Kurkjian: Marlins will offer Valentine a four-year deal

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If Peter Gammons’ word isn’t enough to convince the HBT readership that Bobby Valentine is days away from being named the Marlins’ next manager, this might do the trick:

According to ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian, the Fish will offer Bobby V. a lucrative four-year contract after he is interviewed on Friday night in south Florida.  Valentine is obviously interested in the gig because he withdrew his name from the O’s managerial search earlier this week. 

And why wouldn’t he be?  The Marlins are off to a disappointing 35-36 start this season and currently sit six games back of the Braves in the National League East, but with talented youngsters like Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson, Gaby Sanchez and Chris Coghlan in tow, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about the club’s future. 

A new stadium set to open in 2012 should only sweeten the deal for Valentine, who is currently an analyst on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.

Before the offer comes, however, the Marlins will the will interview their interim
manager, Edwin Rodriguez, as well as Diamondbacks’ third base coach Bo
Porter, a former Marlins and current Diamondback coach. That according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal
One can’t help but turn a cynical eye at those interviews as Loria
pretending to consider minority candidates (Rodriguez is Latino and
Porter is black) while everyone on the planet knows that he wants
Valentine.  Such is the world we live in, however, and one can easily
argue that baseball’s insistence that such token interviews take place
is sillier than conducting them is.

But that’s a conversation for another day. Today, it seems, Loria is
getting his man. Or will soon, anyway. May they be happy together.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”