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Acuna singles up the middle for 1st MLB hit

Baseball's No. 2 prospect goes 1-for-5, scores game-tying run in 8th
MLB.com @basebollie

The highly anticipated Major League debut of MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect Ronald Acuna Jr. is in the books.

Acuna was in the Braves' lineup Wednesday vs. the Reds and left-hander Brandon Finnegan. Batting sixth and playing left field in the Braves' 5-4 win, Acuna hit a long fly ball to the warning track in right-center to end the top of the first inning. He then flied out to right field with runners on second and third to end the third inning. In his third at-bat leading off the sixth, Acuna worked the count full against Reds reliever Austin Brice before striking out looking.

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The highly anticipated Major League debut of MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect Ronald Acuna Jr. is in the books.

Acuna was in the Braves' lineup Wednesday vs. the Reds and left-hander Brandon Finnegan. Batting sixth and playing left field in the Braves' 5-4 win, Acuna hit a long fly ball to the warning track in right-center to end the top of the first inning. He then flied out to right field with runners on second and third to end the third inning. In his third at-bat leading off the sixth, Acuna worked the count full against Reds reliever Austin Brice before striking out looking.

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Acuna broke through in the eighth against Kevin Shackelford, ripping a ground-ball single up the middle for his first Major League hit before scoring his first run on Kurt Suzuki's RBI single, which tied the game at 4. Acuna struck out in his final at-bat in the ninth to finish 1-for-5.

Tweet from @Braves: It���s happening! #ChopOn pic.twitter.com/wK9JQIqJNl

The 20-year-old phenom tore up Major League Spring Training, batting .432/.519/.727 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 16 games with Atlanta.

Widely regarded as the top hitting prospect in the game, Acuna has struggled out of the gate in the Minors in 2018. He is batting .232/.321/.304 with one home run and two RBIs in 17 games for Triple-A Gwinnett. However, he has 11 hits -- including a double and homer -- over his last 33 at-bats.

He is a career .305/.374/.475 hitter with 30 homers and 121 RBIs in 253 games at the Minor League level and was named MLB Pipeline's Hitter of the Year in 2017 after batting .325 with 21 homers and 44 stolen bases as he worked his way up the organizational ranks last season.

Acuna is the youngest player to appear in a big league game in 2018, surpassing teammate Ozzie Albies.

With a record of 12-10 entering Wednesday, the Braves were just 3 1/2 games out of first place upon Acuna's arrival. Atlanta had scored a National League-best 122 runs and should only get a boost from its top prospect.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.

Day after return, Pham exits with head laceration

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- A day after returning to the lineup following a minor groin injury, Tommy Pham exited after one at-bat with a head laceration.

Pham was removed from Wednesday's game against the Mets in the third inning, when Harrison Bader pinch-hit against Steven Matz. He flied out in his only at-bat in the first. The center fielder had been dealing with tightness in his right groin for a week prior to playing in Tuesday's opener.

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ST. LOUIS -- A day after returning to the lineup following a minor groin injury, Tommy Pham exited after one at-bat with a head laceration.

Pham was removed from Wednesday's game against the Mets in the third inning, when Harrison Bader pinch-hit against Steven Matz. He flied out in his only at-bat in the first. The center fielder had been dealing with tightness in his right groin for a week prior to playing in Tuesday's opener.

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Pham missed three of four games before he went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run and reached base five times in his return to the lineup on Tuesday. He initially felt tightness in his groin late in a cold-weather win last Wednesday in Chicago.

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham

Miller exits game with hamstring tightness

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Andrew Miller exited Wednesday night's game against the Cubs after only two pitches due to a hamstring issue.

With the Indians holding a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning, Miller grabbed at the back of his left leg after his second pitch to Anthony Rizzo. Cleveland's relief ace quickly motioned toward the dugout and was soon joined on the mound by Indians manager Terry Francona and a member of the team's medical staff. After a brief conference, Miller headed off the field and to the trainer's room.

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CLEVELAND -- Andrew Miller exited Wednesday night's game against the Cubs after only two pitches due to a hamstring issue.

With the Indians holding a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning, Miller grabbed at the back of his left leg after his second pitch to Anthony Rizzo. Cleveland's relief ace quickly motioned toward the dugout and was soon joined on the mound by Indians manager Terry Francona and a member of the team's medical staff. After a brief conference, Miller headed off the field and to the trainer's room.

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The Indians announced that Miller exited with left hamstring tightness.

