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Betts extends his record for Red Sox leadoff HRs

Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts continued to torment the Angels on Thursday night, as he led off the game with a home run down the left-field line.

It was the 13th leadoff homer of Betts' career, extending his Red Sox record. He also hit a leadoff homer in Tuesday's opener against the Halos, when he had his third career three-homer game.

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ANAHEIM -- Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts continued to torment the Angels on Thursday night, as he led off the game with a home run down the left-field line.

It was the 13th leadoff homer of Betts' career, extending his Red Sox record. He also hit a leadoff homer in Tuesday's opener against the Halos, when he had his third career three-homer game.

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Betts has six home runs this season, four of which have come this series.

Betts' performance has been part of a power surge for the Red Sox to open their three-city, nine-game road trip. His leadoff homer was Boston's 10th home run of the series.

The last time the Red Sox hit 10 home runs in a three-game series was June 2003, against the Marlins. The last time they did it on the road was in 1997, at Toronto.

Betts has reached base to begin eight of the 16 games he has started in the leadoff spot. He also has a hit in 13 of his last 15 games.

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts

Another night, another historic HR for Judge

Slugger the fastest to 61 career long balls in terms of games played
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge connected for another historic home run in Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays, becoming the fastest player to reach 61 career blasts in terms of games played.

The reigning American League Rookie of the Year launched a seventh-inning drive off reliever Tyler Clippard. The solo shot to left field, his fifth of the season, came in his 199th career game and gave the Yankees a two-run lead.

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NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge connected for another historic home run in Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays, becoming the fastest player to reach 61 career blasts in terms of games played.

The reigning American League Rookie of the Year launched a seventh-inning drive off reliever Tyler Clippard. The solo shot to left field, his fifth of the season, came in his 199th career game and gave the Yankees a two-run lead.

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"I just try to pick one out that I can drive," said Judge, who finished 1-for-3 with a walk. "They're going to try to nibble, work it in and work it out. It's just about staying disciplined, especially with the team we've got. I've just got to get on base.

"If they're going to walk me or pitch around me, I'll get on base for Gary [Sanchez], get on base for [Giancarlo] Stanton. That's all I've got to do."

The homer was calculated by Statcast™ to have come off of the bat at 105.8 mph, and it traveled a projected distance of 394 feet.

It also broke a record held by Mark McGwire, who hit 61 homers in 204 games for the 1987-88 Athletics. On Monday, Judge broke McGwire's record as the fastest player to reach 60 career home runs.

Judge has reached base safely in 13 of his 14 games this month, batting .380 with 15 runs, two doubles, five homers, 12 RBIs and 15 walks. He has hit safely in 13 of those 14 games, and has reached base safely in each of his last 23 home games dating back to Sept. 3, 2017.

"We get it from our teammates," Judge said. "Everybody in this clubhouse is always going 100 percent. It doesn't matter if it's the first inning of the game or the ninth. We've got to match that energy."

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

That's one way to turn a triple play, Mariners

After grounding into double play, Astros' Gattis wanders off first base and is tagged out
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Evan Gattis said he knew how many outs there were, he just was mad at himself for grounding into a double play.

Seconds later, the Astros' veteran designated hitter realized he'd instead wound up wandering into the first triple play in the Majors this season when he was tagged off first base by the Mariners in the fourth inning of Houston's 9-2 victory Thursday at Safeco Field.

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SEATTLE -- Evan Gattis said he knew how many outs there were, he just was mad at himself for grounding into a double play.

Seconds later, the Astros' veteran designated hitter realized he'd instead wound up wandering into the first triple play in the Majors this season when he was tagged off first base by the Mariners in the fourth inning of Houston's 9-2 victory Thursday at Safeco Field.

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The Astros had runners at first and second with no one out when Gattis hit a hard grounder to Kyle Seager at third. Seager stepped on the bag and threw to second baseman Robinson Cano for a double play.

Gattis made it to first base and walked off the bag toward the middle of the infield. The Mariners started pointing at Gattis, and first baseman Daniel Vogelbach tagged him for the third out.

After the game, Gattis walked to his locker and said, "Who wants to ask me about my dumb play?"

Everyone did.

"It was just a mistake,'' Gattis said. "I knew how many outs there were. It was about grounding into a double play. At the time I wanted to laugh on the inside because of how stupid it was. It was a 0-0 game. I think I got so mad I couldn't think straight. It's ridiculous."

Astros manager AJ Hinch wasn't sure how it happened.

"That was an ugly play and clearly not something we want to see happen,'' Hinch said.

Video: Must C Classic: Mariners turn an odd triple play

It was the first triple play turned by the Mariners since 2015 and 12th the club has turned in franchise history. It marked the first triple play the Astros hit into since George Springer did so in 2016, and their ninth in club history.

Video: HOU@CWS: Frazier starts a 5-4-3 triple play

Seager watched the play unfold after his quick throw to second and was surprised Cano didn't try to relay the ball to first for an initial triple-play attempt, with Gattis slow out of the box on the checked-swing hopper.

"I'd never been part of a triple play," Seager said. "That was pretty cool. It was an interesting one, as well. When I threw it to Robbie and he didn't throw it [to first] I was like, 'Oh man, he was going to be safe either way, but you might as well try it.' Then we ended up getting him anyway, so Robbie was a genius."

Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales was the recipient of the quick three outs to get out of the inning. He, too, said it was the first triple play of his career.

"It was a freak one, but I'll take it," Gonzales said. "I had no idea where Robbie was throwing the ball. It made me question how many outs there were."

Video: HOU@SEA: Correa stays in game after getting shaken up

It was an unusual inning even before the crazy triple play. After Jose Altuve walked to start the fourth, Carlos Correa fouled a pitch off his left knee and fell to the dirt in obvious pain. After walking it off and talking to Hinch and a team trainer, Correa remained in the game.

Moments later Correa scorched a 99-mph liner back to the mound that Gonzales managed to keep from hitting his face by getting his glove up just in time to deflect the ball away. That put two runners on to set up the triple play.

Video: HOU@SEA: Correa reaches on liner back to the pitcher

"I guess he was ticked after he fouled one off of him, so he took it out on me," Gonzales said. "It was one where you kind of see it off the bat and I almost had it. I'm just glad it didn't get me in the mouth."

Terry Blount is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB

Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Robinson Cano, Evan Gattis, Marco Gonzales, Kyle Seager

Wisler stifles Mets as Braves hammer Harvey

Suzuki homers, Tucker racks up career-high 5 RBIs to fuel rout
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- The .215 career hitter who filled the Braves' third-base void after signing on the last day of Spring Training entered Thursday leading the National League in hitting. The guy assigned to keep left field warm until Ronald Acuna Jr. is called up ranks among the league leaders in RBIs. And the MVP candidate was back in the lineup 24 hours after fearing he might have fractured his left wrist for a second straight season.

With all this good fortune for the Braves, maybe the gem Matt Wisler produced in Thursday night's 12-4 win over the Mets shouldn't have seemed too surprising. Called up to make an emergency start, Wisler surrendered two hits over seven innings and had plenty of support from Preston Tucker's career-best five-RBI game.

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ATLANTA -- The .215 career hitter who filled the Braves' third-base void after signing on the last day of Spring Training entered Thursday leading the National League in hitting. The guy assigned to keep left field warm until Ronald Acuna Jr. is called up ranks among the league leaders in RBIs. And the MVP candidate was back in the lineup 24 hours after fearing he might have fractured his left wrist for a second straight season.

With all this good fortune for the Braves, maybe the gem Matt Wisler produced in Thursday night's 12-4 win over the Mets shouldn't have seemed too surprising. Called up to make an emergency start, Wisler surrendered two hits over seven innings and had plenty of support from Preston Tucker's career-best five-RBI game.

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"I think it's about opportunities," Tucker said. "With a team like this, we have so much depth that I think it doesn't really matter who we have in the lineup. We expect everyone to produce and help us win games."

Video: NYM@ATL: Tucker doubles twice, drives in five in win

There is something very intriguing about this Braves team that does not resemble the clubs from the past three years of the rebuilding process. Starting catcher Tyler Flowers has been out since Opening Day and top prospect Acuna has not earned the chance to bring his tremendous talent to the Majors.

But with third baseman Ryan Flaherty consistently providing quality at-bats and Tucker matching Bryce Harper's NL-leading RBI total (18), the Braves still find themselves in good shape, just two games behind the National League East-leading Mets.

"Everybody has taken advantage of the situation," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Tucker was hot all spring, and he's carried into the season. Flaherty has just been a really great addition. Then you see 'Wis' come in and do this."

Video: NYM@ATL: Snitker on Wisler's strong start in 12-4 win

Wisler received a call around midnight that informed him he would be coming up from Triple-A Gwinnett to make this start in place of Anibal Sanchez, who strained his right hamstring while running sprints on Wednesday. Unfazed by the sudden assignment, Wisler was perfect through the first three innings, then retired 11 of the 12 hitters he faced after Asdrubal Cabrera singled with two outs in the fourth.

"That was the best I've seen Wisler," Snitker said. "He was just on the attack with all of his pitches. He had a really good breaking ball and he was locating his fastball. That was as aggressive as I've ever seen him."

Wisler found a good feel for his slider as he recorded eight strikeouts, with Todd Frazier's fifth-inning leadoff homer as the only damage incurred over seven innings. The former highly touted prospect, who faded into relative obscurity as he made just one Major League start last year, stands as the only Braves pitcher to complete at least seven innings this year.

Video: NYM@ATL: Frazier skies a solo home run to center

"Obviously, I know my track record," Wisler said. "I know the struggles I've had at times and the success I've had at times. For me this year, every time I take the mound I've got to prove something."

Kurt Suzuki, who has capably handled the catching position since Flowers strained his left oblique on Opening Day, highlighted the first inning with a two-run homer. Tucker increased his RBI total to 18 with a two-run double in the third and a three-run double in a four-run seventh.

Video: NYM@ATL: Suzuki crushes a two-out two-run homer

Once tests showed his left wrist was not fractured by the Hoby Milner pitch that hit him during Wednesday's win over the Phillies, Freddie Freeman made an immediate return to the lineup. He drilled a sacrifice fly in the first inning and capped a two-hit night with a single in the seventh.

