Quick hits: Bruce leaves with wrist injury

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– Jay Bruce fractured his right wrist
attempting to make a sliding catch in the first inning of Saturday’s
game against the Mets. He is scheduled to return to Cincinnati for an
MRI on Sunday. The 22-year-old outfielder is batting just .207 this
season, but he does have 18 homers and 41 RBI. Chris Dickerson figures
to get most of the playing time in his absence, however the Reds will
likely call up former-first round pick Drew Stubbs to take his place on
the roster. Stubbs is batting .279/.374/.371 with two homers, 25 RBI
and 33 stolen bases for Triple-A Louisville. And with 358 at-bats under
his belt at the Triple-A level, he’s more ready than the hot-hitting
Chris Heisey.

– Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times
thinks the Dodgers should go full-tilt after Roy Halladay. He
recommends including native Canadian Russell Martin in the deal, as
well as prospects Devaris Gordon (son of Tom Gordon) and Josh Lindblom.
While the proposed trade seems far-fetched, know that the Dodgers sent two scouts
to see Halladay pitch on Thursday night in Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays
would probably want one of either Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw
in a possible deal.

– Jonathon Broxton, still bothered by a sore big toe on his right foot, will skip the All-Star game.
In his first full-season as closer, Broxton has compiled a 3.10 ERA,
0.93 WHIP and .149 BAA. He is 20-for-22 in save opportunities. As for a
replacement, Mark Bowman of MLB.com thinks it should be Rafael Soriano.

– John Smoltz notched his first win since last April 17 as
the Red Sox topped the Royals 15-9 on Saturday night. The 42-year-old
allowed just one run on four hits over five innings, striking out seven
and walking one. David Ortiz had his 1000th hit as a member of the Red
Sox — a fourth-inning two-run home run. Note that 10 of Ortiz’s 12
homers have come at Fenway Park.

– Matt Cain left Saturday’s start against the Padres after getting hit in the elbow by a line drive in the second inning. X-Rays showed a contusion, but no break. At 10-2 with a 2.38 ERA, Cain earned his first All-Star nod, but he is now doubtful for the game.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.