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Goldy awakens from slump, slugs 6th homer

Special to MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Paul Goldschmidt brought the D-backs even at 1-1 in the series finale Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park, opening the second inning with his sixth homer.

Goldschmidt hit .297 in 91 at-bats in April with four homers and 11 RBIs, but he was hitting just .096 in May, with seven hits in 73 at-bats and one homer and two RBIs. The D-backs were 20-8 in March and April, but 5-15 in May and have lost 12 of their past 13.

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MILWAUKEE -- Paul Goldschmidt brought the D-backs even at 1-1 in the series finale Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park, opening the second inning with his sixth homer.

Goldschmidt hit .297 in 91 at-bats in April with four homers and 11 RBIs, but he was hitting just .096 in May, with seven hits in 73 at-bats and one homer and two RBIs. The D-backs were 20-8 in March and April, but 5-15 in May and have lost 12 of their past 13.

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Goldschmidt entered with seven homers in 22 career games at Miller Park, hitting .424 with 20 RBIs.

One out after Goldschmidt launched the 2-2 pitch from Brent Suter over the wall in left, John Ryan Murphy homered to put the D-backs up 2-1.

Video: ARI@MIL: Murphy drills a solo homer to center field

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt

O'Neill starts in LF with Ozuna a late scratch

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna was a late scratch from the starting lineup prior to Wednesday's I-70 Series finale against the Royals. No reason was immediately provided. Tyler O'Neill started in left field in his place.

Ozuna broke out a bit from his season-long slump this week, posting consecutive multihit games, including a three-hit effort in Tuesday night's 5-1 loss at Busch Stadium. O'Neill made his fifth straight start in the outfield on Wednesday.

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ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna was a late scratch from the starting lineup prior to Wednesday's I-70 Series finale against the Royals. No reason was immediately provided. Tyler O'Neill started in left field in his place.

Ozuna broke out a bit from his season-long slump this week, posting consecutive multihit games, including a three-hit effort in Tuesday night's 5-1 loss at Busch Stadium. O'Neill made his fifth straight start in the outfield on Wednesday.

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O'Neill entered the finale 8-for-16 with three home runs and six RBIs since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday.

Shortstop update
Yairo Munoz made his second straight start at shortstop on Wednesday for the Cardinals, the hole manager Mike Matheny is constantly trying to fill in light of Paul DeJong's left hand injury. Munoz had a career day with four hits on Tuesday against the Royals.

Video: KC@STL: Munoz notches 4 singles for first 4-hit game

"Like Tyler O'Neill, you get in there and you get four hits, no matter how you get them, there's a good chance you'll get an opportunity, especially when we have an opening like that," Matheny said. "We're still trying to evaluate every day."

Matheny praised Greg Garcia and Jedd Gyorko as well for filling in during DeJong's absence. Going forward, these three players will be mixing and matching into games.

"Jedd has done a pretty nice job. There's things he needs to work on, but he's a good option when they need bats," Matheny said. "Greg Garcia we saw make a couple really nice plays. We know that he can fit in there. Still trying to get a good solid look at Munoz and see what he can do."

One of the biggest difficulties for the Cardinals finding a temporary shortstop has been scheduling, Gyorko said.

"This all happened really fast. We've had a bunch of day games, so we've only been able to get a couple days' worth of grounders," Gyorko said. "Until Pauly gets back, it's going to be a work in progress."

Fowler sits again
Matheny is still trying to work out what to do with Dexter Fowler, who was 0-for-4 on Tuesday night. The slumping Fowler was out of the lineup on Wednesday for the third time in five games.

Harrison Bader started in his place.

Fowler is hitting .155 through more than a quarter of the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract.

Still, the Cardinals believe Fowler will bounce back.

"[Fowler]'s a fighter, man. He's going to go out there and try to do his job. Everybody goes through those stretches and the hardest part is getting out," first baseman Jose Martinez said. "We've got his back and we know he's trying every day to help the team win. He has five homers and 20 RBIs, so he's trying to help us win."

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Paul DeJong, Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia, Jedd Gyorko, Yairo Munoz, Tyler O'Neill, Marcell Ozuna

Our reporters did a Cy Young vote. The results ...

MLB.com @RichardJustice

When Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were teammates with the Tigers for five seasons (2010-14), they will tell you they drove one another, competed with one another, and perhaps most important, learned from one another.

Four seasons since they were together, they remain the gold standard for performing at the highest level. As they approach an age -- Verlander is 35, Scherzer 33 -- when performance sometimes begins to decline, these two are as good, if not better, than ever.

When Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were teammates with the Tigers for five seasons (2010-14), they will tell you they drove one another, competed with one another, and perhaps most important, learned from one another.

Four seasons since they were together, they remain the gold standard for performing at the highest level. As they approach an age -- Verlander is 35, Scherzer 33 -- when performance sometimes begins to decline, these two are as good, if not better, than ever.

Not surprisingly then, when we polled 32 MLB.com reporters to see where things stand in the 2018 Cy Young Award races, we were reminded of why every start by these two has become an event:

Here are the results:

National League

1. Scherzer, Nationals
Scherzer has posted the best numbers of his career and leads the NL in WHIP (0.853), K/9 (14.3) and Fielding Independent Pitching (1.81). In 10 starts, he has pitched fewer than six innings once, and the Nationals are 8-2 in those 10 starts. If Scherzer wins a fourth Cy Young Award, he would join a club in which only Roger Clemens (7), Randy Johnson (5), Greg Maddux (4) and Steve Carlton (4) are members.

2. Aaron Nola, Phillies
The 24-year-old right-hander has emerged as a true ace in his fourth season, and his name is dotted across the leaderboards with a 2.37 ERA (fifth in NL), 64 2/3 innings (third) and 1.02 WHIP (tied for eighth). Nola has added a changeup that has helped reduce walks and home runs. His strikeouts are down as well, which has helped him go at least seven innings in five of his past eight starts. Nola's 1.8 fWAR trails only Scherzer (2.8) and Jacob deGrom (2.3).

3. deGrom, Mets
Remember when deGrom got hit hard back in April? Wait, what? You don't remember the Nationals clobbering him for three earned runs in 7 1/3 innings? deGrom had allowed the Marlins four runs in his previous start. Those are the only two starts in which he has allowed more than one -- count 'em one -- earned run in his nine starts. Since that game against the Nationals, deGrom has given up one earned run in 26 1/3 innings. He leads the NL with a 2.35 xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) and is second to Scherzer with 12.1 K/9.

Also receiving votes: Patrick Corbin, D-backs; Carlos Martinez, Cardinals; Josh Hader, Brewers.

American League

1. Verlander, Astros
Verlander's 14th season might end up being his best. At least, that's the start he's off to with numbers that look like they were taken from a video game: 1.05 ERA, 0.714 WHIP, 374 ERA+, 2.18 FIP and 11.0 K/9. Verlander's 2.8 fWAR is tied with Scherzer for tops in the Majors. His preparation, work ethic and raging competitive fire have impacted those around him and set the bar for baseball's best rotation. Verlander originally was reluctant to accept a trade to the Astros last August, but the marriage has been a perfect one.

2. Gerrit Cole, Astros
Cole and Verlander are so similar in style that the offseason trade that sent Cole from the Pirates to the Astros has given them the chance to learn from and push one another. Cole's 2.7 fWAR is a tick behind Verlander and Scherzer. Only Verlander has a lower ERA in the AL than Cole's 1.86, and Cole leads the AL with 13.4 K/9 and is second with a 2.12 FIP.

3. Luis Severino, Yankees
Severino achieved the elite status the Yankees had long expected in the second half of last season when he had a 1.99 ERA in his final eight starts. He mixes two power pitches (fastball and slider) with a terrific changeup that keeps hitters off balance. Severino has a 0.97 WHIP and has allowed two home runs in 65 innings. He has seven straight starts of at least six innings and a microscopic 1.91 ERA during that span.

Also receiving votes: Chris Sale, Red Sox; Rick Porcello, Red Sox; Sean Manaea, A's.

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.

Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola, Max Scherzer, Luis Severino, Justin Verlander

Nats' No. 4 prospect Fedde up to start vs. SD

MLB.com

The Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde from Triple-A Syracuse and designated right-handed pitcher Carlos Torres for assignment on Wednesday. Fedde is scheduled to start Wednesday's game against the Padres.

Fedde, 25, gets the call for his first Major League assignment of the season. He joins the Nationals after eight starts with Triple-A Syracuse, going 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA. In his last start, he tossed a season-high 6 2/3 innings while striking out six and giving up just four hits, two walks and an unearned run. Fedde has struck out 42 batters in 41 1/3 innings.

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The Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde from Triple-A Syracuse and designated right-handed pitcher Carlos Torres for assignment on Wednesday. Fedde is scheduled to start Wednesday's game against the Padres.

