hernandez lifted a sacrifice fly to score Andrew Toles and Kershaw chipped in with an RBI single.

The Angels pulled even in the fourth, when Jefry Marte -- who earlier broke his bat over his leg after striking out with the bases loaded in the first -- exacted his revenge on Kershaw with a three-run blast on the first pitch.

"Frustrating when you can't protect a lead like that," Kershaw said. "But guys picked us up today and picked up a big win before break."

Video: LAA@LAD: Marte lifts 3-run homer to center field

Right-hander Kenta Maeda, who served in a relief role last year but has been solid as a starter this season, was available in the bullpen for the final game of the first half. He replaced Kershaw with two on in the top of the seventh and hit Justin Upton with his first pitch to load the bases, but he struck out Ian Kinsler to escape the jam.

"It was probably the biggest out of the game," Roberts said.

Video: LAA@LAD: Maeda K's Kinsler, leaves bases loaded

In the bottom of the inning, Hernandez teed up a tiebreaking home run off Angels reliever Taylor Cole, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 advantage. Roberts said the combination of Hernandez's bat and versatile glove this season have made him a strong candidate for club MVP.

"His energy," Roberts remarked. "It seems like every time he's in there, something good happens."

Video: LAA@LAD: Hernandez drives go-ahead home run to left

Toles sliced an RBI single off Oliver Drake in the eighth to provide some insurance, underscoring the type of all-around effort the Dodgers have often relied on. At 53-43, the club's perilous start seems to be behind the players. Although, in some ways, the rough beginning has made the journey more worthwhile.

"It's a little more special, I feel like," Jansen said, "because we really find out truly to ourselves who we are. We've just got to keep going, man. It's a long season. There's still two and half more months left. When this break is over, it's go time."

Grandal said the Dodgers need to maintain the same focused approached they've kept through the first half of the campaign.

"I know that everyone was scared and pretty much giving up on the fact we were 10 games under," he said, referring to the Dodgers' 17-27 record on May 16. "I kind of seem to say the same thing every year: Just wait 'til we get to the end of the year and make your assumptions.

"So far, so good. We've still got a whole second half."

Video: LAA@LAD: Grandal belts a solo homer to right

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kershaw surviving the storm: The Angels pounced on Kershaw in the first inning, loading the bases on David Fletcher's double and walks from Mike Trout and Upton. But the lefty settled down just in time, striking out Kinsler and Marte to escape the threat without yielding any runs.

"Once you've got guys on base, you've got to try to make quality pitches," Kershaw said. "They did a good job of laying off stuff there in the first inning. Fortunate to get out."

Marte breaks bat over knee, then homers

Video: LAA@LAD: Marte snaps bat after being K'd by Kershaw

In the fifth, Kershaw repelled the Angels again. He stranded Andrelton Simmons at third base after a one-out double by getting Trout on a flyout to right and striking out Upton.

"You can see, Clayton, that's why he's the best," Roberts said. "After that first inning, bowed his neck, found ways to be efficient, get the pitch count back on track."

SOUND SMART
Perhaps it felt like every game of the Freeway Series this season was close. That's because it was, with the Dodgers and Angels each winning two of three at home to split the season series. The average margin of victory across the six contests was 1.3 runs, with the Dodgers outscoring the Angels, 20-18.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In addition to hitting the go-ahead homer, Hernandez showed his defensive value and versatility, making a pair of outstanding plays from two positions.

In the second inning, with Hernandez playing second base, Angels catcher Martin Maldonado flared a popup into shallow right field, prompting Hernandez and right fielder Matt Kemp to give chase. As the pair narrowly avoided a collision, Hernandez slid to his knees while making a snow-cone grab.

Video: LAA@LAD: Hernandez makes a nice sliding grab in right

After shifting to right field in the ninth inning, Hernandez made an even more impressive snag, sliding in to catch a fly ball by Fletcher to put away the second out of the frame. Hernandez needed to cover 64 feet in 3.8 seconds to make the play, according to Statcast™. The catch had only a 14 percent probability, making it a 5-star play, the highest rating given by Statcast™.

Video: LAA@LAD: Hernandez makes great over-the-shoulder grab

"I was asked this about the MVP or the stars of the first half, and he's right there for our team MVP at this point," Roberts said. "The flexibility that he gives us on the defensive side, and he's a plus-defender everywhere. He's made highlight-reel plays all first half."

