Link-O-Rama: Kevin Gregg will get nothing and like it

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* Impending free agent Kevin Gregg said yesterday that he’d like to re-sign with the Cubs and be a closer again in 2010. Neither will happen. During the past three seasons Gregg has blown 20 of 104 save chances while losing 19 games and posting a 3.86 ERA. He’s a second-tier setup man, at best.
* Admittedly he’s pretty far down on the Mets’ laundry list of problems this season, but for $8.5 million and a $2 million signing bonus Francisco Rodriguez has allowed 34 runs in 68 innings while blowing seven saves in 41 chances. Of course, unlike Gregg he’s in no danger of being stripped of closer duties thanks to being owed $11.5 million in 2010, $11.5 million in 2011, and $17.5 million or a $3.5 million buyout in 2012. Yeesh.
* Brad Penny tossed a complete-game shutout yesterday, so his final tally after returning to the NL is 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six starts. His totals in the AL were 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts. Chances that Penny chooses to sign with an NL team as a free agent this winter: 99.9 percent, with the other 0.1 percent reserved for Japan, Triple-A, or retirement.
* Last night’s complete-game shutout of Pawtucket Boston gives Roy Halladay a 2.97 ERA in 12 starts since the trading deadline came and went with him remaining in Toronto. For comparison, Cliff Lee has a 3.28 ERA in 11 starts with the Phillies.
* Ichiro Suzuki has already locked up his ninth straight 200-hit season, but barring one of the greatest four-game stretches in baseball history he’s going to score fewer than 100 runs for the first time.
* If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video of Matt Diaz’s indecisive baserunning basically ending the Braves’ season. Diaz has hit .319/.390/.488 in 425 plate appearances, but something tells me that most fans thinking back to this season won’t remember his hitting.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

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It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:

Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:

Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.