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Blue Jays activate closer Frank Francisco from disabled list

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Sidelined since mid-March with a strained pectoral muscle, Frank Francisco has been activated from the disabled list and figures to take over as the Blue Jays’ closer fairly soon.

Much like he did stepping for Joe Nathan with the Twins last season Jon Rauch has done a solid job in place of Francisco, converting all three of his save chances while posting a 2.70 ERA and 5/2 K/BB ratio in 6.2 innings.

Rauch may hang onto the job until Francisco puts together a good outing or two in a lower-leverage role, but Toronto acquired Francisco to be the closer after he lost that job to Neftali Feliz in Texas last season.

To make room on the 25-man roster for Francisco’s return the Blue Jays optioned Jesse Litsch to Triple-A, which also paves the way for Brandon Morrow to come off the DL and take his spot in the rotation back from Litsch on Friday.

Jon Niese leaves start with knee pain

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Mets starter Jon Niese left his start Tuesday night against the Cardinals due to left knee pain.

Niese walked two and gave up an RBI single before leaving with a trainer with one out in the bottom of the first inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs. Robert Gsellman, just up from Las Vegas, took over, making his major league debut under unexpected circumstances.

Niese, who has not pitched well at all since coming over in a trade with the Pirates, is likely to be placed on the disabled list after the game or before tomorrow’s game.

Mark Trumbo’s home run streak ends

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 11:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits an RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 11, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-6. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Mark Trumbo still has many chances to hit a home run tonight — it’s only been an inning or so in the Nats-Orioles game — but his weird home run streak is over.

Coming into tonight’s game, Trumbo’s last seven hits had been homers. The all-time record had been 11, set by Mark McGwire back in 2001. The last time Trumbo got a hit that wasn’t a dong was back on August 11. Later in that game, however, he hit a grand slam. After that he went 6 for his next 34, with all those safeties dingers.

But that’s over now. In the first inning tonight he drove in a run with a two-out single. Then he was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. Good job on the RBIs, Mark. Bad job on the base running. Judgment withheld on the homer streak because, really, that’s just kind of weird and cool.