HE SAID IT
"It doesn't surprise me. He's such a great athlete. You can put him anywhere on the field and you're going to have a plus-defender there. So obviously, I'm happy that he's having some success. He works his tail off prior to the game. I'm just happy it's working out for him." -- Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley, on Hernandez

Video: LAA@LAD: Roberts on Kershaw, offensive production

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Toles scored in L.A.'s three-run second, but it took a pair of reviews going the Dodgers' way to keep him on base. The speedy outfielder hit a high-chopper to first baseman Marte and dove headfirst into first, arriving just as McGuire arrived at the bag to receive the toss. Tole was ruled out, but a challenge led to the call being overturned, as replays showed Toles' hand arrived just in time to get stepped on by McGuire's right foot.

Video: LAA@LAD: Dodgers challenge out at first in the 2nd

Moments later, McGuire tried to pick off Toles at first. Toles was ruled safe on a close play. The Angels challenged, but the call was allowed to stand, as the replay couldn't definitively determine whether Marte applied a tag before Toles got back.

Video: LAA@LAD: Toles safe at first base, call stands in 2nd

UP NEXT
The Dodgers open the second half of the season on Friday with a 5:10 p.m. PT matchup against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Neither club has officially announced a starting pitcher.

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasmani Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw

Monday's top prospect performers

MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Monday.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Monday.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

As some of Major League Baseball's top sluggers showcased their power in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, Jasrado Chisholm put on his own power clinic in a career performance.

The D-backs' No. 3 prospect broke out of his recent slump to hit a pair of home runs and set career highs with five hits and five RBIs while leading Class A Kane County over Dayton, 13-4. He finished 5-for-6 at the plate and also tied his career best with four runs.

Batting second for the Cougars, Chisholm put his team on the board with an RBI triple and scored one batter latter. The 20-year-old shortstop homered in his next two trips to the plate, connecting on a solo blast in the next frame and then adding a two-run shot in the fourth for his second multihomer game of the year.

Chisholm's second homer

Chisholm's sixth-inning single marked his fourth hit of the game and left him a double short of the cycle, though he would fail to accomplish the feat in his final two trips the plate, popping out to short in the seventh before delivering an RBI single in the ninth.

The Bahamas native had been 1-for-21 with eight strikeouts over his previous five games before erupting for five hits on Monday to improve his season average from .233 to .244. He's produced a .783 OPS in 76 games overall and is tied for second in the Midwest League with 15 home runs.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Monday

• After earning Prospect Team of the Week honors earlier in the day, No. 37 overall prospect Estevan Florial (Yankees' No. 1) homered for a second straight game, stole a base and scored two runs before finishing 2-for-4 in a rehab game in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The 20-year-old outfielder has posted four consecutive multihit games as well as a .482 average through eight games in the GCL. More important, Florial's three home runs in that span are an encouraging sign after he missed the better part of two months due to a broken hamate in his hand.

• No. 52 overall prospect Alex Faedo (Tigers' No. 3) secured his first Double-A victory with seven scoreless frames as Erie blanked Richmond, 2-0. He mixed three hits with a walk and four strikeouts in the performance while throwing 59 of 88 pitches for strikes. In his first professional season, the 22-year-old Faedo, a first-round pick in 2017, owns a 3.28 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and .208 opponents' average in 82 1/3 innings (16 starts).

Faedo notches a strikeout

A's No. 23 prospect Wyatt Marks posted six scoreless frames for a second time in three starts as Class A Beloit edged West Michigan, 3-2, in 12 innings. He racked up nine strikeouts, tying his second best single-game total this season, over 94 pitches (55 strikes) in the outing, allowing three hits and three walks. A 13th-round pick in the 2017 Draft, Marks has pitched to a 3.58 ERA with 111 strikeouts across 93 innings (18 games/16 starts) in the Midwest League.

Brewers No. 3 prospect Lucas Erceg went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and also reached once via a walk in a perfect night at the plate for Double-A Biloxi. The 23-year-old third baseman's homer was his second in as many days as well as his fifth in the last nine games, giving him a total of 11 home runs in 88 games for the season. Overall, Erceg is slashing .256/.319/.408 in his first Double-A campaign after producing a .259/.310/.421 last season with Class A Advanced Carolina.

Erceg goes yard

Dodgers No. 21 prospect Tony Gonsolin tossed six strong innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits to earn the win his Double-A Tulsa debut. He struck out eight, threw 62 of his 91 pitches for strikes and did not issue a walk in the outing. Gonsolin, a 24-year-old righty, received a promotion to Tulsa after posting a 2.71 ERA with 114 strikeouts and 26 walks in 89 2/3 innings (18 starts) with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga.

