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Machado smashes moonshot for 15th home run

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Orioles shortstop Manny Machado arrived in Chicago Monday afternoon to plenty of fanfare.

But after repeating multiple times before the Orioles game against the White Sox that he was focused on just playing baseball, Machado did just that. Machado blasted a 411-foot solo home run off of White Sox starter Hector Santiago in the fourth inning that provided the Orioles with a 1-0 lead.

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CHICAGO -- Orioles shortstop Manny Machado arrived in Chicago Monday afternoon to plenty of fanfare.

But after repeating multiple times before the Orioles game against the White Sox that he was focused on just playing baseball, Machado did just that. Machado blasted a 411-foot solo home run off of White Sox starter Hector Santiago in the fourth inning that provided the Orioles with a 1-0 lead.

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Machado drove a 2-1 Santiago pitch deep into the left-field bleachers, a shot that left White Sox left fielder Leury Garcia flat-footed, as he never budged as soon as the ball left Machado's bat.

According to Statcast™, the blast was the hardest hit by Machado this season as it left his bat at 112.6 mph.

Machado's 15th home run of the season moved him into a first-place tie in the American League, joining Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox.

Machado's defense also made an impact.

With the Orioles leading 2-0 in the fifth inning after Mark Trumbo followed up Machado's homer with a solo shot of his own, the White Sox cut into the lead on Jose Abreu's RBI double. But after Yoan Moncada scored on the hit, Machado took a relay throw from left fielder Trey Mancini and threw out Yolmer Sanchez at the plate, who attempted to score the game-tying run.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com.

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado

Pivetta, Phils blank Braves in NL East showdown

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said the Phillies prepared like "animals" for this week's three-game series against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. It paid off Monday, as the Phillies won the opener, 3-0.

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta continues to look like the real deal, as he allowed just four hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings. He struck out seven. Nick Williams hit an opposite-field home run in the fourth inning to hand the Phillies a 1-0 lead, and Aaron Altherr hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the seventh inning to make it 3-0.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said the Phillies prepared like "animals" for this week's three-game series against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. It paid off Monday, as the Phillies won the opener, 3-0.

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta continues to look like the real deal, as he allowed just four hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings. He struck out seven. Nick Williams hit an opposite-field home run in the fourth inning to hand the Phillies a 1-0 lead, and Aaron Altherr hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the seventh inning to make it 3-0.

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Hector Neris pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up the save.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jorge Alfaro showed his arm on back-to-back plays in the seventh inning. He caught Johan Camargo stealing second base for the inning's second out. Statcast™ tracked Alfaro's throw at 88.3 mph. He then fielded a Dansby Swanson roller in front of the plate. Alfaro fielded the ball, spun and threw to first to end the inning. Statcast™ tracked that throw at 80.1 mph.

Alfaro's "max effort" throws on stolen base attempts average 90.5 mph, the best mark in baseball.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jorge Alfaro, Aaron Altherr, Nick Pivetta, Nick Williams

Gleyber shows elder Colon no respect with HR

MLB.com @BryanHoch

ARLINGTON -- Gleyber Torres was three months old when Bartolo Colon threw the first pitch of his seemingly endless big league career. In his first at-bat on Monday, the Yankees rookie took the 44-year-old veteran -- who turns 45 on Thursday -- deep.

Then he did it again in the sixth.

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ARLINGTON -- Gleyber Torres was three months old when Bartolo Colon threw the first pitch of his seemingly endless big league career. In his first at-bat on Monday, the Yankees rookie took the 44-year-old veteran -- who turns 45 on Thursday -- deep.

Then he did it again in the sixth.

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Torres crushed his fifth homer of the season off the right-hander in the second inning, staking the Yankees to a 3-0 lead with a two-run blast that landed in the left-field bleacher area. The homer came off the 21-year-old Torres' bat at 105.7 mph, traveling a Statcast-calculated 418 feet.