Wisler was given an early cushion as the Braves tallied three runs against Matt Harvey in both the first and third innings. Freeman fittingly drove in the game's first run with a sacrifice fly. Approximately 21 hours earlier, he had walked off the field somewhat concerned about the possibility a pitch had fractured his left wrist for the second straight year.

Video: NYM@ATL: Freeman shows quick reflexes on diving catch

It's just been that kind of year for the Braves, who have seen their enhanced depth influence the good fortune thus far.

Video: NYM@ATL: Freeman lifts a sac fly to open the scoring

"I've tried to take advantage of the situation I've been put in," Tucker said. "I think a lot of these guys have too. We're in a good spot now and we're winning games and having fun."

Video: NYM@ATL: Tucker clears the bases with a double

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Opportunity knocks: Tucker has consistently heard about how he will likely lose his spot in the starting lineup once Acuna is called up. But the 27-year-old outfielder has remained focused and intent on taking advantage of the chance to prove he can be a legit offensive threat at the big league level. He capped the third with a two-run double and then cleared the bases with the three-run double he hit off Jerry Blevins in the seventh.

Video: NYM@ATL: Markakis plates Albies with a single

Extra fuel: Ozzie Albies recorded his MLB-high 15th extra-base hit when he doubled to begin the third inning. Albies scored when Nick Markakis delivered a RBI single ahead of consecutive doubles by Suzuki and Tucker against Harvey.

Video: NYM@ATL: Suzuki plates Albies with an double

SOUND SMART
• Suzuki has homered in three of this season's first 41 at-bats (13.7 AB/HR) and 18 times in 202 at-bats (11.2 AB/HR) dating back to July 1. He had 16 homers over 1,230 at-bats from 2014-16.

• Chipper Jones (17 in 1998, 16 in 2007), Dale Murphy (17 in 1985), Justin Upton (17 in 2013) and Freeman (16 in 2017) stand as the only Braves to record more extra-base hits than Albies by the end of April. The Braves have 10 games remaining this month.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, Johan Camargo entered in the eighth inning and immediately showed why he has the potential to be an elite defender. Playing third base, Camargo sprinted to his right and dived to snare a Jose Reyes foul ball just before it hit the dirt in front of the Mets' dugout.

Video: NYM@ATL: Camargo makes a diving catch in foul ground

Camargo's gem accounted for the only out recorded by Lucas Sims, who surrendered two hits, including Adrian Gonzalez's solo homer, and issued three walks during the Mets' three-run eighth.

"The way that inning was unraveling in the eighth, Camargo's play was huge just to get an out," Snitker said.

Video: NYM@ATL: Gonzalez smashes a solo homer to left center

HE SAID IT
"I've been feeling good. My last outing [for Gwinnett] was probably the best I've felt in two years. I put a lot into this offseason, and it's starting to pay off a little bit. There's obviously still a long way to go. I think I can still get better." -- Wisler

UP NEXT
Coming off two encouraging starts on the road, Sean Newcomb will look to extend his success Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET, when the Braves and Mets resume a four-game series at SunTrust Park. Newcomb struggled in his first home start this season, but the left-hander allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings on the recent road trip. Hard-throwing righty Noah Syndergaard makes the start for New York.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. Listen to his podcast.

Atlanta Braves, Freddie Freeman, Kurt Suzuki, Preston Tucker, Matt Wisler

Phils' Crawford scores from 1st ... on a single

During Spring Training, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler issued a motto that he hoped would define the team: #BeBold. Part of the motivation in that was that Kapler thought the team could surprise people with their performance in 2018.

As the Phillies took on the Pirates Thursday night, Cesar Hernandez and J.P. Crawford showed what being bold looks like on the field. With the bases loaded, two outs and facing a 3-2 count from Jameson Taillon in the second inning, Hernandez lined a single into center field. With all the baserunners in motion, Crawford scored from first. That's right. Hernandez hit a three-run single. Their first since 1978.

Arrieta (10 K's) dominant in win against Pirates

Right-hander hurls his best outing of season so far as Phils' bats come alive
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- It is one thing to say somebody has no-hit stuff. It is something entirely different to know how it feels to have no-hit stuff.

Jake Arrieta knows how it feels.

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PHILADELPHIA -- It is one thing to say somebody has no-hit stuff. It is something entirely different to know how it feels to have no-hit stuff.

Jake Arrieta knows how it feels.

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Video: PIT@PHI: Arrieta discusses his ?no-hit stuff? in win

He has thrown two no-hitters in his career. He felt he had similar stuff Thursday night in a 7-0 victory over the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Arrieta allowed one hit and two walks in seven scoreless innings. He struck out 10. It is the first time he pitched seven or more scoreless innings with one or fewer hits and 10 or more strikeouts since he threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 30, 2015.

"Yeah, it was good," Arrieta said. "Other than being able to locate the changeup a little better, it was about as good as I've been."

Arrieta's 10 strikeouts are his most in a game since he struck out 10 Brewers on April 9, 2017. He got 14 swings and misses against the Pirates, his most since he got 15 against the Dodgers on May 26, 2017. Arrieta had a combined nine swings and misses in his first two starts this year.

Video: PIT@PHI: Arrieta K's Cervelli for 10th strikeout

"That's the best movement and action I've seen on his fastball since 2015," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who has seen Arrieta pitch 18 times over the past three-plus seasons, including the postseason. "He was crisp tonight, all his pitches. He pitched extremely, extremely well."

