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Dodgers stun Cubs with G1 rally after ejections

MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- Three Dodgers were ejected, the starting pitcher didn't get out of the fourth inning and the Dodgers were down to their last strike.

But Wrigley Field is where Los Angeles clinched the pennant last year, and the mojo carried over to Tuesday afternoon, as pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer's clutch two-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth inning gave the Dodgers a 4-3 comeback win over the Cubs in the early game of a makeup split doubleheader.

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CHICAGO -- Three Dodgers were ejected, the starting pitcher didn't get out of the fourth inning and the Dodgers were down to their last strike.

But Wrigley Field is where Los Angeles clinched the pennant last year, and the mojo carried over to Tuesday afternoon, as pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer's clutch two-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth inning gave the Dodgers a 4-3 comeback win over the Cubs in the early game of a makeup split doubleheader.

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The Dodgers have won 22 of their past 29 and are just 1 1/2 games behind the first-place D-backs. Edward Paredes retired the only batter he faced to get the win and Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 18th save.

Video: LAD@CHC: Jansen seals Dodgers' comeback win vs. Cubs

Farmer pulled a 2-2 slider from lefty Justin Wilson, who was given the ball because Cubs closer and former Dodger Brandon Morrow, was unavailable due to a tight back. Farmer doubled in Austin Barnes, who led off the ninth with a walk while pinch-hitting for Joc Pederson -- who opened the game with a homer -- and Justin Turner, who singled.

Video: LAD@CHC: Pederson crushes a leadoff home run to right

"I thought he'd come in. I was surprised he didn't," Farmer said after not facing Morrow.

Farmer was batting in the fifth spot in the order, which originally was held by Matt Kemp, until Kemp was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing strikes with plate umpire Tripp Gibson. Almost immediately after tossing Kemp, Gibson ejected manager Dave Roberts, and he made it a hat trick in the ninth inning by banishing Yasmani Grandal for the same offense after Grandal struck out for the fourth time. Then Farmer came up.

Kemp has been ejected three times this year and 17 times in his career. He said he deserved to be ejected for what he said to Gibson, but he tried to turn it into a positive.

Video: LAD@CHC: Kemp and Roberts get tossed for arguing

"I shouldn't have gotten kicked out in that situation right there, early in the game. My spot came up twice," said Kemp. "But if it wasn't for me getting kicked out, Farmer wouldn't have come up and hit that double, so everything worked out."

Roberts explained his ejection.

Video: LAD@CHC: Roberts on comeback, ejections

"I just thought, it seemed to me, there were more pitches that went their way than our way," said Roberts. "I thought [a ball to Turner] was off the plate. Matt's ball was down, I could see it from the side. I want to protect the player and I just didn't agree with those calls. He did what he's supposed to do."

That said, Roberts also praised the resilience of his club, from Chris Taylor getting hit by a pitch on the helmet and staying in to triple (his seventh), to Turner scoring from first on the double by Farmer, who was the last position player on the bench.

Video: LAD@CHC: Grandal gets tossed for arguing in the 9th

"It says a lot about our guys," Roberts said.

Farmer has played in only 32 games this season while shuttling back and forth to Triple-A Oklahoma City, but this was his third game-winning hit, down the opposite foul line -- similar to the one he delivered against the Giants last year in his Major League debut.

"He's got a good pulse," said Roberts. "He's had some big hits for us, big spots. And you can see guys that don't expand and have a way of locking it in."

Wilson fell behind Farmer, 2-0.

"Then he blew one by me pretty good," said Farmer, who is 6-for-16 as a pinch-hitter this year. "Then I fouled a ball and he threw me a slider down and in, and I put a bat on it, luckily."

Video: LAD@CHC: Puig brings home Taylor with a bloop double

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hudson clamps down: After Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore walked the first two Cubs batting in the fifth inning, acting manager Bob Geren brought in Daniel Hudson, who pitched around a wild pitch to strike out Chris Gimenez and pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella before retiring Kris Bryant on a flyout, stranding two runners in scoring position.

SOUND SMART
The Dodgers have trailed after the eighth inning in 31 games this season. This was only the second time in those situations that they've rallied to win.

HE SAID IT
"If you're not commanding your fastball, you're going to be in trouble. I just didn't think he had it today. From everything I get from Kenta Maeda and the training staff, physically, he's fine. I'd say the inconsistency is from not pitching."
-- Roberts, on whether Maeda, who walked a career-high five in 3 2/3 innings, is not fully healed from a strained right hip

Video: LAD@CHC: Maeda retires Gimenez to strand bases loaded

UP NEXT
Rich Hill will be activated for his first start since May 19 in Game 2 of a split doubleheader vs. the Cubs. Hill departed that last outing vs. the Nationals after just two pitches due to a blister. The southpaw will be opposed by Mike Montgomery, with first pitch set for 5:05 p.m. PT at Wrigley Field.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp

New leader at catcher, overall on AL ASG ballot

Ramos passes Sanchez behind plate; Altuve overtakes Betts in total votes
MLB.com @castrovince

An American League backstop battle has broken out in voting on the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot.

