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BREAKING: A's place Khris Davis on DL

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The A's placed designated hitter Khris Davis on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Monday with a strained right groin, the club announced on Wednesday. The A's also recalled right-handed pitcher Daniel Gossett and infielder Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Nashville and designated right-handed pitcher Wilmer Font for assignment.

Davis is batting .235 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs and started each of the A's first 47 games before straining his right groin on Sunday at Toronto. He ranks third in the American League in RBIs and is seventh in home runs. His 98 home runs over the last three years are the most in the Majors and his 250 RBIs are tied for third. This is his second career stint on the DL, his first as an Athletic.

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OAKLAND -- The A's placed designated hitter Khris Davis on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Monday with a strained right groin, the club announced on Wednesday. The A's also recalled right-handed pitcher Daniel Gossett and infielder Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Nashville and designated right-handed pitcher Wilmer Font for assignment.

Davis is batting .235 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs and started each of the A's first 47 games before straining his right groin on Sunday at Toronto. He ranks third in the American League in RBIs and is seventh in home runs. His 98 home runs over the last three years are the most in the Majors and his 250 RBIs are tied for third. This is his second career stint on the DL, his first as an Athletic.

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Gossett joins the A's for the second time in 2018. He was on the Opening Day roster and went 0-1 with an 11.05 ERA in two starts before he was optioned to Nashville on April 7. The 25-year-old right-hander went 4-0 with a 1.63 ERA and .190 opponents' batting average in seven games, including five starts, with the Sounds. Gossett is leading the Pacific Coast League in ERA and opponents' batting average and is tied for fifth in wins.

Barreto also joins the A's for the second time this year. He was recalled the first time on April 7 and appeared in one game on April 11 at Los Angeles (NL) without an at-bat before he was optioned back to Nashville on April 16. The 22-year-old right-handed hitter -- ranked by MLB Pipeline as the A's No. 3 prospect -- is batting .235 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 32 games with the Sounds. Barreto has appeared in 23 games at second base, seven at shortstop and two at designated hitter.

Font was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 25 for Minor League pitcher Logan Salow and compiled a 14.85 ERA in four games with the A's after posting an 11.32 ERA in six outings with the Dodgers. He has a 12.71 ERA and .388 opponents' batting average in 10 games overall and has surrendered 10 home runs in 17 innings.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

"Losing Khris Davis would be a tough one for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said before the move was official. "He's as prolific a power hitter as anyone in baseball, so any team, no matter the configuration of players, that one would hurt, so hopefully we don't lose him for a long period of time. If that is the case, then other guys have to step up."

Oakland Athletics, Khris Davis

Big inning gives Crew club-best 50-game start

Shaw's 3-run jack highlights 7-run 4th; Milwaukee sweeps series
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Thanks to one big inning on Wednesday, the Brewers are off to the best 50-game start in franchise history.

Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw and Tyler Saladino each drove in runs in Milwaukee's seven-run fourth and combined for eight RBIs in a 9-2 win over the D-backs at Miller Park, clinching a three-game series sweep. At 31-19, and with wins in 10 of their past 13 games, the Brewers have the best winning percentage (.620) after 50 games in 50 seasons as a franchise.

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MILWAUKEE -- Thanks to one big inning on Wednesday, the Brewers are off to the best 50-game start in franchise history.

Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw and Tyler Saladino each drove in runs in Milwaukee's seven-run fourth and combined for eight RBIs in a 9-2 win over the D-backs at Miller Park, clinching a three-game series sweep. At 31-19, and with wins in 10 of their past 13 games, the Brewers have the best winning percentage (.620) after 50 games in 50 seasons as a franchise.

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The 1981 and 2014 clubs shared the previous mark after starting 29-21.

The D-backs are going in a different direction, with seven straight losses and 13 losses in their past 14 games. The Brewers took the season series between the teams, 5-1, while outscoring the D-backs by 19 runs (29-10) and holding them to two or fewer runs on five or fewer hits in each game.

The decisive fourth inning started small against D-backs right-hander Zack Godley, with slumping backup catcher Jett Bandy dumping a leadoff single into left field and pitcher Brent Suter coaxing an error by hustling out of the batter's box on a sacrifice bunt. It turned into something big, with Aguilar hitting a go-ahead two-run single, Shaw following with a three-run home run and Saladino adding insurance against reliever Fernando Salas.

Video: ARI@MIL: Shaw drills a 3-run homer to right field

The outburst transformed a 2-1 deficit into an 8-2 lead, and tied a seven-run sixth against the Marlins on April 19 for Milwaukee's biggest inning all season. The Brewers scored those runs Wednesday on five hits, two walks, a sacrifice bunt and two D-backs errors.

Suter started for Milwaukee and fell into a 2-1 deficit when slumping D-backs star Paul Goldschmidt and catcher John Ryan Murphy hit solo home runs in the second inning. Suter was otherwise solid and earned the win after allowing those two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Suter was one out shy of his first quality start this season, but Taylor Williams, Boone Logan and Brandon Woodruff followed with 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief, lowering the Brewers' Major League-best bullpen ERA to 2.48.