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award with the Cubs in 2015. If Arrieta comes remotely close to replicating Thursday's performance every five days for the Phillies, the summer could be a lot of fun.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler believes that.

"Obviously you're going to get excited about Jake going out there every fifth day, if he's sort of the mid-range version of himself, which is still a very good starting pitcher," Kapler said. "And if he is a little bit better than his average self, he's unhittable. So therefore, I think there's a ton of reason to be excited about Jake going forward."

Video: PIT@PHI: Kapler on 7-0 win over the Pirates

Especially if Arrieta has his sinker working. It had heavy sink throughout the night.

"It's really difficult to square that pitch up, regardless of if it's middle-of-the-plate or inside to a guy or away from him," Arrieta said. "If you have tailing action or sink on your fastball, it's hard to square it up. I've seen that for years. I see how four-seam fastballs tend to get whacked pretty good if they're not in the right spot, so that's why I switched to predominantly throwing sinkers several years ago, and I've had tremendous success with doing that. Nights like tonight where I do have pretty much command at will, it just makes my job that much easier."

Arrieta's sinker also had extra life. It averaged 92.7 mph after averaging 91.8 mph in his first two starts. It topped out at 94.8 mph.

"Little extra pop on the fastball," Arrieta said. "Combining Spring Training and my three starts so far, that's probably only five or six starts. I was a little behind, but now I'm caught up."

Video: PIT@PHI: Arrieta catches a line drive to end the 6th

Arrieta allowed his only hit in the second inning when Francisco Cervelli hit a ball into the hole between third and shortstop. J.P. Crawford made a play on the ball, but his momentum prevented him from making a throw.

Video: PIT@PHI: Cervelli singles off Arrieta in the 2nd

Arrieta recorded four fly outs in the outfield. Otherwise, not a single ball left the infield.

"That was fun," Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro said. "Just put a finger down and he hit the glove. That was easy."

And there could be more to come.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Phillies had runners on first and second with no outs in the second inning, when Crawford attempted a sacrifice bunt up the third-base line. The sacrifice turned into a hit to load the bases. After Alfaro and Arrieta struck out swinging, Cesar Hernandez laced a line drive to center field for a two-out single. Nick Williams and Scott Kingery scored easily, but Crawford got a tremendous jump and also scored to hand the Phillies a 4-0 lead.

It was the 500th hit of Hernandez's career.

Video: PIT@PHI: Hernandez rips a three-run single in the 2nd

"When I reached first base [Jose] Flores said, 'Don't be too surprised that Crawford scored. I gave him a heads up and said if he hits a single you better score. I want you running,'" Hernandez said. "That hit was special to me because it was my 500th hit."

SOUND SMART
Arrieta is the first Phillies pitcher to record 10 or more strikeouts and one or fewer hits in a game since Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2015. Arrieta pitched for the Cubs that afternoon. It was his final loss of the season.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Rhys Hoskins' solo home run to left field in the second inning left his bat at 109.9 mph, making it the second hardest-hit home run of his career, according to Statcast™.

Video: PIT@PHI: Hoskins lines a solo homer to left

Hoskins hit a home run at 110.2 mph on Aug. 14 in San Diego. He remembers that one -- it was the first homer of his career.

HE SAID IT
"The one thing that might go unnoticed is Dusty [Wathan's] call at third base. He's been tremendous over there with his reads all season long, in particular today. I think it takes big stones to know what part of the lineup is coming up, the middle part of the lineup, and to score J.P. there is huge for us. It was a huge boost to the dugout. Everybody was fired up about that. Big ups to Dusty and to J.P. for getting a good jump on that ball and taking good, sharp turns around the bases and giving Dusty a chance to score him. I think that was a huge emotional lift for the club today." -- Kapler, on Crawford scoring on Hernandez's single in the second

Video: PIT@PHI: Crawford sprints 28.8 ft/sec first-to-home

UP NEXT
Phillies right-hander Ben Lively (0-1, 5.87 ERA) faces Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.88 ERA) on Friday night in the second game of a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park. Lively has struggled in his last two starts, allowing 16 hits, eight runs, two walks and two home runs in 9 2/3 innings. He has struck out 12. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

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

Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Arrieta

Vintage Greinke fuels D-backs' latest series win

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke threw seven outstanding innings and was backed by a pair of home runs as the D-backs beat the Giants, 3-1, on Thursday night at Chase Field and captured yet another series.

The D-backs have won all six of their three-game series to start the season and their 13-5 record matches the 2008 team for the best record after 18 games in franchise history.

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PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke threw seven outstanding innings and was backed by a pair of home runs as the D-backs beat the Giants, 3-1, on Thursday night at Chase Field and captured yet another series.

The D-backs have won all six of their three-game series to start the season and their 13-5 record matches the 2008 team for the best record after 18 games in franchise history.

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Brandon Belt touched Greinke for a homer to lead off the second inning, but that was the only damage the Giants could do against the right-hander, who allowed just three hits over seven innings to raise his record to 2-1.

The D-backs tied the game in the third on a David Peralta RBI single and then took the lead when A.J. Pollock led off the sixth with a homer.

