Charlie Manuel close to two-year extension with Phillies

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Charlie Manuel and the Phillies are “close to agreeing on a contract extension” that Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports will be worth “between $3.5 million and $4 million per season” for two years.

Manuel is already under contract for $2.4 million this season, so a two-year extension would keep the 67-year-old managing the Phillies through 2013.

Salisbury notes that “negotiations have ebbed and flowed for weeks” and speculates that an official announcement could come within the next few days.

In seven seasons under Manuel the Phillies are 544-428 (.560) with four straight NL East championships, two NL pennants, and a World Series title in 2008. Toss in his three-year stint as Indians manager and Manuel’s career .553 winning percentage is the 20th-highest in MLB history among all managers with at least 1,200 games.

Not bad for a guy the Indians fired midway through his third year after back-to-back 90-win seasons. Cleveland hasn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since and has topped 90 wins just twice in eight post-Manuel years.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

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It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:

Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:

Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.