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar, Tyler Saladino, Travis Shaw, Brent Suter

How'd he do this? Dozier double sticks in wall

It's always disappointing when we come up short of our goals, but it's somehow even more disappointing when we miss them by narrow margins. 

Leading off for the Twins in the bottom of the first inning during Wednesday's game against the Tigers, Brian Dozier sent a pitch from Michael Fulmer to deep center field that he thought was a home run. Instead, it got stuck in the top of the Target Field wall for a ground-rule double:

Springer's 10th HR backs Verlander in Astros' W

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The Giants were confronted with the unwanted task of facing American League ERA leaders Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander during a two-game series at Minute Maid Park. The Astros' daunting starting tandem was up to the challenge.

One day after Cole struck out eight batters in six innings in Tuesday's series opener, Verlander held the Giants to one run and three hits while striking out nine in six innings to lead the Astros a sweep of the series with a 4-1 win Wednesday afternoon.

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HOUSTON -- The Giants were confronted with the unwanted task of facing American League ERA leaders Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander during a two-game series at Minute Maid Park. The Astros' daunting starting tandem was up to the challenge.

One day after Cole struck out eight batters in six innings in Tuesday's series opener, Verlander held the Giants to one run and three hits while striking out nine in six innings to lead the Astros a sweep of the series with a 4-1 win Wednesday afternoon.

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The Astros won their third in a row and their 11th in 14 games to move a season-high 14 games over .500 (32-18) heading into a seven-game road trip to Cleveland and New York.

Verlander (6-2) retired the first nine batters he faced before Gorkys Hernandez led off the fourth inning with a triple to center and scored on a Buster Posey sac fly.

Video: SF@HOU: Correa drives in Altuve with a 2-out single

The Astros finally got to Giants starter Jeff Samardzija in the fourth, with help from right fielder Andrew McCutchen. The former NL Most Valuable Player Award winner made a long run towards the line on a popup off the bat of Yuli Gurriel, and he ran under the ball but couldn't catch it. Carlos Correa scored from first on the error to tie the game.

George Springer rocketed his team-leading 10th homer of the season to left field in the fifth, scoring Tony Kemp, to push Houston's lead to 3-1, and Correa added an RBI single later in the inning to drive Samardzija (1-3) from the game after 4 2/3 innings.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Justin Verlander

Harper keeps run off board with nice diving grab

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Battling the sun and ranging to his right, Bryce Harper made a diving catch to save a run to end the top of the fifth inning on Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park.

The Padres had already scored the first run after the previous batter, Manuel Margot, dropped a run-scoring single in front of Harper. But Harper prevented another run from scoring when he took away a potential hit from Tyson Ross in the right-center field gap to preserve a 1-0 game.

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WASHINGTON -- Battling the sun and ranging to his right, Bryce Harper made a diving catch to save a run to end the top of the fifth inning on Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park.

The Padres had already scored the first run after the previous batter, Manuel Margot, dropped a run-scoring single in front of Harper. But Harper prevented another run from scoring when he took away a potential hit from Tyson Ross in the right-center field gap to preserve a 1-0 game.

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Harper has also contributed at the plate lately, with home runs in the past two games to increase his National League leading total to 15 homers on the season.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper

Guyer to DL as Plutko joins Indians' rotation

MLB.com @MLBastian

CHICAGO -- The Indians made the expected move of promoting starter Adam Plutko from Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday to assume the fifth spot in the rotation, beginning with a start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It was the other side of the transaction that came as a bit of a surprise.

In order to clear room on the active roster for Plutko, Cleveland placed outfielder Brandon Guyer on the 10-day disabled list with a left cervical (neck) strain. That represents the latest setback for the Tribe's injury-riddled outfield, which now has four of its Opening Day options on the shelf.

CHICAGO -- The Indians made the expected move of promoting starter Adam Plutko from Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday to assume the fifth spot in the rotation, beginning with a start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It was the other side of the transaction that came as a bit of a surprise.

In order to clear room on the active roster for Plutko, Cleveland placed outfielder Brandon Guyer on the 10-day disabled list with a left cervical (neck) strain. That represents the latest setback for the Tribe's injury-riddled outfield, which now has four of its Opening Day options on the shelf.

On the DL alongside Guyer are outfielders Bradley Zimmer (left rib contusion), Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf strain) and Tyler Naquin (left hamstring strain). Zimmer is on the road with the Indians, has resumed taking batting practice and might be ready for a return to games by the weekend. Chisenhall is currently in the early stages of a Minor League rehab with Triple-A Columbus. Naquin remains in Cleveland working through a rehab program.

With those four outfielders sidelined, Cleveland's outfield consists of Michael Brantley in left field, Greg Allen in center, Melky Cabrera in right and Rajai Davis serving as a backup for all three spots.

Plutko is taking the rotation spot vacated by veteran Josh Tomlin, who has moved to the bullpen.

Video: TOR@CLE: Plutko K's 6, gets the win in his 1st start

In seven starts this season for the Clippers, Plutko posted a 2.25 ERA with 35 strikeouts against nine walks in 44 innings. The right-hander also made a spot start for the Tribe in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Toronto on May 3, allowing three runs over 7 1/3 innings for his first Major League victory.