Ketel Marte gave the D-backs some breathing room in the seventh with a solo homer.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Red Sox affiliate hosting 'Evil Empire' weekend

Few sports rivalries are as consistently heated and drama-filled as that between the Yankees and Red Sox. Each season, the two teams battle it out in the American League East, the rivalry growing deeper each game. 

For quite some time now, too, the Yankees have come to be known as the "Evil Empire" by their detractors, dating back to the George Steinbrenner era of the late 1990s. That, of course, is a "Star Wars" reference, with the aforementioned Empire the bad guys of George Lucas' universe, battling Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and the gang for galactic supremacy.

Here are some candidates to be Reds skipper

MLB.com @m_sheldon

After the Reds dismissed manager Bryan Price and installed Jim Riggleman as his interim replacement on Thursday, they appeared in no rush to immediately hire a new full-time skipper.

"It's premature to set a timetable on that," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "But the point is we will be doing a thorough and exhaustive search process to identify the full-time manager. We have good internal candidates, but it will be a process we will undergo. It makes more sense to do that towards the end of the season because any external candidates, for the most part, are not going to be available until then."

After the Reds dismissed manager Bryan Price and installed Jim Riggleman as his interim replacement on Thursday, they appeared in no rush to immediately hire a new full-time skipper.

"It's premature to set a timetable on that," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "But the point is we will be doing a thorough and exhaustive search process to identify the full-time manager. We have good internal candidates, but it will be a process we will undergo. It makes more sense to do that towards the end of the season because any external candidates, for the most part, are not going to be available until then."

Internally, Cincinnati could look to special assistant to the GM and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. John Farrell, most recently the manager of the Red Sox, was hired in March as a scout. Third-base coach Billy Hatcher has expressed a desire to manage in the past.

Reds dismiss Price; Riggleman named interim

Currently available outside the organization are former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and ex-Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus. There are also numerous former managers who currently work as coaches for other clubs, such as Fredi Gonzalez of the Marlins and Manny Acta of the Mariners.

The choice of Reds fans would seem to be Larkin, a Cincinnati native and shortstop for the club during his entire 19-season career from 1986-2004. After working as a television analyst for several years, Larkin returned to the organization in 2015 and works as a roving Minor League instructor.

However, Larkin has no Major League or Minor League managerial experience. He did manage Brazil in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, winning a qualifying round before going 0-3 in the tournament.

Farrell, who won a World Series with Boston in 2013, was hired by the Reds to provide an external scouting eye on the club's own players and others around the league. When his addition was announced, there was no indication that he could be a manager-in-waiting behind Price.

Ausmus, who currently works in the Angels' front office, managed the Tigers from 2014-17 and won an American League Central title his first season. He is considered to be a more analytical-minded manager, which would fit the trend among front offices around the Major Leagues.

Girardi did a lot of winning with the Yankees from 2008-17, including the '09 World Series title. But his end with the club came amid reports that he had struggled to connect with a younger clubhouse. Cincinnati has one of the youngest clubhouses in baseball, with only a few players over the age of 30.

Video: Williams on replacing Price, Riggleman on taking over

Then there is Riggleman, who has been in this position before as an interim three times in his career. The 65-year-old has managed for all or parts of 12 Major League seasons for the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals.

"It's not the circumstances that anybody wants to get the job under," Riggleman said. "Bryan Price is a great man, and a great friend. I'm concerned about Bryan. The opportunity to manage, it's something that I love to do. I've always taken on that challenge with various clubs. It's a passion for me. I look forward to it. But this is not the circumstances you want it to happen."

Riggleman resigned from Washington amid a contract dispute during the 2011 season. He joined the Reds organization in '12, first as manager at Double-A Pensacola and then Triple-A Louisville in '13-14.

Riggleman returned to the Majors in 2015 to be Price's third-base coach, then moved over to bench coach, where he had served since '16.

For the time being, Riggleman will be tasked with getting Cincinnati back on track following a 3-15 start to this season.

"I think just try to see if we can win some ballgames, it's as simple as that," Riggleman said. "I will just try to stress the details of the game, which was what Bryan was trying to do. We've just got to find a way with the coaches, and myself, to really put an exclamation point on the details of the game. The hitting and the pitching are the two biggest areas of the game, they have to take care of themselves. But we as coaches and the manager can really try to pick up a win here or there with maybe some things we stress pregame that will hopefully carry into the game and help us win a few."

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

Role in doubt, Harvey says 'I'm a starting pitcher'

Braves pounce on righty for 6 runs; Frazier, A-Gon homer for Mets
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

ATLANTA -- The downturn in Matt Harvey's fortunes has come at an awkward time for him and the Mets. An unquestioned member of the team's rotation heading into the season, Harvey has since started four games, struggled thrice and, on Thursday, pitched poorly enough at SunTrust Park that the Braves effectively iced their 12-4 win before sunset.

Over his last three starts, Harvey is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA, and he is running out of time to improve. Due back from the disabled list as soon as April 27, Jason Vargas will claim someone's rotation spot when healthy.

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ATLANTA -- The downturn in Matt Harvey's fortunes has come at an awkward time for him and the Mets. An unquestioned member of the team's rotation heading into the season, Harvey has since started four games, struggled thrice and, on Thursday, pitched poorly enough at SunTrust Park that the Braves effectively iced their 12-4 win before sunset.