The homer was the second in three games for the infielder, who is rated as the club's top prospect and the No. 4 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. Torres also cleared the fences in Saturday's 8-3 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

The second homer went to the grassy batters' eye in dead-center, giving the Yankees a 6-4 lead and chasing Colon from the game.

Torres was born on Dec. 13, 1996, in Caracas, Venezuela. Colon debuted in the big leagues on April 4, 1997, taking a no-decision against the Angels in Anaheim while throwing the first five of what would be more than 3,366 big league innings ... and counting.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Soto homers on 1st pitch in 1st start

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- After he informed the team of Monday night's lineup via text message earlier in the day, the first player that manager Dave Martinez saw when he arrived at Nationals Park was Juan Soto.

Soto, scheduled to make his first career start Monday night against the Padres, shook his manager's hand and gave him a hug. The Nationals' 19-year-old phenom was batting sixth and playing left field.

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WASHINGTON -- After he informed the team of Monday night's lineup via text message earlier in the day, the first player that manager Dave Martinez saw when he arrived at Nationals Park was Juan Soto.

Soto, scheduled to make his first career start Monday night against the Padres, shook his manager's hand and gave him a hug. The Nationals' 19-year-old phenom was batting sixth and playing left field.

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"'I'm ready,'" Martinez recalled Soto saying. "I said, 'I know you are.'"

He sure was. On the first pitch of Soto's first at-bat in the second inning against Padres starter Robbie Erlin, he hit a three-run home run to left-center field, putting Washington up 3-0. It was Soto's first career hit and one that sent the crowd at Nationals Park into a frenzy, as they serenaded Soto with a curtain call.

• Soto does Harper hair flip after first homer

Video: SD@WSH: Soto's first homer goes 422 feet to left

This was the first career start for Soto, the Nats' No. 2 prospect and the No. 15 overall prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, coming a day after he was promoted to make him MLB's youngest player. He struck out during his pinch-hit at-bat in the eighth inning of Sunday's 7-2 loss, but he becomes the youngest position player to make a start since the Rangers' Jurickson Profar in 2012.

Soto has been called up to serve as the Nationals' primary left fielder, and hours before the game, Martinez and third-base coach Bobby Henley were working with Soto on his footwork in the outfield. Although Martinez said the team plans to try and pick its spots for the left-handed-hitting Soto against southpaws, the Padres have lefty starters scheduled for the first two games of this series. Martinez said he wanted to still make sure Soto got into the lineup.

• MLB's best seasons by teenagers

Video: The Rundown: Jamal Collier talks Soto

Besides, Soto has not shown any limitations against left-handers in the Minors this season with an OPS over 1.000.

"I told him, just go out there and have fun," Martinez said.

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

Washington Nationals, Juan Soto

O'Neill belts 3rd homer in 3 games for Cards

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- Turns out, Tyler O'Neill's power plays.

The hulking rookie slugged his third home run in three days in the third inning of Monday's I-70 Series opener against the Royals, blasting a three-run shot off right-hander Ian Kennedy to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.

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ST. LOUIS -- Turns out, Tyler O'Neill's power plays.

The hulking rookie slugged his third home run in three days in the third inning of Monday's I-70 Series opener against the Royals, blasting a three-run shot off right-hander Ian Kennedy to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.

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O'Neill's homer traveled a projected 388 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph, according to Statcast™.

The outfielder added an RBI double in the fifth inning off Kennedy to stretch the Cardinals' lead to 5-0 -- giving O'Neill seven hits in 11 at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A.

O'Neill swatted his first career homer starting in place of Dexter Fowler on Saturday, then O'Neill hit a solo shot off Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola while starting in place of Marcell Ozuna on Sunday. O'Neill was back in Fowler's right-field spot on Monday, earning his second curtain call in three days at Busch Stadium.

