Here’s the Rangers’ lineup for Game 6 of the ALCS tonight against Phil Hughes:
1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. David Murphy, LF
8. Bengie Molina, C
9. Mitch Moreland, 1B
No surprises, really. As expected, Cruz is playing after leaving Game 5 with a hamstring strain. Molina rejoins the lineup after sitting out Game 5 because Matt Treanor is C.J. Wilson’s personal catcher. Murphy gets the nod over platoon-mate Jeff Francoeur with a right-hander on the mound for the Yankees.
So far this postseason the Rangers have hit a combined .269 with a .336 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage versus right-handed pitching and they beat Hughes in Game 2, getting to him for seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in four innings.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.