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

An American League backstop battle has broken out in voting on the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot.

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

The Rays' Wilson Ramos has overtaken the Yankees' Gary Sanchez for the AL's starting spot behind the plate in the latest voting update released Tuesday. Voting to decide the starters for the 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on July 17 at Washington's Nationals Park continues until 11:59 p.m. ET on July 5.

Though catcher is the only place where a change has taken place at the top, we also have a new top overall vote-getter, with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (1,572,101) holding a slight edge over Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (1,568,417) among all Major Leaguers. Freddie Freeman leads the NL with 1,433,140 votes.

National League voting update

Here are the latest results in the AL:

Video: TB@HOU: Ramos opens the scoring with a 2-run jack

CATCHER
1. Wilson Ramos, Rays: 678,159
2. Gary Sanchez, Yankees: 618,899
3. Brian McCann, Astros: 401,336
4. Salvador Perez, Royals: 344,915
5. Yan Gomes, Indians: 200,275

Sanchez's spot at the top with a sub-.200 batting average got a lot of attention when the first results were released last week. Ramos has a .286 average, .332 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage, compared to Sanchez's .194 average, .294 on-base percentage and .440 slugging percentage. Ramos has made it back into the limelight after an awful right knee injury sidelined him late during a 2016 season with the Nationals in which he made the NL All-Star squad for his first Midsummer Classic selection. The other change here is Gomes' arrival into the top five, bumping the Angels' Martin Maldonado.

Video: CLE@CWS: Abreu belts an opposite-field 2-run homer

FIRST BASE
1. Jose Abreu, White Sox: 636,666
2. Mitch Moreland, Red Sox: 472,245
3. Yuli Gurriel, Astros: 368,863
4. Albert Pujols, Angels: 336,724
5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 333,130

Cabrera's season-ending ruptured left biceps tendon caused his fall from third to fifth, and Gurriel has risen two spots in this pecking order. But it's still Abreu well out in front in a year in which he's logged a .283/.338/.500 line for the White Sox.

Video: TB@HOU: Altuve shows off his speed, legs out a single

SECOND BASE
1. Jose Altuve, Astros: 1,572,101
2. Gleyber Torres, Yankees: 534,758
3. Dee Gordon, Mariners: 244,488
4. Jason Kipnis, Indians: 156,347
5. Jed Lowrie, A's: 130,479

Altuve has more than a million votes more than his next-closest competition, so we're going to go out on a limb and suggest he's in good shape to make his fourth straight start for the AL. Now the only question is whether the reigning AL MVP Award winner, who played a big part in the Astros' just-completed 10-0 road trip, can maintain his lead in the overall voting.

Video: MIN@CLE: Ramirez crushes 21st home run of the year

THIRD BASE
1. Jose Ramirez, Indians: 893,530
2. Miguel Andujar, Yankees: 509,188
3. Alex Bregman, Astros: 410,412
4. Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 249,080
5. Mike Moustakas, Royals: 231,363

Ramirez, with 21 long balls, is already closing in on his homer total (29) from last year, when he finished third in the AL MVP Award voting, and he continues to run away with what would be his second straight starting assignment. The rest of the top five is unchanged from last week.

Video: MIA@BAL: Machado flares 2-run single to right-center

SHORTSTOP
1. Manny Machado, Orioles: 671,133
2. Carlos Correa, Astros: 458,367
3. Francisco Lindor, Indians: 420,674
4. Didi Gregorius, Yankees: 413,135
5. Jean Segura, Mariners: 312,407

Machado, who leads a deep position in OPS (.945), homers (18) and RBIs (53), continues to be at the top of the heap here, but there were changes below him. Correa, who has been productive since his return from right side discomfort, usurped the second spot from Lindor. And Segura, who has put up an .852 OPS for the surprising Mariners, entered the top five, knocking out the Angels' Andrelton Simmons.

Video: BOS@BAL: Betts belts 1st homer since coming off DL

OUTFIELD
1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox: 1,568,417
2. Mike Trout, Angels: 1,323,292
3. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 1,061,370
4. Michael Brantley, Indians: 518,350
5. George Springer, Astros: 511,815
6. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox: 509,780
7. Brett Gardner, Yankees: 330,970
8. Marwin Gonzalez, Astros: 300,694
9. Mitch Haniger, Mariners: 295,057
10. Josh Reddick, Astros: 278,332
11. Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers: 256,889
12. Eddie Rosario, Twins: 248,451
13. Aaron Hicks, Yankees: 239,594
14. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox: 237,937
15. Ben Gamel, Mariners: 151,097

The three starting spots seem pretty well settled here, as Trout (.332/.464/.688), Betts (.340/.419/.699) and Judge (.275/.395/.558) are all having absurdly good seasons in big markets. The only changes here are Haniger's jump from 13th to ninth, Reddick's leapfrog of Castellanos, Rosario and Bradley trading spots, and Gamel bumping the Indians' Tyler Naquin from the top 15.

