Quick hits: Tigers avoid sweep

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– The Tigers avoided a three-game sweep
at the hands of the surging Twins with a 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon.
Nate Robertson allowed two runs over five innings, while Placido
Polanco went 2-for-3 with three RBI. The Tigers now sit three games in
front of the Twins with 13 games to go. They aren’t quite out of the
woods yet, as the clubs will meet for a three-game series Sept. 28-30.




– If the Twins are going to jump the Tigers in the standings, they are going to have to do it without the services of Joe Crede.
Battling pain in his lower back since August, Crede will undergo
surgery to clean up fluid from a herniated disk next week. It will be
the third surgery Crede has had on his back in the past three years.
Limited to just 90 games this
season, Crede batted .225/.289/.414 with 15 homers and 48 RBI in 333
at-bats. Though there have been whispers about retirement, the
31-year-old third baseman and impending free-agent has no plans to hang
it up.




– It looks like Michael Young may have jumped the gun when he unexpectedly returned to the lineup
against the Athletics last Tuesday. His season is now in jeopardy after
he re-aggravated his left hamstring during a second-inning at-bat.
It’s just the latest bad news for
the Rangers, who now sit 7 1/2 games out of first-place after dropping
two out of three to the Angels this weekend. With a
.322/.375/.523 line to go along with 22 homers and 67 RBI, Young has been the
Rangers’ most valuable player this season.




– Shocking news, as Giants prospect Angel Villalona has been detained in connection to a murder
in the Dominican Republic. Villalona, 19, is the prime suspect in the
shooting death of a 25-year-old man. According a report by the
Associated Press, he will appear in court on Monday and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. Villalona batted .267 with nine home runs
and 42 RBI in 74 games with Class A San Jose before being shut down
with a quad injury in July. Villalona, who was ranked as the No. 33
prospect in baseball by
Baseball America, was signed to a team record $2.1 million signing bonus in 2007.

– And finally, the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the rest of the season. Yeah, he doesn’t like Chicago very much. Got news for ya, the feeling is mutual.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.