Acquired last summer in a trade that sent Marco Gonzales to the Mariners, O'Neill hit 13 home runs over his first 29 games at Triple-A Memphis this season. He's hit 44 across 159 games at that level since the start of 2017.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tyler O'Neill

Gallo's 14th of the season goes upper deck

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo launched his 14th home run of the season on Tuesday when he reached the upper deck in right field in the second inning off Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.

The home run had an exit velocity of 103.4 mph and a Statcast™ projected distance of 422 feet. It was his first home run in six games and second in his last 13.

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo launched his 14th home run of the season on Tuesday when he reached the upper deck in right field in the second inning off Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.

The home run had an exit velocity of 103.4 mph and a Statcast™ projected distance of 422 feet. It was his first home run in six games and second in his last 13.

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Gallo entered the game with 61 career home runs in 758 at-bats. That was an average of one home run every 12.43 at-bats, the fourth best ratio all-time among players with at least 750 at-bats. The top three were Mark McGwire (10.61), Babe Ruth (11.76) and Aaron Judge (11.78).

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Joey Gallo

Bryce, Reynolds (2), Soto hit HRs in rout of SD

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- On the first day with their teenage rookie sensation, Juan Soto, in the lineup, the Nationals were energized by their newest spark. Washington connected on four home runs and a season-high nine extra-base hits, as it hammered Padres pitching to a 10-2 victory on Monday night at Nationals Park.

Mark Reynolds swatted a pair of home runs, Bryce Harper connected with his National League-leading 14th homer and Soto hit his first career home run on the first pitch he saw. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez made it all hold up with seven innings of two-run, two-hit ball.

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WASHINGTON -- On the first day with their teenage rookie sensation, Juan Soto, in the lineup, the Nationals were energized by their newest spark. Washington connected on four home runs and a season-high nine extra-base hits, as it hammered Padres pitching to a 10-2 victory on Monday night at Nationals Park.

Mark Reynolds swatted a pair of home runs, Bryce Harper connected with his National League-leading 14th homer and Soto hit his first career home run on the first pitch he saw. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez made it all hold up with seven innings of two-run, two-hit ball.

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Soto got the Nats on the board by launching an opposite field three-run home in the second inning against Padres left-hander Robbie Erlin. It prompted a standing ovation and curtain call from the crowd of 27,890 fans and set the tone for the Nats' bats. Soto, the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 15 in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline, became the first 19-year-old to homer in the Majors since Harper did so back in May 2012, also against San Diego.

So, not to be outdone, Harper added his own opposite-field homer in the fifth against Padres reliever Bryan Mitchell. Harper also collected a run-scoring double in his first at-bat for his first game with two extra-base hits since a two-homer game on May 4.

And Reynolds provided his own share of damage, with solo home runs in the third and seventh innings for his second multi-homer game of the season and the 27th of his career, after signing with the Nationals in mid-April.

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

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper

Shaw's bat stays hot with 2-run HR off Greinke

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers didn't muster much against Zack Greinke when they faced him last week in Phoenix, but Travis Shaw got Monday's rematch off to a better start at Miller Park.

Shaw connected for a two-out, two-run home run off Greinke for a 2-1 Brewers lead in the bottom of the first inning of the opener of a three-game series. It was Shaw's 11th home run this season, and the first Greinke had surrendered since May 5.

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MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers didn't muster much against Zack Greinke when they faced him last week in Phoenix, but Travis Shaw got Monday's rematch off to a better start at Miller Park.

Shaw connected for a two-out, two-run home run off Greinke for a 2-1 Brewers lead in the bottom of the first inning of the opener of a three-game series. It was Shaw's 11th home run this season, and the first Greinke had surrendered since May 5.

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He was tough on Milwaukee hitters six days earlier at Chase Field, allowing one run on four hits in six innings of a 2-1 D-backs win. In his first three starts of May, Greinke had surrendered only three earned runs in 18 2/3 innings against the Astros, Nationals and Brewers.

