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Power Rankings: There's a new top dog in NL

D-backs slide past Mets in Senior Circuit; Red Sox maintain No. 1 spot overall
MLB.com @alysonfooter

This week's Power Rankings begin with a tip of the cap to several teams who are exceeding most preseason expectations placed upon them, and who could find themselves with higher positions in this space as soon as next week if they keep up this pace.

First up is the Athletics, who have won three straight, got a no-hitter from Sean Manaea vs. the Red Sox on Saturday, and have recorded wins in seven of their past eight games. The A's will continue their road series with the Rangers as one of four teams in the highly touted American League West with a winning record at 12-11, mere percentage points behind the 11-10 Mariners.

This week's Power Rankings begin with a tip of the cap to several teams who are exceeding most preseason expectations placed upon them, and who could find themselves with higher positions in this space as soon as next week if they keep up this pace.

First up is the Athletics, who have won three straight, got a no-hitter from Sean Manaea vs. the Red Sox on Saturday, and have recorded wins in seven of their past eight games. The A's will continue their road series with the Rangers as one of four teams in the highly touted American League West with a winning record at 12-11, mere percentage points behind the 11-10 Mariners.

Video: Must C Classic: Sean Manaea no-hits the Red Sox

The Braves and Phillies deserve some love as well. Philadelphia is 9-1 at home and has won seven straight at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils' home record marks their best start to a season since they began the 1964 campaign by going 9-1 in their first 10 games at Connie Mack Stadium, and they will enter play on Tuesday in second place in the National League East, a half-game behind the Mets. The Braves, at 12-9, have sported a better record so far than the 10-13 Nationals, who were picked by most as the favorites to win the division.

Biggest jump: The Cardinals jumped six spots, from No. 13 to No. 7. Sure, they've played most of their games in the past week-and-a-half against the 4-18 Reds, but still, the numbers are notable. During a current stretch that produced a four-game sweep in Cincinnati, a rain-shortened two-game series split with the Cubs at Wrigley Field and a home sweep over the Reds, Cards starting pitchers have gone 7-1 with a 2.35 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs over 53 2/3 innings while walking 19 and striking out 51.

Video: CIN@STL: Martinez throws six scoreless, fans seven

Biggest drop: The Pirates slipped six spots, from No. 11 to No. 17. The hot start has cooled in a big way. Since taking two of three over the Marlins, Pittsburgh has lost six of seven, including a four-game weekend sweep in Philadelphia. The Bucs are not hitting -- in those six losses, they scored just seven runs. Their only breakout game happened last Wednesday in a home game against the Rockies, when Pittsburgh scored 10.

Power Rankings Top 5

1. Red Sox (No. 1 last week)
The Red Sox had quite a weekend. They ended it with the best record in baseball still intact, but the Sox lost two in a row for the first time this season, with one of the losses a no-hitter by Manaea. Still, Boston is leading the Majors in many offensive categories, and its bullpen has been rock solid, stringing together 20 2/3 scoreless innings.

Video: Must C Crushed: Betts HRs off Ohtani, slugs two more

2. Astros (2)
The Astros opened their Seattle-Chicago road trip with a loss to the Mariners, marking their fifth defeat in six games. Then they reeled off six wins in a row, erasing the "slow start" speculation that had started to build around the defending World Series champs. In four games in Seattle, they outscored the Mariners, 21-6. Then they piled on 27 runs in three games in Chicago while holding the White Sox to two runs. Now comes a more challenging test: a long homestand with series against the Angels, A's and Yankees.

3. D-backs (5)
The D-backs, who have slid into the top of the Power Rankings among NL clubs, have won all seven series they've played so far in 2018; six against intradivision rivals. Based on early returns, this could be a breakout season for Patrick Corbin. The lefty struck out 11 Padres over six innings on Sunday and sports a 1.89 ERA and a 0.66 WHIP over five starts. He's walked six and struck out 48. Offensively, A.J. Pollock, the D-backs' primary cleanup hitter, has 16 RBIs and 14 extra-base hits through 20 games.

Video: SD@ARI: Corbin K's 11 over six, drills RBI single

4. Mets (3)
The Mets have returned to normalcy after their red-hot start, but with a respectable 14-6 record even after series losses in the past week to the Nationals and the Braves, they remain in the Top 5 of the Power Rankings. New York has already made one major tweak, shifting Matt Harvey to the bullpen. Now the Mets have to figure out how to use him. High-leverage situations? Late innings? Harvey is not happy about his removal from the rotation, and it will be interesting to see how he responds when he's called upon from the 'pen.