Nationals No. 15 prospect Jakson Reetz hit a pair of home runs as he recorded three hits for a second straight game in Class A Advanced Potomac's win over Frederick. The 22-year-old catcher hit a solo homer in the fifth inning and added a two-run shot in the following frame to finish 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Reetz's first ever multihomer game pushed his season total to five homers, a new career high after he totaled four home runs in each of the last two years.

• Another member of MLB Pipeline's latest PTOW, Orioles No. 4 prospect DL Hall made a case for earning repeat honors as he tossed six innings of one-run ball with a career-high 10 strikeouts en route to his second straight win for Class A Delmarva. The 19-year-old lefty has been stellar over his past seven starts, registering a 0.55 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 17 hits allowed in 32 2/3 innings.

Padres No. 14 prospect Josh Naylor and Austin Allen (No. 27) combined to record three extra-base hits and five RBIs in Double-A San Antonio's 9-3 win over Midland. Naylor started in left field and paced the offense with a 2-for-4 performance that included a pair of doubles, two runs scored and three RBIs. Allen, meanwhile, connected on his 14th home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning, before finishing 2-for-5.

Naylor clears the bases

• Pirates 2018 fourth-rounder Aaron Shortridge permitted one earned run on three hits over five innings in a no-decision for Class A Short Season West Virginia. The 21-year-old righty struck out nine, his highest total in six professional starts, and threw 51 of his 71 pitches for strikes. He's compiled 30 strikeouts and five walks along with a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings to begin his career.

• Rockies first-rounder Ryan Rolison (No. 22 overall pick) yielded one hit, walked one and recorded four strikeouts over three scoreless innings for Rookie-level Grand Junction in his second professional start. The 21-year-old lefty was 10-4 with a 3.70 ERA and averaged 11.1 strikeouts-per-nine with Mississippi this past spring as a Draft-eligible sophomore.

• Royals third-rounder Kyle Isbel hit two home runs and a double as he recorded his second four-hit game as a professional. The 21-year-old outfielder finished the game 4-for-5 with a career-high four RBIs for Rookie-level Idaho Falls. He's hitting .381 overall, with 15 extra-base hits (four homers) and 12 steals in 25 games.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Dodgers' Diaz homers twice in Futures Game

Outfielder is second player to do so in 20 years of showcase
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- When Big Papi is impressed by a player's power, you know that player is doing it right.

David Ortiz glowed Sunday in the wake of a two-homer, three-RBI performance by Dodgers prospect Yusniel Diaz in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. Diaz smashed a pair of tying homers -- a two-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo smash in the seventh, though they came in a losing effort as the World Team fell to the U.S., 10-6.

WASHINGTON -- When Big Papi is impressed by a player's power, you know that player is doing it right.

David Ortiz glowed Sunday in the wake of a two-homer, three-RBI performance by Dodgers prospect Yusniel Diaz in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. Diaz smashed a pair of tying homers -- a two-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo smash in the seventh, though they came in a losing effort as the World Team fell to the U.S., 10-6.

Box score

"His approach is legit," said Ortiz, who managed the World Team. "This guy hits like he has two strikes -- with power. That's something that impressed me a lot. The two homers that he hit, they were, like, big guys' bombs. He looked great."

Diaz, 21, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect and No. 85 in all of baseball. He hails from Cuba but lives in Florida now and had family in the stands for the annual prospect showcase. Over and over on Sunday, he came back to that cheering section when talking about his big night.

"I'm really inspired and really happy, for the fans and for my family who came to support me," he said. "Expect the best from me. I'm going to leave everything on the field."

He added: "Those two home runs came from the heart."

X-rays negative for Ruiz after Futures Game exit

Diaz is playing at Double-A Frisco, where he has six home runs in 220 at-bats. He hit his pair of home runs in five at-bats in the Futures Game, the first off Tigers prospect Matt Manning for a 5-5 tie in the fifth, and the second off Giants prospect Shaun Anderson for a 6-6 tie in the seventh.

They were two of eight homers between the two teams, doubling the previous Futures Game record.

Diaz became the second player in the 20-year history of the Futures Game to go deep twice. The other belonged to Alfonso Soriano, in the very first Futures Game in 1999.

