Shin-Soo Choo could return from DL next week

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It wasn’t too long ago that we were thinking Shin-Soo Choo could need surgery on his thumb. Now, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, it appears that he could be back in the lineup by the end of next week.

Choo took some soft-toss Thursday and is scheduled to participate in full batting practice Saturday. On the verge of full participation in pregame workouts, the club hopes to have Choo join them on their roadtrip to Minnesota next week. From there, he’ll be re-evaluated for a possible return against the Rays next weekend.

According to Indians manager Manny Acta, Choo might not even need a minor league rehab assignment before being activated from the disabled list.

“He’s kept himself in good shape physically,” Acta said of Choo. “We’re
not anticipating him going down [to the Minors]. Things could change.
But he hasn’t lost much time. He’s pretty close.”

Choo was batting .286/.390/.475 with 13 home runs, 45 RBI and 12 stolen bases before injuring his right thumb while attempting to make a diving catch on July 2. His rapid recovery would be a pleasant surprise for a sports town that hasn’t received much good news lately.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.