Over his last three starts, Harvey is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA, and he is running out of time to improve. Due back from the disabled list as soon as April 27, Jason Vargas will claim someone's rotation spot when healthy.

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Given Harvey's recent string of performances -- 10 extra-base hits in his last 16 innings, among other indignities -- it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Mets to justify keeping him in his current role. All but acknowledging that much late Thursday, manager Mickey Callaway declined to commit to another start for Harvey. That did not sit well with the one-time ace, who bristled at the notion that he could be headed to the bullpen or the Minors.

"I'm a starting pitcher," Harvey said. "I've always been a starting pitcher. I think I showed that in the fifth, sixth inning, I can get people out."

Video: NYM@ATL: Cabrera makes a sliding stop to nab Tucker

Harvey indeed demonstrated marked improvement in the middle innings Thursday, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced. But as pitching coach Dave Eiland noted, "The game starts in the first inning, not the fourth. ... You've got to be ready from the first pitch."

Instead, the Braves greeted Harvey with a flourish of hits: Ender Inciarte and Ozzie Albies led off the bottom of the first with singles, Freddie Freeman lifted a sacrifice fly and Kurt Suzuki bashed a two-run homer. Harvey allowed three more in the third inning on a Nick Markakis RBI single and a Preston Tucker two-run double. Although he recovered to retire 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, Harvey was, by that point, well on his way to his second consecutive loss.

Video: NYM@ATL: Harvey gets Inciarte looking

"I think there's a lot still to prove," Harvey said. "But I believe that I took a step in the right direction, and I'm ready to get out of the hole and show what I can do."

New York's only offense against Matt Wisler, whom the Braves recalled from the Minors earlier in the day, came in the form of a Todd Frazier homer to lead off the fifth. Adrian Gonzalez also homered for the Mets, who rallied late, but not before Jerry Blevins and Gerson Bautista served up four runs of insurance to Tucker and the Braves in the seventh.

Video: NYM@ATL: Gonzalez smashes a solo homer to left center

None of the late offense made much impact on a game that left the Mets mostly just concerned about what to do with Harvey. With Vargas set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment this weekend, only one more rotation turn stands between him and a return. And with a team off day Monday, the Mets have the ability to skip Harvey's next start if they desire. The team could also temporarily shift to a six-man rotation, but Callaway has expressed more of an inclination to move someone to the bullpen, or even Triple-A.

When asked if he would accept a Minor League assignment, Harvey, whose five-plus years of big league service time give him the right to refuse one, replied: "I can't answer that question right now."

It is a conversation the Mets may force him to have in the coming days.

Video: NYM@ATL: Callaway on Harvey's pitching in 12-4 loss

"We're going to make decisions that we feel are going to help this team win baseball games," Eiland said. "Period."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Frazier, at least, continued to be a bright spot for a Mets team that has dropped three of four. His fifth-inning homer left his bat at 109.3 mph, giving him at least one hit in eight of his last nine games. Frazier has reached base multiple times in nine of his last 12.

Video: NYM@ATL: Frazier skies a solo home run to center

HE SAID IT
"I know the results aren't there. I feel bad that I couldn't have figured that out earlier, and done better to keep the damage limited. But that was huge for me, those last three innings. I give Mickey a lot of credit for letting me go back out there. ... I've dug myself in a hole for the last four starts, and I really feel like the last three innings were a big step out of that hole." -- Harvey

UP NEXT
The Mets will look to build some momentum Friday behind Noah Syndergaard, who has been effective but inefficient in four starts this season. The Mets' Opening Day starter has 33 strikeouts and five walks in 21 1/3 innings, but has yet to throw a pitch in the seventh inning of any game. He'll oppose left-hander Sean Newcomb in a 7:35 p.m. ET game at SunTrust Park.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Harvey

Injury updates: Owings, Ohtani, Pomeranz

MLB.com

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors:

Chris Owings, D-backs
Owings made a great sliding catch of a Joe Panik fly ball after a long run into right-center field on Thursday, but collided with center fielder A.J. Pollock, who was racing for the ball himself. Owings managed to hang onto the ball for the second out of the third inning, but he was removed from the game after being examined by trainer Ryan DiPanfilo. He walked off under his own power. More > -- This report was first posted on April 19

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors:

Chris Owings, D-backs
Owings made a great sliding catch of a Joe Panik fly ball after a long run into right-center field on Thursday, but collided with center fielder A.J. Pollock, who was racing for the ball himself. Owings managed to hang onto the ball for the second out of the third inning, but he was removed from the game after being examined by trainer Ryan DiPanfilo. He walked off under his own power. More > -- This report was first posted on April 19

Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Ohtani is back in the Angels' lineup, batting sixth and serving as the designated hitter for Thursday night's series finale against the Red Sox at Angel Stadium.

Ohtani, 23, departed his start against the Red Sox on Tuesday after two innings due to a blister on his right middle finger, but the ailment wasn't expected to affect his hitting. The left-handed slugger entered Thursday batting .367 (11-for-30) with three home runs and 11 RBIs. He has collected a hit in all seven of his starts at DH. More > -- This report was first posted on April 19.