Video: Harvey, Callaway on Harvey moving to bullpen

5. Indians (9)
Their 12-8 record isn't necessarily eye-popping, but the Indians have turned it on lately due in part to impressive pitching performances. The Tribe has won nine of its past 12 games, allowing three runs or fewer in 11 of those 12 games. The Indians own the second-best ERA in the Majors at 2.57.

The rest of the Top 20
6. Angels (4)
7. Cardinals (13)
8. Nationals (8)
9. Yankees (6)
10. Dodgers (10)
11. Cubs (7)
12. Blue Jays (12)
13. Brewers (16)
14. Phillies (17)
15. Rockies (15)
16. Twins (14)
17. Pirates (11)
18. Braves (19)
19. Mariners (18)
20. Giants (20)

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

Why A-Gon matters to Tigers with No. 1 pick

MLB.com @beckjason

The Tigers began their season three weeks ago, but for some, the most important moment of 2018 will come on June 4, when Detroit picks first in the MLB Draft. The team is giving fans a chance to go behind the scenes and follow the process as it prepares to make its pick.

It's not a scouting hire or a sweepstakes, but an online documentary showing the meetings and the decisions involved in making the first overall selection. The video, which went online Monday, introduces the decision-makers from general manager Al Avila to assistant GM David Chadd, amateur scouting director Scott Pleis and senior director of baseball analytics Jay Sartori. It includes a look inside the scouting meetings that took place at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla.

The Tigers began their season three weeks ago, but for some, the most important moment of 2018 will come on June 4, when Detroit picks first in the MLB Draft. The team is giving fans a chance to go behind the scenes and follow the process as it prepares to make its pick.

It's not a scouting hire or a sweepstakes, but an online documentary showing the meetings and the decisions involved in making the first overall selection. The video, which went online Monday, introduces the decision-makers from general manager Al Avila to assistant GM David Chadd, amateur scouting director Scott Pleis and senior director of baseball analytics Jay Sartori. It includes a look inside the scouting meetings that took place at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla.

While Detroit is picking first overall for the first time since 1997, the club is no strangers to the process. Avila was the Marlins' scouting director and Chadd a Marlins scout when the team selected Adrian Gonzalez with the top overall pick in 2000 after selecting Josh Beckett with the second overall pick a year earlier.

Video: Mayo on if Kelenic would be a reach for the Tigers

They explain the decisions and factors that went into the Gonzalez pick -- projecting the high school first baseman getting stronger despite his relatively thin frame as a teenager -- while Chadd reflects on his experience as the Red Sox's scouting director when Boston used a second-round pick in 2004 on an undersized infielder and future American League MVP Award winner named Dustin Pedroia.

"Adrian was a high-risk kind of player because he was a high school first baseman," Avila said. "If you look at the history of the Draft, very few high school first basemen have made it to the big leagues, much less made a big impact. Back then, the question was: Is he going to have enough power to play first base in the big leagues?

"He was a very slim guy. If you look at his history and his family, they were big, strong guys, and you could see him developing into a much bigger, stronger player."

Gonzalez has hit 313 career home runs to go with a .288 batting average and an .846 OPS over a 15-year Major League career with the Rangers, Padres, Red Sox, Dodgers and now the Mets. The Marlins traded him as a prospect to Texas to acquire closer Ugueth Urbina during their 2003 run to the World Series.

"The important thing is to do everything you can to know the player on the field, off the field, how he competes, how he handles adversity and get as many looks as you can so you can make the best decision you can at that moment in time on June 4," Pleis said.

The video also examines the role analytics will play, from grading the current field to looking back on top picks throughout history to finding common tendencies of success.

"You have a chance to maybe take a player that's going to have an impact in your organization for many years to come," Chadd said.

Tigers radio broadcaster Dan Dickerson narrates the mini-doc. For hardcore baseball fans, it's an insightful look at the scouting considerations and careful projections that make the MLB Draft different than its counterparts in other sports. For casual fans, it's an introduction of sorts to the Draft and its role in the player development pipeline that is expected to fuel Detroit's return to chasing a title.

"It's just like a batter coming up to bat with the bases loaded," Avila said. "You have that adrenaline going, you get some butterflies, but it's more that type of excitement than pressure."

