GM says multiple teams are interested in Akinori Iwamura

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General manager Neal Huntington said yesterday that “a small number of teams have expressed mild interest” in Akinori Iwamura after the Pirates designated him for assignment last week.
However, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “a trade remains far from certain” and “it’s extraordinarily unlikely that any team would assume more than the required $300,000 or so of Iwamura’s remaining $2.93 million.”
Huntington has said that he’d like to trade Iwamura to give him a chance for playing time elsewhere, but if a deal can’t be worked out the Pirates figure to retain him at Triple-A. Iwamura has the right to refuse an assignment to minors if he clears waivers, but doing so would require forfeiting the rest of his contract and he seems particularly unlikely to pass up a couple million bucks when another big payday now looks like a long shot.
Iwamura has plenty of experience at second base and third base, so in theory he’d be a decent fit as a utility man for a contender, but he’s looked several steps slow defensively since returning from knee surgery and lost his starting job to rookie Neil Walker after hitting just .182 in 54 games.

ALDS, Game 1: Rangers vs. Blue Jays lineups

Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitcher David Price works against the Baltimore Orioles during first inning of a baseball game in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:

CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos

SP Yovani Gallardo

With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.

LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar

SP David Price

After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.

Astros leave Chad Qualls off playoff roster, add Preston Tucker

Chad Qualls Getty
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Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.

Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.

Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.