"Put it this way. Those are Minor Leaguers hitting balls like big leaguers," said Ortiz. "That is impressive. I saw balls hit today that I swear, I was watching a Major League Baseball player. I can imagine you guys had the same impression. We're talking about kids hitting balls like big leaguers. That's a better way to say the game is in good hands."

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yusniel Diaz

X-rays negative for Ruiz after Futures Game exit

Dodgers' No. 4 prospect dealing with swollen right hand after foul tip
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz left Sunday afternoon's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which Team USA won, 10-6, at Nationals Park in the seventh inning with a swollen right hand. X-rays on Ruiz's hand came back negative.

Angels prospect Jo Adell's foul tip hit Ruiz's right hand near the beginning of the seventh frame. The Dodgers No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, remained on the field for a few moments while a trainer checked on him before he exited. Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya replaced the 19-year-old.

WASHINGTON -- Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz left Sunday afternoon's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which Team USA won, 10-6, at Nationals Park in the seventh inning with a swollen right hand. X-rays on Ruiz's hand came back negative.

Angels prospect Jo Adell's foul tip hit Ruiz's right hand near the beginning of the seventh frame. The Dodgers No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, remained on the field for a few moments while a trainer checked on him before he exited. Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya replaced the 19-year-old.

Ruiz, who's right-handed, caught just 1 1/3 innings after taking over for Amaya with two outs in the fifth inning. The Venezuelan struck out in his lone at-bat.

MLB Pipeline ranks Ruiz the 44th best prospect in baseball. The Dodgers' next best catching prospect after Ruiz, according to MLB Pipeline, is Will Smith, who's ranked the club's ninth-best prospect.

Ruiz is hitting .247 with nine home runs, 27 RBIs, 20 strikeouts and 16 walks over 66 games with Double-A Tulsa this season. Ruiz hit .300 or better in his previous three Minor League seasons.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Keibert Ruiz

Roberts has rotation decisions to make

Dodgers have six starting pitchers healthy entering break
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- When it comes to their starting rotation, the Dodgers are wading in what manager Dave Roberts called "uncharted territory" entering the 2018 All-Star break.

Los Angeles has seen several members of its starting rotation, including Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda, spend time on the disabled list this season. Their absences made room for Ross Stripling and Walker Buehler to emerge as formidable starting options; Stripling was named a 2018 All-Star and Buehler is a candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, though he's made two trips to the DL himself.

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- When it comes to their starting rotation, the Dodgers are wading in what manager Dave Roberts called "uncharted territory" entering the 2018 All-Star break.

Los Angeles has seen several members of its starting rotation, including Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda, spend time on the disabled list this season. Their absences made room for Ross Stripling and Walker Buehler to emerge as formidable starting options; Stripling was named a 2018 All-Star and Buehler is a candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, though he's made two trips to the DL himself.

View Full Game Coverage

Add Alex Wood -- the left-hander who's bounced back after a slow start to the season -- and the Dodgers have seven legitimate starting choices, though Ryu isn't quite ready to return from a left groin strain. 

Roberts deemed it a good problem to have, one the Dodgers haven't tackled yet. The Dodgers are considering a six-man rotation for a stretch of 17 games in 17 days immediately after the break, but there will be an odd man out when they go back to the traditional five-man rotation after that. Roberts and his staff are trying to remain sensitive to the situation, trying to keep the pitchers sharp and stretched out.

"We're obviously very confident with our rotation," Roberts said. "I think there has to be a little bit of -- I don't know if it's necessarily roster manipulation -- but understanding that you have six guys right now essentially healthy [and] another guy in Hyun-Jin Ryu coming back.

"So there's gotta be opportunity for different guys. How we do this as an organization and figure it out, there's gonna have to be some sacrifices from everyone."

Entering Sunday, the Dodgers had posted the second-lowest ERA in the Majors (2.69) since June 29. As their bats have caught fire, their pitching staff has arguably been equally sound.

The only thing certain about how the rotation will configure coming out the break is that Kershaw will remain toward the top. And despite being down at Triple-A Oklahoma City over the break, Buehler will return. The Dodgers have done a good enough job managing his and Stripling's innings that they feel comfortable keeping them in the fold.

Ahead of the Freeway Series this weekend, the Dodgers rearranged their rotation, starting Wood on Saturday with Hill appearing out of the bullpen. It pushed Kershaw's start to Sunday, an outing in which Maeda was made available out of the bullpen. It's unclear whether Hill or Maeda will remain in the bullpen moving forward, but Roberts knows he'll have to decide what's to happen with his staff soon.