Fedde, 25, gets the call for his first Major League assignment of the season. He joins the Nationals after eight starts with Triple-A Syracuse, going 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA. In his last start, he tossed a season-high 6 2/3 innings while striking out six and giving up just four hits, two walks and an unearned run. Fedde has struck out 42 batters in 41 1/3 innings.

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A first-round pick (No. 18) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, Fedde is ranked No. 4 among Washington prospects by MLB Pipeline.

Torres, 35, appeared in 10 games as a reliever, tossing 9 2/3 innings while giving up nine hits, seven runs and three walks.

Washington Nationals, Erick Fedde

There are 5 ways to throw a ceremonial 1st pitch

Ceremonial first pitches are one of the best traditions in sports. Anyone, regardless of baseball experience, can give their best effort at throwing a strike and signaling the beginning of the game. As a result, we have seen a nearly limitless variety of first tosses.

6 ways for the Angels to make the playoffs

MLB.com @williamfleitch

Boy howdy, the Angels are fun, right? They're the definitive late-night MLB.TV team, the one you turn on just to watch, even if you have no rooting interest. How can you not enjoy the Halos? They have Mike Trout, the best player of his generation, a guy who somehow has already put together a Hall of Fame career even though he's only 26 years old. They have Shohei Ohtani, the most revolutionary talent the game has seen in nearly 100 years, a guy who is somehow the guy you don't dare look away from both on the mound and at the plate. They have Andrelton Simmons, maybe the best defensive shortstop since Ozzie Smith who has improved his hitting to the point that he's one of the best 10 players in the sport. And they have Albert Pujols, one of baseball's greatest players of the past 50 years on the downside of his career, compiling milestones and keeping the unceasing respect of everyone who's ever played with or against him.

How do you not have a blast with that team? That team is a nightly advertisement for baseball. That's a team you never forget. Shoot, even the weather's always perfect out there.

Boy howdy, the Angels are fun, right? They're the definitive late-night MLB.TV team, the one you turn on just to watch, even if you have no rooting interest. How can you not enjoy the Halos? They have Mike Trout, the best player of his generation, a guy who somehow has already put together a Hall of Fame career even though he's only 26 years old. They have Shohei Ohtani, the most revolutionary talent the game has seen in nearly 100 years, a guy who is somehow the guy you don't dare look away from both on the mound and at the plate. They have Andrelton Simmons, maybe the best defensive shortstop since Ozzie Smith who has improved his hitting to the point that he's one of the best 10 players in the sport. And they have Albert Pujols, one of baseball's greatest players of the past 50 years on the downside of his career, compiling milestones and keeping the unceasing respect of everyone who's ever played with or against him.

How do you not have a blast with that team? That team is a nightly advertisement for baseball. That's a team you never forget. Shoot, even the weather's always perfect out there.

Except for one little tiny detail. When you look at the current American League standings, you see the Red Sox, the Yankees, the Indians and the Astros all set for the playoffs, the four teams you expect to see. But that fifth team, that one supposedly earmarked for the thrilling, giddily watchable Angels ... it's not the Angels. It's the Mariners, the same Mariners who just lost Robinson Cano for 80 games, who are missing Dee Gordon and Nelson Cruz, who might have lost Mitch Haniger for a while after a pitch hit his left wrist Wednesday night ... the Mariners are in the Halos' rightful spot. And it's not just them: The A's, of all teams, are only one game behind them. The glorious, spectacular, can't-miss Angels are one game out of fourth place.

The Angels have generated so much excitement that we've barely noticed they're not, as of this second, an actual playoff team. This should be a little concerning because, all told, everything has sort of gone right for the Halos so far. They've had no major injuries. The Ohtani experiment has been a smashing success. Their six-man rotation  is somehow still intact. Justin Upton is smashing homers. Trout is somehow better than he has ever been. It has been a dream.

And yet ... they're still not a playoff team. Considering how much the Angels have invested in this season, that has to be alarming, because their luck can only get worse from here. Almost a third of the way through the season, let's take a look at why the Halos are still outside the playoffs, and what they might do to get back there. Because remember: Mike Trout is still looking for his first postseason win ... and he has only two years left in Anaheim after this one.

1. The offense is as boom and bust as ever.
Trout is amazing. Simmons has made huge steps forward. Upton is entirely all you could hope for. But, as has been the case pretty much every year of Trout's career, he has little to no help elsewhere. Ian Kinsler hasn't been near the boost the Angels were hoping for; he's 36 and is starting to look cooked. Zack Cozart is down near 100 points in OBP from his 2017 All-Star season. Kole Calhoun has completely fallen off a cliff; he's hitting .160 with one homer in 152 at-bats. Albert Pujols is ... well, Pujols has put together a Hall of Fame career. And for all the Ohtani love, his inherent limitations, the fact that he can only play three times a week, leaves the lineup gasping for runs anytime he's not in it. Every year you've looked at the Halos and thought, "man, Trout needs more help." This year is no different.

