Red Sox to (finally) call up Clay Buchholz

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The Clay Buchholz era is about to begin in Boston. Well, begin again anyway. I think it’s the third era for him:

In order to give their starters extra rest during the All-Star
break, the Red Sox will promote heralded prospect Clay Buchholz from
Triple-A Pawtucket to start Friday’s series opener in Toronto.

The 24-year-old right-hander is having a breakout season with the
PawSox, going 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 16 appearances. In 99 innings this
seaon, opponents were hitting just .188 against Buchholz, who has
registered 89 strikeouts, 30 walks and tossed one complete game.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona did not announce a corresponding
roster move on Sunday, but one will be made before Buchholz takes the
hill against the Blue Jays.

Probably a bunch of moves unless they plan on bringing up Buchholz for
a single start and sending him back down again. This is especially true
given that Jed Lowrie and Mike Lowell are about to be activated again
as well. Could the long-rumored Penny trade be afoot? Could they be
dealing Saito and moving Smoltz to the bullpen, which is probably where
he needs to be anyway?

No idea. But since there’s no baseball of consequence until Thursday, we have a lot of time to sit and wonder about it.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.