Video: Jim Thome is in Studio 42 for an Ohtani demo

Drew Pomeranz, Red Sox
Pomeranz is slated to return to Boston's rotation Friday in a start against the A's in Oakland. The 29-year-old left-hander was sidelined with a forearm strain to open the season. The Red Sox had planned to activate him from the 10-day disabled list earlier, but he requested more rehab time to get back to the level he expects to be when rejoining the staff.

Pomeranz posted a 3.72 ERA over 9 2/3 innings during rehab assignments at Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. Last season, he posted a 3.32 ERA in 32 starts for the Boston, an identical mark to the one he finished with in 2016, a season split between the Padres and Red Sox. More > -- This report was first posted on April 19

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Donaldson, who had been playing through a dead arm issue since Opening Day before landing on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation last Friday, played catch at the Blue Jay's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Thursday.

"He threw today and felt great," manager John Gibbons said. "I don't know what that means in terms of a timeline, but he felt great, which is the important thing. ... He won't be here Saturday. That won't happen." More > -- This report was first posted on April 19

Ken Giles, Astros
Giles hasn't pitched since Saturday due to back tightness, manager AJ Hinch said. Hinch added that he doesn't yet know whether the right-handed reliever will need to be placed on the disabled list.

"We don't want him to miss too much time," Hinch said. "Right now, just given that he can't move around and do the things he normally does, it's a little concerning. But we haven't talked DL yet.

"Luckily our starting pitchers have gone deep into games, and I don't have enough innings for all our relievers, so Giles being down a few days hasn't impacted us."

Giles posted a 2.30 ERA with 34 saves for Houston last season, but struggled in the postseason, giving up 10 runs in 7 2/3 innings (11.74 ERA). In six appearances so far this season, he's allowed two runs on six hits over five innings (3.60 ERA). More > -- This report was first posted on April 19

Ryon Healy and Mike Zunino, Mariners
The Mariners' lineup could finally be nearing full strength. Left fielder Ben Gamel (strained right oblique) was activated on Thursday, Zunino (strained left oblique) will rejoin the club following a rehab assignment "at some point on this road trip, probably in Texas," according to manager Scott Servais, and Healy (sprained right ankle) will join Double-A Arkansas on Friday and play at least 2-3 rehab games before rejoining the club on the upcoming 10-game road trip.

The Mariners will face a roster crunch upon the influx of returns they anticipate, which also includes starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (right lat strain) by the time his rotation spot comes back around on Sunday against the Rangers. Ramirez made his final rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday, striking out six and giving up four hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

As it stands, the Mariners are carrying five outfielders after Gamel returned, and they may be prompted to make a decision on 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki. Gamel has played in 10 rehab games between Class A Advanced Modesto and Triple-A Tacoma, and all indications are that he is 100 percent healthy. More > -- This report was first posted on April 19.

Joe Musgrove, Pirates
Musgrove has yet to make his Pirates debut after a muscle strain in his right shoulder sidelined him to begin the season. The right-hander said he felt good after throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session off the mound at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday.

Musgrove threw mostly fastballs and changeups during the low-intensity session with pitches around 75-80 mph. He said he planned on throwing a more intense, 35-pitch bullpen session on Sunday and hoped to add a simulated game next Wednesday in Pittsburgh before going out for a rehab assignment. More > -- This report was first posted on April 19

Ben Zobrist, Cubs
Zobrist remained out of the lineup on Thursday due to back tightness, though he said it was different from the back issue he was dealing with during Spring Training.

"In Spring Training, it was stuck," Zobrist said. "It was stuck when I got in certain spots. It's not stuck at all [now]. In certain spots, it's just a little uncomfortable. That's why they held me out. Today was a 'Hold me out again and tell us how you feel' kind of thing."

Zobrist did work in the batting cages during Thursday's 8-5 win, but wasn't needed to pinch-hit. The everyday utilityman (he's played four positions already this year) was limited to just 34 at-bats in camp, but started the regular season strong, hitting .326 with an .873 OPS in 43 at-bats. More > -- This report was first posted on April 19.

Taijuan Walker, D-backs
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo revealed Wednesday that Walker will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair an ulnar collateral ligament injury. An MRI taken on the right-hander's pitching elbow revealed the injury, and Walker was then in the process of getting a second opinion in New York.

Walker, who was a critical part of the D-backs' return to the postseason last year, left his start on Saturday against the Dodgers after just two innings. He first experienced forearm tightness -- a sometimes correlated symptom from a UCL injury -- during the first frame and was examined by a trainer in the second. Walker showed a decline in velocity, but strength tests conducted after he was removed gave the club optimism that he would be OK. More > This report was first posted on April 18.

Max Kepler, Twins
It was a long night for everyone during the Twins' 2-1, 16-inning victory over the Indians on Wednesday in Puerto Rico, but perhaps especially for Kepler. The Minnesota outfielder appeared to have injured his knee at some point during the contest, though manager Paul Molitor told reporters after the game that Kepler's injury should be considered minor.

Tweet from @RhettBollinger: Max Kepler's knee injury is considered minor, according to Molitor. Said he wasn't sure when he tweaked it but he felt trying to make that running catch in the ninth.

Kepler was removed from the game in the 10th inning and replaced by Ryan LaMarre, who drove in the game-winning run with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th. -- This report was first posted on April 18.

