Daily Dose: Cup check!

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This is no laughing matter, despite the jokes that will inevitably fly after news of this breaks. It turns out that Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre injured his testicle last night after a ground ball took a bad hop and hit him in the groin area. No, he does not wear a protective cup.
Geoff Baker, Seattle Times
That quote just about says it all. Adrian Beltre, who had already come back from June shoulder surgery to rejoin the Mariners’ lineup last week, is now back on the disabled list with an injury that will probably have everyone reading this right now cringing. He had tearing and internal bleeding, and may be headed for surgery that would end his season, yet amazingly stayed in the game for 14 innings Wednesday.
Baker reports that Beltre could return in a couple weeks if surgery isn’t needed, but no one would blame the impending free agent for taking September off either way. Beltre’s unfortunate injury combined with Jack Wilson’s hamstring problems have the Mariners extremely short-handed on the left side of the infield, so much so that Jack Hannahan and Josh Wilson were the starters Thursday night against the Yankees.
While protective cup sales skyrocket in the Seattle area, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Bronson Arroyo was busy Thursday. In the afternoon reports surfaced about his admitted use of over-the-counter supplements that aren’t on MLB’s approved list and a few hours later he tossed a two-hit shutout against the Nationals, giving up just one walk and two singles while plunking a batter. Arroyo has a Quality Start in six of his last seven outings, slicing his ERA from 5.85 to 4.74 during that time.
* Jake Peavy took a big first step towards joining the White Sox by the end of the month when he threw three shutout innings in a rehab start Thursday at Triple-A. Out since early June with a torn ankle tendon, Peavy struck out five, walked one, and allowed just one hit while throwing 43 pitches against the Red Sox’s affiliate. He’s aiming for August 28 against the Yankees as his White Sox debut.
* Tim Hudson also had an encouraging rehab outing Thursday, allowing two runs in four innings at Triple-A. He threw 42 of 63 pitches for strikes and was clocked in the low-90s consistently, which matches the 91 miles per hour he averaged on his fastball prior to Tommy John elbow surgery. He’s expected to make 2-3 more rehab starts before coming off the disabled list at some point next month.
AL Quick Hits: Justin Verlander blanked the Red Sox for eight innings Thursday as Clay Buchholz picked up a tough-luck loss … Neftali Feliz whiffed five in two perfect innings Thursday, giving him 13 strikeouts with zero walks in 6.2 innings overall … Torii Hunter (groin) homered in a rehab game Wednesday and is set to come off the disabled list this weekend … CC Sabathia had his first 10-strikeout game Thursday after notching eight of them last year … David Ortiz went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Verlander and is 5-for-44 (.113) this month … A pair of MRI exams revealed no major damage to Glen Perkins’ shoulder, so he could return in September … Justin Morneau went hitless in four at-bats Thursday with his batting average dropping below .300 for the first time since April … Baltimore will go with a six-man rotation in September to accommodate young arms Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and David Hernandez … Josh Hamilton went 4-for-4 with two doubles Thursday and has 18 hits in his last 10 games.
NL Quick Hits: Jonny Gomes homered three times Thursday and is now slugging .566 in 166 at-bats … Garrett Jones struck out in all four of his at-bats Thursday, perhaps signaling the end of his deal with the devil … Ted Lilly (knee, shoulder) said Thursday that he’ll be ready to rejoin the rotation next week … Cliff Lee won his sixth straight start with eight innings of one-run ball Thursday … Manny Parra allowed six runs on 13 hits to the NL’s worst offense Thursday, but got his fifth straight win thanks to Cesar Carrillo being rocked in his debut … Dexter Fowler returned from a bruised knee by going 4-for-5 with three doubles and three runs Thursday … Jason Marquis tossed seven innings of one-run ball Thursday, tying Johan Santana and Adam Wainwright for the league lead with 13 wins … Kevin Kouzmanoff had hits in all five at-bats Thursday and went 11-for-13 in the series against Milwaukee … Already pitching through a knee injury, Mike Hampton left Thursday’s start after straining his shoulder.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.