"The kid deserves a lot of credit," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Plutko, who underwent right hip surgery in October. "He had a really tough year last year numbers-wise, and then you find out the hip was bothering him. He gets that fixed and he's been pretty darn good. It kind of gets exciting. Finding good pitching is not easy."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Brandon Guyer, Adam Plutko

Gordon makes amazing diving grab

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

ST. LOUIS --- There's a reason Alex Gordon has five Gold Gloves.

And Gordon showed off his defensive skills again on Wednesday afternoon in the seventh inning of the Royals' 5-2 win in 10 innings against the Cardinals. With one out, Francisco Pena, who already had doubled into the left-field corner to plate a run in the second, smashed a Kevin McCarthy sinker toward the same corner.

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ST. LOUIS --- There's a reason Alex Gordon has five Gold Gloves.

And Gordon showed off his defensive skills again on Wednesday afternoon in the seventh inning of the Royals' 5-2 win in 10 innings against the Cardinals. With one out, Francisco Pena, who already had doubled into the left-field corner to plate a run in the second, smashed a Kevin McCarthy sinker toward the same corner.

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But Gordon raced to his right and with a full-length dive made a stunning catch of a drive that, according to Statcast™, had a 108 mph exit velocity and a 74 percent hit probability. Statcast™ also determined it was a three-star catch with a 60 percent catch probability.

If Gordon had missed the catch, Pena might have had a triple as center fielder Jon Jay was shaded slightly toward right-center and wouldn't have been able to back up Gordon very quickly. It was a key play in the win.

"He was a pull guy, so I was positioned over there a little bit anyway," Gordon said. "Plus, I was trying to avoid the sun, so I was creeping that way. It was one of those balls when you see it, you think in your mind, 'I'm going to catch this.' It's do or die.

"On the road, late in the game, you have to make plays like that. If you don't, Pena's not the fastest guy, but you have a guy on second with [one] out."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon

J.D. proof that one never knows the future

Astros GM Luhnow reflects on releasing Martinez in 2014
MLB.com @MikeLupica

For all the numbers we have now in baseball, for all who now worship at the Church of Analytics, there is still no number or set of numbers that can measure with any certainty what a player can become. So it was with J.D. Martinez, who right now, this minute, is one of the best hitters in the game, but was released by the Astros in Spring Training.

Things like this had happened before, and not just in baseball, all the way to when Johnny Unitas, who became one of the most famous and accomplished quarterbacks of them all with the old Baltimore Colts, was released by the Steelers before he ever got anywhere near Baltimore.

For all the numbers we have now in baseball, for all who now worship at the Church of Analytics, there is still no number or set of numbers that can measure with any certainty what a player can become. So it was with J.D. Martinez, who right now, this minute, is one of the best hitters in the game, but was released by the Astros in Spring Training.

Things like this had happened before, and not just in baseball, all the way to when Johnny Unitas, who became one of the most famous and accomplished quarterbacks of them all with the old Baltimore Colts, was released by the Steelers before he ever got anywhere near Baltimore.

"The longer you're in our world," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told me the other day, "the more you realize that the future is far more unpredictable than any of us ever dream."

There is no smarter baseball man working than Luhnow. More than anyone else, he was the architect of the Astros team that won Houston its first World Series last fall. Even in what looks as if the Yankees against the Red Sox will dominate the landscape in baseball across the baseball summer, the Astros still have the best starting rotation, what looks as if it has a chance to be a historically great rotation and as much young talent as the Yankees or anybody else.

And in the spring of 2014, there was an organizational decision that Martinez, who had once come straight to Houston from Double-A ball the way Jose Altuve had, would be better off playing baseball somewhere else.

"[J.D.] came to me in Spring Training that year and said, 'I've made some changes to my swing,'" Luhnow said. "'I want to prove to you that they're good changes."

Bo Porter, the manager of the Astros at the time, gave Martinez 18 Spring Training at-bats. Martinez had been in the organization for five years by then, having been signed out of Fort Lauderdale's Nova Southeastern University, where he'd been teammates with catcher Alex Avila, now with the Diamondbacks. By 2014, he'd had nearly 1,000 plate appearances for Houston, and hit just 24 home runs, with a .687 OPS. Martinez was on his way to Triple-A that spring, with no guarantee that he'd even be a starter there.

"I have never been the kind of general manager who tells a manager, 'You gotta give this guy some playing time,'" Luhnow said. "I hope they ask. But I don't mandate, and never have."

Luhnow didn't mandate that Martinez play. Porter didn't play him. Luhnow sent out an e-mail to the other 29 teams and said that Martinez was available for little or no compensation.

"Crickets," Luhnow said.

The Astros designated Martinez for assignment a few days later. The Tigers called. Al Avila, Alex's father, was then the assistant GM with Detroit, and obviously remembered Martinez from Nova Southeastern. But nobody claimed Martinez. The rest of baseball just waited for Houston to release Martinez.

"I knew Al liked him," Luhnow said. "I knew of the connection between J.D. and Alex. I figured [Martinez] would end up in Detroit. And he did."