"If everything stays status quo, then we're gonna have to have some big conversations," he said. "So right now, I look at it as a good thing. At some point, we're going to reach a crossroads. … Right now, we don't have that problem."

Urias could rejoin Dodgers in 4-6 weeks
Roberts said it's "fair" to believe that left-hander Julio Urias will rejoin the team in four to six weeks.

Urias, who was placed on the DL after undergoing shoulder surgery in February, has been throwing to hitters at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility and is "progressing very nicely," per Roberts.

Turner available to hit Sunday
Justin Turner (hip) was available to pinch-hit in Sunday's series finale. According to Roberts, the third baseman was running at "70 percent" but was confident in swinging.

"We could use him," Roberts said. "Whether I chose to or not [we'll see]. But each day he's progressing, he's feeling better. So we'll see how the game dictates, but J.T. will be available."

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ross Stripling, Blake Wood

Dodgers can't complete comeback, fall in extras

Ninth-inning rally doesn't make up for missed opportunities in loss
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have had a wild first half, and on Saturday night, they were involved in yet another wild finish. This time, it was a 5-4 extra-inning loss to the Angels inside a sold-out Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers' brief reign atop the National League West, for now, is over, following a contest that felt almost as frantic as their 2018 season altogether. The matchup was highlighted by a ninth-inning Dodgers rally that forced extras, but was clinched when right fielder Kole Calhoun ripped a solo shot off Kenley Jansen to give the Angels the lead in the 10th.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have had a wild first half, and on Saturday night, they were involved in yet another wild finish. This time, it was a 5-4 extra-inning loss to the Angels inside a sold-out Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers' brief reign atop the National League West, for now, is over, following a contest that felt almost as frantic as their 2018 season altogether. The matchup was highlighted by a ninth-inning Dodgers rally that forced extras, but was clinched when right fielder Kole Calhoun ripped a solo shot off Kenley Jansen to give the Angels the lead in the 10th.

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Jansen hasn't been as sharp recently, despite having picked up his NL-leading 26th save of the season earlier this week. Jansen sat out Friday's win after appearing in two straight games, and his velocity was a tad down Saturday, but he insisted he's feeling fine. The right-hander said his mistake pitch to Calhoun -- a first-pitch cutter over the heart of the plate -- was just a matter of a good batter taking advantage of an opportunity. It was Calhoun's third home run in the past two games.

"I mean, he's swinging a hot bat right now," Jansen said. "He's just zoned in."

Video: LAA@LAD: Calhoun belts a go-ahead homer in the 10th

The Dodgers got the tying run 90 feet from home in the bottom of the 10th. Center fielder Andrew Toles drove an offering from Angels reliever Jose Alvarez into left field that sent Justin Upton crashing into the wall, allowing Toles to reach second. Toles likely could have reached third on the play, and Roberts said postgame he expected Toles to do so off contact. But initially, Toles couldn't get a read on the play, and didn't want to spoil his club's chance at evening the score.

"I just didn't want to do anything risky," Toles said. "We were down a run and I had done some things in the past, and it cost us. So I was thinking, 'Just stay on second, don't try to [go to third].'"

Video: LAA@LAD: Toles doubles after Upton slips in outfield

Toles would take third on a passed ball with Chase Utley at the dish the next at-bat, a scenario only possible thanks to Utley's earlier heroics.

Utley jumpstarted the Dodgers' earlier rally in the bottom of the ninth, when he led the inning off with a pinch-hit single against Angels reliever Blake Parker. Utley scored the next at-bat when Yasmani Grandal lifted a double that sailed by Upton. The misplay allowed Utley to chug all the way home from first, sliding underneath the tag of Martin Maldonado to tie it at four.

"One thing is understanding his role," said Roberts of Utley. "The other thing is the preparation. Every time he's in the box, he knows how to approach each pitcher."

The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs for Joc Pederson in the ninth, but on a 2-0 count, he flied to right.

With the runner on third in the 10th, the Dodgers' offense sputtered again. Utley flied out and Grandal struck out to end the game. The Dodgers dropped to 52-43 on the season, snapping their five-game win streak.

Video: LAA@LAD: Wood fans 6 over 6 quality innings

Saturday's late-game antics rendered Dodgers starter Alex Wood's quality outing (six innings, three runs allowed, seven hits, two walks, six strikeouts) an afterthought, along with Chris Taylor's solo homer that tied the game earlier in the fifth.