Video: BOS@BAL: Martinez mashes his 22nd homer of the season

DESIGNATED HITTER
1. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox: 1,119,263
2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees: 478,872
3. Evan Gattis, Astros: 363,362
4. Shohei Ohtani, Angels: 350,579
5. Edwin Encarnacion, Indians: 260,915

With Ohtani out with an elbow injury and Gattis continuing to assert himself as one of the most productive players in baseball over the past month, those two flipped rankings in this week's update. But the top two spots are unchanged, and Martinez is well on his way to a much-deserved first All-Star selection since 2015, and his first turn as a starter.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

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

Nationals lose Adams due to broken finger

MLB.com

The Nationals placed infielder Matt Adams on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to June 16) with a fractured left index finger and recalled right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez from Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday. Additionally, the Nationals optioned right-handed pitcher Wander Suero to Triple-A Syracuse.

Rodriguez, 24, joins the Nationals for his second Major League assignment of the season. He joins the Nationals after going 5-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 13 starts for Double-A Harrisburg. He has recorded 72 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .222 batting average. He has not allowed an earned run in his last three Double-A starts, surrendering just four hits and striking out 21 batters over this span.

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The Nationals placed infielder Matt Adams on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to June 16) with a fractured left index finger and recalled right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez from Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday. Additionally, the Nationals optioned right-handed pitcher Wander Suero to Triple-A Syracuse.

Rodriguez, 24, joins the Nationals for his second Major League assignment of the season. He joins the Nationals after going 5-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 13 starts for Double-A Harrisburg. He has recorded 72 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .222 batting average. He has not allowed an earned run in his last three Double-A starts, surrendering just four hits and striking out 21 batters over this span.

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Rodriguez made his Major League debut on June 3 at Atlanta. He was called upon in the bottom of the first inning after Jeremy Hellickson left the game due to injury. Rodriguez impressed with 4.2 innings of four-hit, shutout ball. He struck out three batters while issuing just two walks.

Adams, 29, hit .275 (42-for-153) with seven doubles, 13 home runs, 36 RBI, 16 walks and 24 runs scored in 57 games so far in 2018.

Suero, 26, went 1-0 with a 3.63 ERA (7 ER/17.1 IP) and 17 strikeouts in 15 games out of Washington's bullpen.

 

Washington Nationals, Matt Adams, Jefry Rodriguez

Mariners ink pair of int'l teen pitching prospects

Pacific Rim southpaws Chang, 18, and Townsend, 17, join organization
MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

The Mariners added a pair of southpaws to their system Tuesday as they announced the signing of international pitching prospects Jing-Yu Chang and Blake Townsend.

Chang, 18, is a left-hander from Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, who is coming off a national high school championship with Kao Yuan Tech. He was the winning pitcher in that tournament's title game, and he is also a member of the Taiwanese national 18-and-under team.

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The Mariners added a pair of southpaws to their system Tuesday as they announced the signing of international pitching prospects Jing-Yu Chang and Blake Townsend.

Chang, 18, is a left-hander from Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, who is coming off a national high school championship with Kao Yuan Tech. He was the winning pitcher in that tournament's title game, and he is also a member of the Taiwanese national 18-and-under team.

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Chang will join the 17-year-old Townsend in the Mariners' organization. Townsend, a native of Victoria, Australia, played with his country's 15-and-under national team at the Baseball World Cup in Japan in 2016. He also participated in Australia's 18-and-under squad's tour through Arizona this past April, during which he pitched against Major League talent in Spring Training action.

Mariners director of international scouting Tim Kissner projected both pitchers as potential starters in an official team release issued Tuesday. Seattle has enjoyed success with Pacific Rim pitchers before, including Hisashi Iwakuma and Kazuhiro Sasaki of Japan and Ryan Rowland-Smith of Australia.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Seattle Mariners

Herrera arrives in DC, ready to fight for playoffs

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Kelvin Herrera has played all eight of his Major League seasons with the Royals, and he became emotional when speaking with the media on his way out of Kansas City on Monday night. So Nationals manager Dave Martinez is focused on making Herrera feel like a part of the Nationals' family after Washington traded for him Monday night in return for three prospects.

When Herrera arrived in Washington on Tuesday afternoon, Martinez sat down with him to discuss the right-hander's role as a late-inning reliever.

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WASHINGTON -- Kelvin Herrera has played all eight of his Major League seasons with the Royals, and he became emotional when speaking with the media on his way out of Kansas City on Monday night. So Nationals manager Dave Martinez is focused on making Herrera feel like a part of the Nationals' family after Washington traded for him Monday night in return for three prospects.

When Herrera arrived in Washington on Tuesday afternoon, Martinez sat down with him to discuss the right-hander's role as a late-inning reliever.

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"He actually looked at me and said, 'Wow, that was a pretty good conversation,'" Martinez said.

Martinez ensured Herrera they'd chat often, knowing that if the newly acquired reliever is happy and playing well, the Nationals will also thrive.

"I get it with him. He's been there a long time," Martinez said. "I even told him, 'The color red looks good on you. I know you're used to blue.' His winter ball team, I think, was red. I told him, 'Just think of it as you're playing on your winter ball team. You've got a different color on, and let's move forward.'"