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

Detroit Tigers

Epstein: Ortiz asked for a trade in 2003

MLB.com

Three World Series rings and more than 500 homers later, it's hard to imagine the Red Sox once agonized over whether to play David Ortiz or Shea Hillenbrand.

But that was exactly the debate in Boston's front office during the 2003 season. Ortiz had been signed in January after the Twins non-tendered him following a .266/.348/.461 line with 58 home runs in 1,693 plate appearances. Hillenbrand was coming off an All-Star sophomore campaign. With Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller manning the corner infield slots, Theo Epstein had a roster crunch and a key decision to make.

Three World Series rings and more than 500 homers later, it's hard to imagine the Red Sox once agonized over whether to play David Ortiz or Shea Hillenbrand.

But that was exactly the debate in Boston's front office during the 2003 season. Ortiz had been signed in January after the Twins non-tendered him following a .266/.348/.461 line with 58 home runs in 1,693 plate appearances. Hillenbrand was coming off an All-Star sophomore campaign. With Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller manning the corner infield slots, Theo Epstein had a roster crunch and a key decision to make.

Boston's GM at the time, now the Cubs' president of baseball operations, explained on this week's episode of Executive Access:

"David Ortiz hit all of two home runs in the first [two months] of the 2003 season and in mid-May had his agent come and ask me for a trade to somewhere he could play more regularly," Epstein said. "Fernando Cuza came to talk to me and I told Cuza at the time that David was someone we wanted to get everyday at-bats, but we just needed to pare down the roster a little bit. We ended up trading Hillenbrand instead of David Ortiz, so I guess that was a good decision in hindsight. David got regular playing time and ended up hitting close to 30 homers in the second half of the season and was off and running as Big Papi."

Hillenbrand was dealt to Arizona for Byung-Hyun Kim in late May, Ortiz finished the season with 31 homers and the Red Sox went on to win their first World Series since 1918 a year later.

To hear more from Epstein, including how the Red Sox almost hired Joe Maddon instead of Terry Francona, listen to the full episode of Executive Access here:

On Executive Access, MLB.com executive reporter Mark Feinsand provides a unique look at the people building Major League teams by engaging in candid interviews with front-office personnel from around MLB. Each week, you'll find out how they broke into the game, why they do what they do and how they envision the future of baseball. Look out for new episodes on Tuesdays. Download, subscribe and help others find the show by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite platform.

Bryant not in Tuesday's lineup after beaning

MLB.com @castrovince

CLEVELAND -- After getting hit in the head by a fastball from Rockies starter German Marquez on Sunday, Kris Bryant passed all concussion tests and took indoor batting practice Tuesday. But Bryant was not in the Cubs' starting lineup for the series opener against the Indians at Progressive Field.

"He wanted to see the doctor and do all the normal stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "I think he's fine. He just has to work through some things."

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CLEVELAND -- After getting hit in the head by a fastball from Rockies starter German Marquez on Sunday, Kris Bryant passed all concussion tests and took indoor batting practice Tuesday. But Bryant was not in the Cubs' starting lineup for the series opener against the Indians at Progressive Field.

"He wanted to see the doctor and do all the normal stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "I think he's fine. He just has to work through some things."

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Maddon was not ruling out the possibility of Bryant being available off the bench for Tuesday's tilt, which was threatened by rain. Tommy La Stella got the start at third base. Addison Russell was in the starting lineup at shortstop despite a brief hospitalization in Colorado following an allergic reaction to the Cubs' postgame meal Sunday.

Bryant's visit with a doctor was, in Maddon's words, about "validation."

"Getting hit in the head is kind of a traumatic experience, especially at 96 [mph]," Maddon said. "That's probably the first time that's happened to him."

After being struck by Marquez's 1-2 pitch in the brim of his helmet, Bryant walked to the dugout. He stayed on his feet while talking to Maddon and team trainers before he was helped off the field. He had a small laceration above his left eye from his sunglasses.

Bryant is hitting .319/.467/.536 (22-for-69) with two homers, seven doubles and 11 RBIs through 19 games this season, his fourth in the big leagues.

Russell has shellfish scare
Because of a shellfish allergy, Russell is ordinarily diligent about what he eats. But what he thought was lemon chicken in the postgame meal in Denver on Sunday turned out to be shrimp, and Russell wound up carted out of the clubhouse on a gurney and transported to a nearby hospital.

"I had an IV put in," Russell said. "After a couple hours, everything was fine."

