Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett a DL candidate

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bartlett headshot.jpgManager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that it’s a “50-50 proposition” whether shortstop Jason Bartlett will land on the disabled list because of right hamstring soreness.
Bartlett has been slumping and was recently dropped from first to last in Tampa Bay’s lineup, so a break might not be the worst thing. He’s hitting just .231/.327/.330 this season after posting what might go down as his career year in 2009, when he finished at .320/.389/.490 in 500 at-bats.
Filling in for Bartlett during his absence will be Reid Brignac. The 24-year-old Brignac was long considered the Rays’ shortstop of the future, but that began to change with another somewhat disappointing campaign in Triple-A last year and Bartlett’s big season. Brignac, though, has hit an impressive .306/.364/.454 in 108 at-bats as a part-time player for the Rays this year.
Moving Brignac from second base, where he’s been getting a lot of time of late, to shortstop, still opens up a hole in the lineup, though. The Rays would have the option of going with Ben Zobrist regularly at second base, creating room in the outfield for top prospect Desmond Jennings. However, Jennings, who missed the start of the year with a wrist injury, is hitting just .245/.343/.319 in 30 games for Triple-A Durham.
Instead, the Rays would probably mix and match Gabe Kapler and Sean Rodriguez between right field and second base for a little while. Veteran utilityman Joe Dillon would be one candidate to replace Bartlett on the roster.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.