The Astros play a prank on Chris Johnson

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I love stuff like this: Astros’ rookie Chris Johnson hit his first major league home run on Monday. He subsequently became the victim of a prank:

He was originally given a ball he was told was the home run ball.

“They wrote all over it, I mean just destroyed it,” he said. “I
was like, ‘Really? Come on…'”

The ball was a fake.

“After the game, Roy (Oswalt) told me he had the real one,” said
Johnson.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but someone from Texas who claims to know the scoop emailed me to tell me that the fake ball was covered with just the foulest stuff, including illustrations of the male anatomy and whatnot.

I desperately want that to be true because I’d like to think that something as minor as a nightmare season for the Astros can in no way disrupt some good old fashioned locker room humor.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.

Yankees decide to keep Luis Severino on regular rest, give Twins potential Wild Card preview

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Yankees starter Luis Severino pitched last Friday, putting him on track to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins. The Yankees mulled the possibility of pushing him back to start on Friday against the Blue Jays after an off day on Thursday so that the Twins wouldn’t get an early look at Severino in a potential AL Wild Card matchup.

However, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that Severino will indeed start on Wednesday against the Twins instead of Masahiro Tanaka. Hoch adds that Severino’s preference is to pitch on regular rest.

Severino, 23, has been the Yankees’ best starter this year and would be the most reliable arm in a must-win game. The right-hander is carrying a 13-6 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 218/49 K/BB ratio in 184 1/3 innings.

Entering Tuesday’s action, the Yankees hold a five-game lead over the Twins for the first Wild Card slot. The Twins hold a 1.5-game lead over the Angels for the second slot. The Yankees are also very much in the AL East race, trailing the Red Sox by only three games with 12 games left in the regular season.