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the Nationals reached out to the Royals about a month ago regarding Herrera, and those talks progressed more over the past week.

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

The non-waiver Trade Deadline isn't until July 31, but Rizzo said teams wait until that date to make a trade so they can identify their needs. Rizzo has known since the beginning of the season Washington has needed to add bullpen depth, since the Nationals have heavily relied on Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler.

Doolittle and Justin Miller are the only Nationals relievers who have pitched at least 12 innings and hold ERAs under 3.00. Kintzler has been on the disabled list since June 10 with a right forearm flexor strain, but has progressed to throwing on flat ground.

Doolittle, Madson, Kintzler and Herrera form a strong back end of the bullpen, which the Nationals hope will shorten postseason games and lead to winning their first playoff series. Doolittle, Madson and Herrera have extensive postseason experience.

Washington entered its game against the Orioles on Tuesday night 3 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.

Herrera, who will be paid the remainder of his $7.9 million salary by Washington, knew he might be traded to a contender, but the 28-year-old was surprised he was traded this early in the season. The Nationals parted ways with infielder Kelvin Gutierrez and outfielder Blake Perkins, whom MLB Pipeline ranked the team's No. 10 and 11 prospects, respectively, as well as 17-year-old right-hander Yohanse Morel, to acquire Herrera.

Herrera closed for the Royals, but the Nationals plan to continue using Doolittle in that role. Doolittle has notched a 1.37 ERA with 18 saves in 19 chances this season. Herrera said he's happy pitching any inning, and Doolittle also said Monday he's fine playing any role. Martinez encouraged each of his late relievers to imagine closing the inning they're selected to throw.

"The one thing I have seen about this team, these past few years, is they're always in the battle, in the fight for the playoffs, which is great chemistry here," Herrera said through a translator during his introductory news conference at Nationals Park on Tuesday. "I'm just ready to join the team and help any way I can."

This season, Herrera has a 1.05 ERA with 14 saves, 22 strikeouts and two walks in 27 games. In 22 career postgame games, including when he won the 2015 World Series, Herrera owns a 1.26 ERA and has 38 strikeouts without permitting a home run.

The Nationals also bolstered their bullpen before the Trade Deadline last season, adding Doolittle, Kintzler and Madson to improve what was then one of baseball's worst bullpens. Washington has the league's 10th-best bullpen ERA this season.

"We never rule out doing more," Rizzo said. "We feel that [when] healthy, we've got as good a team as anybody in the league and will compete with anybody. But factors go into this thing and injuries are a part of this thing. You have to be flexible enough to roll with the punches and do what you need to do on the fly to put the best team you can at the end of the season."

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Washington Nationals, Kelvin Herrera

Bruce goes on DL with right hip injury

Mets call up right-hander Peterson from Triple-A Las Vegas
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

DENVER -- The Mets' outfield depth diminished further on Tuesday, when the team placed Jay Bruce on the disabled list due to continued hip soreness. Bruce has been battling hip, back and foot issues in recent weeks, and he had missed four of the team's last five games.

Attempting to play through his various aches and pains, Bruce is batting .212 with a .613 OPS. He has not homered since May 7, a stretch of 113 plate appearances.

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DENVER -- The Mets' outfield depth diminished further on Tuesday, when the team placed Jay Bruce on the disabled list due to continued hip soreness. Bruce has been battling hip, back and foot issues in recent weeks, and he had missed four of the team's last five games.

Attempting to play through his various aches and pains, Bruce is batting .212 with a .613 OPS. He has not homered since May 7, a stretch of 113 plate appearances.

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Bruce's absence leaves New York with just three healthy outfielders on its 40-man roster: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Jose Bautista. Infielders Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes also have brief histories at the position, and the Mets have recently begin exposing first baseman Dominic Smith to the outfield, as well.

To replace Bruce on the roster, the Mets recalled reliever Tim Peterson from Triple-A Las Vegas.

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

New York Mets, Jay Bruce

5 biggest moments of Astros' 12-game win streak

The Astros won the World Series last year, but it wasn't enough. They didn't say to themselves, "Hey, we already have the championship. Let's let some other team have their chance." Instead, they decided to look for absolute domination. 

With the Mariners heating up and winning games in a variety of ever-more bizarre and stressful ways, Houston chose not to lose again. After defeating the Rays, 5-4, on Monday night, the Astros ran their winning streak to 12 games.

How did they get here? Here are the five biggest moments along the way:

Yankees, Dodgers phenoms lead new ROY poll

MLB.com @RichardJustice

Once or twice over the years, we may have been guilty of overhyping a few Yankees prospects. Every kid was going to be the next Mantle or the next DiMaggio. Hey, that's part of the fun of this stuff.

Not all of them were. Between 1971 and 2016, the Yanks had just one American League Rookie of the Year Award winner -- Derek Jeter, in 1996.

Once or twice over the years, we may have been guilty of overhyping a few Yankees prospects. Every kid was going to be the next Mantle or the next DiMaggio. Hey, that's part of the fun of this stuff.

Not all of them were. Between 1971 and 2016, the Yanks had just one American League Rookie of the Year Award winner -- Derek Jeter, in 1996.