Luhnow paused and said, "Listen, there's always one that gets away. Every time I see J.D. now, I give him a hug and tell him how proud I am of him. It's sports, is all it is. In a lot of ways, it's part of the beauty of sports. Believe me, I never thought in 2012 when Dallas Keuchel was 3-8 that in three years he'd be winning the Cy Young Award."

Video: J.D. Martinez named AL Player of the Week

By last year, Martinez was hitting 45 home runs in 119 games with the Tigers and Diamondbacks, one of the most amazing home run seasons, considering he only played 75 percent of his teams' games, in history. This year, he has meant more to the Red Sox so far, way more, than Giancarlo Stanton has meant to the New York Yankees. Martinez has brought the kind of danger to the middle of the Red Sox's batting order that David Ortiz once brought. Of all the star players who changed teams between last season and next, no one has been more important than Martinez, who came into Wednesday's games with a .343 batting average and an 1.073 OPS, 15 home runs and 41 RBIs and 61 hits in 46 games. When they're not talking about Mookie Betts in Boston, they're talking about him.

By the way, after the Astros released Martinez in 2014 and the Tigers signed him, the two teams ended up playing a Spring Training game.

"J.D. crushed three home runs that day," Luhnow said. "The rest is history. He's been hitting them ever since." Luhnow paused once more and said, "Just not for us."

Mike Lupica is a columnist for MLB.com. He also writes for the New York Daily News.

Houston Astros, J.D. Martinez

Reds place relievers Iglesias, Brice on DL

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The Reds got one reliever back from the disabled list on Wednesday but lost two more bullpen assets to injury -- including a big one in closer Raisel Iglesias. That will force interim manager Jim Riggleman to choose his closer for each game based on matchups.

Iglesias was placed on the 10-day DL due to a strained left biceps in his non-pitching arm. Right-hander Austin Brice also went on the DL with a mid-back strain. Both stints are retroactive to Sunday. To replace them, Michael Lorenzen was activated from the DL and Tanner Rainey was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

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CINCINNATI -- The Reds got one reliever back from the disabled list on Wednesday but lost two more bullpen assets to injury -- including a big one in closer Raisel Iglesias. That will force interim manager Jim Riggleman to choose his closer for each game based on matchups.

Iglesias was placed on the 10-day DL due to a strained left biceps in his non-pitching arm. Right-hander Austin Brice also went on the DL with a mid-back strain. Both stints are retroactive to Sunday. To replace them, Michael Lorenzen was activated from the DL and Tanner Rainey was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

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"Iglesias' left biceps has been bothering him for some days," Riggleman said. "It's just tender, and he feels like it's really affecting him. As he extends out with his front arm to deliver the pitch, he's a little tentative. Rather than continue to deal with it, we're just going to DL him and bring Rainey in."

On May 9 vs. the Mets, Iglesias had to reach high to catch a ball and appeared to be in discomfort coming off the field. It didn't appear to affect him on the mound until Saturday, when he blew his second save (in 10 tries) in Game 1 of a doubleheader vs. the Cubs. A scoreless streak of 9 1/3 innings over 10 appearances for Iglesias ended when he gave up two earned runs and three hits, including a solo homer by Ian Happ to lead off the eighth inning.

In 20 appearances, Iglesias has a 2.08 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and eight saves. Riggleman noted that Jared Hughes, Amir Garrett, Wandy Peralta and Lorenzen are all closer options until Iglesias returns. David Hernandez is also a former closer.

Brice has a 4.68 ERA over 25 innings across 21 games. Following a stretch in which he was quite effective, he has given up a run in four of his last five appearances.

"He's pitched through it and got a lot of treatment," Riggleman said. "He's pitched effectively, but it's lingering. That's basically the way we made room for Mike."

Lorenzen has been out since mid-March with a strained teres major muscle near his right shoulder. He completed a rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Pensacola after he worked four scoreless innings over three outings.

Rainey gave up seven earned runs over two innings in two outings for the Reds earlier this season. With Louisville, he has a 2.04 ERA in 17 2/3 innings over 14 games.

"We can't go in there with people -- maybe they can go, maybe they can't -- and if they do go, they have to be very limited. We need to have a full crew of people in there," Riggleman said

Hughes loves ground balls

Signed to a two-year contract in the offseason, Hughes has been a strong addition for the Reds' bullpen. He entered Wednesday tied for third in the National League with five double plays induced. According to Fangraphs, he's 11th in the NL with a 58.6 percent ground ball rate.

Hughes is able to induce grounders often because he has an effective sinker that he throws 73 percent of the time, according to Statcast™.

"In my dream world, I would come in and throw three pitches and get three ground balls every inning," said Hughes, who entered with a 1.30 ERA in 23 appearances. "I'm trying to get ahead in the count and keep the ball on the ground. I trust the defense. Without them, I'm nothing."

Hughes has picked up ground-ball double plays in each of his last three appearances. Finishing Tuesday's 7-2 win with six pitches over one scoreless inning, he replaced Peralta after a leadoff single in the ninth. Hughes got pinch-hitter Jose Osuna to smoke a grounder to shortstop Jose Peraza for a 6-4-3 double play. Osuna's ball had a 100.1 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™.