Video: LAA@LAD: Taylor cracks a solo jack to right-center

"Painful," Jansen said of the loss. "But can't let that beat you up. We're having a good season, so just got to keep continue going. It's a battle."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wood's hustle loads 'em up: The Dodgers staged an early rally down 3-0 in the bottom of the second. Max Muncy and Logan Forsythe led off the frame with a double and single, respectively, setting up Cody Bellinger's one-run base knock to pull within two. With two outs, runners on first and second and Wood coming up to bat, it appeared the rally was over. However, Wood's bunt attempt rolled in front of Heaney, whose throw to first pulled Jefry Marte off the bag, allowing Wood to reach safely and load the bases. Taylor was hit by a pitch on his foot, scoring another run to cut the Angels' lead to 3-2.

Video: LAA@LAD: Taylor hit by a pitch, plates a run

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Dodgers were able to tie the game when Upton misplayed Grandal's double in the bottom of the ninth. Grandal's hit had a catch probability of 77 percent, per Statcast™, but the veteran outfielder misstepped, allowing the ball to fall beyond his reach. The score was only possible because of the hustle of Utley.

Just a day removed from publicly announcing his plans to retire at the end of the season, Utley turned back the clock, sprinting from first to home while moving 28 feet per second; his season average had been 27.2 feet per second entering the game.

Video: LAA@LAD: Statcast™ measures Utley's speedy baserunning

HE SAID IT
"You make mistakes like that, sometimes they're going to get you. He got me." -- Jansen, on Calhoun's go-ahead home run

UP NEXT
Clayton Kershaw will start Sunday's Freeway Series finale for the Dodgers. The left-hander has picked up wins in each of his past two starts and has a chance to pull his record to 4-4 in his final outing before the All-Star break. Deck McGuire will start for the Angels. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PT.

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Buehler optioned to Triple-A; Rosscup called up

Rookie sent down to limit workload around All-Star break
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Walker Buehler and his golf clubs rolled out of the Dodgers' dressing room before Saturday's game, the latest literal move in a nomadic rookie season.

Officially, Buehler -- who allowed two runs in five innings in a no-decision against the Angels Friday night -- was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the roster for the addition of left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup.

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LOS ANGELES -- Walker Buehler and his golf clubs rolled out of the Dodgers' dressing room before Saturday's game, the latest literal move in a nomadic rookie season.

Officially, Buehler -- who allowed two runs in five innings in a no-decision against the Angels Friday night -- was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the roster for the addition of left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup.

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In fact, Buehler went home to Kentucky. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Buehler would likely throw a simulated game after he reports to Oklahoma City next week, but was otherwise fuzzy on details about the Dodgers' starting rotation coming out of the break and Buehler's role in it.

The Dodgers play 17 consecutive games beginning on Friday, and Roberts said there's still a chance for a six-man rotation to get through it. Buehler could be recalled as early as a week from Tuesday for the fifth game out of the break. Or, not at all.

"We haven't worked it out yet," Roberts said. "This is a workload and roster management move."

Ah, yes, workload. Buehler -- limited to only five innings in 2016 after Tommy John surgery -- pitched 98 innings total in 2017. He's pitched 73 1/3 innings this year. The club hasn't divulged a target for this year, but it's believed to be around 130-150 innings.

A six-man rotation would allow the club to moderate his usage while still having him available. But it would also mean careful handling of the egos and arms of the other five starters, because one or more could be needed to pick up relief innings with a smaller bullpen staff.

"When you have six guys throwing the baseball well, and how you can maximize that and take advantage of that is kind of what we're dealing with," Roberts said.

Buehler, who turns 24 on July 28, has been optioned to Oklahoma City twice this year, to Rancho Cucamonga twice, been sent to Rancho Cucamonga for a rehab assignment and been on the disabled list for a microfractured rib.

Roberts said Rosscup, claimed from Colorado, will fill the situational lefty role created by the injury to Tony Cingrani. Roberts said Pedro Baez is the reliever on the disabled list expected back first after the break, followed by Cingrani and Josh Fields. Roberts said Julio Urias is "really progressing" after throwing two simulated games and is being built as a starter, although he could be pivoted to relief "depending what our needs are here," Roberts said.