Greinke has been a force at Miller Park, especially during his season and a half pitching for the Brewers in 2011-12, when he was 15-0 with a 2.93 ERA here. In 28 career games (27 starts) at Miller Park entering Monday, Greinke was 16-3 with a 3.23 ERA.

Video: ARI@MIL: Santana skies a solo homer to right field

For Shaw, it continued a needed hot streak. He was in a 5-for-50 funk before going 12-for-38 (.316) with three home runs on a 10-game Brewers road trip that concluded Sunday at Minnesota.

Domingo Santana and Lorenzo Cain added solo home runs as the Brewers extended their lead against Greinke. It was only the 13th time in 391 career starts that Greinke served up a trio of home runs, and the first time this season. 

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Travis Shaw

Machado center of trade talk in Chicago arrival

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Manny Machado had just arrived at his corner clubhouse stall Monday afternoon when a collection of 20 reporters and cameras began to close in.

As has become a regular occurrence when the Orioles shortstop arrives in a city where he has been rumored to land if he is traded, his presence created a palpable buzz 3 1/2 hours before the Orioles were set to begin their four-game series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday.

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CHICAGO -- Manny Machado had just arrived at his corner clubhouse stall Monday afternoon when a collection of 20 reporters and cameras began to close in.

As has become a regular occurrence when the Orioles shortstop arrives in a city where he has been rumored to land if he is traded, his presence created a palpable buzz 3 1/2 hours before the Orioles were set to begin their four-game series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday.

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Machado admitted that the thought of being greeted by Monday's media crowd had crossed his mind before he even arrived. But in the midst of more questioning, Machado continues to maintain that he wants to keep any distractions to a minimum.

"Play baseball -- that's what I'm here to do," Machado told reporters after the size of the scrum forced him into the hall outside the Orioles' clubhouse. "Go play baseball, win some games … at the end of the day, that's all that counts."

Machado entered Monday's game hitting .343 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs -- a performance level he has maintained despite being constantly hounded about being at the center of trade talks.

Machado avoids getting too detailed in the constant questioning by repeating that his future is out of his hands and that his responsibility on a daily basis continues to be to do his job for the Orioles.

"Manny doesn't mind the spotlight -- he doesn't mind being expected to be that guy," manager Buck Showalter said. "When you have his type of ability, you don't mind because he knows when they get through playing [the national anthem], he's going to have three hours to kind of control some things."

As for Machado's future, Showalter added: "I hope we win the next 20 games and he's here all year."

The latest stop here in Chicago meant addressing talk of the interest the Cubs may have in his services. Machado's cousin, Albert Almora Jr., has become a mainstay in center field on the city's North Side, which celebrated a World Series title in 2016.

Machado said he hasn't spoken with Almora about life with the Cubs and chooses to avoid such talk in order to keep his focus on his daily responsibilities with the Orioles. Asked about his impressions of Chicago as a city, Machado said his daily routine takes him from the hotel to the ballpark, which gives him little chance to see the sights.

"I try to keep it simple," Machado said. "I've got one mindset, which is to play baseball -- go out and leave it all on the field, and after that, I can't control any of [the outside noise]. I try to be the best player I can possibly be once I step on that field."

Jones returns

Center fielder Adam Jones returned to the lineup on Monday after he left Sunday's game with an illness. Jones left after his fourth at-bat, having singled in his first three plate appearances.

Showalter said Sunday that Jones wanted to remain in the game.

"Not many guys would have played seven innings," Showalter said. "He had a certain greenness to him -- when he came off the field after the first inning, I watched him and I knew something wasn't quite right."

Britton to throw simulated game

Orioles reliever Zach Britton is slated to throw a one-inning simulated game on Tuesday and a two-inning simulated game on Saturday, Showalter said. If those go well, Britton -- who has missed the start of the season with a ruptured Achilles -- will report to Triple-A Norfolk to begin a Minor League rehab assignment.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com.

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado

Kershaw's return date coming into focus

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw could be less than two weeks away from returning to the Dodgers' rotation, based on a tentative timeline manager Dave Roberts provided on Monday.