Miller, who had two stints on the disabled list last season due to a right knee injury, has allowed zero runs in 11 appearances with 17 strikeouts in 10 innings this season.

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

Cleveland Indians, Andrew Miller

Jose Altuve hit his first homer of 2018 and got the dugout silent treatment … and he loved it

Through his first 25 games this season, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was his usual self at the plate -- slashing .333/.396/.770 and generally being a pest for pitching staffs.

However, he hadn't connected on a home run prior to Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Angels at Minute Maid Park. Yes, that's right ... the man who's totaled 24 homers in each of the past two seasons had not yet picked one up through the first three-plus weeks of the new campaign.

Red-hot Didi homers in 4th straight game

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- Could Didi Gregorius be any hotter? The Yankees' shortstop homered for the fourth consecutive game on Wednesday, mashing a third-inning solo drive into the right-field seats off Twins right-hander Lance Lynn.

The blast, Gregorius' team-leading ninth of the season, tied the game at 2 and established the 28-year-old as the first Yankees shortstop to ever homer in four straight games.

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NEW YORK -- Could Didi Gregorius be any hotter? The Yankees' shortstop homered for the fourth consecutive game on Wednesday, mashing a third-inning solo drive into the right-field seats off Twins right-hander Lance Lynn.

The blast, Gregorius' team-leading ninth of the season, tied the game at 2 and established the 28-year-old as the first Yankees shortstop to ever homer in four straight games.

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Including last year's American League Wild Card Game, Gregorius has homered in each of his past five contests against the Twins.

"I'm not a home run hitter," Gregorius said after Tuesday's 8-3 win. "I'm trying to hit line drives all over the place. If they go out, they go out. I'm not trying to change anything, I'm staying consistent to what I can do, and that's hit line drives all over the place, line to line."

Gregorius entered play on Wednesday leading the Majors with 27 RBIs, then he added another in the first inning, extending his hitting streak to nine games with a run-scoring single to right field off Lynn. Gregorius is the first Major League shortstop since at least 1908 to collect nine homers and 29 RBIs through his first 23 games of a season.

Video: MIN@NYY: Gregorius lines an RBI single to right field

The confines of Yankee Stadium have played to Gregorius' approach. He has hit all nine of his homers in the Bronx, collecting all but four of his RBIs in pinstripes.

"This game is not easy," Gregorius said. "You've still got to work on trying to stay consistent, and that's all I'm trying to do."

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

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

Mookie launches yet another leadoff home run

Right fielder has three homers to open game in week span
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

TORONTO -- Mookie Betts got the Red Sox off to yet another fast start on this road trip by belting his third leadoff homer in the span of a week.

The star right fielder smashed the third pitch of Wednesday night's game from Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez -- a 95.9-mph fastball -- over the wall in left.

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TORONTO -- Mookie Betts got the Red Sox off to yet another fast start on this road trip by belting his third leadoff homer in the span of a week.

The star right fielder smashed the third pitch of Wednesday night's game from Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez -- a 95.9-mph fastball -- over the wall in left.

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According to Statcast™, the homer, No. 7 on the season for Betts, had an exit velocity of 103.8 mph and traveled a projected distance of 402 feet.

Betts extended his own club record with the 14th leadoff homer of his career.

Betts wasn't done, however, as he roped a two-run dinger in the seventh off Jays reliever Danny Barnes.

Video: BOS@TOR: Betts goes the other way for his second jack

It was Betts who started out this three-city, nine-game trip with a homer against the Angels on April 17. He did it again two nights later to help the Sox cap a sweep.

And by hitting the trifecta of leadoff homers on one road trip on Wednesday, Betts hoped to help get the Red Sox out of a three-game losing streak, which came on the heels of the team's historic 17-2 start.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts

Verlander (9 K's) electric as Astros best Angels

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Entering a series in which they were slated to face the top three starters in the American League in terms of ERA, the Angels pulled out wins in games started by Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton. Besting Justin Verlander proved to be a more difficult challenge.

Verlander allowed two runs and four hits while striking out nine batters over seven innings to remain unbeaten with the Astros in the regular season in a 5-2 win over the Angels on Wednesday afternoon at MInute Maid Park.

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HOUSTON -- Entering a series in which they were slated to face the top three starters in the American League in terms of ERA, the Angels pulled out wins in games started by Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton. Besting Justin Verlander proved to be a more difficult challenge.

Verlander allowed two runs and four hits while striking out nine batters over seven innings to remain unbeaten with the Astros in the regular season in a 5-2 win over the Angels on Wednesday afternoon at MInute Maid Park.