Turner day to day
• Roberts said Justin Turner is day to day with a strained right adductor. Turner was available to pinch-hit, but Roberts said he would try to stay away from using him Saturday and Sunday. Roberts said, with the All-Star break, he did not believe Turner would need to go on the disabled list.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Walker Buehler, Zac Rosscup

Dodgers hold off Halos on Muncy's big night

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- On Friday night, for the first time this season, the Dodgers played a game atop the National League West standings. They made sure they stayed there with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Angels at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers have relied on their roster depth all season to ascend back into contention; not on their stars, but mostly on players who weren't expected to hold significant roles. For the reigning NL champions, it was somewhat fitting it took a full-team effort to retain their grip on the division.

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LOS ANGELES -- On Friday night, for the first time this season, the Dodgers played a game atop the National League West standings. They made sure they stayed there with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Angels at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers have relied on their roster depth all season to ascend back into contention; not on their stars, but mostly on players who weren't expected to hold significant roles. For the reigning NL champions, it was somewhat fitting it took a full-team effort to retain their grip on the division.

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The Dodgers were clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth inning when a pinch-hitting Shohei Ohtani stepped up to bat with one out against reliever Scott Alexander, called into action with Kenley Jansen having pitched two consecutive days. When the two clubs faced last week, Alexander had struck out the Angels' two-way star, but on Friday, facing a 2-2 count, Ohtani drilled a double into the gap in left-center, giving the Halos a lifeline.

"I think I kind of had him there on the ropes, then kind of let him get away there," Alexander said. "... That's the thing in this league -- you make one bad pitch and those guys can make you pay for it."

Angels catcher Jose Briceno beat out an infield single to place runners on the corners for second baseman David Fletcher. But before he could step up to the plate, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts met with Alexander on the mound.

"I just wanted to slow it down a little bit," Roberts said. "I felt he was throwing well. … I thought they might put on a play there. [I wanted to] make sure everybody was on the same page."

Video: LAA@LAD: Roberts on Forsythe, Buehler in 3-2 win

The decision paid off. On Alexander's first pitch, Fletcher dribbled into a 5-4-3 double play; a wayward throw from second baseman Logan Forsythe that pulled first baseman Cody Bellinger off the bag and forced him to make a tag on Fletcher nearly spoiled the result.

"A little dicey at the end," said Alexander, "but great play by all of those guys there, [Max] Muncy, Logan. Belly with the nice tag."

The play preserved the Dodgers' slim advantage, thanks to the bat of Muncy, who added to his fairy-tale first half by ripping a solo home run and adding an RBI base knock that proved to be the game-winning sequence.

Video: LAA@LAD: Muncy opens the scoring with a solo homer

Trailing, 2-1, and facing Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian -- who hadn't relinquished a run in his last 12 2/3 innings entering Friday -- Logan Forsythe singled and Joc Pederson doubled to lead off the seventh. It set the table for Muncy, who scored Forsythe with a single into right field to tie the game. As the play unfolded, Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun fired a throw home that sailed over the head of Briceno and into the backstop, allowing Pederson to sprint home for the go-ahead run.

"He's a winning player," Roberts said of Muncy. "Whether with the bat, on defense, he's sort of in the middle of everything. Nice to have a lot of guys like him to rise to the occasion."

Video: LAA@LAD: Error, Muncy's hit gives Dodgers lead in 7th

Calhoun had given the Angels a 2-1 in the fifth inning, when he blasted his second home run of the game off Dodgers starter Walker Buehler, the rookie right-hander who was reinstated from the disabled list earlier in the day. Buehler looked more like himself, a stark improvement from his June 28 outing against the Cubs. Buehler pitched five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out five.

Between Buehler's start and Alexander's ninth, Caleb Ferguson (2-1) and Erik Goeddel combined to pitch three no-hit frames across the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, helping improve the Dodgers' record to 52-42 on the season and 9-3 in July. They have a half-game lead over the D-backs in the NL West with two games to play before the All-Star break.

"Great team effort," Alexander said. "Just glad I was able to help out."

SOUND SMART
At 52-42 (.553), the Dodgers are on pace to post the best pre-All-Star break record for a team that had been 10 games below .500. The previous mark was set by the 2016 Houston Astros, who finished the first half of their campaign at 48-41 (.539).

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
After Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons reached third with a slick steal attempt, Dodgers first baseman Bellinger made a run-saving play in the top of the third inning. When Angels second baseman Ian Kinsler checked his swing on an 0-2 count, Buehler's 96.6-mph fastball ricocheted into the infield, but didn't result in any runs as Bellinger made a diving catch to end the inning and keep the score tied at 1 apiece.