How to fix: Calhoun can't possibly be this bad all year, but if Kinsler and Cozart -- the two guys supposed to bring the outside help -- can't get it going, there might not be much left in the Minors to trade for a bat. Unless they want to push Ohtani into the lineup more often. Also ... maybe Jefry Marte should be in the lineup a bit more?

2. The rotation is ... fine.
Honestly, the biggest worry you had about the Angels this year was whether their rickety rotation could stay intact, but so far so good. Garrett Richards is healthy and effective, Tyler Skaggs has been excellent and even 21-year-old Jaime Barria has been solid when they've needed that sixth starter. And Ohtani has been Ohtani, albeit only once a week. But this is probably the absolute peak of this rotation, right? Ohtani gems every Sunday and everybody else just trying to stay healthy and slightly above average. That's enough if you've got a powerhouse offense, but the Halos don't have that either. The worry here is that you've gotten the most out of your rotation that you could possibly expect and you're still behind the Mariners (and way behind the Astros). Because the odds are the second two-thirds of this season are going to be a lot harder on the rotation than the first third was.

Video: TB@LAA: Skaggs strikes out Cron in the 1st

How to fix: It seems strange to say that a team with six starters probably needs to get one more, with a higher upside ... but it probably does. Of course, every team in baseball wants that, and have a lot more to trade than the Angels do.

3. The bullpen is YIKES.
The Angels didn't do much with their bullpen this offseason, mainly because they were so busy everywhere else. But the seams have certain shown so far, with the team blowing leads in every direction and losing closers seemingly every week. Keynan Middleton seemed to finally lock down the job until Tommy John surgery knocked him out for the year. Jim Johnson looks old; Cam Bedrosian looks like he's never going to become the guy we all thought; everybody else looks hurt. The Halos' bullpen has taken all the injury hits the rotation has avoided. There's hope in flamethrowing Justin Anderson, as well Noe Ramirez and Blake Parker, but this thing is springing leaks everywhere.

How to fix: Increasing Anderson's role seems prudent, and Mike Scioscia may have to do it even if he doesn't want to. But the Angels need quantity relievers at this point. They need to buy in bulk.

4. The Mariners are currently hot.
A week ago, after Cano's suspension, you were panicked about the Mariners. Now they've won four in a row and, hey, are only two games behind the Astros all of a sudden. Seattle doesn't look sustainable, all told, and not just because of all the injuries and suspensions. The club's run differential looks like one of a .500 team, and its rotation is James Paxton and a bunch of spit and gristle. It is worth noting that if the Mariners had lost four in a row rather than winning four in a row, this column might not exist.

How to fix: Just wait.

5. Ohtani can't play every day.
This is the thing about the usage of Ohtani, right?  The Angels might use him perfectly but they still have to give him multiple days off a week. That's smart and prudent and ideal and ... still not quite enough for the Halos. What is perfect for Ohtani, frankly, is not necessarily what's perfect for the Angels. You've got one of the most otherwordly talents in baseball sitting on your bench three days a week. When every game counts, and your team doesn't have much margin for error anyway ... it adds up. Even if it is the right thing to do.

Video: TB@LAA: Ohtani strikes out 9 to collect his 4th win

How to fix: When do the Angels get antsy and start to push Ohtani a bit? If they're still out of the playoffs in August? September? When does discipline give way to desperation?

6. Trout occasionally makes outs.
It's hard to believe it, but he does. How to fix: Trout needs to stop making outs.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels

Davies to give Brewers' rotation a boost

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Four days after the Brewers reinstated Opening Day starter Chase Anderson from the 10-day disabled list, it's Zach Davies' turn.

Davies will return from a right shoulder injury for his first start since April 29 when the Brewers open a four-game series against the Mets on Thursday at Miller Park. It was a longer absence than expected; Davies originally hoped to be back after the minimum 10 days, but persisting irritation in his rotator cuff required more patience.

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MILWAUKEE -- Four days after the Brewers reinstated Opening Day starter Chase Anderson from the 10-day disabled list, it's Zach Davies' turn.

Davies will return from a right shoulder injury for his first start since April 29 when the Brewers open a four-game series against the Mets on Thursday at Miller Park. It was a longer absence than expected; Davies originally hoped to be back after the minimum 10 days, but persisting irritation in his rotator cuff required more patience.

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"It's nice, No. 1, for everyone to start getting healthy," said Davies. "But also for us to be playing so well in the absence [of injured players]. It's nice that you can come back and there's not as much pressure. It's not, 'OK, now that we're healthy, we have to really start going.' You can just step in and continue."

The Brewers were 14-6 since Davies' last start entering Wednesday's series finale against the D-backs.

Davies developed discomfort in his shoulder during the final inning of his last start against the Cubs. It was described as a precautionary move at the time, but he had to cut short a bullpen session one week later and opted for a more cautious approach to avoid the sort of setback he endured in a similar scenario during his time in Baltimore's Minor League system.

Video: MIL@CHC: Davies retires Chatwood, leaves bases loaded

In a Minor League rehabilitation start on Saturday for Class A Wisconsin, Davies threw 56 pitches and struck out nine batters in 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He experienced no issues with his shoulder.

"I'm glad the way we did it," Davies said. "You don't want to push it, and then not only push my DL time longer, but hurt the team by taking a roster spot or taking a start and maybe coming out early. It was good the team had some continuity [during his time off].

"Everything feels great now. Strength is there, range is there. Probably the first go-around will be a little bit shorter, since I only threw 56 pitches. If they need me longer, I'm ready to go."

Last call
• Center fielder Lorenzo Cain was out of Wednesday's lineup after a physical game on Tuesday night included a minor collision with the outfield wall on Jake Lamb's first-inning double. But it was just a routine day off, the club said.

Ryan Braun (back) is eligible to come off the 10-day DL on Thursday, but it was not clear to Braun or club officials Wednesday morning whether he would be ready.

• Minor League infielder Jake Gatewood, Milwaukee's No. 18 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, tallied four hits at Double-A Biloxi on Tuesday night, and he was hitting .324 (24-for-74) with 10 runs, eight doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs in his first 20 games in May. Compare that to a .167 (14-for-84) average in 23 games in April.

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Zach Davies

Pineda throws off mound for first time post-TJ

Reliever on track for late-season return; Sano, May could be back within week
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Michael Pineda took a big step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last July, as he threw off a mound for the first time on Wednesday at Target Field.

Pineda had been throwing long toss in recent weeks leading up to his first bullpen session of roughly 15 pitches. He'll continue to throw two bullpen sessions a week before he progresses to live batting practice and a rehab assignment. He's aiming for a return late in the season.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Michael Pineda took a big step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last July, as he threw off a mound for the first time on Wednesday at Target Field.

Pineda had been throwing long toss in recent weeks leading up to his first bullpen session of roughly 15 pitches. He'll continue to throw two bullpen sessions a week before he progresses to live batting practice and a rehab assignment. He's aiming for a return late in the season.

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"It went pretty good," Pineda said. "I was feeling good and I threw strikes. So that was pretty good. I'm excited. It's one thing at a time. Now, I'll continue the process. The plan is to stay here and continue my rehab."

Pineda, 29, signed to a two-year, $10 million deal this offseason, with the Twins betting on his upside in 2019 and hoping to get contributions from him down the stretch this year. Minnesota still hasn't decided if he'll return as a starter or a reliever this year, but he's expected to get stretched out to start just in case.

Pineda had a 4.39 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 21 walks in 96 1/3 innings with the Yankees in 2017 before suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He has a career 4.05 ERA with 687 strikeouts and 157 walks in 680 innings with the Mariners and Yankees.

Injury updates
• Third baseman Miguel Sano, on the 10-day disabled list since May 1 with a left hamstring strain, went 3-for-4 with a homer in his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday night while playing seven innings at third base. He's slated to play first base on Wednesday and is on track to rejoin the Twins on Friday in Seattle.

"He did good," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "His leg was great. He did well at the plate. He didn't get a lot of opportunities defensively."

• Right-hander Trevor May, coming off Tommy John surgery in March 2017, made his third rehab start and his second with Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks over four innings. He was hurt by a homer from former Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe, but the Twins were encouraged by his velocity. He's eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list on Monday.

"Didn't get through five innings just because of long innings," Molitor said. "But his pitch count was fairly close to where we wanted to get it. Pitched rather effectively. Velocity was sustained a little bit better than his previous outing. Trevor Plouffe got him for a homer. But I think that we're all pleased. It was a good step for him as far as extending himself, velocity returning, usage of all his pitches and he threw strikes for the most part."

• First baseman Joe Mauer, who is on the DL with a cervical neck strain and concussion-like symptoms, has gotten through light workouts at Target Field without any issues. He spent Saturday and Sunday away from the ballpark, but has been working out at Target Field since Monday.

"He did a little light workout on the bike and some other things in the weight room," Molitor said. "Minimal but increasing, and he's handling everything he's done so far."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Michael Pineda

Hicks to move to catcher upon Miggy's return

Gardenhire: Despite hot bat, best fit for Tigers slugger is at backup behind plate
MLB.com @beckjason

MINNEAPOLIS -- John Hicks has gone from backup catcher to middle-of-the-order run producer for the Tigers while filling in for injured Miguel Cabrera at first base. So manager Ron Gardenhire has been anticipating the question of what will happen with Hicks once Cabrera returns.

"I was waiting for that question," Gardenhire said.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- John Hicks has gone from backup catcher to middle-of-the-order run producer for the Tigers while filling in for injured Miguel Cabrera at first base. So manager Ron Gardenhire has been anticipating the question of what will happen with Hicks once Cabrera returns.

"I was waiting for that question," Gardenhire said.

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That doesn't mean he had an ideal answer for it.

"I don't like to start thinking about it," Gardenhire said, "because there's no easy solution or answer. We're not going to put him in center field. It's going to go back to the way it was. He's going to be our backup catcher. We'll try to get him as many at-bats as we can when Miggy comes back.

"He's not going to be the first baseman; we all know that. Hicks is playing well. He's been great. But we know who our first baseman is here, so then I'm going to have to try to find at-bats for Hicksy somewhere along the road."

Video: DET@SEA: Hicks plates 2 on a double in the 1st

While the Tigers' offense has sputtered for most of the current road trip, Hicks' hitting has helped avoid what could have been a dire situation at first base when Cabrera suffered a biceps spasm, then a strained right hamstring earlier this month. Given regular at-bats for the first time in his big league career, Hicks entered Wednesday's series finale against the Twins batting .316 (24-for-76) with six doubles, three home runs, 13 RBIs and an .875 OPS in May.

Though the Tigers worked Hicks out as a corner outfielder briefly at Triple-A Toledo last season, that's no longer a consideration. With Cabrera expected to resume his everyday role at first base once he's healthy, and Victor Martinez entrenched at designated hitter, that leaves Gardenhire likely trying to find Hicks at-bats at his usual spot behind the plate, mixing in starts with James McCann.

"He's been a savior at first base for us, but ultimately he's going to go back to being the backup catcher," Gardenhire said. "We'll try to get him as many at-bats as we possibly can."

The good news for Gardenhire -- well, sort of -- is that it's not a decision he has to make right away. Though Cabrera swung away and looked good in early batting practice Tuesday, hitting home runs into the left- and right-field seats at Target Field, he has yet to test his hamstring running bases or fielding grounders at first base. The Tigers aren't going to bring him back from the 10-day DL until he shows he can do that comfortably without risking a re-injury that could cost him more time.

Quick hits
Matthew Boyd, who left his start Tuesday night in the fifth inning with a left oblique strain, said he felt better Wednesday morning and was able to do his usual day-after-start routine. He's expected to make his next turn in the rotation early next week against the Angels at Comerica Park.

Video: DET@MIN: Boyd taken out in 5th with injury

• Don't expect Gardenhire to try out the Rays' experiment of using a right-handed reliever in the first inning against the righty-hitting top of the Angels' order next week.

"I'm not trying to go there and get in-depth with something like that," Gardenhire said. "I don't know enough about it to say why they're doing it. There has to be a rhyme or reason."

• In case you were wondering from Gardenhire's postgame news conference Monday, he really does use "Stronger" from Kelly Clarkson as his ringtone. And no, it's not just for calls from general manager Al Avila.

"There are good words in that song," Gardenhire said, "and that's the truth."

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

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera, John Hicks

Reddick goes on DL with persistent infection

Astros recall Marisnick to take outfielder's place on roster
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The Astros have placed outfielder Josh Reddick on the 10-day disabled list because of a lingering infection near his left knee, the team announced Wednesday morning. Jake Marisnick was recalled from Triple-A Fresno in a corresponding move.

Reddick, who briefly spoke with SportsTalk 790 on Tuesday about the ailment, said that pain from the skin infection had subsided for the most part as he has continued taking medication. He discovered the issue after last week's return flight from Anaheim late at night on May 16.

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HOUSTON -- The Astros have placed outfielder Josh Reddick on the 10-day disabled list because of a lingering infection near his left knee, the team announced Wednesday morning. Jake Marisnick was recalled from Triple-A Fresno in a corresponding move.

Reddick, who briefly spoke with SportsTalk 790 on Tuesday about the ailment, said that pain from the skin infection had subsided for the most part as he has continued taking medication. He discovered the issue after last week's return flight from Anaheim late at night on May 16.

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"It still pretty gross-looking," Reddick said. "But the pain is a lot more tolerable, and the level of the pain has gone down severely. … It's slowly getting there, just a very unfortunate accident that never really happens a whole lot."

Reddick was scratched from Friday's game against the Indians because of the infection. The right fielder pinch-hit in Saturday's ninth inning, and he returned to Houston's lineup for Sunday's game. He reported excessive soreness following Sunday's game, making him unavailable for Tuesday's series opener against the Giants.

Video: CLE@HOU: Reddick skies an RBI ground-rule double

In a perfect world, Astros manager AJ Hinch said Reddick's trip to the DL would be a short stint.

"He just hasn't conquered it," Hinch said. "It's extremely sore, and he needs some medical attention. He needs some time off, and we're not going to play with a short roster. We don't know how long it's necessarily going to be. He's seeing some specialists and taking care of an infection he's dealing with."

Marisnick, who was optioned to Fresno on May 15 following a sluggish first quarter of the season, prematurely rejoins the Astros following a five-game stint in the Minors. Marisnick slashed .286/.348/.667, with two home runs, four RBIs and six hits with Fresno.

Video: OAK@HOU: Marisnick drives in McCann from first

"I think he did great from the time that he was there," Hinch said of Marisnick, who batted .141 through 34 games to begin the season and struck out in 41 of 85 at-bats. "I thought his swings were good. Decompressing from the big leagues was very important. And having some success, obviously hit a couple of home runs and hit a couple of other balls pretty hard, and it sounded like he got his feet on the ground."

The Astros depart for a four-game series at Cleveland following Wednesday's game. For the time being, while Reddick and Derek Fisher (digestive issue) are on the DL, Houston will fill its outfield with Marwin Gonzalez and J.D. Davis -- a traditional infielder who started his first Major League game in left field Tuesday -- likely alternating in left. Hinch said Tony Kemp is likely to control center field and George Springer will be in right on "most days," the manager said.

"The at-bats will get spread out to J.D., Marwin and Jake," Hinch said.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Houston Astros, Jake Marisnick, Josh Reddick

Oblique strain forces Faria to disabled list

MLB.com @_dadler

As the Rays expected, Jake Faria's oblique injury is sending him to the disabled list.

Tampa Bay placed the right-hander on the 10-day DL on Wednesday with a left oblique strain -- a day after he exited his start against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field in the third inning.

As the Rays expected, Jake Faria's oblique injury is sending him to the disabled list.

Tampa Bay placed the right-hander on the 10-day DL on Wednesday with a left oblique strain -- a day after he exited his start against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field in the third inning.

To take Faria's spot on the roster, the Rays called up left-hander Vidal Nuno from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday.

Manager Kevin Cash had said after Tuesday's game that he expected Faria to miss time, but the team sent Faria to get examined before making the roster decision.

It's been a frustrating sophomore season for the 24-year-old, who has a 5.48 ERA in 47 2/3 innings over 10 starts.

"If it's not one thing, it's another. ... Everything up to this point has been a complete letdown," Faria said Tuesday after suffering the oblique injury. "I haven't done anything to help this team win ballgames, and it's another way of me letting them down."

Nuno, in his first season with the Rays after spending his first five years with the Yankees, D-backs, Mariners and Orioles, has yet to pitch in the big leagues in 2018. The veteran lefty has a 3.57 ERA in 40 1/3 innings over eight outings at Triple-A.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Faria, Vidal Nuno

Baseball lifer, ex-Tribe skipper Garcia passes away

MLB.com @_dadler

Dave Garcia, whose 65 years in professional baseball included a four-season tenure as the Indians' manager, passed away this week in San Diego at the age of 97.

Garcia managed the Tribe from 1979-82. That was his second stint as a Major League manager, following parts of two seasons as the Angels' skipper from 1977-78.

Dave Garcia, whose 65 years in professional baseball included a four-season tenure as the Indians' manager, passed away this week in San Diego at the age of 97.

Garcia managed the Tribe from 1979-82. That was his second stint as a Major League manager, following parts of two seasons as the Angels' skipper from 1977-78.

Garcia also made a brief stop in the Indians' organization as a player more than three decades earlier. During a 15-year Minor League career, Garcia played 68 games as an infielder for the Indians' Class A affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre Barons, in 1946.

A baseball lifer, the St. Louis native was also a Minor League manager for the Padres, Giants and Angels, as well as a coach for the Indians, Angels, Padres, Brewers and Rockies. Garcia was a longtime scout for the Giants, and he served as a special assignment scout for the Brewers and Royals. He worked in professional baseball during parts of eight decades, and he coached into his 80s.

"It's sad, but he lived such a great life," Garcia's grandson, Greg, an infielder for the Cardinals, said Tuesday. "I can't even count the amount of people that have come up to me and said, 'Your grandfather did this for me,' or '[He] did that for me.' And it's not just baseball people. The cameraman in San Diego said my grandpa had an effect on him. The ticket lady said the same thing to my dad. That's the thing I'm most proud of being his grandson, the people he affected. It's something my entire family strives to do, affect people in a positive way. I'm very lucky."

Garcia took over as Indians manager on July 22, 1979, replacing Jeff Torborg. He would lead the Tribe to a 38-28 finish over the remainder of the season. Over his four years in Cleveland, Garcia compiled a 247-244 record as manager, a .503 winning percentage. Including his time in Anaheim, Garcia went 307-311 in his Major League managerial career.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Cleveland Indians

Josh Donaldson thought about running on Mike Trout, and then Trout's arm gave him second thoughts

Mike Trout is pretty much the perfect ballplayer. He runs, he hits, he hits for power, he fields, he slides, he makes young fans' days on nearly a daily basis. Look at this child's face.

And although his arm was below league average early in his career, he's worked to strengthen it and get it up near the level of his other skills. During the Blue Jays' 5-3 win over the Angels on Tuesday, Josh Donaldson decided to see what all the arm hubbub was about by pretending to tag from third on a fly ball to center field. Trout gave him a taste of what he can do and a smile.

 

Germany, Australia ... now Yanks for Bollinger

Wide-traveling left-hander joins club vs. Rangers at Globe Life Park
MLB.com @BryanHoch

ARLINGTON -- Ryan Bollinger's long and winding road to the Major Leagues saw the left-hander pitch on three continents, including stops in Germany and Australia. He will try on a Yankees uniform for the first time prior to Wednesday's game against the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

Bollinger had his contract purchased from Double-A Trenton and was added to the big league roster, filling out New York's pitching staff. Right-hander Giovanny Gallegos was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Tuesday's 6-4 loss to Texas.

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ARLINGTON -- Ryan Bollinger's long and winding road to the Major Leagues saw the left-hander pitch on three continents, including stops in Germany and Australia. He will try on a Yankees uniform for the first time prior to Wednesday's game against the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

Bollinger had his contract purchased from Double-A Trenton and was added to the big league roster, filling out New York's pitching staff. Right-hander Giovanny Gallegos was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Tuesday's 6-4 loss to Texas.

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The 27-year-old Bollinger was a combined 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA in five starts between Double-A and Triple-A this year, his first in the Yankees' organization. In 29 innings, the 6-foot-6 Bollinger permitted 18 hits, seven walks and struck out 20.

Initially drafted out of Minot (N.D.) High School by the Phillies in the 47th round of the 2009 Draft, Bollinger did not sign, briefly appearing the in the independent Frontier League before joining the White Sox organization for three years.

Bollinger was back in independent ball by 2014, pitching for St. Paul and Winnipeg of the American Association. He then latched on with Trois-Rivieres of the Canadian-American Association, pitching parts of three seasons from 2015-17.

In 2017, Bollinger traveled to Germany, suiting up for Munich-Haar of the Bundesliga. That led to an opportunity with Brisbane of the Australian Baseball League, where he was 5-1 with a 3.48 ERA in nine starts, leading his club to a regular season and playoff championship.

That effort -- particularly his 75 strikeouts against 12 walks in 54 1/3 innings -- drew the Yankees' attention. Bollinger signed a Minor League contract with New York prior to the 2018 campaign.

"I was playing overseas, and I just got lucky that somebody saw me," Bollinger recently told NJ Advance Media. "I got a contract offer, and here I am. There was always that thought [to come back to the United States], but I was just going over there to enjoy baseball again, and have a good time playing."

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

New York Yankees, Ryan Bollinger

Angels-Blue Jays Thursday, only on Facebook