Russell said he hadn't had an allergic episode since he was much younger.

"Nowadays, I'm pretty proactive when going to places that have sushi and stuff," Russell said. "Normally it doesn't happen like this, but it was just a mislabel. I'm glad everything is feeling normal, my vitals are normal and it's back to the same routine."

The room where it happened
The carpet was new, and so was the speaker system. The Cubs had done a number on the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field in their wild celebration of a wild Game 7 in 2016, so the clubhouse staff had made some updates since the Cubs last set foot in the facility.

"That was probably necessary," Maddon said with a smile.

But despite those small tweaks, the clubhouse looked familiar enough to evoke some very pleasant memories for the remaining members of the 2016 Cubs.

"Just walking into this stadium from the bus into the clubhouse, you just get a sense of nostalgia," Russell said. "The weight room, the food room, all that stuff, I just remember walking around here with that world champions shirt. Everything's just fitting like a puzzle piece right now, and it's pretty awesome to be a part of."

Tweet from @Cubs: Hello, Cleveland. It���s fantastic to see you. pic.twitter.com/TPUWQNVjTc

When Maddon walked by the visitors' weight room where Jason Heyward gave his famous rain delay pump-up speech prior to the 10th inning of Game 7, he noted to recent acquisition Yu Darvish, "That's a pretty important room right there."

And of course it was fitting that when the Cubs returned, the rain arrived to Cleveland, just as it had on Nov. 2, 2016.

"Picking up where we left off here," Maddon joked.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

Hosmer placed on family medical leave list

MLB.com

The Padres placed Eric Hosmer on the family medical leave list and selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Eric Lauer on Tuesday.

The club also designated left-handed pitcher Buddy Baumann for assignment.

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The Padres placed Eric Hosmer on the family medical leave list and selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Eric Lauer on Tuesday.

The club also designated left-handed pitcher Buddy Baumann for assignment.

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San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer

13 great pitcher reactions to incredible catches

We like to think that pitchers are in control. They dictate the pace and flow of the game. With sheer strength of will, they can overpower batters and keep them from hitting it in play. Or, through pinpoint control, they can influence the direction the ball is hit.

But, just like all of us, they are subject to the whims and passing fancies of chaos. That's where the fielders come in.

Japanese iron man who broke Gehrig's mark dies

On Sept. 6, 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's seemingly unbreakable streak of 2,130 consecutive games played. Confetti flew, balloons floated into the air and Cal took a full lap around Camden Yards to celebrate a seminal moment in baseball history. Even President Bill Clinton was in attendance.

But that wasn't the last mark that Ripken had to break. While he'd passed Gehrig to become MLB's iron man, the worldwide professional record sat at 2,215 -- held by Japan's Sachio Kinugasa, a remarkable player and person who passed away on Monday at the age of 71.

Harvey's 'pen move could be game-changer

MLB.com

Ultimately no one -- not the Mets, not manager Mickey Callaway, not pitching coach Dave Eiland and not Matt Harvey himself -- knows how this new chapter in Harvey's career will turn out.

That Harvey has ended up in the bullpen in New York is somewhat surprising, and it's arguable he deserved a shot at one more start given that he finished strong in his last outing against Atlanta and looked good when he toed the rubber against Philadelphia in his first start of the year, pitching with much more conviction than we saw last season.

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Ultimately no one -- not the Mets, not manager Mickey Callaway, not pitching coach Dave Eiland and not Matt Harvey himself -- knows how this new chapter in Harvey's career will turn out.

That Harvey has ended up in the bullpen in New York is somewhat surprising, and it's arguable he deserved a shot at one more start given that he finished strong in his last outing against Atlanta and looked good when he toed the rubber against Philadelphia in his first start of the year, pitching with much more conviction than we saw last season.

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With that said, Harvey has a 6.57 ERA over the past two seasons, so the decision is certainly defensible, and he will be available out of the bullpen tonight against St. Louis for the first time. And if he embraces his new role, I see him helping the club in relief and pitching his way back into the starting rotation.

It's almost certain the Mets prefer that outcome has well. The health of their staff is still a question mark, especially with Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz, who haven't yet shown they can stay healthy and pitch effectively for a whole season. That uncertainty leaves a window open for Harvey, but he needs to find some of the stuff that made him so dominant in the past.