Video: LAA@LAD: Bellinger makes diving catch to end threat

HE SAID IT
"They're a very well managed team there. You can see the way Mike's managing the 'pen, going to the 'pen aggressively and understanding the matchups. Doing everything he can to play us tough." -- Roberts, on Angels manager Mike Scioscia

UP NEXT
Alex Wood (5-5, 3.88 ERA) will draw the start for the Dodgers against the Angels Saturday. The left-hander faced the Angels in his latest start, when he gave up three runs across six innings. The Angels will counter with left-hander Andrew Heaney. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. PT.

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Max Muncy

Utley says he'll retire after 2018 season

Veteran second baseman 'ready to be a full-time dad'
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- For almost 13 seasons, Chase Utley was a vital part of the Phillies' family. For most of the past four, Utley has been part of the Dodgers' family. After this year, he's going home to his family.

In a Dodger Stadium news conference on Friday, Utley confirmed he would retire at the end of this season, ending what he called a "pretty unique" career that included a World Series title in 2008 and six All-Star selections as a Phillies icon before the former UCLA star returned to his native California for a less iconic role.

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LOS ANGELES -- For almost 13 seasons, Chase Utley was a vital part of the Phillies' family. For most of the past four, Utley has been part of the Dodgers' family. After this year, he's going home to his family.

In a Dodger Stadium news conference on Friday, Utley confirmed he would retire at the end of this season, ending what he called a "pretty unique" career that included a World Series title in 2008 and six All-Star selections as a Phillies icon before the former UCLA star returned to his native California for a less iconic role.

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Best moments of Utley's career

"I transitioned to a part-time player, something new for me, but I took it in stride," said Utley. "Also, a part-time strength coach, part-time pitching coach, occasionally part-time catching coach as well as a part-time general manager. The thing I'm having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad. So that's really the reason I'm shutting it down. I'm ready to be a full-time dad."

Utley said he hadn't yet told sons Benjamin (age 6) or Maxwell Chase (3). He'll probably save them the joke he told a packed conference room, which included every teammate and uniform personnel.

"I just want you guys to know I've signed a five-year extension here," Utley said to open the 10-minute session.

Manager Dave Roberts called Utley "probably the most well-respected guy in our clubhouse." Of all the teammates who have made Utley a role model, probably no Dodger compares to Enrique Hernandez, who calls Utley "Dad" and tried to make the best of the news.

"He adopted me," said Hernandez. "One of the reasons he said he was retiring was to spend more time with me."

Utley said he came to grips with his decision a month ago, and that he is comfortable and excited about it.

"I'm no spring chicken," Utley said. "There's a lot of things letting me know it's time. The main reason is to spend time with my family."

Tweet from @Dodgers: We���re not crying, you���re crying. pic.twitter.com/cquyNCRTok

Utley has been reduced to a bench role this year, since left-handed-hitting Max Muncy has the ability to play second base, in addition to third and first. Earlier in the season, Utley shared time at second base with Logan Forsythe.

"Going from making several All-Star teams to being a part-time player kind of wrenches your pride a little bit," Utley said. "My goal, the reason I came here, was to win a championship. I didn't want to get in the way of that. If I'm part of it, great. If not, I'm still happy."

In 16 years, Utley has hit .276 with 259 home runs, 1,025 RBIs, four Silver Slugger Awards and a reputation as one of the greatest clubhouse presences in the game. In 57 games this year, he's hitting .231 with one homer and 14 RBIs. He started on Thursday night and went 0-for-1 with a walk and was hit by a pitch.

Last offseason, Utley signed a two-year, $2 million contract, although many suspected that the second year was designed to help the club reduce its 2018 financial commitment by $1 million to help stay under the luxury tax threshold.

"For me, this is a no-brainer Hall of Famer," said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who traded for Utley in 2015. "Doing this now, Chase wanted to be able to focus on helping the 2018 Dodgers win a World Series. There's nothing that would cement his Hall of Fame candidacy more than that."

Utley thanked Philadelphia fans for the support that "brought that confidence out of me -- regardless if I was 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, they were always cheering for me, always supporting me. In my opinion, that helped me become a better player." The Dodgers visit Philadelphia later this month.

Utley said he has "enjoyed every second" with the Dodgers because of the way he was accepted by teammates and staff.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Chase Utley