"He's going to throw a bullpen [session] on Wednesday, around 30 or 40 pitches, then a simulated situation on Saturday, three or four innings up and down," said Roberts. "If that goes well, then we can figure out where to pencil him in."

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LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw could be less than two weeks away from returning to the Dodgers' rotation, based on a tentative timeline manager Dave Roberts provided on Monday.

"He's going to throw a bullpen [session] on Wednesday, around 30 or 40 pitches, then a simulated situation on Saturday, three or four innings up and down," said Roberts. "If that goes well, then we can figure out where to pencil him in."

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Roberts said Kershaw is symptom-free from the biceps tendinitis that put him on the disabled list after his May 1 start in Arizona.

"Now it's just more of executing pitches and building back his arm," Roberts said.

It's unclear whether Kershaw will pitch a Minor League rehab game.

Hill wants waiver to tape blistered finger
Rich Hill, placed on the disabled list after his latest blister halted Saturday's start at two pitches, resumed playing catch with his left middle fingertip taped. Although rules prevent it, Hill said he wants to request from MLB a waiver to allow him to tape the finger during games.

"Hitters have batting gloves, and they get blisters all the time," Hill said. "They can tape their hands and do whatever they need to do to grip the bat and swing. This is really something that wouldn't be much different, in my opinion. I think it is an extremely valid point."

Roberts said, "I don't see that happening."

Here's why, according to Rule 6.02 (c)(7):

The pitcher may not attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.). The umpire shall determine if such attachment is indeed a foreign substance for the purpose of Rule 6.02(c)(7), but in no case may the pitcher be allowed to pitch with such attachment to his hand, finger or wrist.

As for the continued throwing, Hill said it helps the skin form a callous. He said his latest blister is worse than any he had last year and more like the one he had when the Dodgers acquired him from Oakland in 2016. That one bothered him for most of two months.

Stewart expected to join Dodgers on Tuesday
The Dodgers put Brock Stewart on the taxi list in anticipation of recalling him from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday, but Roberts stopped short of naming Stewart the starting pitcher. Kenta Maeda will start on Wednesday, getting an extra day of rest after pitching eight scoreless innings in Miami.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw

Reaction to Rays' strategy: 'Complicated,' 'weird'

Decision to start Romo on back-to-back days catches attention across MLB
MLB.com @DKramer_

Perhaps no story in MLB last weekend generated more buzz than one relating to a team nine games out of first place, one that has limited starting rotation depth and faces an uphill climb in a loaded American League East. 

The Rays, an analytically savvy team that has long executed unorthodox, yet generally effective, tactics to gain an edge, deployed reliever Sergio Romo as thier starter on both Saturday and Sunday against the Angels, marking the first time that a pitcher made "starts" on back-to-back days since Zack Greinke in 2012 (though Greinke's were due to an ejection quirk). 

Perhaps no story in MLB last weekend generated more buzz than one relating to a team nine games out of first place, one that has limited starting rotation depth and faces an uphill climb in a loaded American League East. 

The Rays, an analytically savvy team that has long executed unorthodox, yet generally effective, tactics to gain an edge, deployed reliever Sergio Romo as thier starter on both Saturday and Sunday against the Angels, marking the first time that a pitcher made "starts" on back-to-back days since Zack Greinke in 2012 (though Greinke's were due to an ejection quirk). 

The essence of the Rays' strategy was to limit production in what is the most productive inning of the game. In the aggregate, there have been 791 runs scored in the first frame this year, significantly more than any other. And, acknowledging the small sample, the strategy proved effective, as Romo tossed 2 1/3 scoreless frames over the weekend, even striking out Zack Cozart, Mike Trout and Justin Upton -- the most threatening part of the Angels' lineup -- in a 5-3 win on Saturday.

Video: Romo starts 2 games in a row, K's 6 over 2 1/3 frames

Cozart was vocal about his opposition to the strategy, saying that it thwarted his pre-at-bat approach in an interview with The Athletic. 