How relief could help Harvey
Harvey's average fastball velocity has fallen from 96.5 mph in 2015 to a career-low 92.6 mph so far in 2018. His slider has lacked consistency, and his changeup has lacked finish -- he's allowed a .385 batting average and a .692 slugging percentage on that pitch this year.

Pitching out of the bullpen should help Harvey's stuff "play up." We should see an increase in his fastball velocity -- which is typical when guys move to the 'pen -- and a better, harder slider in these shorter relief stints. Harvey's changeup might pose more of a challenge, as it's a tougher pitch to find the feel for over a brief relief outing.

But most importantly, Harvey needs to use this time as a reliever to find his command within the zone. His walk rate is low (4.5 percent), which is encouraging, but without elite velocity, he needs to hit the corners more, and this has been an issue for him since he had surgery to alleviate Thoracic outlet syndrome in June 2016. Returning from that condition is still an uneven proposition, and pitchers who have made successful returns to the rotation after pitching in the bullpen -- specifically, the Royals' Danny Duffy and the Indians' Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer -- haven't had the same type of injuries that Harvey has.

Those four test cases are relevant here, though, as Callaway worked with Salazar, Carrasco and Bauer in Cleveland, and Eiland with Duffy in K.C. Those guys know how the bullpen can help starters revive their careers, and Callaway and Eiland are presumably selling Harvey on that fact. He's set for free agency this winter, and he would certainly like to hit the market being able to sell himself as a starter.

Of course, the Mets' bullpen isn't just a place for Harvey to work on regaining his old form. He'll be having an actual impact on whether the team wins games.

Video: NYM@ATL: Mets TV booth on Harvey's move to bullpen

Harvey's bullpen role
So what exactly will Harvey's relief role be? The Mets do seem to have need for a right-handed bridge to closer Jeurys Familia, with AJ Ramos struggling of late and free-agent setup-man signing Anthony Swarzak likely still out at least a few more weeks with a sore left oblique. But it's not clear that those high-leverage innings would go to Harvey.

For one thing, even though Ramos has a 4.00 ERA this season (and has had a poor 2018 by some advanced metrics, like his 6.44 xFIP), he has a track record of success as a closer, which allows him more rope in a late-inning role. He's held lefties to a .196 batting average in his career, and righties to a .198 batting average, consistency that should convince Callaway to give Ramos more full innings of work.

Robert Gsellman will also see more action in the high-leveraged innings if he continues his early-season success -- Gsellman has a 2.19 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings over his 10 relief outings.

That would leave Harvey to pitch in the lower-leverage innings for the time being, in a long man or swingman-type role, something more akin to the way the club has been using Seth Lugo and Paul Sewald. Figuring out how to warm up and establish his pitches from the beginning might take an outing or two, but once he gets used to that, if Harvey can throw his pitches with conviction in his relief outings, that will be a good sign for the Mets.

How will this play out?
Pitching out of the bullpen temporarily should give Harvey the opportunity he needs to get back on track, even though he's never pitched in relief as a professional other than one unique outing last September when he piggybacked Noah Syndergaard in Thor's return from a right lat injury. Harvey is capable of adapting to the role and taking advantage of it.

Right now, the Mets have Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom locked into the top two spots of their rotation, followed by Matz, Wheeler and Jason Vargas, who is set to return vs. the Padres from an injury to his non-pitching hand on Saturday. Those final three spots are from sure things, and Harvey could easily make his way back into the rotation if he can gain some confidence in the 'pen, especially if he thrives in multi-inning stints.

Ultimately, I expect Harvey's move to the bullpen to be a temporary one. He should eventually return to the Mets' rotation -- and not only that, pitch effectively, even if not as an ace anymore, at least as a back-end starter.

Jim Duquette is a columnist for MLB.com.

New York Mets, Matt Harvey

Pham returns to Cardinals lineup vs. Mets

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- Tommy Pham returned to the top of the Cardinals lineup for Tuesday's opener of a three-game series against the Mets, healed from a minor groin injury that sidelined the center fielder for the better part of last week.

Pham started just one of the club's last four games after feeling tightness in his right groin late in a cold-weather win in Chicago last week. He passed a series of tests the following day and did not require an MRI, though the Cardinals and Pham want to treat the injury cautiously.

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ST. LOUIS -- Tommy Pham returned to the top of the Cardinals lineup for Tuesday's opener of a three-game series against the Mets, healed from a minor groin injury that sidelined the center fielder for the better part of last week.