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Video: LAA@HOU: Verlander freezes Trout for ninth strikeout

"You don't ever want to be the guy starting on the last day of the series and your team is facing a sweep, but my job's to end it," Verlander said. "We are tough to sweep because of our pitching matchups, our 1-5, and our rotation. The old adage, 'You're only as good as the next day's starting pitcher,' and I think we like our chances every day."

Verlander (4-0) retired 20 of the first 21 batters he faced before Albert Pujols hit a line-drive homer into the left-field seats with two outs in the seventh to spoil the shutout bid. It was Pujols' 64th career homer against the Astros -- the most by an opponent against Houston, including the postseason. Verlander gave up another run -- a run-scoring double by Zack Cozart -- but finished the inning at 97 pitches.

Video: LAA@HOU: Pujols lines a homer for 2,994th career hit

"I feel like I say this every time he pitches, but what a great job of dominating and controlling the game," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "Even in the inning he wobbled a little bit, it never gets away from him."

Verlander improved to 9-0 with a 1.33 ERA in 11 regular-season starts with the Astros and has won 11 consecutive regular-season decisions, which is the longest active streak in the Major Leagues. He was locked into his mechanics early in the game and had terrific fastball command, executing pitches at what Hinch called an elite level.

Video: LAA@HOU: Hinch on Verlander's dominant outing in win

"I felt fantastic," Verlander said. "I ran into a little bit of trouble there in the last inning. Pujols gave me a great at-bat, [Andrelton] Simmons hit a good pitch up the middle. I was letting it fly a little bit and got a little erratic there, but other than that, pretty much the rest of the game I was right where I wanted to be. I'm just trying to stay consistent at this point."

Angels starter Nick Tropeano, facing his former team, sent down the first 11 batters he faced before loading the bases on a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch in the fourth. Alex Bregman followed with a three-run double to put the Astros ahead, 3-0. Jose Altuve's first homer of the season, to lead off the sixth, gave Verlander a 4-0 lead.

Video: LAA@HOU: Altuve gets silent treatment after first HR

"I got a fastball over the middle of the plate and was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it," Bregman said. "The guys did a great job getting on base in front of me. … When we get people on base we've got to lock it in and come through for the team."

Video: LAA@HOU: Bregman clears bases with three-run double

SOUND SMART
Verlander's 1.36 ERA is his lowest through the first six starts of a season in his career.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Verlander got his two highest-spin four-seam fastball strikeouts Wednesday since Statcast™ began tracking the statistic in 2015 -- Kole Calhoun in the sixth (95.7-mph/2,806 rpm) and Mike Trout in the seventh (96.4-mph/2,771 rpm).

Video: LAA@HOU: Statcast™ tracks Verlander's elite spin rate

HE SAID IT
"That was spectacular. He came in and shut the door. He looked fantastic -- good life on his fastball, slider was disgusting, the one he threw [Justin Upton]. If that guy's on, it's trouble." -- Verlander, on closer Ken Giles, who retired Trout, Upton and Pujols in order in the ninth inning

Video: LAA@HOU: Giles retires Pujols to nail down the save

UP NEXT
Lefty Dallas Keuchel, coming off his first win of the season, gets the ball in Friday's 7:10 p.m. CT series opener against the A's at Minute Maid Park. He's 13-6 with a 2.42 ERA in his career in 29 games (25 starts) in April -- his best ERA of any month. Keuchel will face Sean Manaea, who threw a no-hitter in his last start.

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

Houston Astros, Justin Verlander

A fan caught a foul ball but lost all of his popcorn in the process

When a ball comes your way at a Major League game and you've come prepared to catch it, it's hard to turn down the opportunity to go home with a souvenir -- even if you have food in your glove.

Yes, you read that correctly. A young fan was in this situation on Wednesday night for the Yankees-Twins game.

Day after relief debut, Harvey declines to speak

Mets right-hander was recently moved from rotation to bullpen
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Harvey doubled down on his refusal to talk to media members Wednesday, swearing as a group of reporters questioned him at Busch Stadium. A day after making his first relief appearance of the season, Harvey laughed when the group walked up to his locker seeking comment.

"No chance," Harvey said. "Zero chance."

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ST. LOUIS -- Matt Harvey doubled down on his refusal to talk to media members Wednesday, swearing as a group of reporters questioned him at Busch Stadium. A day after making his first relief appearance of the season, Harvey laughed when the group walked up to his locker seeking comment.

"No chance," Harvey said. "Zero chance."