Hughes makes use of the Statcast™ metrics available to all players and has an idea where hitters are going to hit grounders against his sinker. That helps him form a plan going into the at-bat.

"I try to memorize all of it. Execution is the key," he said. "It's way easier to know where to throw it than to actually throw it there. I try to memorize everything -- exit velocity, ground-ball rates -- so when I am out there, it's a language I don't have to think about. I just kind of speak it."

DeSclafani pitching at Louisville on Friday

Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (strained left oblique) was in the Reds' clubhouse Wednesday after returning from two rehab starts in Pensacola. He will next pitch on Friday at Louisville. In his Sunday start for Pensacola, he threw 76 pitches over five innings.

"It's going well," DeSclafani said. "I was very encouraged by my last outing. It is probably the best I have felt in a while. The ball is coming out of my hand really well, and I was throwing strikes."

DeSclafani is eligible to be activated from the 60-day DL on Monday but could get another rehab start after Friday.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Austin Brice, Raisel Iglesias

Mattingly talks development, Jeter, NY in Q&A

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

In a recent sitdown, Marlins manager Don Mattingly answered questions on subjects ranging from player development to his new boss, Derek Jeter, the club's chief executive officer.

MLB.com: After losing Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and others after the 2017 season, a lot of experts expected the team to have one of the worst records in baseball. But looking at this team, it has been competitive. What do you think?

In a recent sitdown, Marlins manager Don Mattingly answered questions on subjects ranging from player development to his new boss, Derek Jeter, the club's chief executive officer.

MLB.com: After losing Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and others after the 2017 season, a lot of experts expected the team to have one of the worst records in baseball. But looking at this team, it has been competitive. What do you think?

Don Mattingly: We lost some good players. I think we had an understanding from our meetings in the winter of what direction we were going and what the objective was. That is to build a championship club. The clear message from Derek was, 'This is not working,' and we had to build the (farm) system. So there were some things that had to be done.

The way you play is how you win games. From that mindset, the guys have played hard. We have won our share. We should have won more. That's part of our growth. We were not listening to the outside noise. In a sense, our players have taken that personally. They see the changes that are going on. It's different here now than what it was. They see it and there is going to be an expectation and accountability for the way you play, the way you prepare, the way you treat people. That's going to be consistent.

MLB.com: How different is it compared to when you first came to Miami?

Mattingly: It's a little different. I don't want to get into the past, but I think it's about being consistent and a lot more thought of developing and knowing who we have to be successful, and that starts with development in the Minor Leagues and making sure we are focused on that as an organization. And then, as a Major League club, it's about competition.

MLB.com: When it comes to on the field, what have you liked so far?

Mattingly: The attitude has been great. I think the buy-in has been good with what we are trying to do. We love our young pitching. That's one of the things that stood out. That has been exciting to watch.

We lost some guys and that opened some doors for other guys. We see Brian Anderson give us quality at-bats all the way through and starting to show he is a guy we can depend on. As part of a group, we've seen Lewis Brinson. He hasn't had that success yet, but we see flashes of it. The defensive side has been tremendous. It's given Miguel Rojas a chance to play every day. He has been one of our best players on a day-in and day-out basis. Tayron Guerrero had trouble throwing strikes in the past, but now he is starting to be a force. You see the bright spots and you can see where can we build. How do we build a championship? Is this the right guy for this club? Does he compete? Is he prepared all the time? There are lots of things that are going on. We are trying to gather information on a lot of different things.

MLB.com: The Yankees and Nationals have recently relied heavily on their farm system. Does it give you hope that things will turn around in Miami?

Mattingly: Absolutely. Further than those clubs, Houston -- what they were able to do. Philadelphia is starting to do it. Atlanta is doing it. Kansas City won a championship with their system and putting things together with trades or whatever that may be. I know I look at it as this is the way to win. We are a club that is not going to be able to compete financially with New York or L.A. or Boston, who have huge TV deals and things like that. But you can compete by doing things better at the Minor League level, developing your own talent, having good Drafts, good international signings. When it's time to make trades, you can get good pieces back.

MLB.com: What do you want to see the team improve on?

Mattingly: Offensively, we have to continue to have a good approach at the plate. ... From the pitching side, I want to see it be more consistent from our starters, from our young guys. I want to see growth, that they are getting better all the time.

MLB.com: You started your managerial career with the Dodgers and there was a lot of winning there. With the Marlins, that hasn't been the case. How do you keep your sanity?

Mattingly: When I started there, I went through the same type of thing. I went through an ownership change. We were one of those clubs where we were using a lot of Minor League guys. New ownership changed the course for the Dodgers, so I look at the situation as the same. I love what the Marlins are doing. I think it's exhilarating trying to develop and build something. That's what I look forward to, not only the competition on a day-to-day basis, but walking that tightrope of us growing and getting better and having your eyes on where we are going.

MLB.com: Dating back to your playing days, you have always been a calm guy. Who taught you to stay calm?

Mattingly: I don't know about that. I've had my share of losing my temper, but I always felt you have to stay under control. I watched a guy like Julius Erving. I remember a huge fight on the basketball court. The guys were running all around and crazy and Doc is on one knee and calm. He stayed under control and knew where he was at. I don't know if it's from my parents. My dad was pretty calm and level-headed. Concentration and focus is more important than emotions.