Pham started just one of the club's last four games after feeling tightness in his right groin late in a cold-weather win in Chicago last week. He passed a series of tests the following day and did not require an MRI, though the Cardinals and Pham want to treat the injury cautiously.

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He was batting second in manager Mike Matheny's lineup on Tuesday.

Coming off a breakout 2017 season, Pham has once again been one of the Cardinals' most complete players. He is hitting .318 with 21 hits in 19 games this season, and leads St. Louis in runs (18), stolen bases (five), on-base percentage (.444), walk rate (18.5 percent) and WAR (1.0).

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham

Royals activate Salvy, Gordon from DL

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has reinstated outfielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez from the disabled list, returning both from rehab assignments. Gordon had been on the disabled list since April 10 (retroactive to April 9) with a left hip labral tear, while Perez had been sidelined since Opening Day with a left knee sprain. To make room on the 25-man roster, the club optioned catcher Cam Gallagher and outfielder Paulo Orlando to Omaha. 

The Royals also recalled left-handed pitcher Eric Stout from Omaha and placed right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm on the 10-day disabled list (lower back stiffness). Grimm's DL stint is retroactive to April 22, making him eligible for reinstatement on May 2. Stout, 25, has made five appearances with the Storm Chasers this season, pitching to a 4.70 ERA (4 ER in 7.2 IP), while holding the opposition to a .214 batting average. He has yet to make his Major League debut.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has reinstated outfielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez from the disabled list, returning both from rehab assignments. Gordon had been on the disabled list since April 10 (retroactive to April 9) with a left hip labral tear, while Perez had been sidelined since Opening Day with a left knee sprain. To make room on the 25-man roster, the club optioned catcher Cam Gallagher and outfielder Paulo Orlando to Omaha. 

The Royals also recalled left-handed pitcher Eric Stout from Omaha and placed right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm on the 10-day disabled list (lower back stiffness). Grimm's DL stint is retroactive to April 22, making him eligible for reinstatement on May 2. Stout, 25, has made five appearances with the Storm Chasers this season, pitching to a 4.70 ERA (4 ER in 7.2 IP), while holding the opposition to a .214 batting average. He has yet to make his Major League debut.

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Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez

Rays-O's rained out; makeup on May 12 as DH

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- Tuesday's series opener between the Orioles and Rays was postponed due to inclement weather. The game, which was supposed to be Alex Cobb against Jake Faria, will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday, May 12. The Orioles will start Cobb on Wednesday and Faria will take the ball for the Rays, who will pitch Chris Archer on Thursday. 

The first game of the May 12 doubleheader will begin at 3:05 p.m. ET, followed by the regularly scheduled game approximately 30 minutes after the first game concludes.

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BALTIMORE -- Tuesday's series opener between the Orioles and Rays was postponed due to inclement weather. The game, which was supposed to be Alex Cobb against Jake Faria, will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday, May 12. The Orioles will start Cobb on Wednesday and Faria will take the ball for the Rays, who will pitch Chris Archer on Thursday. 

The first game of the May 12 doubleheader will begin at 3:05 p.m. ET, followed by the regularly scheduled game approximately 30 minutes after the first game concludes.

View Full Game Coverage

Tuesday's game marks the first Orioles home rainout of the year. They were also rained out in Boston on April 26. It also comes at a key time, given that the O's are banged up. Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo and Zach Britton are on the disabled list, and Tim Beckham is headed that way and not playing well. The club has also lost 11 of its past 13 games.

Tickets and parking for Tuesday's postponed game will not be automatically honored for the May 12 doubleheader. Fans must exchange the value of their tickets and parking from Tuesday's game at the Oriole Park box office toward any remaining home game this season, including the May 12 doubleheader, based on availability.

Fans who purchased tickets on StubHub for Tuesday's game will need to contact StubHub regarding their policy for postponed events.

Fans holding tickets for the originally scheduled 7:05 p.m. game on Saturday, May 12, should use those tickets for both games of the doubleheader.

All ballpark gates will open at 2 p.m., and the parking lots will open at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on MASN2 and on the Orioles Radio Network, including flagship station 105.7 The Fan.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays

Jenny Cavnar makes history with play-by-play

Jenny Cavnar is no stranger to the game of baseball -- she's been working in MLB for 12 years. And on Monday night, she became the first woman since 1993 to do play-by-play on a big league telecast. 

"I am very excited about tonight," Cavnar told MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "I'm really honored on the historical context of it, but I'm more so excited for the team effort. We have such a great team of broadcasters, producers, directors -- so it'll be really fun to collaborate with them and do the game tonight."