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When asked why he would not speak, Harvey replied, "I have nothing to say to you guys."

When asked why not, Harvey said, "I don't [expletive] want to," then walked away.

Harvey allowed one run in two innings of the Mets' 6-5 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday, his first appearance since the team moved him from the rotation to the bullpen. Through a team spokesman, he declined to comment after the game. Instead, manager Mickey Callaway, outfielder Jay Bruce and rookie catcher Tomas Nido discussed Harvey's performance.

Video: NYM@STL: Harvey strikes out Molina looking in relief

Although Callaway noted Wednesday that Harvey is within his rights not to talk, others in the organization indicated privately that they wished he had done so, thereby preventing the story of his bullpen performance from ballooning into something bigger.

"We really can't do anything about that," Callaway said of Harvey's decision not to talk. "I think it's their right as a player. The rules are such. It's kind of like when we have days off, we can't make them come in and work out."

Healed up
Reporting to St. Louis this week, left-hander Jason Vargas said that while he's not completely recovered from surgery to remove a fractured bone from his glove hand, he has healed enough to come off the disabled list Saturday in San Diego.

"I wouldn't say that we're completely back to normal," Vargas said. "We're still trying to work getting the strength back to 100 percent. But as far as being able to get out there and catch a baseball, do normal baseball stuff, we're doing pretty well. I'm looking forward to getting back in the mix."

Making his only Minor League rehab start Monday in Las Vegas, Vargas fielded his position in a game for the first time since surgery. He has also started gripping a bat and practicing bunts, but he has not attempted to swing.

Changing it up
Perhaps the most telling aspect of Paul Sewald's ascension in the Mets' bullpen is his performance against lefties. After allowing a .290/.385/.441 slash line to left-handed hitters last season, Sewald entered Wednesday holding them to an 0-for-13 mark with six strikeouts.

It's a small sample, Sewald admits. But he is also confident that his revamped changeup -- he used to throw a classic circle change, but now distributes the pressure on his three middle fingers -- will help him maintain his success throughout the season.

Understanding his struggles against lefties, Sewald spent the winter studying how two of the game's best changeup artists, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, attack left-handed hitters.

"It was important to make sure I had a third pitch," said Sewald, who has more than doubled his changeup usage this season, while holding opposing hitters to a .407 OPS. "It's had a lot of success, starting in Spring Training. Ultimately, having success with it has given me a lot of confidence with it, so now I feel like I can throw it, and in bigger situations, and it's kept guys on their heels."

Injury updates
• Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera was out of the Mets' lineup Wednesday with a tight right hamstring, Callaway said. The Mets do not consider the injury serious, and Cabrera is day to day. 

• Neither catcher Kevin Plawecki (fractured left hand) nor Anthony Swarzak (strained right oblique) have made significant progress in their rehab from injuries. Neither is close to a return from the disabled list.

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

New York Mets, Matt Harvey

Will Senzel be next phenom to debut?

Reds want top prospect to be fully ready before promotion; Hughes happy to stretch limits
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The Braves made big news on Wednesday by calling up left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., their No. 1 prospect and the second-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. For those who follow the Reds, it raises the question: When will it be time for infielder Nick Senzel to be called up from Triple-A Louisville?

Senzel is the Reds' top prospect and No. 7 overall, and general manager Dick Williams has noted that the club wants to make sure the 22 year old is fully ready when he does get the call. Williams also wants the promotion to be dictated by performance and not big league club need.

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CINCINNATI -- The Braves made big news on Wednesday by calling up left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., their No. 1 prospect and the second-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. For those who follow the Reds, it raises the question: When will it be time for infielder Nick Senzel to be called up from Triple-A Louisville?

Senzel is the Reds' top prospect and No. 7 overall, and general manager Dick Williams has noted that the club wants to make sure the 22 year old is fully ready when he does get the call. Williams also wants the promotion to be dictated by performance and not big league club need.

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"For me, I'd just listen to [player development director] Jeff Graupe, his staff," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Right now, [manager] Dickie Schofield and [hitting coach] Leon Durham are down there with him. They can give you a lot of information about how close he is and all that. Certainly, necessity will create certain things. Assuming everyone's healthy and all that, it gives you a chance to let the people dealing with it to make the decision."

Riggleman has had Senzel's first Louisville manager, Pat Kelly, as his bench coach since Cincinnati replaced Bryan Price last week. But Riggleman said he didn't ask Kelly about how Senzel was playing.