"I don't think that's good for baseball, in my opinion," Cozart said. "It's definitely weird, not knowing who you're going to face in your first couple of at-bats. … Usually, you have a starter and you think you're going to have three at-bats, probably. So you're going to use the first at-bat and you want to have success, see what he has if you haven't faced him before, stuff like that. When you're going Spring Training style, it's definitely a different ballgame. It's Spring Training; that's the best way I could describe it. I hope it doesn't go in that direction."

Video: TB@LAA: Romo strikes out Trout in the 1st inning

With that in mind, MLB.com polled a handful of other players and front-office personnel from other clubs to gauge reaction to the Rays' novel strategy. Here are some of their responses:

Aaron Boone, Yankees manager: "With some of the injuries they have and not having a full five-man rotation, you get the wisdom of it a little bit, especially in that matchup where you know you want your guy that is a heavy platoon split against righties, where you know you're going to be facing them. I think in their situation, there's some wisdom to it, and I know they've had some success with it. It's a little outside of the box, obviously, but I think it made some sense. … I never say never down the road, because you never know what your roster looks like, but I can't see that with the way our roster is constructed right now."

Video: TB@LAA: Romo, Cash discuss scoreless starts, future

Mickey Callaway, Mets manager: "You have to show trust in your players. You need players that you can trust. And when you're talking about doing something like that, that's what I would worry about the most. Now, I'm sure that they had conversations with everyone and explained to them why they're doing it. But I think that psyche is the thing that I would be most concerned about. In my mind, maybe they're just trying to eliminate that third time through [the order], so the starting pitcher's second time through is the third time through."

Jesse Chavez, RP, Rangers: "It's not baseball. You're not benefiting anybody but the organization. When is it going to be about the player and not the plan? They always say it is about the player. There is a lot more risk than reward in that. I don't think it's good unless they are building around a bunch of long guys."

Craig Counsell, Brewers manager: "It presents different challenges in our league, [the National League], so you end up moving back when the inning that the starting pitcher ... needs to come up -- and sooner in an inning where you really need to hit for him, or if you need to hit for him too soon. It's a different question in our league, I think, but there are still answers for it. We've talked about, but it's a more complicated question."

Video: Counsell on Romo making two consecutive starts

Adam Ottavino, RP, Rockies: "It's a strategy for a team that's struggling in the first inning. They're trying something out of the box, and they don't have the Astros' rotation. It's good for them to go for it. It worked out the first night. ... But you need to have full buy-in from the team. But that can change, too, because guys don't want to do something that's going to hurt them in [arbitration]. There are so many layers to it.

"What Tampa has going right now is working because Romo doesn't care. He's fine doing it. And they're not doing it when they're pitching [Chris] Archer or when they're pitching [Blake] Snell. They're doing it with [Ryan] Yarbrough, who's a rookie, basically, and [Matt] Andriese.

"The other part of it is the first inning is when the most runs are scored. There are probably a lot of reasons for that. Starters tend to -- and I did this as a starter -- try to ease into the game. A reliever doesn't do that.

"Like I said, good for them. They're trying something. They don't give a damn what anybody else thinks. They're trying to win games."

Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins: "[The Rays] have always had great pitchers. I was just talking with some of the guys who came from Tampa Bay, and they rave about their analytic department and pitching staff and coaches and stuff like that, so obviously they know what they're doing. So it's a cool thing to see."

Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Nationals: "I think it's fine if you have a guy that's kind of a been a bullpen starter guy [coming in right after]. I dont think you can do it with a guy that's started his whole career, because we have our routines and stuff. It's out there, that's for sure. ... I mean, with the Angles lineup, they're one of the few teams with five righties to start off, so it makes senses if you get a lineup like that with Romo, who has been good on righties his whole career. But, yeah, it's nothing I think I want to be a part of."

