And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights


Indians 6, Blue Jays 1: This game freaked me out in that the score went final before 2:30 yesterday afternoon.  There’s almost something unnatural about a game being over that early in the day. I’d love to live on the west coast, but having baseball be over before noon out there would totally wig me out.  Anyway: I’m going to resist the urge to use the word “masterful” to describe Justin Masterson’s start because I bet he’s got that since he was in little league. Oh, wait, I did it anyway, didn’t I? 8.1 IP, 8 H, 1 ER.  And Matt LaPorta homered for his third straight game, which just goes to show you that some quality time in Columbus, Ohio is good for the body and soul.

Angels 2, Rangers 1: Jered Weaver pitches two-hit, shutout ball over
seven to give the Angels a series win over the Rangers. It’s the
Rangers’ first series loss in nearly a month.

Yankees 4, Mariners 2: A-Rod hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the
eighth inning. Remember back when he wasn’t clutch? Nah, me neither.

Reds 3, Cubs 2: The AP game story goes several paragraphs talking about
Dusty Baker’s history in Chicago rather than talk about the actual game.
Annoying, but worth it for this line from Dusty: “I was here four out
of the 100 years. Most people act like I
was here the whole hundred.” As for the game, Travis Wood makes his
major league debut for Cincy and it was a good one: 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER. 
The scoring ended on a fielder’s choice in the 10th and that’s kind of
boring so maybe it’s OK that the game story guy spent so much time
talking about Baker and Chicago.

Astros 6, Padres 3: Luke Gregerson couldn’t find the zone in the tenth inning, walking two guys with two outs and then allowing a triple to Michael Bourn. The Astros have won six of nine games.

Rockies 7, Giants 3: The good news: the Giants actually scored more than two runs for the first time since last Friday. The bad news: they still lost, which makes it six in a row. And memo to the AP writer who put the game recap together: you are fined $10 for using the term “danced” to describe Aaron Cook’s sinkerball. If you’d read your style book you’d see that it clearly states that only knuckleballs “dance.”  Please make a note of it in the future.

Rays 5, Twins 4: A day after quoting that “the Twins are 38-0 when leading after eight innings” stat they lose a game they were leading after eight innings. George Burns was right: statistics are a horrible bitch goddess.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 1: The Brewers little hot streak continues as they take their eighth win in 11 games. Prince Fielder homered again. He had seven homers at the end of May. Now he has 18.

Pirates 3, Phillies 2; Nationals 2, Mets 1: Can I tell you how
satisfying it is for your team to have a night off and having them still
gain ground in the division because their opponents lost to a couple of
hapless teams?

Athletics 8, Orioles 1: It’s getting to be a stretch to even call the Orioles “hapless” seeing how long
it’s been since they had any hap. It’d be like describing city streets
as “horseless.” I mean, sure, there ain’t no horses out there anymore,
but are we really saying anything meaningful by noting their absence? As for the Athletics, Trevor Cahill wins again after allowing one run over seven innings. Ryan
Sweeney and Chad Cliff Pennington (I have no idea, so don’t ask) each had four hits. Nice performances, but as I was looking at’s little scores page last night I noticed that, for a while at least, their little “top performers” box to the right of the scores had all three positions filled with Athletics. Typical ESPN East Bay bias. 

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.

*’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.