MLB.com: As young as you were with the Yankees, you didn't get to the Billy Martin level and lose your temper.

Mattingly: I don't think you have to. I think emotions are important. You have to have that fight inside of you. Some guys show it outwardly. You can have that same fire that Billy Martin had, but it doesn't have to come out (to the forefront). As long as it's burning on the inside and that focus is there, it shows through your play and it comes out like that. For me, I try to turn that energy into concentration and focus.

MLB.com: You come from Indiana and you played in a city where there was a lot of media. How much did playing in New York help you?

Mattingly: I thought New York was a perfect place for me. I'm pretty quiet in general. On the field, I felt like I could be who I wanted to be. In New York, all I cared about was the playing on the field. I was always confident in that. I think New York was the perfect place for me because I could be myself off the field. You didn't have to seek attention. You want attention as a player because you want to be doing well. I felt I got plenty of attention just by being myself and letting my play show.

MLB.com: Everybody knows about your career with the Yankees. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about New York?

Mattingly: Probably the first time driving into New York after getting called up to the big leagues and just seeing the skyline and Yankee Stadium. I'm walking through that tunnel and that memory is always on my mind. It was exciting getting called up.

MLB.com: You love that city, don't you?

Mattingly: I do. I love coming back here. My wife loves it. We love the plays. We love the energy here. It's a great place. It's a great place to play. It makes you better. It forces you to be good all the time. You can't rest on your laurels here. It's an everyday city. It's a tough city. People are tough and they want guys who work hard and do their jobs. That was good for me.

MLB.com: Even though you didn't win a championship in New York, people think of you as a guy who won a championship by the way you played. How do you feel about that?

Mattingly: I'm proud of the way I played. Sometimes you don't get to choose your time. ... The only thing that you have is how you handle yourself and how you played the game. ... I hope I helped young players when they came in and that is to play the game right and uphold the Yankee tradition. I feel good about everything.

MLB.com: How badly do you want to win a championship?

Mattingly: How do you answer that? Like really bad or kind of bad? It's a goal. It's out there. As a player, I didn't get that chance to even play in a World Series. I've been in the playoffs as a manager and as a coach and we came close. But it's the ultimate goal. It's what everybody wants to do.

MLB.com: Did you learn from Joe Torre, who had to wait a long time to win a World Series title?

Mattingly: I learn from everyone, honestly. I learned from Joe, for sure -- his relationship with players, staying calm on the bench, just things about dealing with the season and the length of it. There is a lot to learn.

MLB.com: You now work for Jeter. Tell me what that experience has been like.

Mattingly: It's been great, honestly. Derek has been consistent. He is exactly who you think he would be -- that fire to compete and for us to get better. He understands where we are trying to go. And just knowing that he is there, it's give you a lot of confidence what you are doing. You know the guy that's leading the ship, you know the mindset and you know the toughness of that mindset. It gives you confidence that what we are doing is the right thing.

MLB.com: What's the biggest thing he said to you and it made you say, "Yeah, he is pretty right on this"?

Mattingly: There isn't one thing. He just has been consistent. The one thing that he said from the beginning is that we have a plan and we are going to stick to it. As soon as you hear that, you know that is going to be consistent. He is not saying it. It's what he believes and what he thinks and what he is going to try to do.

MLB.com: How important is this Draft?

Mattingly: The Draft is always big because you don't realize that the guy you pick may be the cornerstone of what you are going to try to do. He may be that No. 1 pitcher. He may be that position player that takes you over the top. It's not just that one guy you are looking for. It's probably a group of guys that create a competition within your organization that forces other guys to be better. It sets you up with depth.

MLB.com: What's ahead for Don Mattingly? How long do you have in this game?

Mattingly: I don't know. I like working. I feel great. I feel young, for the most part. I don't see any reason to not work. I don't know what I would do if I went home and watched TV and played golf. I enjoy things away from the field, but I have the energy for developing things, not only managing the game, but developing players, helping the players get better. That's always been my mindset as a coach. As a manager, you are trying to get the best out of your players. You want them to be the best players they can be. You always look at that first. If they can become the best players they can be, then we end up having a group that is really good.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-16. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Miami Marlins

Fulmer quiets Twins to get Tigers back on track

Righty holds Minnesota to 1 ER over 5 2/3 innings to end Detroit's 5-game slide
MLB.com @beckjason

MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Fulmer was still struggling with jet lag from the time difference between Seattle, where the Tigers' road trip began last week, and the Twin Cities, where he struggled with three nights of bad sleep. He woke up Wednesday morning feeling sluggish, and his warmup pitches in the bullpen didn't leave him feeling much better.

"I woke up this morning not feeling great," Fulmer said. "I got to the field and my warmups were crap. I was telling guys there's a difference. You go out and have a bad bullpen before the game but feel good, usually bad bullpen means good outing. Today I got out there with a bad bullpen, arm felt heavy, just one of those days."

