UPDATE: Roy Oswalt has left the Phillies due to tornadoes near his home in Mississippi. Again.

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3:03 PM:  The Phillies have just announced that Oswalt left the team due to concern regarding his family back home due to tornadoes in the area over the past several days.  There was some confusion on this earlier because it was almost exactly a year ago that Oswalt had to leave the Astros following the destruction of his boyhood home in Mississippi.  Here’s Ruben Amaro’s statement:

“There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy’s home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area.  Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family’s well-being.  He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn’t significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are okay.  It is almost a year to the day that his parents’ home was destroyed by a tornado which has heightened his concern about the current situation.We are hopeful that he will rejoin the team for his next start, but will take that day by day.”

His next start is not scheduled until next Tuesday, so there is hope that he will be back with the team by then. He could, thanks to offdays, go as late as May 7th if need be.

Here’s hoping his family is OK. And that Mother effing Nature will start steering tornadoes away from Oswalt’s neck of the woods. They’ve had enough.

1:18 PM: No details on this at the moment, but here’s Matt Gelb from the Philly Inquirer on Roy Oswalt:

A Phillies official says Roy Oswalt has left the team for personal reasons. No expected return date. Oswalt was not removed from the game for those personal reasons. He was taken out by Manuel because of his ineffectiveness.

There aren’t many things that could cause this that would constitute good news.  We’ll obviously update when more is learned.

UPDATE: Jim Salisbury’s story at CSN Philly fills in some details, including a lot of time on the phone and stuff for Oswalt before the game.  Could be his poor performance last night was because he was distracted?

Watch: Ryan Goins tags Todd Frazier with the hidden ball trick

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The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.

Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.

Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.