"I see reports. I cherish the opportunity to manage the 25 I have," Riggleman said. "If the decision is made to bring on someone else, that's great. If not, I don't want to interfere with Dick and [front office members] Sam [Grossman] and Billy Doran, Jeff Graupe, what their schedule is for Nick."

Senzel has mostly played second base for Louisville this season, along with his natural position of third base. He went 0-for-4 Tuesday afternoon and is batting .231/.315/.338 in 16 games. Acuna, 20, had similar numbers for Triple-A Gwinnett before he was given his much-anticipated promotion.

While Riggleman, who spent a large part of his coaching career in player development -- including 2012-15 with the Reds -- believes in getting input from a player's Minor League manager and trusting his opinion on a callup.

"Do you have a magic point there to get it just right? Certainly, not always," Riggleman said. "I remember Keith Hernandez, a great prospect in the Cardinals' organization. He went up and hit about .170. They sent him back. The next time up, he took off. It's not an exact science."

Hughes, Riggleman not concerned about stretching limits
During Tuesday's 9-7 win over Atlanta in 12 innings, reliever Jared Hughes threw 42 pitches over the final 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the victory. It was his longest outing since he threw three innings for the Pirates against the Cubs on July 9, 2016.

Video: ATL@CIN: Hughes gets Swanson looking to escape jam

Before Hughes, Riggleman used Amir Garrett for 2 1/3 innings. Garrett gave up three runs in the ninth before the game went into extras. Although he didn't expect to emulate what managers did in the last couple of postseasons -- such as the Indians with Andrew Miller and the Dodgers with Kenley Jansen -- the new Reds skipper is showing he doesn't worry about extending his relievers.

"What Jared did last night, that used to be fairly routine. I know it's not routine anymore and I'm taking him out of his comfort level," Riggleman said. "I think we can raise the bar a little bit about how much more we can get out of guys. This thing of 65 innings for a reliever and that's enough -- you wished that's all you needed because your starters are going that far, but I think we can get a lot more out of them. We don't want to get anybody hurt. But it looks like, to me, that they all get hurt anyway."

Hughes, who was signed to a two-year contract during the offseason, didn't mind stretching his usual limits.

"You look at my track record, it was definitely a different thing for me," Hughes said on Wednesday. "But it's only different in recent memory. When I first got called up and later in the Minors, I threw long relief. I was a starter at times. I was a swing guy in Double-A. I have a history of knowing how to handle it. But for me, it's always just about forcing contact and keeping the pitch count down."

UMPS Care Auction
Major League Baseball umpires will offer up more than 300 items that include priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 10 p.m. ET on Monday, April 30. Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos and baseballs from some of the biggest stars in baseball. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.

All proceeds from the Online Auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children and financial assistance for families in need.

"Each year, thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world, we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said Gary Darling, former MLB umpire and Board President for UMPS CARE Charities. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

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, Jared Hughes

Injury updates: Beltre, Bogaerts, Bryant

MLB.com

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

Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Beltre strained his left hamstring in the eighth inning of the Rangers' loss to the A's on Tuesday, and he underwent an MRI on Wednesday before being placed on the 10-day disabled list.

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

Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Beltre strained his left hamstring in the eighth inning of the Rangers' loss to the A's on Tuesday, and he underwent an MRI on Wednesday before being placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Texas seems to be ready for Beltre to miss a lengthy period of time with the ailment.

"Obviously disappointed because we already have other key players hurt," Beltre said. "It's no secret we have been struggling offensively and trying to find a way to get through it. I'm supposed to be one of the guys who is getting better, and now this happens." More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Bogaerts' ankle injury doesn't appear to have slowed his hot bat. The shortstop homered in his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket. He also hit an opposite-field double and played six innings at shortstop.

Bogaerts, who suffered a small crack in the talus bone in his left ankle on April 8, will start for Pawtucket on Wednesday, weather permitting. It's likely he will come off the DL for the start of Boston's homestand Friday against the Rays.

He was hitting .368/.400/.711 with two homers and nine RBIs prior to the injury. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Kris Bryant, Cubs
Bryant was out of the Cubs' lineup for a second straight game Wednesday after he was struck in the head by a fastball from Rockies starter German Marquez on Sunday. The third baseman passed concussion tests, but suffered a small laceration above his left eye from his sunglasses. Tommy La Stella replaced Bryant at third in Chicago's lineup against the Indians on Wednesday, batting fifth.