This time, we might be underselling them. First, there are kids dotted up and down Aaron Boone's lineup card. Now comes our latest AL Rookie of the Year Award poll, from 37 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

There are Yankees running first and second -- this, after Aaron Judge won it last season. In the long history of the New York Yankees, they've never had back-to-back AL Rookie of the Year Awarrd winners.

Yanks second baseman Gleyber Torres got 34 of 37 first-place votes to outdistance teammate Miguel Andujar. Shohei Ohtani of the Angels, who led our previous poll, dropped to third place (71 points) after being sidelined indefinitely with an elbow injury.

In the National League, Dodgers righty Walker Buehler continues to lead the poll, this time with 139 points. Nationals 19-year-old outfielder Juan Soto, who wasn't on the grid when the first poll was taken, finished second with 77 points, and Marlins third baseman/right fielder Brian Anderson was third. Buehler got 20 of 36 first-place votes, Soto nine and Anderson seven.

Our 37 voters were asked to rank their top three players, with a first-place vote being worth five points, three points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote. Therefore, the maximum number of points a player could get was 185. Here's a look at the voting:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
1. Gleyber Torres, Yankees (177 points)

Torres made his Major League debut in the Yanks' 19th game, and he made an immediate impact by hitting .323 in April and getting his average as high as .344 on May 10 before cooling off a bit. Only 21, he has impacted games with speed, power, etc. Torres is piling up strikeouts and will be forced to adjust as pitchers figure out his weaknesses. But his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses.

Video: NYY@WSH: Torres starts a rundown to retire Soto

2. Miguel Andujar, Yankees (80 points)
Andujar started slowly, going 3-for-28 in his first seven starts. So where was the guy who tore it up in Spring Training? That's when he started to hit, and he hasn't stopped. Andujar has a chance for 20 home runs and 50 doubles in his rookie season. Best of all, because the Yanks' lineup is so deep, he'll have a chance to go through the growing pains that are almost certain to come.

3. Shohei Ohtani, Angels (71 points)
Just when Ohtani had pretty much proven he can do the thing we thought no one would ever do again -- be a bona fide two-way player -- his right elbow got sore. The Halos still hope he can come back in some role at some point. Regardless, Ohtani has already done enough to have an entire sport excited about the possibilities.

Video: MLB Now discusses Ohtani's chances to play in 2018

Others receiving votes: Max Stassi, Astros; Hector Velazquez, Red Sox; Brad Keller, Royals.

NATIONAL LEAGUE
1. Walker Buehler, Dodgers (139 points)

Buehler began the season as a top prospect who provided the Dodgers with nice depth for a rotation that was supposed to be one of baseball's best. When injuries hit the rotation, he became critical to help the club get back on track. The Dodgers won six of Buehler's nine starts, and he compiled a solid 2.63 ERA. He has been sidelined since June 8 with a rib microfracture, and a timetable for his return is uncertain.

Video: Roberts on Buehler's timetable for return from DL

2. Juan Soto, Nationals (77 points)
None of baseball's new generation of young talent has been more impressive than this 19-year-old. Soto homered in his first start on May 21 and has not had consecutive hitless games this month. He has future superstar written all over him, and the future may be now.

Video: NYY@WSH: Soto smashes a 2-run shot to the second deck

3. Brian Anderson, Marlins (68 points)
Anderson is one of the real bright spots for a club that is completely invested in a youth movement. He has the kind of speed that can win games, and he has had his batting average around .300 and his OPS close to .800 for most of this month.

Video: SF@MIA: Anderson wins it on a sac fly in the 9th

Others receiving votes: Austin Meadows, Pirates; Christian Villanueva, Padres; Harrison Bader, Cardinals; Jack Flaherty, Cardinals; Jordan Hicks, Cardinals; Dan Winkler, Braves; Caleb Smith, Marlins.

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.

Brian Anderson, Miguel Andujar, Walker Buehler, Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres

MLB Buzz: D-backs, O's chat about Machado

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.

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

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

O's, D-backs have talked Machado trade
June 19: The Orioles and D-backs have engaged in discussions regarding a potential trade for Manny Machado, according to MLB Network insider Jon Paul 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.

Are Mets 'open for business?'
June 18: The Mets are reportedly "open for business" as it relates to prospective trade offers ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline, including on ace Jacob deGrom, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. The club would be more inclined to move Noah Syndergaard, per Rosenthal, but it might be inclined to part with deGrom given the right return.

deGrom would cost a "boatload" in return, one source told Rosenthal, and likely for a combination of Major League talent as well as highly touted prospects, which perhaps only a handful of clubs could fulfill. deGrom has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining before he becomes a free agent, while Syndergaard wouldn't hit the market until after the 2021 season.

deGrom is firmly in the mix for the National League Cy Young Award, with the Majors' best ERA (1.55) over 87 1/3 innings in 14 starts. He's currently on pace for career bests in strikeout rate (32.8 percent), opposing batting average (.206) and WHIP (1.01), as he's one of the few glimmering spotlights for a Mets team that tumbled out of first place in early May. The right-hander did avoid a significant injury scare nearly seven weeks ago when he hyperextended his pitching elbow on an awkward swing, landing on the 10-day disabled list.