Neal Huntington, Pirates GM: "It is interesting. We'll dive into it a little bit. We like our rotation's ability to get right- or left[-handed hitters] out of the gate, but it is something that's an interesting concept. Twenty years from now, when you guys are talking to somebody else, maybe that's the norm. We'll see."

Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers: "That sure won't fly in the playoffs."

Nate Jones, RP, White Sox: "Overall, the first inning is where all the runs are scored. So I don't know. It makes sense, but am I on board with it all the way? I'm still on the fence about it. I'm glad the Rays had success with it so far, but we'll see if it can be sustained."

Gabe Kapler, Phillies manager: "I think there's some gamesmanship there, but I also think there's some respect. If we get indication from a club that they're going to have a starter going the next day, we're going to put our lineup in to account for that. But I think what the Rays were doing is they're not going to change the first three hitters in their lineup, because those are the first three hitters in their lineup."

Kevin McCarthy, RP, Royals: "The thing that would be a concern would be using up one of your best relievers that early. I always feel like the toughest outs are the last outs, because that's when hitters are really the most locked in, because they know they are running out of chances. And what happens if you don't have one of your best guys then?"

Video: Rose and Millar on teams starting closers

Paul Molitor, Twins manager: "I haven't really thought it through, but off the top of my head, I don't think I would do much different. You've got to trust the players you put out there. I think every once in awhile, you encounter situations where you know a guy is not going to go very deep in the game, whether coming from an injury situation or whatever, but I would still try to find a way to play from the lead if I could, put my best guys out there."

Manny Pina, C, Brewers: "I don't know. It's weird. I would prefer calling up a guy from Triple-A [instead of] starting a reliever. I think you need your good relievers in the bullpen. When you start with a reliever, it's kind of tough later on. But if it works for them, that's fine for them. But my opinion, I would rather send for someone in Triple-A and save the reliever."

Dave Roberts, Dodgers manager: "Good for Sergio. Making history."

Neil Walker, 2B, Yankees: "It doesn't change. You may face a guy that you've never faced before -- that's always a challenge -- but we have so much information on the bench. If five different guys throw in the first five innings and you get two at-bats against two different guys, you're typically as prepared as you can be. You have video, you have all that stuff, and usually guys have faced guys in the past. Personally, I don't see it as an advantage for them, but that's clearly not the way they see it."

Alex Wilson, RP, Tigers: "You listen to commentary from Cozart and those guys, and they said it felt like Spring Training, which they were obviously were not very comfortable or happy about. So, in theory, it worked. We're not here to make friends."

Jordan Zimmermann, SP, Tigers: "I don't think they'd ever do it for a veteran starter. I don't think it's really good for anything. Bringing a starter out in the second inning like that doesn't qualify him for a game started, and it's going to cause a lot of stuff down the road, I think. That and the whole arbitration thing, it's going to make for a mess, I think."

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Tampa Bay Rays, Sergio Romo

Lamb connects on his first homer of 2018

Special to MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- After allowing a first-inning run on a bases-loaded walk, Brewers starter Chase Anderson held the D-backs hitless until Jake Lamb launched his first homer of the season with one out in the sixth, pulling Arizona within 3-2.

Lamb, who sprained his left shoulder April 2 when he dove for a ball, was activated off the 10-day disabled list on May 17. He was 1-for-8 with a double in his first two games back, then walked and struck out in his first two at-bats Monday night. He then launched Anderson's 0-1 fastball over the wall in left-center.

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MILWAUKEE -- After allowing a first-inning run on a bases-loaded walk, Brewers starter Chase Anderson held the D-backs hitless until Jake Lamb launched his first homer of the season with one out in the sixth, pulling Arizona within 3-2.

Lamb, who sprained his left shoulder April 2 when he dove for a ball, was activated off the 10-day disabled list on May 17. He was 1-for-8 with a double in his first two games back, then walked and struck out in his first two at-bats Monday night. He then launched Anderson's 0-1 fastball over the wall in left-center.

