Notes from Tuesday's moves and callups

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– The White Sox brought up both Tyler Flowers and Josh Fields to help fill the void left by Jim Thome’s departure. Fields’ return was never in doubt, but he may not see as much playing time as expected if the White Sox want to see if Flowers is ready to hit in the majors. Flowers, a product of the Javier Vazquez deal with the Braves, batted .302/.445/.548 in 248 at-bats with Double-A Birmingham and .286/.364/.438 in 105 at-bats following a move up to Triple-A Charlotte. His defense behind the plate is subpar, so it’s possible that he’ll end up being a long-term first baseman or DH. The White Sox, though, intend to continue developing him as a catcher.
– The Marlins didn’t wait until the end of the minor league season to bring back Cameron Maybin, their Opening Day center fielder. He hit .319/.399/.463 in 298 at-bats for Triple-A New Orleans, and it’s likely that he would have returned more than a month ago if the penny-pinching Marlins weren’t trying to keep him from eventually becoming a super-two player. The Marlins figure to start him against every left-hander and at least the occasional right-hander. He seemed in line for more playing time before Jeremy Hermida bounced back and hit .312/.413/.442 during August.
– To open up a 40-man roster spot, the Rangers designated Thomas Diamond for assignment. Diamond, the 10th overall pick in the 2004 draft, was shaping up as a fine prospect before blowing out his elbow in the spring of 2007. He missed the season following Tommy John surgery and hadn’t returned to form in two years since. This season, he had a 4.20 ERA and a 58/44 K/BB in 55 2/3 innings as a reliever between Double- and Triple-A.
– As Aaron wrote earlier, both Sean Rodriguez and Kevin Mulvey were included in trades Monday. I just wanted to bring it up again as an illustration of the point I made last week when the Yankees temporarily blocked Boston’s move of Chris Carter to the Mets by claiming the outfielder on waivers.
There were seven AL teams that could have interfered with Rodriguez going to the Rays. There were 13 AL teams and five NL teams that could have blocked the move of Mulvey to the Diamondbacks. Not one of them did, even though those two players wouldn’t have gotten past any teams had they been on irrevocable waivers.

Cardinals snap Familia’s saves streak, rally past Mets 5-4

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NEW YORK — Yadier Molina and pinch-hitter Kolten Wong each stroked an RBI double in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals ended Jeurys Familia‘s streak of 52 straight saves in rallying past the New York Mets 5-4 on Wednesday night.

Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead homer off Adam Wainwright to cap a three-run comeback in the seventh that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. But then Familia, who hadn’t blown a regular-season save opportunity since July 30 last year, finally faltered.

Jedd Gyorko drew a one-out walk in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Randal Grichuk. Molina hit the next pitch to deep center field, and Grichuk scored standing up to tie it.

Molina was thrown out at third by Familia (2-2) on pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker’s comebacker, but Hazelbaker stole second and scored when Wong lined a double just inside the left-field line.

Familia’s franchise-record saves streak was the third-longest in major league history behind Tom Gordon (54) and Eric Gagne (84).

Jonathan Broxton (3-2) tossed a scoreless eighth and Seung Hwan Oh got three quick outs for his sixth save.

Including a split of Tuesday’s doubleheader, St. Louis took two of three from the Mets in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders. It was only the second time in the past decade that the Cardinals have won a road series against the Mets.

Logan Verrett pitched seven efficient innings and slumping Neil Walker went 3 for 3 with a base on balls for the third-place Mets, who have alternated wins and losses in their last 13 games. They dropped 5 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Washington.

New York did manage to keep Gyorko and the rest of St. Louis’ hitters in the ballpark after the Cardinals had homered in 17 consecutive games – their longest streak since a club-record run of 19 games in 2006.

Gyorko went deep in both ends of Tuesday’s doubleheader, giving him seven homers in nine games.

Matt Holliday hit a two-run double off Verrett with two outs in the third, and Matt Adams followed with an RBI double that made it 3-1.

Wainwright, who entered 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in July, nursed that lead until the seventh – repeatedly pitching out of trouble. He nearly did so again after striking out Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera with runners at the corners.

But then Travis d'Arnaud scored on a wild pitch and Cespedes socked a two-run homer off the facing of the second deck in left-center on the 117th and final pitch from the 34-year-old Wainwright.

 

 

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.