Syndergaard hasn't pitched since May 25 due to a strained ligament on his right index finger. The high-velocity right-hander missed nearly the entire 2017 season due to a partial tear in his right lat. Over 11 starts this year, Syndergaard is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA.

Monday's report surfaced less than two weeks after general manager Sandy Alderson called the liklelihood of a teardown "very remote" in an interview with USA Today.

"Just because you tear it down doesn't mean you're going to have a great rebuild. It doesn't work that way. It just doesn't," Alderson said at the time.

In Rosenthal's report, he indicates that the club would ideally like to retain most of its controllable nucleus -- shortstop Amed Rosario, outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto and right-handers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman -- but those chips are likely the most coveted by other clubs.

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 MLB.com's Jon Paul 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.

Giants going after Harper?
June 14: The Giants lost out on the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes in the offseason, despite being perhaps the most aggressive in pursuing the National League MVP Award winner via a trade from the Marlins. The Giants wound up filling out their lineup elsewhere -- trading for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria -- but they may not be out of the market in acquiring a power-hitting corner outfielder, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported recently that they could be a "main player" for Bryce Harper in free agency.

"They do make some sense," a friend of Harper's told Heyman.

Harper has been speculated to land a potentially historic deal, though the Giants were believed to be willing to take on the entire $295 million remaining on Stanton's contract. And general manager Bobby Evans has made it clear the club doesn't intend to rebuild in the immediate future despite a depleted farm system.

"We're going to be focused in the market as much as anybody ... the trade market as we get to the winter," Evans said in a recent interview with MLB Network Radio. "But that's so far ahead of us now. But yeah, there's always an eye on the free-agent market."

McCutchen will be a free agent this offseason, and 35-year-old left fielder Hunter Pence has struggled to stay healthy and remain productive, hitting .183/.236/.207 in 30 games. The Giants appear to be all-in on the immediate, and pursuing Harper would certainly fit that strategic mold.

Archer likely to be moved
June 13: This is far from the first time that the Chris Archer has been floated as a trade candidate, but a rival executive told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal that he believes that a seller's market this year will make the Rays likely to move Archer before the Trade Deadline.

Video: TB@WSH: Archer on 10-day DL with abdominal strain

Archer is a two-time All-Star with a 3.67 ERA in his seven seasons in the Majors, but his current injury and struggles this year might affect his trade value -- he has a 4.24 ERA in 13 starts and is on the disabled list with a left abdominal strain without a definite timetable for his return. And Rosenthal reports that the Rays don't like the thought of trading the 29-year-old due to his team-friendly contract.

Archer could be under club control through 2021, with one year remaining on his contract plus two more years of club options. That makes him different than, for example, David Price, who was only under team control when the Rays traded him, or Evan Longoria, who had a much larger contract.

Hamels might want trade partner to pick up option
June 13: Cole Hamels has been one of the most prominent names in early-season trade buzz -- most notably as a potential trade target for the Yankees, who for all their success so far are in need of starting rotation depth. The Rangers have struggled this season, but Hamels has a 3.86 ERA and 79 strikeouts in his 13 starts.

Video: TEX@LAA: Hamels grabs strikeout No. 2,300 of career

But the veteran left-hander has a 20-team no-trade list, and a source told Rosenthal that even though Hamels recently called that protection "kind of a formality," he could still use it as leverage to ask a trade partner from that list to pick up his $20 million option for 2019. That makes sense for the 34-year-old, as the alternative to picking up his option is a $6 million buyout that would leave him facing the uncertainty of free agency in his mid-30s.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi has reported that the teams not on Hamels' no-trade list are the Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Mariners, Nationals, Phillies, Rays and Royals.

Per Rosenthal, Hamels could be a difficult fit for a team trying to remain under the luxury tax threshold, as he'll still be owed close to $8 million at the Trade Deadline, unless the Rangers include significant cash in a deal.

Video: SF@MIA: Realmuto crushes go-ahead 2-run homer in 7th

Brewers could seek to upgrade at multiple spots
June 13: Similar to the Nationals, the Brewers are a contending team that could benefit greatly from upgrades in several areas -- namely, pitcher, catcher and second base.

Milwaukee could use both a front-end starter (staff ace Jimmy Nelson is still recovering from last September's shoulder surgery) and a reliever. Plus, while second baseman Jonathan Villar has been better at the plate than last year, he's still something of a question mark and has rated as a just-below-average hitter overall, with a 97 OPS+, where league average is 100.

Video: NYY@KC: Merrifield collects 3 hits, swipes 3 bags

According to Rosenthal, the Brewers have been interested in Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield in the past. The Brewers would also face competition from other Royals suitors.

Don't blame Callaway for Mets' struggles

Rookie manager has dealt with injuries, slumping offense after fast start
MLB.com @MikeLupica

The manager is always an easy target when a team has been in the kind of free fall the Mets have been in since they started the season 11-1 and briefly looked like a rocket to the moon. But it is hard to look at the team Mickey Callaway has right now and blame the rookie manager on their side of New York City for where the Mets are and the way they've played for the past two months.