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Fulmer was still struggling with jet lag from the time difference between Seattle, where the Tigers' road trip began last week, and the Twin Cities, where he struggled with three nights of bad sleep. He woke up Wednesday morning feeling sluggish, and his warmup pitches in the bullpen didn't leave him feeling much better.

"I woke up this morning not feeling great," Fulmer said. "I got to the field and my warmups were crap. I was telling guys there's a difference. You go out and have a bad bullpen before the game but feel good, usually bad bullpen means good outing. Today I got out there with a bad bullpen, arm felt heavy, just one of those days."

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As Fulmer's 110th pitch of the day hit 97 mph during his sixth-inning battle with Logan Morrison, it was indeed a day, just not the kind Fulmer expected. It was a day Fulmer stepped up as an ace when the Tigers needed one, delivering 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 Detroit win over the Twins at Target Field.

Niko Goodrum's go-ahead two-run homer off Kyle Gibson (1-3) haunted his old team, but it was Fulmer's day. Even if the All-Star right-hander didn't feel energetic, he gave the Tigers a lift out of a five-game skid that included a lethargic loss Tuesday night.

Video: DET@MIN: Goodrum belts a 2-run long ball to right

"We needed it," Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Tough road trip."

Fulmer's first win since April 7 was a labor for him. Though he came out firing fastballs at an aggressive Twins lineup, he didn't have his best command, resulting in three walks, three other three-ball counts, three early outs with 100-plus mph exit velocities and an accelerating pitch count. Yet Fulmer didn't allow a hit from Eddie Rosario's first-inning single until Byron Buxton's one-out single in the fifth, and yielded just three singles for the game.

Fulmer (2-3) kept Minnesota's hitters off-balance with a mix of pitches, including a slider that was slower than usual but had more of a drop. His 15 swinging strikes were evenly spread between his two- and four-seam fastballs, slider and changeup.

It wasn't pretty from Fulmer's eyes, particularly early, but it was effective. He improved to 4-0 with a 3.04 ERA for his career against Minnesota, including 3-0 at Target Field.

"We got him in the first inning, but he did a really good job of settling back in, throwing strikes," said Brian Dozier, whose leadoff ground-rule double into the center-field padding set up the opening run. "We kind of got to him at the end a little bit. He didn't get through the sixth, but at the same time, he still looked good.

"He's a front-line rotation guy. You know what you're going to get out of him. He competes and has good stuff. It's unfortunate we had some opportunities with guys on base, but we couldn't come through."

Video: Must C Curious: Dozier's double gets stuck in wall

Fulmer hadn't felt like that front-line starter at times during a seven-game winless streak since his April 7 victory in Chicago, but Wednesday's work felt like an outing from Justin Verlander's resume, pitching better than he felt. As teams scout Fulmer ahead of July's non-waiver Trade Deadline and debate whether he could make a difference in a playoff run, performances like Wednesday matter, regardless of whether the Tigers end up seriously entertaining offers.

Fulmer's 112 pitches tied for the second-highest total of his career, yet he was still relatively strong. His two-out walk to Morrison chased him in the sixth, but Louis Coleman's four outs bridged the gap to setup man Joe Jimenez and closer Shane Greene's 11th save.

Video: DET@MIN: Greene induces a fly out to preserve the win

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Good home run: Goodrum, a former Twins Draft pick who made his Major League debut with them as a September callup last year, was 0-for-8 with five strikeouts for the series against his old teammates as part of an 0-for-14 slump when he stepped to the plate in the fourth inning. Gibson put him in an 0-2 count, but Goodrum shrugged off two pitches well out of the zone before pouncing on a fastball over the plate, sending it into the right-field seats. His fifth home run of the year tied him for the team lead.

"I'm just playing the game, just another team," said Goodrum, who doubled and scored an insurance run off JaCoby Jones' RBI knock in the ninth. "It happens to be a team I was with for eight years, but I didn't add anything extra into the game. You have to pitch, I have to hit, and I ran into some balls today. That's all it was for me."

Video: DET@MIN: Jones singles to plate an insurance run

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Fulmer's third pitch of the game ended up nestled into the padding on the center-field wall, courtesy of Dozier. The 398-foot drive cleared speedy center fielder Leonys Martin's head and appeared headed for a bounce, but instead didn't move once it hit the top of the fence.

"I was waiting to play it off the wall," Martin said, "but it never came back. Crazy."

HE SAID IT
"I told myself I was going to talk, and I talked. I used every nickname I had." -- Gardenhire, who blamed himself for what he noted was a quiet dugout during Tuesday's loss

UP NEXT
The Tigers are off Thursday before opening a 12-game homestand with a 7:10 p.m. ET game against the White Sox on Friday at Comerica Park. Mike Fiers (4-3, 4.57 ERA) will try to repeat his 1-0 win over Chicago from April when he takes the mound opposite Reynaldo Lopez (1-3, 2.98).

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Detroit Tigers, Michael Fulmer

Ozuna's late arrival prompts start for O'Neill

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna was a late scratch from the starting lineup prior to Wednesday's I-70 Series finale against the Royals. Manager Mike Matheny said Ozuna arrived late to Busch Stadium after sleeping in. Tyler O'Neill started in left field in Ozuna's place.