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Lamb had 29 homers and 91 RBIs in 2016 and followed that with 30 homers and 105 RBIs last season, when he received his first All-Star selection.

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Jake Lamb

Cards top prospect Reyes will join rotation

Right-hander slated for his final rehab outing on Thursday
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Prior to the I-70 Series opener against the Royals on Monday, Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch confirmed what was becoming apparent: prospect Alex Reyes' return from Tommy John surgery will come in the Major League rotation.

"We expect him to be in the rotation," Girsch said.

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ST. LOUIS -- Prior to the I-70 Series opener against the Royals on Monday, Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch confirmed what was becoming apparent: prospect Alex Reyes' return from Tommy John surgery will come in the Major League rotation.

"We expect him to be in the rotation," Girsch said.

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Reyes, ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has started each of his three official rehab assignments, the fourth and final of which is scheduled for Thursday at Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander will prep as a starting pitcher in between at Busch Stadium.

Reyes is eligible to return from the disabled list on Monday, May 28, and he would be on turn to start the next day against the Brewers at Miller Park. He most recently struck out 12 over 7 2/3 innings in a dominant outing at Double-A Springfield.

Girsch said Reyes' return would likely precede the return of Carlos Martinez, meaning the Cardinals won't face a rotation logjam for at least a few weeks. But once Martinez returns, the club will face a difficult roster decision, with Reyes, Jack Flaherty and Luke Weaver in the mix for just two available spots.

Weaver rebounded from a tough four-start stretch to hold opponents to just one earned run over his past two outings. Flaherty had one of the best outings from a Cardinals starter this season against the Phillies on Sunday, striking out 13 over 7 2/3 innings. Not everyone can stay.

"Obviously, we have new information," Girsch said. "We adjust to what we have. Knock on wood, hopefully we get a bunch of guys healthy and start having more tough roster decisions like we had at the end of Spring Training."

Martinez begins program
Martinez began a throwing program on Monday, his first baseball activity since landing on the DL on May 9 with a lat strain. Girsch said it's possible Martinez will require a rehab start before returning to the rotation.

Video: STL@SD: Cardinals broadcast on Martinez going to DL

"He's starting the progression back after not throwing for about two weeks now," Girsch said. "So we will take it step by step and see how it goes."

More injury updates
• Girsch joked that he's fine with not making a roster move every day of the week, after the Cardinals have made one near-daily over the season's first 45 games. Girsch provided updates on an array of the club's 10 players currently on the disabled list.

Adam Wainwright underwent a non-intrusive procedure on Monday where doctors inserted a microscopic camera into his elbow in search of the pain that's persisted there. It was the latest in a litany of tests the righty has undergone in recent weeks, which included an MRI and a bone exam. The results of the latest test were not immediately available.

• Basic hand therapy is the next step for shortstop Paul DeJong, who underwent a post-op consultation on Monday, Girsch said. The team specialist will give the Cardinals guidance on when DeJong can take the next step. DeJong broke the fifth metacarpal in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch on Thursday.

Tyler Lyons is set to return from a sore back in the coming days. Lyons made a second -- and presumed final -- rehab appearance at Springfield on Monday.

Luke Gregerson (shoulder and elbow soreness) still needs to see doctors before the Cardinals head to Pittsburgh later this week to find out when he can begin throwing.

• Girsch said catcher Carson Kelly (hamstring strain) could return when he's eligible on Saturday.

Dominic Leone (nerve damage in right arm) remains out indefinitely.

Yadier Molina still has a ways to go in his recovery from a traumatic hematoma sustained when he was hit by a foul ball earlier this month.

"He's seeing the doctor on Thursday," Girsch said of Molina. "That's how fast we will get some guidance on when he can start doing physical activity. He's been on significant rest so it's hard to project until he can start jogging and stuff like that."

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Paul DeJong, Luke Gregerson, Carlos Martinez, Yadier Molina, Alex Reyes, Adam Wainwright