"I think he's fine," manager Joe Maddon said before Tuesday's game. "He just has to work through some things." More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Eric Thames, Brewers
Thames underwent an MRI on his left thumb Wednesday after injuring it while diving for a ball Tuesday night against the Royals. Thames was placed on the 10-day disabled list after the MRI revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb, dealing a major blow to the Brewers' lineup. The first baseman leads Milwaukee with seven homers this season.

"We're a little concerned about his thumb," manager Craig Counsell said prior to the club placing Thames on the DL. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Byron Buxton, Twins
Buxton remains sidelined after fouling a ball off his left foot on Sunday, as he hit off a tee on Wednesday, but he didn't feel good enough to play in an extended spring camp game.

Buxton underwent a procedure where a drill was inserted into his left big toenail to relieve pressure in his toe, but he remains sore and is day to day. He's currently on the 10-day disabled list with migraines, but that issue has subsided. He became eligible to return on Wednesday, but he's not likely to return until this weekend at the earliest. 

"Once his feet are ready to play, I'm not going to be worried about how they're going to work," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's one of those questions where more at-bats would probably be better, but there's something about his presence being here. Him patrolling center field has value, and he's unique in that way. We might have a little bit more of a desire to get him back sooner than later. I think everyone feels a little void when he's not around." More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Greg Bird, Yankees
Bird could rejoin the Yankees next month. He's scheduled to report to the team's Spring Training complex in Tampa, Fla., for additional work on Friday, manager Aaron Boone announced Tuesday.

Bird began the year on the disabled list after undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur in his right ankle. He's still on track with the initial 6-to-8-week timetable. The first baseman has missed considerable time in the last few years, including all of 2016 with a right shoulder injury and the majority of 2017 with another ankle surgery. -- This report was first posted on April 25

Hunter Pence, Giants
Pence tested his sprained right thumb in batting practice Tuesday at AT&T Park and could be nearing a return to the active roster. With Mac Williamson's emergence, it's unclear what role the left fielder will have once he does return, however.

Pence hit just .172 with three RBIs in 17 games before his injury, while Williamson has hit .316 (6-for-19) with three home runs and six RBIs in five games since he was called up to the big leagues. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Eugenio Suarez, Michael Lorenzen, David Hernandez, Devin Mesoraco, Reds
Suarez hit 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and a strikeout in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Louisville. He's recovering from a fractured right thumb suffered when he was hit by a pitch on April 8 against the Pirates. Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said he doesn't expect Suarez to need many more games before returning to the big leagues.

"He's such a baseball rat," Riggleman said. "He's been out here working his tail off right here. He feels like he's really close."

Lorenzen and Hernandez has each been out of action since March, but both relievers took steps toward a return this week. Lorenzen (strained right teres major muscle near his shoulder) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session prior to Wednesday's game, pitching off the mound for the first time since Spring Training.

Hernandez, meanwhile, is closer to a return. He made his second rehab appearance Monday, throwing 17 pitches and allowing one earned run and two hits with one strikeout. Riggleman said Hernandez is likely to make one more rehab appearance before rejoining the Reds.

Mesoraco was scratched 90 minutes prior to Tuesday's game against the Cardinals with neck stiffness. It's unclear how long the issue will keep the Reds catcher out, but the club has just one other backstop, Tucker Barnhart, on the 40-man roster. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Jason Vargas, Mets
Vargas is coming off the disabled list to make his season debut Saturday against the Padres in San Diego. The left-hander made one rehab start Monday with Triple-A Las Vegas and joined the Mets in St. Louis on Tuesday. Vargas underwent surgery to remove a broken bone from his right hand in late March. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Adam Eaton, Nationals
Eaton continues to test his ankle with baseball activities as he works his way back from a bone bruise on his left ankle. He was eligible to come off the disabled list Friday, but the Nationals have not revealed how close he is to returning.

"When you see him in the lineup, he'll be ready," manager Dave Martinez said Monday. "He's coming along. When we get him back, he's a force to reckon with and he helps our lineup out." More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Avisail Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez, Carlos Rodon, White Sox
The White Sox placed outfielder Garcia on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday after he strained his right hamstring running to first base in Monday's win over the Mariners.

Garcia, hitting .233 with one homer, four RBIs and five runs scored this year after an All-Star campaign last season, is not expected to miss an extended amount of time. He could miss more than the designated 10-day period, however.

The club also placed Gonzalez on the 10-day disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation.

"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."

Rondon threw 34 pitches over three innings in an extended spring camp game Monday as he continues his rehab in return from arthroscopic surgery in his left shoulder. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Ian Kennedy, Royals
Kennedy took a line drive off the bat of Ryan Braun to his right foot in the third inning of Tuesday night's loss to the Brewers. The right-hander finished the third inning, but could not put pressure on his foot while in the dugout and exited the contest.

X-rays were negative, but the Royals are not yet sure if Kennedy will make his scheduled start on Sunday. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Ryon Healy, Mariners
Healy, who has been out with a right ankle injury, is expected to return to the Mariners over the weekend as they take on the Indians.

Healy went 1-for-3 with a two-run single for Double-A Arkansas on Tuesday and is 5-for-15 in four games with the Travelers.

"He needs to come in and contribute -- he knows that," manager Scott Servais said. "He was off to a slow start. Giving him the extra days of at-bats and playing time on the rehab assignment hopefully helps him, but facing Minor League pitching vs. Cleveland pitching is a little bit different." More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Martin Prado, Elieser Hernandez, JT Riddle, Dan Straily, Marlins
The Marlins have a quartet of players nearing returns from injury, as Prado, Hernandez, Riddle and Straily all played in Minor League rehab assignments Tuesday.

"We're still kind of biting our tongue and continuing to hope that these guys keep progressing," manager Don Mattingly said Monday. "We'll keep taking it one day at a time, for the starters one start [at a time], and evaluate, see where we're at. Dan's pitching tomorrow. Prado, Riddle, Elieser, they'll all play tomorrow."

Prado is recovering from right knee surgery, Hernandez is making his way back from dental surgery, Riddle is working back from a shoulder ailment and Straily has been on the DL with a right forearm strain. More > -- This report was first posted on April 25

Albies ties Braves' XBH mark with homer

MLB.com @mlbbowman

CINCINNATI -- Ronald Acuna Jr. might have drawn most of the attention Wednesday night as he made his much-anticipated Major League debut. But the heralded prospect was not the only young Braves player who created excitement during a 5-4 comeback win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Proving yet again what he can do when in the starting lineup, Johan Camargo hit a go-ahead RBI double that deflected off shortstop Cliff Pennington with one out in the ninth. Camargo also delivered a game-tying, ninth-inning triple when he made his only previous start in Saturday's comeback win over the Mets.

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CINCINNATI -- Ronald Acuna Jr. might have drawn most of the attention Wednesday night as he made his much-anticipated Major League debut. But the heralded prospect was not the only young Braves player who created excitement during a 5-4 comeback win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Proving yet again what he can do when in the starting lineup, Johan Camargo hit a go-ahead RBI double that deflected off shortstop Cliff Pennington with one out in the ninth. Camargo also delivered a game-tying, ninth-inning triple when he made his only previous start in Saturday's comeback win over the Mets.

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Acuna, who went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts, started an eighth-inning rally when he sent a single through the middle for his first career hit. The 20-year-old outfielder displayed his elite speed as he raced from first to third on Dansby Swanson's one-out single, putting him in position to score on Kurt Suzuki's game-tying single off Kevin Shackleford.

Acuna's 21-year-old teammate, Ozzie Albies, gave the Braves a 3-0 lead in the fifth when he drilled a one-out homer off Brandon Finnegan. Albies now has a Major League-high 17 extra-base hits, which ties him with Chipper Jones (1998), Dale Murphy (1985) and Justin Upton (2013) for the most recorded by a Braves player before the end of April.

Braves starter Matt Wisler surrendered a lot of hard contact during the early innings, but he escaped a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the first and managed to keep the Reds scoreless until Joey Votto drilled a two-run homer in the fifth. It appeared he escaped further damage when Adam Duvall was initially called out attempting to score from first base on Scott Schebler's double off the left-center-field wall. But a replay review showed catcher Carlos Perez did not apply a tag after receiving Swanson's throw well before Duvall reached the plate.

The Braves gained an early advantage when Ender Inciarte opened the game with a leadoff single, stole second base and scored on an Albies infield single after Scooter Gennett sent an errant throw into the Reds' dugout. Acuna ended the top of the first by flying out to the right-center field track in his first career plate appearance.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo, Ronald Acuna Jr.

Tigers win slugfest, erupt for 13 runs vs. Bucs

Special to MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- With a doubleheader slated Wednesday, the Tigers were hoping to get some length out of Jordan Zimmermann in the opening game. But although the Pirates chased Detroit's workhorse starter after three innings, an outstanding offensive output, led by Jeimer Candelario, was enough to bail out a taxed pitching staff.

The Tigers powered their way to a 13-10 win at PNC Park -- their first victory over the Pirates in four matchups this season -- thanks to a season-high 20 hits and season-high-tying four home runs.

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PITTSBURGH -- With a doubleheader slated Wednesday, the Tigers were hoping to get some length out of Jordan Zimmermann in the opening game. But although the Pirates chased Detroit's workhorse starter after three innings, an outstanding offensive output, led by Jeimer Candelario, was enough to bail out a taxed pitching staff.

The Tigers powered their way to a 13-10 win at PNC Park -- their first victory over the Pirates in four matchups this season -- thanks to a season-high 20 hits and season-high-tying four home runs.

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"It was not one of those easy games," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had to finagle our way through and use a lot of people, but we kept swinging the bats, and so did they. Both teams got after it pretty good, and fortunately for us, we finally shut them down at the end. The ball was flying all over the place. I know that."

Leonys Martin got the game off to a quick start with a leadoff home run to center field just two pitches after fouling a ball into his groin. James McCann added a leadoff homer in the fourth inning, and Nicholas Castellanos welcomed reliever Kyle Crick to the game with a home run on the first pitch of the reliever's outing to cap off the five-run frame.

Video: DET@PIT: Castellanos launches a two-run home run

Rookie third baseman Candelario was perhaps the biggest contributor, as he came around to score five times in a busy offensive day. He doubled down the line in the first, singled through the right side in the third, homered in the sixth and even reached on a fielder's choice and error. His home run left his bat at 103.1 mph -- one of 13 batted balls the Tigers hit harder than 100 mph.

The Tigers began the season slowly at 4-9, scoring only 3.8 runs per game, but have turned things around since their series against the Orioles last week. Detroit has won six of its last eight games while scoring 7.3 runs per game.

"Our guys were all swinging all the way up and down the lineup," Gardenhire said. "We put some nice swings out there, and they did too. Like I said, both teams did. Our guys felt pretty good when we got out and actually took batting practice on the field today. I think that was a start, and they saw how the ball was jumping around out there, and I think they liked that part of it. They carried it right into the game."

Detroit fell into an early hole when Zimmermann was knocked around for six runs (three earned) across his three frames, and Gardenhire opted to pinch hit for Zimmermann in the top of the fourth. But the Tigers' bullpen was able to hold the Pirates to four runs over the final six frames, surviving a scare in the eighth when Joe Jimenez gave up three runs.

Using six relievers in the first half of a doubleheader was certainly not the plan for Gardenhire, but the Tigers have plenty of length left in their bullpen with Daniel Norris unused and 26th man Artie Lewicki available in the second game. Still, the Tigers would certainly appreciate the second game's starter Matthew Boyd to pitch at least six innings for the fourth straight start this season.

"Obviously I needed to go six or seven tonight," Zimmermann said. "We have three games in 24 hours or whatever it is. It puts us in a hole, the outing I had tonight, so we need Boyd to go deep in the second game here."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Martin flashed his leather with an outstanding five-star grab in the sixth inning to rob Starling Marte of a hit. Martin had to cover 39 feet in 3.0 seconds for a 11 percent catch probability. That was the first catch for Martin in seven five-star opportunities -- 0-25 percent catch probability -- but the center fielder was 10-for-10 coming into Wednesday's game on balls with a greater than 50 percent catch probability.

Video: DET@PIT: Martin slides for a five-star catch

HE SAID IT
"You don't want to know about that conversation. That was not a very fun conversation for me or anybody else out there. I didn't think his voice could get any higher, but it did. He wasn't feeling very good, but he wasn't coming out of the game, too. He expressed that to me right from the start. 'Don't take me out. Don't even think about it. Just let me gather myself.' That's what he did. And then he yelled at me again in the clubhouse after the game, 'Don't take me out of the second game either. I'm playing.'" -- Gardenhire on talking to Martin in the first inning

Video: DET@PIT: Martin fouls pitch off groin, then goes yard

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Detroit was a little too casual trying to turn a double play in the third inning, and it came back to bite them in a big way. With a runner on first and one out, Josh Bell grounded a ball to shortstop Jose Iglesias, who made a clean turn to second baseman Niko Goodrum. However, Goodrum didn't maintain contact with the bag, and the Pirates successfully got the safe call overturned. Two batters later, Francisco Cervelli launched a three-run, two-out home run to capitalize on the mistake.

Video: DET@PIT: Bell safe at second on overturned call

Ben Weinrib is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Detroit Tigers, Jeimer Candelario, Nicholas Castellanos, Leonys Martin, James McCann