Phillies, Rangers, Yankees after Orioles' Ty Wigginton

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Although he’s been in an awful slump since hitting 13 homers during April and May, Orioles utilityman Ty Wigginton is drawing interest from the Phillies, Rangers and Yankees, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.
Zrebiec says the Orioles and Phillies have discussed Wigginton for several weeks. The Philllies could install Wigginton at third base, with Placido Polanco moving to second base until Chase Utley returns from thumb surgery.
The Rangers and Yankees would seem to have less playing time for him, though the Rangers do need someone to start at first base against lefties and the Yankees still have their question mark at DH.
Zrebiec indicates that the Phillies could also be interested in Miguel Tejada if Wigginton is moved to one of the other teams.
Wigginton is making $3 million in the final season of a two-year deal. A huge early-season surprise, he’s hit just .205/.289/.265 with one homer in 132 at-bats since the beginning of June, leaving him at .252/.334/.434 overall. The Orioles had a high asking price for him a month ago, but they’ll probably come down on that now, particularly since there will be less of a role available for him if Brian Roberts returns in a couple of weeks as hoped.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.