Strained hamstring lands Avisail on DL

Gonzalez being cautious with rotator cuff inflammation; Rodon tosses extended ST game
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained right hamstring he sustained while running to first during the second inning of the White Sox 10-4 victory over the Mariners on Monday.

Manager Rick Renteria hopes his right fielder won't be out of action for an extended period.

CHICAGO -- White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained right hamstring he sustained while running to first during the second inning of the White Sox 10-4 victory over the Mariners on Monday.

Manager Rick Renteria hopes his right fielder won't be out of action for an extended period.

"Looking at it, it's considered mild to moderate," Renteria said. "So depending on how quickly he's able to heal and the exercises they do to put him back on track, we're hoping it's not a long, extended DL stint.

"I don't see it that way. But we'll see where it's at in a few days after he's calmed it down and they're doing what they need to do with it."

Garcia, 26, came up lame as he was running out a grounder Monday and then tumbled over first base. He was helped off the field by head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and assistant athletic trainer Brian Ball. Garcia is hitting .233 with one home run, four RBIs and five runs scored this season, coming off an All-Star campaign in 2017.

Daniel Palka, 26, was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to take Garcia's place. Palka is Chicago's No. 30 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and the left-handed slugger should get a chance to show a little bit of his potential as part of the White Sox rebuild.

Video: CIN@CWS: Palka hammers a solo homer in the 3rd

"My game is pretty obvious to most," said Palka, who was batting .286 with three doubles, three home runs, seven RBIs and 11 runs scored in 17 games for Charlotte this season. "It's going to be my bat. Come out Day 1 in whatever role there is, whatever role needs to be filled, just be consistent in that role."

"We'll try to take advantage of what he brings to the table," Renteria said. "We also want to find out what he's going to be able to do here. He had a nice showing in the spring. Obviously comes with a lot of power, and maybe we can take advantage of that a little bit."

Palka, who will wear No. 18, was claimed off of waivers from the Twins on Nov. 4, 2017. He has no previous Major League time.

Gonzalez being cautious
Miguel Gonzalez knew there was something wrong after his last start on April 17 in Oakland, where he allowed eight runs over three innings.

"It was grabbing on pretty hard," said Gonzalez, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Tuesday with right rotator cuff inflammation. "It didn't feel good. It wasn't right. A lot of inflammation.

"That's something we can control. Have a couple of days off and then be ready to go."

Video: CWS@OAK: Gonzalez strikes out Davis in the 3rd

Gonzalez missed from June 15-July 17 last year due to A/C joint inflammation in his right shoulder. He had a 1-8 record with a 6.79 ERA in trying to pitch with the discomfort last season, and although he will be eligible to return against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Tuesday, Gonzalez knows it will take more time.

"We are going to take our time a little more just to make sure that everything is all right," Gonzalez said. "Nothing serious. Give it time to get better."

Rodon back in action
Carlos Rodon threw three innings and 34 pitches on Monday in an extended spring training game at the Reds in his return from arthroscopic shoulder surgery last September.

Closing thought
"You can tell guys are uncomfortable from the start. It's always good to play defense when he's pitching. He looks awesome. It's dominant." -- Palka, on playing with right-hander Michael Kopech, the White Sox No. 2 prospect and the No. 10 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Avisail Garcia, Daniel Palka

This is why Stanton is about to break out

Slugger's strikeout rate is up to 33 percent, but exit velocity is up, too
MLB.com @mike_petriello

Each week on the Statcast™ Podcast, hosts Mike Petriello and Matt Meyers dig into the world of Statcast™ and advanced metrics, exploring the most important topics in baseball through the lens of the groundbreaking Statcast™ technology. Download, subscribe and help others find the show by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite platform.

Giancarlo Stanton's first few weeks in pinstripes haven't exactly gone as planned, to say the least. He's already been booed. Stanton has been dropped in the lineup, swapping places with Didi Gregorius. On the whole, he hasn't looked all that much like the monster slugger who edged out Joey Votto to win the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player Award, and any time a star comes to the Bronx and gets off to a slow start -- he was hitting .185/.283/.395 entering Monday's game -- fans begin to worry.

Each week on the Statcast™ Podcast, hosts Mike Petriello and Matt Meyers dig into the world of Statcast™ and advanced metrics, exploring the most important topics in baseball through the lens of the groundbreaking Statcast™ technology. Download, subscribe and help others find the show by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite platform.