You want to start somewhere in understanding why the Yankees' rookie manager, Aaron Boone, is where he is and why Callaway is where he is? Start here: Boone has five guys who have hit more home runs than Callaway's top homer guys, Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrera.

The manager is always an easy target when a team has been in the kind of free fall the Mets have been in since they started the season 11-1 and briefly looked like a rocket to the moon. But it is hard to look at the team Mickey Callaway has right now and blame the rookie manager on their side of New York City for where the Mets are and the way they've played for the past two months.

You want to start somewhere in understanding why the Yankees' rookie manager, Aaron Boone, is where he is and why Callaway is where he is? Start here: Boone has five guys who have hit more home runs than Callaway's top homer guys, Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Nimmo hit his 12th on Monday night against the Rockies, when the Mets scored as many runs in one game -- 12 -- as they recently scored over their first eight games in June. It's why Monday night made Mets fans feel as if their team were suddenly scoring like the Golden State Warriors.

Video: NYM@COL: Nimmo homers inside and outside of the park

There are plenty of reasons for Mets fans to feel as if all their heads are about to explode, as they continue to watch too many guys who seem older than stickball at a time when flashy young hitters seem to rule the world everywhere else. There was the game not so long ago when they were so desperate to find somebody who could get a hit they batted 37-year old Jose Bautista third against the Braves -- despite the fact that Atlanta had just released him after he batted .156 in 11 games with the Braves.

Has Callaway made mistakes? They all do. But is he the guy to blame because 11-1 was followed by a 20-37 stretch? Come on. Too often this season Callaway has tried to compete with a batting order that looked as if it belonged in a Queens softball league.

Yoenis Cespedes has a right quad injury that shows no signs of healing completely anytime soon. He wasn't just supposed to be the Mets' biggest and most important hitter this season. Cespedes is one of the best they have ever had, and the biggest offensive reason they made it to the World Series in 2015. This year, he has played 37 games, hit eight home runs and batted .255.

The next-biggest stick for Callaway was supposed to be Jay Bruce, who has back and hip issues and was scratched from the lineup on Monday night in Denver. Going into that game, Bruce was hitting .212 with three home runs and an OPS of .613, which if you're looking for a analytical comparison, is the area code in Ottawa.

Michael Conforto, who was hitting like a star last year until his season ended last August with a bad left shoulder injury, got three hits against the Rockies in that 12-3 victory Monday. Those hits raised Conforto's average to .225. He was the guy who was going to pick up at least some of the slack for Cespedes and Bruce. So far it has been Nimmo instead, who got four hits against Colorado and raised his average to .287, and actually has become a flashy, young hitter that Mets fans want to watch.

Callaway's No. 3 hitter on Monday night was 32-year-old Todd Frazier, currently hitting .224. The cleanup hitter was Wilmer Flores. The right fielder was Bautista, who is hitting .183.

There was a day not long ago when the Yankees were at Citi Field. The Mets had lost the night before and were about to lose that night, before beating the Yanks, 2-0, on Sunday Night Baseball, at a time when two runs for them felt like a fireworks display over Flushing Bay.

"I honestly feel that when we come out of this -- and we will come out of this -- that we're going to be stronger for what we've been going through," Callaway said in his office. "I'm talking about in August and September. We've just got to find a way to score some runs and get healthy and not fall completely out of things before that."

Video: Must C Comeback: Mets take lead late with two homers

Callaway knows what everybody knows: His team has no chance if Cespedes doesn't get healthy; if Bruce's back and hip and bat don't get healthy, and soon. The Mets absolutely did show some stick on Monday night, and they showed some fight in coming back on the road against the D-backs on Sunday. But in this home run time in baseball, a time when the Yankees have a strong kid like Gleyber Torres hitting home runs the way he does from the No. 9 hole, the Mets' biggest offensive triumph this season, well, was Finding Nimmo. It is why Callaway's team scoring 12 in Denver felt as shocking as them starting 11-1.

And somehow, with everything that has happened, the Mets woke up on Tuesday morning just six games behind the Nationals -- who will end up winning the National League East -- in the loss column. Now we wait to see if they can ever get Cespedes back and consistently score runs and make anyone believe they can somehow climb out of that 20-37 sinkhole before the reckoning of the non-waiver Trade Deadline, when a decision will be made about dealing Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard and starting all over again.

"Nobody else cares about your problems," Callaway said.

Sometimes it seems as if the only place where the Mets lead the league is in problems. Manager isn't one of them.

Mike Lupica is a columnist for MLB.com and the New York Daily News and is a best-selling author.

New York Mets

Alvarez designated for assignment by Orioles

Wilkerson, Joseph called up from Triple-A
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

WASHINGTON -- Seeking versatility and in need of some fresh faces, the Orioles added infielder Steve Wilkerson and catcher Caleb Joseph prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Nationals. To clear a roster spot, the O's designated Pedro Alvarez for assignment.

Alvarez is now off Baltimore's 40-man roster, and the Orioles must either trade or place him on irrevocable waivers within the next seven days. If a team claims Alvarez off waivers, he will immediately be added to that team's 40-man roster. If Alvarez clears waivers, the O's are hoping he accepts an assignment to Norfolk.

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WASHINGTON -- Seeking versatility and in need of some fresh faces, the Orioles added infielder Steve Wilkerson and catcher Caleb Joseph prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Nationals. To clear a roster spot, the O's designated Pedro Alvarez for assignment.

Alvarez is now off Baltimore's 40-man roster, and the Orioles must either trade or place him on irrevocable waivers within the next seven days. If a team claims Alvarez off waivers, he will immediately be added to that team's 40-man roster. If Alvarez clears waivers, the O's are hoping he accepts an assignment to Norfolk.

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"He's a good teammate and you know with the potential of some other people returning … there's some changes we're gonna have to make in the roster," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's always one of those guys you feel like he could part the water and you could run him out there every day, but with [Mark Trumbo] and [Chris Davis] being back with us here shortly, there just weren't gonna be the at-bats for him."

Alvarez, 31, has a .180/.283/.414 slash line and eight home runs this season. An All-Star with the Pirates in 2013, Alvarez was also the National League home-run champion that year with 36, to go along with 100 RBIs.

For Wilkerson, who has yet to make his Major League debut, Tuesday's promotion was a long time coming. Expected to compete for the utility infield spot this spring, Wilkerson instead was suspended 50 games this offseason for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Plan.

"This is a very special moment," said Wilkerson, who tested positive for an amphetamine. "Regardless of how my season started, I'm very happy and very fortunate to be here right now and I'm really looking forward to it."

Wilkerson has hit .290 and recorded an .862 OPS in 16 games for Norfolk and can play virtually anywhere on the diamond.

"It was a very difficult time," Wilkerson said of his suspension. "The last few months of the offseason and Spring Training, and the first few months of the season were difficult, and I made the decision at that time to try to put my best foot forward and go about it in a way that I was continuing to prepare myself as best I could for when I got the opportunity to play."

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

Baltimore Orioles, Pedro Alvarez

Holland comes off DL, role in bullpen TBD

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

PHILADELPHIA -- His role undefined and the club's concerns over his performance not completely quelled, Greg Holland returned to the Cardinals' bullpen on Tuesday. St. Louis activated the reliever from the disabled list and placed right-hander Matt Bowman on the 10-day DL in a corresponding move.

Bowman, who took the loss in Monday's 6-5 defeat in 10 innings, is suffering from a reoccurrence of blisters on his index and middle fingers. He recently missed a month due to the same blister issue.

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PHILADELPHIA -- His role undefined and the club's concerns over his performance not completely quelled, Greg Holland returned to the Cardinals' bullpen on Tuesday. St. Louis activated the reliever from the disabled list and placed right-hander Matt Bowman on the 10-day DL in a corresponding move.

Bowman, who took the loss in Monday's 6-5 defeat in 10 innings, is suffering from a reoccurrence of blisters on his index and middle fingers. He recently missed a month due to the same blister issue.

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Holland's second arrival from the Minors this season comes on the heels of rehab stints at two affiliates, where his struggles persisted. The righty allowed four runs in five appearances with Memphis and Double-A Springfield; he also allowed two home runs and walked five. Holland had been on the disabled list since May 26 with a hip impingement.

The question now: Where does he fit into the Cards' bullpen picture?

"Obviously we feel pretty good about the eighth and the ninth right now, and we have other guys stepping up in that seventh inning," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "For him and [Brett] Cecil both, they are guys who have had a lot of success but haven't looked quite right up to this point. We'll try to get them opportunities, but every game seems so tight. We'll go with what our best bolt is right now."

Holland, who was signed on Opening Day to be the club's closer, was supplanted by Bud Norris in the ninth in mid-April, before Holland squandered a second chance at the closer's role later in the month. Jordan Hicks' emergence provided most of Matheny's cover in the eighth, and that allowed the manager to call on Holland sporadically in May. Holland saw only low-leverage situations by the end of the month, and before landing on the disabled list, he had surrendered multiple runs in four straight outings.

And yet, Holland's struggles are only part of a late-inning alignment completely incongruous with how club officials envisioned this offseason. The ineffectiveness or unavailability of Holland, Cecil and Luke Gregerson has forced Matheny to continuously repave his path to the ninth. Most recently, Sam Tuivailala, John Brebbia and Austin Gomber have earned the bulk of those seventh-inning chances, ahead of Hicks and Norris.

The trio of Holland, Cecil and Gregerson own an 8.02 ERA over 33 2/3 innings, and they are owed $26,750,000 million collectively this season.

"I see Holland still one click away from being the kind of pitcher we know he can be. That's going to be a valuable piece for us," Matheny said. "The seventh is important … It would be great to have Holland as part of that conversation."

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Greg Holland

Tribe 'pen takes another blow: Marshall hits DL

Right-hander Kontos called up from Triple-A to join beleaguered relief corps
MLB.com @MLBastian