"He's human, things happen. This guy couldn't possibly be a better teammate how he goes about it. He couldn't be more regretful not being here today on time," Matheny said following his team's 5-2 loss in 10 innings. "We don't have a lot of rules, but that's one of them. You're not here on time, you don't get to be in the lineup. He understands that and now we move forward."

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ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna was a late scratch from the starting lineup prior to Wednesday's I-70 Series finale against the Royals. Manager Mike Matheny said Ozuna arrived late to Busch Stadium after sleeping in. Tyler O'Neill started in left field in Ozuna's place.

"He's human, things happen. This guy couldn't possibly be a better teammate how he goes about it. He couldn't be more regretful not being here today on time," Matheny said following his team's 5-2 loss in 10 innings. "We don't have a lot of rules, but that's one of them. You're not here on time, you don't get to be in the lineup. He understands that and now we move forward."

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Ozuna said he was trying to get some sleep before waking up and seeing his watch and realizing he was late.

"I made a mistake," Ozuna said. "Everybody can make a mistake. We're human."

Ozuna broke out a bit from his season-long slump this week, posting consecutive multihit games, including a three-hit effort in Tuesday night's 5-1 loss at Busch Stadium. O'Neill made his fifth straight start in the outfield on Wednesday.

Video: KC@STL: O'Neill bounces throw home to nab Goins

O'Neill, who went 1-for-4 with a run scored in the loss and threw out Ryan Goins at the plate, entered the finale 8-for-16 with three home runs and six RBIs since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday.

Shortstop update
Yairo Munoz made his second straight start at shortstop on Wednesday for the Cardinals, the hole manager Mike Matheny is constantly trying to fill in light of Paul DeJong's left hand injury. Munoz had a career day with four hits on Tuesday against the Royals.

Video: KC@STL: Munoz notches 4 singles for first 4-hit game

"Like Tyler O'Neill, you get in there and you get four hits, no matter how you get them, there's a good chance you'll get an opportunity, especially when we have an opening like that," Matheny said. "We're still trying to evaluate every day."

Matheny praised Greg Garcia and Jedd Gyorko as well for filling in during DeJong's absence. Going forward, these three players will be mixing and matching into games.

"Jedd has done a pretty nice job. There's things he needs to work on, but he's a good option when they need bats," Matheny said. "Greg Garcia we saw make a couple really nice plays. We know that he can fit in there. Still trying to get a good solid look at Munoz and see what he can do."

One of the biggest difficulties for the Cardinals finding a temporary shortstop has been scheduling, Gyorko said.

"This all happened really fast. We've had a bunch of day games, so we've only been able to get a couple days' worth of grounders," Gyorko said. "Until Pauly gets back, it's going to be a work in progress."

Fowler sits again
Matheny is still trying to work out what to do with Dexter Fowler, who was 0-for-4 on Tuesday night. The slumping Fowler was out of the lineup on Wednesday for the third time in five games.

Harrison Bader started in his place.

Fowler is hitting .155 through more than a quarter of the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract.

Still, the Cardinals believe Fowler will bounce back.

"[Fowler]'s a fighter, man. He's going to go out there and try to do his job. Everybody goes through those stretches and the hardest part is getting out," first baseman Jose Martinez said. "We've got his back and we know he's trying every day to help the team win. He has five homers and 20 RBIs, so he's trying to help us win."

Kelly nearing return
On the disabled list for the past week with a right hamstring strain, Carson Kelly said he'll begin a rehab assignment on Thursday that should be brief. Kelly said he will catch Alex Reyes' final rehab start at Triple-A Memphis, then Kelly will start another game there on Friday.

Kelly is planning to be activated when eligible on Saturday. He was 2-for-18 at the plate in eight games filling in for Yadier Molina before landing on the DL last week in Minnesota.

Kelly is expected to resume the bulk of the starting duties upon his return, regulating Francisco Pena back to a backup role and Steve Baron to Memphis. But whether Pena or Baron remain with St. Louis could depend on the health of Pena's right knee. He suffered a severe bruise after being clipped by a foul ball on Wednesday.

Video: KC@STL: Pena stays in after foul ball off his knee

Pena stayed on the ground for several minutes after suffering the injury, but he finished the game. He was limping in the Cardinals' clubhouse afterwards, where he said he didn't expect to miss any time. But how Pena feels after Thursday's off-day could go a long way toward determining that.

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Paul DeJong, Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia, Jedd Gyorko, Yairo Munoz, Tyler O'Neill, Marcell Ozuna

Our reporters did a Cy Young vote. The results ...

MLB.com @RichardJustice

When Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were teammates with the Tigers for five seasons (2010-14), they will tell you they drove one another, competed with one another, and perhaps most important, learned from one another.

Four seasons since they were together, they remain the gold standard for performing at the highest level. As they approach an age -- Verlander is 35, Scherzer 33 -- when performance sometimes begins to decline, these two are as good, if not better, than ever.

When Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were teammates with the Tigers for five seasons (2010-14), they will tell you they drove one another, competed with one another, and perhaps most important, learned from one another.

Four seasons since they were together, they remain the gold standard for performing at the highest level. As they approach an age -- Verlander is 35, Scherzer 33 -- when performance someti