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Recovering from a small crack in the talus bone in his left ankle, Bogaerts made progress on Tuesday with what Red Sox manager Alex Cora described as "a great day." Bogaerts ran and took ground balls ahead of Boston's 10-1 win over the Angels in Anaheim.

Bogaerts, who was as hot as any player in baseball at the time of his injury on April 8, hurt himself when sliding into the walkway leading into the visiting dugout at Fenway Park while trying to recover an errant throw. Because the bone break was non-displaced, the Red Sox estimated that Bogaerts would miss just 10-14 days. He was eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday, though a more realistic return might be during next week's series in Toronto.

Video: TB@BOS: Bogaerts exits following run-saving play

"I don't want to put a place on it, especially [Rogers Centre], because of the turf," Cora said. "But if he's ready and capable of doing everything, and I feel comfortable with it, and everybody feels that's the player we want, yeah. But at the same time, that's a tough surface." More > -- This report was first posted on April 17.

Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
Kiermaier, one of the game's premier defenders will be out three months after suffering a torn ligament in his right thumb during Sunday's loss to the Phillies. The Rays moved their star center fielder to the 60-day disabled list Tuesday.

Kiermaier hurt his thumb taking second base on an error by left fielder Rhys Hoskins. The speedy runner slid into the bag headfirst and got up shaking his right hand. He's scheduled to undergo surgery on his thumb Friday morning.

Video: Kiermaier discusses his thumb injury, timetable

"It's disappointing," Cash said. "We talk daily about how valuable he is to our lineup, to our clubhouse."

It's the third major injury for Kiermaier over the past few seasons. He missed 61 games with a fractured right hip last year and sat out 48 games with a fractured left hand in '16.

"The hand just kind of got caught in the ground," Kiermaier said. "Thumb went in at a weird angle. Just one of those things where I felt like I had the chance to overslide the bag, like I've done a couple of times in my career. And I was just trying to hold on." More > -- This report was first posted on April 17.

Delino DeShields & Jurickson Profar, Rangers
The Rangers could return DeShields sooner than they anticipated, as the outfielder is expected to play for Double-A Frisco on Thursday and Friday to begin a rehab assignment for a broken bone on his left wrist that has sidelined him since March 31. DeShields could be back with the big league club as soon as this weekend, if all goes well. Initial prognosis said that DeShields would be out four to six weeks after requiring surgery to remove the broken hamate bone.

Video: DeShields on recovering well from wrist injury

"With my game, it's not going to take much to be ready to play," DeShields said. "I take a lot of pitches, my swing is short, and my defense is instinctive. It's a matter of me getting back out there and getting my legs under me. It's a buildup. We'll see how I feel. If I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go … I have been taking care of myself, and the [trainers] have been doing a great job making sure I didn't have any setbacks."

Separately, infielder Profar was out of the lineup for the second straight game on Wednesday and remains in concussion protocol. The Rangers will need to make a decision on Thursday or Friday to determine if Profar will need to be placed on the seven-day concussion DL. More > This report was first posted on April 18.

Josh Harrison, Pirates
The Pirates will be without their leadoff hitter for at least six weeks, as Harrison was diagnosed on Monday with a fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand after being hit by a 96-mph fastball from Jose Urena on Sunday in Miami. It's the same injury that ended Harrison's '17 season a month early. In Harrison's stead, Adam Frazier and Sean Rodriguez will spend more time at second base.

Video: PIT@MIA: Harrison exits after getting hit by a pitch

"I'm pretty frustrated," said Harrison, who was hit by a career-high 23 pitches last year. "It definitely [stinks] being hit. Guys throw hard."

Harrison was hitting .263/.328/.351 with a homer, five RBIs and five walks in 64 plate appearances for a Pirates club that was in first place at the time of his injury. More > This report was first posted on April 16.

Brandon Drury, Yankees
Currently on the 10-day DL with severe migraines, Drury continues to wait for definitive diagnosis on neurological tests he underwent last week. A migraine specialist has placed Drury on anti-inflammatories, and he is currently taking batting practice. 

Video: Boone discusses Drury going on the 10-day DL

Drury, who was acquired from the D-backs in February, left an April 6 game against the Orioles with a migraine and impaired vision, and was placed on the DL the next day. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday that he senses Drury is "in a way better place than where he was when we put him on the disabled list." More > -- This report was first posted on April 17. 

Braun notches 1,000th career RBI on 3-run HR

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun came off the Brewers' bench Thursday in grand fashion.

No, Braun didn't hit a grand slam. But with a pinch-hit three-run homer in the Brewers' game-breaking seven-run sixth inning against the Marlins at Miller Park, Braun reached 1,000 career RBIs.

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MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun came off the Brewers' bench Thursday in grand fashion.

No, Braun didn't hit a grand slam. But with a pinch-hit three-run homer in the Brewers' game-breaking seven-run sixth inning against the Marlins at Miller Park, Braun reached 1,000 career RBIs.

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He's the 284th player in Major League history to get to that plateau, matching Darryl Strawberry's career mark. Braun was already second in Brewers history to Robin Yount's 1,406 career RBIs.

Braun was limited to bench duty for a second straight game on Thursday because of a sore calf, and he's also missed time recently with back stiffness. But he remains a threat, with four of his first 12 hits this season clearing the fence, including a pair of go-ahead home runs in the ninth inning.

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun