Daily Dose: High Five for Buchholz

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Clay Buchholz pitched his way into the Red Sox’s postseason rotation by going 7-3 with a 3.21 ERA through 14 starts, but turned in a disastrous outing Tuesday against the Blue Jays. Buchholz served up a career-high five homers after allowing a total of seven long balls through his first 84 innings this year, coughing up seven runs as his ERA rose nearly 20 percent.
Two of those homers came off the bat of Adam Lind, who chased Buchholz from the game and later took reliever Takashi Saito deep for his third blast of the night. Lind is fifth in the league with a .932 OPS, hitting .305 with 35 homers, 46 doubles, and 114 RBIs to show that his .318/.380/.509 line in the minors was no fluke despite posting a modest .745 OPS through his first 195 games with Toronto.
While the Red Sox clinched the Wild Card anyway thanks to the Rangers’ loss a few hours later, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Josh Hamilton’s season officially came to an end Tuesday as the Rangers shut him down with a pinched nerve in his back. Hamilton’s first season in Texas was a great one, as he hit .304/.371/.530 with 32 homers and a league-leading 130 RBIs to rank seventh in the MVP balloting, but he was healthy enough for only 89 games this year while hitting .268/.315/.426 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs.
* Philadelphia’s much-maligned and ever-changing closer situation may finally have found a little bit of stability, as Ryan Madson followed up Sunday’s four-out save with a six-out save Tuesday. He certainly hasn’t been perfect when handed ninth-inning duties, but Madson has clearly been the Phillies’ best reliever all season with a 3.18 ERA and 76/21 K/BB ratio in 76.1 innings. He can do the job if they stick with him.
* Tuesday morning reports surfaced that Miguel Angel Sano had lowered his asking price after MLB was unable to verify his age and Tuesday night the Twins signed the 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic for $3.15 million. Considered by many to be the top international prospect available this year before questions about his age became the big story, Sano turned down offers from the Orioles and Pirates.
AL Quick Hits: Mark Teixeira homered in a comeback win Tuesday and leads the AL with 39 homers and 121 RBIs … Brian Roberts smacked his 56th double Tuesday to set a new MLB single-season record for switch-hitters … Minnesota and Detroit split Tuesday’s crucial doubleheader, with both games decided by a run … Scott Kazmir was a last-minute scratch from Tuesday’s start, but manager Mike Scioscia insisted that he’s physically fine … Jack Wilson (heal) has been shut for the year after hitting .224 with one homer in 31 games for the Mariners … Carl Crawford set a career-high Tuesday with his 60th steal, but only 16 have come in the second half … J.D. Drew went 3-for-4 with a homer Tuesday and now ranks second among AL outfielders with an .898 OPS … Jake Peavy’s final start has been pushed back to Friday against the Tigers lineup that he blanked for seven frames last time out … Josh Beckett (back) is on track to make his scheduled start Friday.
NL Quick Hits: Derrek Lee rejoined the lineup Tuesday after missing three starts with neck spasms, but exited early after fouling a ball off his foot … Tim Hudson struggled Tuesday as the Braves’ seven-game winning streak ended … Jamie Moyer might not be ready for the playoffs after straining his groin Tuesday … Aramis Ramirez missed Tuesday’s game because of shoulder soreness … Homer Bailey threw seven innings of one-run ball Tuesday, striking out seven with one walk … Ian Desmond homered and doubled Tuesday, and is hitting .305/.344/.542 in his first taste of MLB … Joel Pineiro was knocked around for seven runs Tuesday, serving up multiple homers for the first time all year … Jay Bruce went deep twice Tuesday, giving him four homers and 16 RBIs in 32 at-bats since coming off the disabled list … J.A. Happ allowed four runs while needing 120 pitches to record 17 outs Tuesday, but still notched his 12th victory … Tuesday’s complete-game shutout was Ryan Dempster’s first since 2001 and he now has a 1.39 ERA in five September starts.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.