Justin Morneau officially ruled out for ALDS

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made it official just a short while ago, confirming that Justin Morneau will not be included on the ALDS roster, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

“He hasn’t hit live, he hasn’t dove for a ball, he hasn’t done anything
like that. If you want a formal, ‘No he won’t be on the playoff roster
for the first round,’ there’s your formal. No, he won’t.”

Not a surprising revelation, as Morneau basically said the same thing after taking batting practice Thursday. Still, he continues to make progress from a concussion that has sidelined him since July 7. Morneau worked out again this afternoon, taking some swings and fielding groundballs. Barring any setbacks, the next step would be for him to face live pitching.

“We’ll have to make that decision within whatever, the next few days,”
Gardenhire said. “He’d have to go to Florida to do that. That’s down the
road a few days here. He’s doing good.”

Gardenhire wouldn’t speculate on his status for the rest of the playoffs, but Morneau told Mackey earlier this week that he hopes to return if the Twins are able to reach the ALCS. The Twins obviously won’t count on him, hence Gardenhire’s guarded optimism here, but that the possibility is even being discussed is a very encouraging sign.

Video: Aledmys Diaz hits a grand slam in remembrance of Jose Fernandez

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against San Diego Padres in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.

Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”

Here’s the video.

AL East still mathematically undecided as Red Sox lose, Blue Jays win

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.

The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.

Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.