Giancarlo Stanton's first few weeks in pinstripes haven't exactly gone as planned, to say the least. He's already been booed. Stanton has been dropped in the lineup, swapping places with Didi Gregorius. On the whole, he hasn't looked all that much like the monster slugger who edged out Joey Votto to win the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player Award, and any time a star comes to the Bronx and gets off to a slow start -- he was hitting .185/.283/.395 entering Monday's game -- fans begin to worry.

Should they? Stanton's slump was a topic of this week's Statcast™ podcast, as we dug into what the data says about his slow start. The takeaway is that his early slump is concerning, but it's not like we've never seen him do this before -- and his 4-for-4 performance on Monday, including a 435-foot home run, may be the sign that the tide is turning.

While Stanton was the first "exit velocity hero" when Statcast™ came online in 2015, leading the Majors with a 95.9 mph average exit velocity that year, what was most fascinating about the success that followed was that he stopped hitting it quite so hard, seemingly trading top-end power for a better contact rate.

2015 -- 29.9 percent strikeout rate, 95.9 mph exit velocity
2016 -- 29.8 percent strikeout rate, 93.8 mph exit velocity
2017 -- 23.6 percent strikeout rate, 91.9 mph exit velocity

But so far in 2018, that trend has changed. Stanton's exit velocity is back up to 94.8 mph, a top-15 mark. Yet the strikeout rate, which had dropped almost to league average in '17, is back up to 33 percent. That's a strikeout one-third of the time, and it's essentially one of the 10 highest in the game.

So what's going on? Let's first prove the fact that we have seen this before.

Since Stanton's June 2010 debut, he's played in 43 months. Let's look only at the 41 months in which he had at least 40 plate appearances to see where the first month of the '18 season ranks in some important metrics.

33 percent strikeout rate: Sixth highest
Even in today's whiff-happy game, a 33 percent strikeout rate is high. Even so, we've seen Stanton go through these stretches before. Now, one of those was his first season in the big leagues, when he whiffed 38.3 percent of the time in June 2010. Stanton was at 37 percent in September/October 2012, and between 33-35 percent in three other months, too. Remember when he went through that terrible summer slump in '16? We've seen this before.

53 percent ground-ball rate: Third highest
While most of Stanton's issues are about making contact, it's not entirely about that, either. More than half of the balls that he is making contact with are ending up on the ground, the third-highest mark of his career, behind only last September (58 percent) and July 2011 (56 percent). Even when you hit as hard as Stanton does, getting it in the air is important.

30.2 percent opposite field rate: Second highest (tied)
Speaking of unexpected batted-balls tendencies ... Stanton is also hitting a shockingly high number of balls to the opposite field. For his career, he's pulled 43 percent of his batted balls, and put 21 percent to the opposite field. So far this month, Stanton is hitting nearly one-third of them to the opposite field, tied with May 2014, and behind only September 2014 (35 percent), when he hit just .230.

Video: TOR@NYY: Stanton drills a two-run home run to right

.342 Weighted On-Base Average: 10th lowest
Think of wOBA as being like OBP, except it gives more credit for extra-base hits, which is important to someone like Stanton. The Major League average wOBA this year, excluding pitchers, is .319. Right away, that should tell you something: Even a month that makes us wonder what's wrong with Stanton is still an above-average month. If you like OPS+, he's 10 percent better than average. If you like wRC+, he's 14 percent better than average. So yes, for Stanton, this is below average. For everyone else, this is a good month.

.362 Expected Weighted On-Base Average: Eighth lowest (of 16)
This one goes back only until the start of 2015, so it's only of 16 months, not Stanton's full career. This metric is basically the same as wOBA, except that instead of telling you what actually happened, it tells you what was expected to happen, based on the qualities of batted-ball contact, along with strikeouts and walks. (Think about it this way; if a batter crushes a ball that's a hit 98 percent of the time, but he is robbed by a fantastic defensive play, he'll get an out in the box score, but we still want to credit him for the skill he showed in squaring the ball up.)

This mark, believe it or not, is only slightly below Stanton's .378 total xwOBA since 2015. This is a slow start for him, but based on the underlying characteristics, not by as much as you'd think.

We've seen Stanton do this, and worse, before. He's always bounced back. There's no reason to think he won't again -- and Monday's great game might be the start of the turnaround.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton