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Dodgers open game with 2 HRs off Blevins

Hernandez, Muncy go back to back in veteran reliever's first start
MLB.com @kengurnick

NEW YORK -- The Dodgers, looking for a series sweep, opened Sunday's game against the Mets with back-to-back home runs from Enrique Hernandez and Max Muncy.

The home runs came off Jerry Blevins, making his first Major League start after 532 relief appearances.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- The Dodgers, looking for a series sweep, opened Sunday's game against the Mets with back-to-back home runs from Enrique Hernandez and Max Muncy.

The home runs came off Jerry Blevins, making his first Major League start after 532 relief appearances.

View Full Game Coverage

Hernandez slugged a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats, his 11th of the year. He started at shortstop in place of the injured Chris Taylor, who has been the starting shortstop since the season-ending injury to Corey Seager.

Video: LAD@NYM: Hernandez crushes leadoff homer to deep left

Muncy went the other way to left-center with a 3-2 pitch for his team-high 15th home run and eighth in the last 17 games. Muncy started at third base as Justin Turner was given a rest.

The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning, when Cody Bellinger homered off right-hander Tim Peterson, who entered in relief of Blevins at the start of the third.

Video: Bellinger's solo home run

The Dodgers have hit 42 home runs in June.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez, Max Muncy

MLB Buzz: Friars interested in Phils' Franco

MLB.com

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Padres interested in Franco
June 24: The Padres are interested in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, but a deal could be tough to swing. In order to part with its once-promising prospect, Philadelphia would need to acquire a third baseman externally. Doing so wouldn't necessarily be out of the realm, as the club has been linked to Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado.

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Padres interested in Franco
June 24: The Padres are interested in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, but a deal could be tough to swing. In order to part with its once-promising prospect, Philadelphia would need to acquire a third baseman externally. Doing so wouldn't necessarily be out of the realm, as the club has been linked to Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado.

With the Phils nearing the All-Star break firmly in the postseason hunt, they could be prompted to make an aggressive move ahead of the Deadline. San Diego boasts a bevy of bullpen arms that have been the club's bright spots -- particularly left-hander Brad Hand, who drew significant interest ahead of last year's Deadline. The Padres are believed to want a significant return in exchange for Hand, perhaps for more everyday talent than just Franco.

The Padres have gotten up-and-down production from Christian Villanueva, who hit .321/.411/.692 in March and April, when he was named the National League Rookie of the Month, though the 27-year-old owns a .176/.229/.382 line in the two months since.

Rangers make Beltre, two relievers available
June 23: The Rangers are shopping Beltre, as well as relievers Jake Diekman and Keone Kela, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Beltre, who collected his 3,000th career hit last season and is 34 home runs shy of 500, is hitting .314/.365/.456 with four home runs in 47 games this season. He's missed time due to hamstring injuries, and injuries limited him to 94 games in 2017.

The 39-year-old is a free agent after this season and can veto any proposed trade given his service-time rights, so he could steer his way to a team with a chance to contend for the postseason. The potential third-base market leans heavily to the supply side, with Machado, Donaldson and the Royals' Mike Moustakas potentially on the move prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Morosi: Hot market for hot corner

Diekman, also a free agent at season's end, has a 2.96 ERA over 33 appearances (27 1/3 innings) this season. Kela, the Rangers' closer, has a 3.67 ERA and 18 saves in 29 appearances.

Reds drawing interest in Duvall
June 23: Outfielder Adam Duvall is drawing a "surprising" amount of trade interest according to Rosenthal in a video for FOX Sports. Duvall is hitting .203/.285/.409 with 12 home runs for Cincinnati this season, but has been pretty unlucky according to Statcast™: Entering Saturday, his expected batting average based on launch angle and exit velocity of batted balls was .249.

Over the past two seasons, Duvall slashed .245/.299/.489 with 64 homers in 307 games. He also finished as a Gold Glove Award finalist in both seasons and was selected as an All-Star in 2016. The 29-year-old is under team control over the next three seasons.

O's star Jones 'holds all the cards'
June 23: Five-time All-Star Adam Jones has been stellar for the Orioles, batting .291 with a 109 OPS+ through Friday's action. But Jones told Baltimore Sun reporter Jon Meoli on Friday that the Orioles had not approached him in any capacity about a potential trade, even as the team likely pivots to a rebuilding phase in these weeks leading up to the Trade Deadline.

"I can't let it bother me," Jones told the Sun. "I'm in a different part of my life to where I'm not anticipating a $150 million, $200 million, $300 million offer this offseason. I'm more just, 'Let me go be a pro, do what I do best,' and that's play the game hard and live with the result."

Jones can veto any trade opportunity by virtue of his 13 years of Major League service time and 11 consecutive seasons in Baltimore. Telling the Sun that he "holds all the cards" in a trade scenario, Jones was realistic about his role in the marketplace as he plays through his age-32 season.

"What I'm trying to do is maintain my value and continue the path that I've been on of consistency and performing year-in and year-out," Jones said. "I'm just basically doing me, and not worrying about everybody else."

Jones represents a potentially valuable veteran presence should teams need an outfielder near the Deadline. He is one of a handful of Orioles players including Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach and others that make Baltimore arguably the most intriguing potential seller this summer. Jones has hit at least 25 home runs in each of his past seven big league seasons, and he has recorded an OPS below league average just once since 2009.

Nats say asking price on Realmuto too high
June 22: The Nationals could be among the most aggressive teams in making significant roster upgrades these next few weeks, but the cost for Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto remains prohibitive, at least in the eyes of Nats general manager Mike Rizzo.

Here's what Rizzo said in a candid interview on Friday with MLB Network Radio about potentially acquiring Miami's backstop:

"[The Marlins] are not going to sell him cheap. We know what the return has to be on Realmuto, and we're not willing to meet that price. So unless something changes there, on their end, we're going to go with [Matt] Wieters when he gets healthy and a combination of [Pedro] Severino and [Spencer] Kieboom to back him up."

Feinsand: 10 players whose trade stock is on the rise

The Nats were very publicly linked to Realmuto throughout the winter, but -- as appears to still be the case -- the asking price was too high. Many reports over the offseason alluded that Miami, in the midst of a major overhaul, was asking for at least one of its top two prospects, Victor Robles or Juan Soto, both of whom have excelled in brief MLB stints.

Realmuto, 27, remains under club control through 2020, which assuredly would be one of the many enticing returns for Washington, which has many significant contributors hitting free agency this winter. Realmuto is batting .297/.355/.524 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 54 games this season for a Marlins club that entered Friday with a 29-46 record.

Video: Mike Lowell breaks down J.T. Realmuto, his value

Astros remain interested in acquiring Britton
June 22: After nearly trading for O's closer Britton last season, the Astros remain interested in the left-hander, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

Houston and Baltimore agreed on a deal sending Britton to the Astros for multiple players before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2017, but it was reportedly vetoed by Orioles owner Peter Angelos after physicals were exchanged.

• Non-waiver Trade Deadline explained

Britton has allowed only one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings since he returned from right Achilles tendon surgery, and he's walked just one batter after issuing three free passes in his season debut.

The bullpen arguably remains the Astros' biggest weakness, and yet, the club's relief corps has performed incredibly well lately, posting the third-best ERA (2.03) in the Majors during June.

Hector Rondon has emerged as the Astros' primary closer this month, notching four saves in four chances, and Chris Devenski (1.57 ERA), Collin McHugh (1.13 ERA) and Brad Peacock (2.30 ERA) have also excelled this season. Even Ken Giles, who posted a 7.88 ERA in May and allowed three runs in his first two June appearances, has found a groove, tossing four straight scoreless outings.

Morning Lineup Podcast talks third-base trade market

Rangers willing to pay part of Choo's contract in trade
June 22: The Rangers have made Shin-Soo Choo available and are willing to pay part of the veteran's salary to get a deal done, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

The 35-year-old is owed $42 million over the 2019-20 seasons as part of the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with Texas in December 2013.

Choo has reached base in 34 straight games and owns a stellar 134 wRC+ this season. However, his defensive capabilities in the outfield are limited at this point, and he's spent much of the year as the Rangers' designated hitter. That, along with his contract, could reduce that number of teams interested in acquiring him.

"No chance" Pirates trade Taillon
June 22: Even if the Pirates decide to sell, Jameson Taillon is not expected to be one of the players available, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

A source told Heyman there is "no chance" Pittsburgh moves its 26-year-old right-hander, who has posted a 4.03 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP this season.

Taillon won't be arbitration eligible for the first time until the 2019-2020 offseason and has four seasons remaining after this one before he reaches free agency.

Pirates players who are more likely to be dealt include Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Corey Dickerson and Ivan Nova.

Mets more likely to trade Wheeler than deGrom, Syndergaard?
June 21: The Mets have been calling around to gauge other teams' trade interest in their players, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

Video: Morning Lineup: Teams that could trade for deGrom

While rivals are dubious the Mets will trade either Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, the club is finding interest in Zack Wheeler, per Heyman. Meanwhile, there hasn't been much chatter yet regarding Steven Matz.

Rosenthal reported Monday that the Mets are "open for business" as it relates to prospective trade offers ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

However, it will likely take a major haul to acquire either deGrom or Syndergaard. A Mets source told Heyman the club would need to get Gleyber Torres back to trade deGrom to the Yankees, which provides a sense of the asking price the club has placed on the ace. Of course, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has already nixed the idea of trading Torres, joking that he still has to "walk around this city."

Wheeler will surely cost teams less than it would take to acquire deGrom or Syndergaard. The righty owns a 4.82 ERA this season and has an extensive injury history, but his FIP is a promising 3.80. He was also hitting 99 mph with his four-seam fastball in his most recent start on June 17 against the D-backs.

Could Phils jump into Machado sweepstakes early?
June 21: The Phillies, who have been thought to be planning a pursuit of Machado when he hits the free-agent market this offseason, are having problems on the left side of their infield: Not only have they been getting little production there, rookie shortstop/third baseman J.P. Crawford recently broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch.

Duquette: 7 potential trade destinations for Machado

According to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports, Philadelphia -- with several front-office executives having been with Baltimore when Machado was drafted -- would love to add the superstar third baseman, but the question remains whether the Phillies will be a contender as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline nears.

Royals shift focus to trading Moustakas after Herrera deal
June 21: After a trade that sent closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals, the Royals are now shifting their focus to moving Moustakas, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

Moustakas is on a one-year deal with Kansas City that includes a mutual option for 2019. He's having a solid season, slashing .263/.319/.480 with 14 home runs after belting a career-high 38 in 2017, though he has been slumping of late. Moustakas has played his entire eight-year career with the Royals.

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

Padres a potential trade suitor for Machado?
June 21: The list of potential trade destinations for Machado could surprisingly include San Diego, according to Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

The Padres have certainly shown a willingness to make bold moves during general manager A.J. Preller's tenure, trading for Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Craig Kimbrel prior to the 2015 season and signing Eric Hosmer to a club-record $144 million, eight-year contract in February 2018. And with the No. 1 farm system in baseball, per MLB Pipeline's preseason rankings, the Padres certainly have a prospect group that will entice the Orioles.

Video: Morosi discusses Machado trade possibilities and more

A trade between the Padres and Orioles remains unlikely, however, as San Diego is in last place in the National League West and would have little chance of re-signing Machado after this season, given their sizable commitment to Hosmer and Machado's preference to remain at shortstop long term. San Diego's top prospect is shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

Per Heyman, a Padres source downplayed the possibility of a Machado deal and said the club is simply doing its "due diligence."

Red Sox looking to upgrade bullpen; Hand an option?
June 20: The Red Sox are interested in bolstering their relief corps, according to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi, and Padres closer Hand may be a target for the club.

However, San Diego's asking price for Hand could be prohibitive. Per Morosi, the Padres are expected to seek a young everyday player, such as Rafael Devers, in exchange for the left-hander.

Hand, who has a National League-leading 21 saves with a 2.43 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP this season, is signed through 2020 with a team option for 2021, so the Padres are in no rush to deal him.

Boston has the sixth-best bullpen ERA (3.17) in the Majors, but the club's 'pen lacks depth with Carson Smith out for the season following shoulder surgery and Steven Wright currently starting in place of the injured Drew Pomeranz (left biceps tendinitis).

Video: DeRo discusses his Top 5 trade candidates

O's, D-backs have talked Machado trade
June 19: The Orioles and D-backs have engaged in discussions regarding a potential trade for Machado, according to Morosi, and dialogue remains open between the two clubs.

Morosi described the trade talks as "due diligence on Arizona's part as the team's needs become clear." The two clubs also reportedly discussed a Machado trade this past offseason. Arizona currently holds the top spot in the National League West, but the second-place Dodgers narrowed the gap when they defeated the Cubs in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon.

It's unclear whether the D-backs are interested in acquiring Machado to play shortstop or third base.

The 25-year-old would be an offensive upgrade over starting third baseman Jake Lamb and shortstop Nick Ahmed, as he's hitting .310 with 18 homers, 53 RBIs and a .945 OPS over 69 games for the Orioles in 2018 and owns a lifetime 118 wRC+.

But Machado has struggled defensively in his first season as the O's primary shortstop, recording -15 defensive runs saved (DRS). Ahmed, meanwhile, has notched six DRS. Machado has proven to be a stellar defender at the hot corner in the past, posting 81 DRS as a third baseman during his career and winning two AL Gold Glove Awards at the position.

Video: MLB Tonight on the D-backs' interest in Machado

Yanks, M's looking to acquire Happ
June 18: As the Yankees and Mariners have emerged as true contenders in the American League pennant race, so, too, have their roster voids -- specifically within their starting rotations. Both clubs are believed to be in the market for an available arm over the next six weeks, and Morosi reported on Monday that each is interested in Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ.

In the midst of an All-Star-caliber season, Happ has a 3.48 ERA over 82 2/3 innings in 14 starts. He is in the final year of a three-year, $36 million contract, and due to his lingering free agency, he might not be as costly a return in what is shaping up to be a thin trade market for starters.

Both Seattle and New York have gotten above-average production from their starting staffs, though each has shown signs of vulnerability.

Video: Morosi on potential trade fits for J.A. Happ

Beyond AL Cy Young Award candidate Luis Severino, the Yankees have gotten inconsistent results from Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery was lost for the season because of Tommy John surgery and Domingo German hasn't yet exhibited enough to warrant the fifth spot for good. CC Sabathia has been reliable, when healthy. To complement their elite offense and lights-out bullpen, the Yankees have long been speculated to retool their rotation ahead of the Deadline.

Morosi noted that the Yankees might have more incentive to go after a lefty given that the division-rival Red Sox have an MLB-best .813 OPS against righties but only a .672 mark against southpaws. In addition to their 13 regular-season meetings remaining, there's a strong chance the Yankees could go through Boston in the postseason.

The Mariners' rotation has also proven to be top heavy, with arguably the AL's best starter in James Paxton. However, No. 2 starter Felix Hernandez has struggled to a career-worst 5.44 ERA, and he has given up five or more earned runs in five of his 15 starts. No. 5 starter Wade LeBlanc has been a pleasant surprise, but at 33 years old, there have been questions about his sustainability.

In a loaded AL East, Toronto entered 2018 with its most realistic avenue to the postseason via an AL Wild Card berth, but it entered Monday 12 1/2 games back of the second AL's spot. The Jays are 32-38 despite winning seven of their last 10, including sweeps of the Nationals and Orioles.

10 holes that postseason contenders must fill

MLB.com @RichardJustice

The Indians could use a reliever or two. Another bat for the Mariners wouldn't hurt. The Cardinals? They could use a jolt.

Actually, every contender will attempt to do something as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. It's sometimes as much about sending a message as filling a need.

The Indians could use a reliever or two. Another bat for the Mariners wouldn't hurt. The Cardinals? They could use a jolt.

Actually, every contender will attempt to do something as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. It's sometimes as much about sending a message as filling a need.

Your favorite team's general manager has watched his guys bust their tails for four months to put themselves in position to make the postseason. Now, he'll do his part.

Whether it's by adding a pinch-hitter -- a relatively minor deal -- or adding a starting pitcher or closer, he's letting his guys -- and fans -- know this season is worth investing in.

On the other hand, some teams have holes that almost certainly must be addressed to have a real shot at making the postseason. At a time when 17 of 30 teams are within five games of a postseason berth, plenty of teams feel an urgency to get something done.

Here are 10 holes that need to be filled:

1. Indians
Plenty of teams are shopping hard for bullpen help. No team has a greater sense of urgency than the Indians, who have a rotation and offense good enough to make a deep October run.

Possible fits: Jeurys Familia (Mets), Craig Stammen and Brad Hand (Padres), Raisel Iglesias (Reds), Zach Britton (Orioles).

Video: SD@STL: Hand closes out win to earn his 21st save

2. Nationals
Everything is fixed when Bryce Harper starts to hit. OK, almost everything. General manager Mike Rizzo may have acknowledged the challenge of acquiring a starting pitcher when he traded for Royals closer Kelvin Herrera this week. In doing so, he shortened games by an inning. Stephen Strasburg's recovery from right shoulder inflammation is what the Nationals really need.

Possible fits: Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Chris Archer (Rays), J.A. Happ (Blue Jays), Tyson Ross (Padres), Cole Hamels (Rangers), Jose Urena (Marlins).

3. D-backs
Arizona needs rotation help, and the upgrade may be in-house. If starters Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray are healthy down the stretch, the D-backs might be the National League West favorites. But the D-backs love big moves, and none would fit that description better than deGrom.

Possible fits: deGrom.

Video: NYM@COL: deGrom strikes out 7 over 8 strong innings

4. Cardinals
Michael Wacha's injury clears things up a bit. The Cardinals definitely need a starter. Until then, it was only clear that the club needed something. No club is more disciplined in its thinking or its blueprint. So rather than suggest a major shakeup by going for, say, star third baseman Manny Machado, the best bet is to go grab the best available starting pitcher.

Possible fits: Happ, deGrom, Syndergaard.

5. Brewers
All this time we spent fretting about adding to the rotation. Turns out, it's a reliever the Brewers need. Britton would be a dramatic addition and might give the Brewers a final push into the postseason. Don't discount it, either. This franchise is in a win-now mode.

Possible fits: Britton, Iglesias.

Video: BOS@BAL: Britton strikes out Devers in his 2018 debut

6. Mariners
GM Jerry Dipoto has positioned his team for its first position appearance in 17 years. Now, how about one more bat, even if it's a bat off the bench? Here's guessing Dipoto will also go for another reliever.

Possible fits: OF Nicholas Castellanos (Tigers).

7. Phillies
Yes, the rotation has had its troubles lately. But the thing the Phillies must have is a proven closer. Until the back end of the bullpen is fixed, everything else is a lower priority. With Alex Colome and Herrera off the market, it's time to get busy.

Possible fits: Britton, Iglesias.

8. Cubs
Here's the Machado landing spot. The Cubs can probably win the NL Central without any addition to their team. They may even be good enough to win another World Series championship. But with the bar at winning a championship, the Cubs should try to do something dramatic to help them finish the deal.

Possible fits: Machado.

Video: Must C Clutch: Machado, O's prevail over Braves in 15

9. Angels
The Angels will not make the postseason without adding at least one arm to the back of the bullpen. Hand would be a nice fit. So would Iglesias. To get Shohei Ohtani back as at least a hitter would be a huge boost.

Possible fits: Hand.

10. Braves
Another team that may not make the postseason unless it adds bullpen help. But GM Alex Anthopoulos is likely to try for something more dramatic, say, a third baseman. He has the Minor League depth to get Machado. If Josh Donaldson is healthy, he'd also be a perfect fit. But the real perfect fit is Mike Moustakas.

Possible fits: Moustakas, Donaldson, Machado.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Rangers look toward future at Trade Deadline

Gallo rests hamstring at DH; Molitor responds to plunking Profar
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers approach to the upcoming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is to do whatever they can to make the team better for the future.

That approach means Texas, according to sources, will listen to interest on any player on its roster, whether it is pitcher Cole Hamels, third baseman Adrian Beltre or anybody else.

View Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers approach to the upcoming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is to do whatever they can to make the team better for the future.

That approach means Texas, according to sources, will listen to interest on any player on its roster, whether it is pitcher Cole Hamels, third baseman Adrian Beltre or anybody else.

View Full Game Coverage

The Rangers will obviously be in a "selling" mode based on being in last place in the American League West, but are in no rush to make a move. Right now, they are content to wait and see what the level of interest is on their players as the Trade Deadline approaches and they continue to scout other teams farm systems.

Hamels is expected to be the Rangers' most attractive player this summer as starting pitching remains a coveted commodity. It is no secret that the Yankees are among the teams looking for starting pitching.

Hamels has a partial no-trade clause that includes the Yanks. No-trade clauses are rarely an impediment to a deal, although Hamels may insist on a club picking up his option for next season in exchange for agreeing to the deal.

Beltre has veto power over all trades due to his 10-and-5 rights. Texas is not trying to move him, but general manager Jon Daniels has talked with Beltre about the possibility. If a team does show interest, Daniels has told Beltre that he will discuss it with him before making a trade. Otherwise, the Rangers are content to let Beltre stay as a leader on a young team and possibly bring him back next year.

Relief pitching is another coveted commodity at the Trade Deadline and that has been a position of strength for Texas. Keone Kela has been exceptional as the closer and veteran relievers Jake Diekman, Tony Barnette and Jesse Chavez have all pitched well.

Gallo gets DH day
Joey Gallo started as the designated hitter on Sunday against the Twins. He came out of Saturday's game in the third inning with tightness in his left hamstring.

Video: TEX@MIN: Gallo taken out due to hamstring tightness

Gallo has been bothered by the hamstring since Spring Training and had an anti-inflammation injection in April. His situation is different than Beltre's tender left hamstring. Gallo's is in a different spot -- behind the knee -- and less severe.

"It's just lingering a little bit," Gallo said. "Everybody has something that bothers them. There are 162 games, you play through it. I have been playing through this for awhile. It's not a big deal for me."

Molitor reacts to Profar situation
Twins manager Paul Molitor had a curious explanation for Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar getting hit by a pitch three times on Saturday. Molitor's explanation included an apparent admission that the third pitch was intentional.

Apparently, the Twins were irked that Profar stole second base in the fourth inning after getting hit for the second time. Reliever Addison Reed plunked him in the seventh inning.

Video: TEX@MIN: Profar goes to first on hit-by-pitch in 7th

"It's a rarity when you get hit three times in a game," Molitor said. "The first one, our pitcher got his cleat caught in the dirt. Second one, I think was a borderline strike. With the armor these guys wear, they don't worry about getting out of the way. And then the last time, you know, we wanted to give him an opportunity to steal another base."

Profar been hit by a pitch three times in a game twice this season. Since 2008, the only other player that has happened to is Reed Johnson of the Blue Jays in '06.

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

Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels

'Encouraging signs' as Tanaka throws off mound

Starter feels no pain in hamstrings; Yankees giving Sabathia extra day of rest
Special to MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka threw a 26-pitch bullpen session before New York's series finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday morning. It was his first time throwing off a mound since going on the disabled list on June 9 with mild strains in both of his hamstrings.

"I was kind of being a little bit cautious about it on the mound, but it turned out that I didn't feel anything [in my hamstrings], so everything is working out fine," Tanaka said through a translator.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka threw a 26-pitch bullpen session before New York's series finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday morning. It was his first time throwing off a mound since going on the disabled list on June 9 with mild strains in both of his hamstrings.

"I was kind of being a little bit cautious about it on the mound, but it turned out that I didn't feel anything [in my hamstrings], so everything is working out fine," Tanaka said through a translator.

View Full Game Coverage

Tanaka, who did some light running in the outfield at Tropicana Field after the session, was encouraged by his ability to throw his entire repertoire of pitches without limitation.

"Just being able to throw without feeling anything in the hamstring, No. 1," Tanaka said. "No. 2 is that the arm strength is still there and just being able to throw with some force on it."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Tanaka will throw another bullpen session on Tuesday at the team's Minor League complex in Tampa, and that he will be reassessed after that.

"Encouraging signs," Boone said. "Looks like he's doing well."

Rotation reshuffle

New York announced that the club would reshuffle its rotation for the upcoming series against the Phillies to give veteran lefty CC Sabathia an extra day off.

"With the stretch we've been in, we just really value getting the extra day," Boone said. "For CC to get that extra day -- actually an extra two days with an off-day -- and being able to start the first game in Boston, we just felt it was really valuable if we can get through with our 'pen the next few days and not have to alter anything."

Video: SEA@NYY: Loaisiga K's Gordon with a pitch in the dirt

Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0, 3.12 ERA) and Luis Severino (11-2, 2.24 ERA) will start the first two games vs. Philadelphia as scheduled. Righty Luis Cessa, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, will get a spot start for Wednesday's finale.

"We have a lot of confidence in Cessa," Boone said. "That's kind of the role going into the season that we envisioned him in, kind of being that fifth, sixth starter for us."

Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

No lingering issues for Kershaw after return

Dodgers ace to make next start Thursday or Friday in LA
MLB.com @kengurnick

NEW YORK -- There were no physical issues the day after for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who felt well enough to pitch on flat ground before Sunday's game.

Kershaw pitched three innings against the Mets on Saturday night, and feeling well the day after a start is not a given. His previous start on May 31 followed a disabled-list stint for biceps tendinitis, and after that game he went right back on the DL with a lower back strain.

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NEW YORK -- There were no physical issues the day after for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who felt well enough to pitch on flat ground before Sunday's game.

Kershaw pitched three innings against the Mets on Saturday night, and feeling well the day after a start is not a given. His previous start on May 31 followed a disabled-list stint for biceps tendinitis, and after that game he went right back on the DL with a lower back strain.

View Full Game Coverage

He came off the disabled list to start Friday night, allowed two runs in three innings, then threw a fourth inning in the indoor batting cage. Manager Dave Roberts said a bullpen session Monday for Kershaw will determine if he makes his next start on regular rest Thursday or with an extra day on Friday.

If Kershaw needs the extra day, Roberts said, rookie Caleb Ferguson will start on Thursday. Ferguson followed Kershaw on Saturday night with four scoreless innings to pick up his first Major League victory.

Video: LAD@NYM: Roberts, Kershaw and Kemp on 8-3 win

Extra bases
Walker Buehler made 17 pitches off the bullpen mound Sunday, his first true test since going on the disabled list June 9 with a microfracture of a right rib. There is no indication when Buehler will return to the rotation and there seems to be no rush, as the Dodgers had expected to back off him at some point in the season to limit his innings.

Chris Taylor remains day to day with a tight hamstring and is available for pinch-hitting, and Roberts reiterated that the club does not intend to put him on the DL. Roberts said the impressive play of Enrique Hernandez, who is replacing Taylor at shortstop, also allows time for Taylor on the bench. Taylor drove in two runs Saturday night as a pinch-hitter. Hernandez squeezed home a run and scored twice. On Friday, Hernandez singled and stole a base.

• Roberts acknowledged that the club is not getting the expected offense from catchers Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes. He said Barnes' confidence is being tested and that he was encouraged to see Grandal draw his first walks of the month Saturday night.

"Production is certainly down at the catching position, but we expect both of our guys to be offensive," Roberts said. "It's probably just a perfect storm right now, that's what we're hoping, and it turns."

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw

Braves place closer Vizcaino (shoulder) on DL

Right-hander Phillips gets first big league callup
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- As Arodys Vizcaino spends at least another week resting his sore right shoulder, the Braves will get their first look at Evan Phillips, who over the past couple of months went from being relatively unknown to one of Atlanta's most intriguing prospects.

"I don't want to say I was expecting it or anything," Phillips said. "I was just trying to work on my craft down there in [Triple-A] Gwinnett. I just wanted to be ready for when [the call] did come, and thankfully, it did."

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ATLANTA -- As Arodys Vizcaino spends at least another week resting his sore right shoulder, the Braves will get their first look at Evan Phillips, who over the past couple of months went from being relatively unknown to one of Atlanta's most intriguing prospects.

"I don't want to say I was expecting it or anything," Phillips said. "I was just trying to work on my craft down there in [Triple-A] Gwinnett. I just wanted to be ready for when [the call] did come, and thankfully, it did."

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Phillips received his first call to the Majors late Saturday night, when the Braves determined they had no choice but to place Vizcaino on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. The veteran closer has been unavailable to pitch since notching consecutive saves last weekend.

"[Vizcaino's shoulder] is not responding like we wanted it to," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It was one of those situations where if he wasn't ready to pitch today, we had to back off it and get him right, because it wasn't working."

Vizcaino's shoulder has been bothering him throughout this season. The Braves were relieved when an MRI performed on Thursday confirmed the discomfort has not been caused by structural damage. But even after receiving a cortisone injection, the 27-year-old reliever would not have been available if needed during Saturday's 7-5 loss to the Orioles.

The Braves were able to backdate Vizcaino's transaction three days to Thursday, so he'll be eligible to be activated during next Sunday's series finale in St. Louis. For now, the hope is he will not need more than an additional week of rest.

A.J. Minter and Dan Winkler will share the closing duties while Vizcaino is on the DL. Minter has pitched on consecutive days just eight times during his professional career (seven times this season). Winkler struggled as he retired just one of the five batters he faced while blowing his first career save opportunity in Friday's 15-inning loss to the Orioles.

Video: ATL@PHI: Minter works out of a tight spot in the 8th

"[Being a closer] is a different animal," Snitker said. "That's why those guys make a lot of money. It's good that [Winkler] experienced that because I don't think you're going to know how you'll react until you actually do it."

Phillips posted a 2.31 ERA and recorded 50 strikeouts over 35 innings for Gwinnett. Opponents hit .211 against the 23-year-old right-hander, who was taken by the Braves in the 17th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.

"I always believed I could be a big leaguer and dreamt about it my whole life," Phillips said. "But when things really start clicking and you really start feeling confident, you don't have to overwork while pitching. I really thought it was a possibility this year when I really got the ball rolling. I had to look myself in the mirror and think this could really happen someday."

Tweet from @Braves: Welcome to the bigs, @EvanPhillips36! #ChopOn pic.twitter.com/IoGcFXQ2Qj

Given Phillips produced a 6.14 combined ERA with 53 strikeouts over 51 1/3 innings between Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett last year, there wasn't much reason to anticipate this year's success

"When he signed, he had a big league fastball and he had to do some work on his breaking ball," Snitker said. "Obviously, he has. Guys like him. We liked him this spring. His name has come up from the get-go. His name has been on the radar."

To create a 40-man roster spot for Phillips, the Braves designated infielder Phil Gosselin for assignment. Gosselin had been playing for Gwinnett since rejoining Atlanta's organization with a Minor League deal in May.

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

Atlanta Braves, Arodys Vizcaino

Machado surprises Orioles fan in Atlanta

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Manny Machado remembers the sizzling and steamy summers in Miami -- "his first home" as he has previously described the vibrant city. Growing up watching the Marlins, one of baseball's hottest commodities also remembers the impact a big league player can make in the life of a young kid in a big city.

"I came up wishing I had that opportunity for a big leaguer or someone I admired from the Marlins to do [something] for me," Machado said. "I always told myself whenever I got the opportunity to be an impactful person, I'm going to do anything possible to try to help a kid, or anybody out."

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ATLANTA -- Manny Machado remembers the sizzling and steamy summers in Miami -- "his first home" as he has previously described the vibrant city. Growing up watching the Marlins, one of baseball's hottest commodities also remembers the impact a big league player can make in the life of a young kid in a big city.

"I came up wishing I had that opportunity for a big leaguer or someone I admired from the Marlins to do [something] for me," Machado said. "I always told myself whenever I got the opportunity to be an impactful person, I'm going to do anything possible to try to help a kid, or anybody out."

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Machado got his chance to do just that this past week when he was scrolling through social media and saw a video of a young fan in Atlanta.

JJ Roddenberry greatly admires Machado, so much so that when his parents gifted him with a ticket to Sunday's finale against the Braves for his 14th birthday, the young fan from Atlanta broke down as joy-filled tears streamed down his face.

Tweet from @Orioles: Manny Machado fan and Atlanta-native, JJ Roddenberry, has been on an emotional roller coaster since his parents gifted him @Orioles v Braves tickets for his 14th birthday...Complete with a surprise from Manny. See you Sunday, JJ! cc: @jr_roddenberry #Birdland pic.twitter.com/EH19eSVbwU

Roddenberry's reaction to being gifted with the ticket to see his favorite slugger live stirred up emotions within Machado.

"Just watching that [reaction], it gave me goosebumps," Machado said. "I mean, the kid cried just for a ticket to go to the baseball game."

After seeing the video, Machado immediately reached out to the Orioles' PR director, Kristin Hudak, to begin the process of getting in touch with Roddenberry to set up another surprise for the 14-year-old.

Tweet from @Orioles: Mission complete! Happy birthday, JJ. #Birdland pic.twitter.com/i7Cneu5ft0

A few days after Roddenberry received the tickets from his parents, he was sent a surprise video from none other than Machado himself. The O's shortstop invited the young fan to hang out with him during batting practice before Sunday's game.

Again, Roddenberry was overcome with emotions.

However, when Sunday arrived, batting practice wasn't scheduled for either club at SunTrust Park -- but that didn't stop Machado from seeking out Roddenberry, who was able to have some one-on-one time with Machado during a meet-and-greet in the Orioles' dugout before the game.

"We try to go above and beyond to satisfy people," Machado said. "It's the least we can do, you know, in the position we are in. To give a chance to the people that admire you and look up to you, it's the least we can do [to] show them how much we appreciate it."

Mancini's return
Trey Mancini returned to the O's lineup batting seventh and starting in left field after a few days off. Mancini, who woke up on Thursday morning unable to move his head up or to the left, has been nursing a sore neck for much of the last few days.

After working with the medical staff to loosen up the stiff area, Mancini was well enough to pinch-hit in Friday night's 15-inning marathon win.

"[Trey] was OK yesterday, I thought, but we wanted to try and give him one more day," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "Anybody who has had a stiff neck knows it won't go away overnight."

Mancini's return to the lineup also allowed Showalter a chance to give Mark Trumbo a day off. The manager said Trumbo's knee swells up "every once in a while," as it did following Saturday's win over the Braves, but a day off will be enough to get him back in top shape before heading back to Baltimore for a four-game set with the Mariners.

The O's power hitter has homered in four of his last six games, racking up nine RBIs over the past week after his fifth career grand slam in the first inning of Saturday's win.

Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado

Rickey Henderson had an electric MLB debut

Rickey Henderson has always been larger than life, whether taking a trot around the bases or just talking about his CD collection. So naturally, when the future Hall of Famer made his Major League debut against the Rangers back on June 24, 1979, he wasn't about to let the moment swallow him up.

He would've been forgiven for just collecting an 0-for-4 as he focused on getting his feet under him. This was it, after all: the chance to play for his hometown A's, the moment he'd been working toward since he was a three-sport star at Oakland's Technical High School. But no, rookie or not, Rickey was Rickey -- and as always, Rickey was here to play baseball.

Pham misses finale with flu-like symptoms

Pitching prospect Hudson has Matheny pondering Major League role
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

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MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

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"They just kicked me out of the cage, dead serious, because I wasn't feeling well," Pham said. "I can't go hit now."

Pham said he first became ill in Philadelphia, where the Cardinals played a three-game series before coming to Milwaukee. One night there, he slept with the air condition in his hotel room at 60 degrees and woke up with a bug.

"It was at 69 degrees and I was sweating," Pham said.

He's struggled at the plate as his health worsened in the days that followed, going 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts over his past four games. Pham has struck out in each of his last six at bats, including five straight looking.

Pham is hitting .196/.241/.373 with 17 strikeouts in his last 13 games.

"I don't think it's vision-related," said Pham, who has famously battled eye problems over his career. "There have been some tough pitches. … I feel like I'm in a tough stretch right now. Once I get my mechanics under control, I'll be all right, because I can get hot for a month."

Video: STL@PHI: Ramos K's Pham to strand a pair in the 7th

Hudson continues to make his case

Though club officials considered promoting highly-touted right-hander Dakota Hudson to start Monday against the Indians, they ultimately opted for John Gant in Michael Wacha's place. But Hudson's debut appears pegged for the immediate future, whether in the Cardinals' rotation or bullpen.

It was the club's No. 3 prospect's most recent performance that had Matheny hypothesizing how he could help in either role, a day after Hudson continued to knock on the big league door. The right-hander lowered his Pacific Coast League-leading ERA to 2.04 on Saturday night at Triple-A Memphis, allowing one run over eight innings in a 2-1 Redbirds win over New Orleans, the Marlins' affiliate.

Hudson outpitched former Cardinals top prospect Sandy Alcantara in the game and is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA over his last four starts.

"Dakota looked like he was really good," Matheny said. "A lot of ground balls. That movement [on the sinker] is outside of ordinary. What Dakota does can be translated long term into stating, but you can also picture it as being short-term help in the bullpen. You see guys with abnormal ground-ball rates, that usually means they are having success."

The Cardinals would not need to risk losing a player to add him to the 40-man roster. Instead, they could transfer Ryan Sherriff (Tommy John surgery) or Alex Reyes (season-ending lat surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham

Shipley recalled, Barrett optioned to Triple-A

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PITTSBURGH -- The D-backs' reliever shuffle continued Sunday as they recalled right-hander Braden Shipley from Triple-A Reno and optioned reliever Jake Barrett back to Reno.

Barrett had been called up Thursday to provide an extra arm in the bullpen after the team optioned starter Matt Koch to Reno.

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PITTSBURGH -- The D-backs' reliever shuffle continued Sunday as they recalled right-hander Braden Shipley from Triple-A Reno and optioned reliever Jake Barrett back to Reno.

Barrett had been called up Thursday to provide an extra arm in the bullpen after the team optioned starter Matt Koch to Reno.

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Barrett pitched one-third of an inning Thursday and an inning Saturday. With rain in the forecast for Sunday, the D-backs wanted to have a fresh arm in the bullpen in case there's a lengthy rain delay early that would force starter Clay Buchholz to not be able to continue.

Shipley, the team's first-round pick in the 2013 Draft, has been a starter throughout his professional career, until last month when the team shifted him to the Reno bullpen because it felt it gave him a better chance of contributing more this season.

The D-backs will need to make another roster move with the pitching staff Monday, when Shelby Miller is scheduled to be activated from the 60-day disabled list to start against the Marlins.

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

Arizona Diamondbacks

Dunning has elbow soreness; Covey improving

Renteria says Sox prospect has moderate strain
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Dane Dunning, the White Sox No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, departed with right elbow soreness from his start for Double-A Birmingham Saturday according to the team.

Dunning left with two outs in the fourth inning after allowing one earned run with four strikeouts and four walks.

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CHICAGO -- Dane Dunning, the White Sox No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, departed with right elbow soreness from his start for Double-A Birmingham Saturday according to the team.

Dunning left with two outs in the fourth inning after allowing one earned run with four strikeouts and four walks.

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"Everybody considered it a very moderate strain," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Dunning. "Nobody is at this point too concerned."

The 23-year-old has a combined 2.71 ERA over 15 starts for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem (four starts) and Double-A Birmingham (11) this season, recording 100 strikeouts and 26 walks in 86 1/3 innings. Dunning will continue to be evaluated and undergo a MRI in the next few days.

"They still have to re-evaluate more," Renteria said. "We won't know more until they get further evaluation and at that point everybody will know where he's at. Right now he still has to be re-evaluated."

Covey improving
Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday's 7-6 loss to the A's with what he described as right groin soreness, felt better Sunday morning per Renteria.

"We'll continue to see how he feels the rest of the day," Renteria said. "We'll have a much more concise update after the game."

Reynaldo Lopez, James Shields and Lucas Giolito will start the next three games for the White Sox against the Twins. Covey would be scheduled to go Friday in Texas, but the team could bring back Carlos Rodon on regular rest with Monday's off-day and give Covey an extra day.

Video: OAK@CWS: Covey K's Lowrie to strand a runner at 2nd

Soria becoming trade candidate
In the month of June, Joakim Soria has gone 7-for-7 in save opportunities and has fanned 12 with one walk over 9 2/3 innings. He made his 11th straight scoreless appearance, covering 10 2/3 innings overall, in Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader and has allowed just one unearned run over his last 14 appearances.

Opponents are 5-for-46 with two walks and 15 strikeouts against Soria during that span. Soria also has a 1.84 ERA and .220 opponents' batting average over 15 appearances on the road this season.

Video: CLE@CWS: Soria coaxes double play to notch the save

All of these numbers make the 34-year-old veteran with 215 career saves a prime trade candidate for the rebuilding White Sox.

It's a fact definitely crossing Soria's mind.

"Players say they don't think about it, but you have to think about it," Soria said. "When you have a family with three kids and a wife you have to be prepared for everything. But it's not like I come to the field thinking about that. It's just God's plan, and whatever happens it's a business and you prepare.

"That's something I can't control. Obviously, I have a really good relationship with these guys and the chemistry with this team is very good. I can't think outside of the box because it hasn't happened yet. You have to keep focused and be ready for today's game."

Third to first
• Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, out since April 22 with right rotator cuff inflammation, was scheduled to begin his injury rehab assignment for Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday.

Tim Anderson, with 13 home runs and 15 stolen bases, is one of seven players in the Majors this season with at least 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Dylan Covey, Dane Dunning

Segura improving, targeting Monday return

Versatile veteran Romine stepping up in shortstop's absence
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

BOSTON -- Jean Segura sat out a fourth straight game Sunday with an infected right forearm, but the Mariners expect their hot-hitting shortstop to be back in the lineup Monday to start a four-game series in Baltimore.

Segura had the infection drained by a doctor on Friday, but it was still limiting his ability to throw and swing a bat.

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BOSTON -- Jean Segura sat out a fourth straight game Sunday with an infected right forearm, but the Mariners expect their hot-hitting shortstop to be back in the lineup Monday to start a four-game series in Baltimore.

Segura had the infection drained by a doctor on Friday, but it was still limiting his ability to throw and swing a bat.

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"He is feeling quite a bit better," manager Scott Servais said prior to Sunday's series finale with the Red Sox. "He'll probably be available today off the bench if we need him late. But he wasn't feeling quite comfortable yet throwing the ball across the diamond yesterday. He does feel better. He has a little more energy, pep in his step, whatever you want to call it. We'll give him one more day."

On Saturday, Segura took ground balls at shortstop in pregame work, but then just flipped the ball underhand to a nearby teammate. But Sunday, the 28-year-old was making the throw to first during infield work with coach Manny Acta.

Segura said the infection caused a pinching sensation, like someone tugging at the bat when he was swinging. He did some light swinging in the cage on Saturday, but that figures to be the last remaining issue.

"He felt it bothered him a little bit," Servais said. "We want to be smart with this thing. It's tough not putting him in there, he's been such a big part of our team. But I think it's the right thing to do."

Segura was third in MLB in batting with a .334 average heading into Sunday's games and has been a driving force in the Mariners' offense all season. Andrew Romine has started in his place, and while the veteran utility man is hitting under .200, he's heated up at the plate with the more consistent playing time.

"It's been a long time coming, but good for him," Servais said. "He's put a few balls in play and found some holes, which he needed to. Romey always does a good job defensively and his head is always in the game."

Romine signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal with Seattle this past offseason and Servais appreciates how he's fit into the team, while acknowledging the offensive improvement is needed.

"The versatility is the big thing," Servais said. "And he is prepared. Some guys, when they're in that role, they just hang out on the bench and all a sudden you say, 'Hey, get loose, you're in the game,' and they panic.' He's stretching. He knows. He's managing the game along with myself.

"He understands when he might show up in a game, whether it's pinch-run or go play first base or he's in the outfield. There's a lot of value in that. Unless you're around our club every day, you really don't see it. But I say all that and you still have to produce a little offensively and be more productive there. I'm really happy he's gotten a few knocks here in this series. I know it'll relieve him and relax him a