Adam Wainwright to throw first bullpen session soon

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From MLB.com’s Matthew Leach comes word that Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright is aiming to throw a bullpen session within the next two weeks.

Wainwright, who underwent Tommy John surgery last February, has been limited primarily to flat-ground workouts since beginning a throwing program in late June. The few times he’s been allowed to step atop a mound, he’s thrown to a standing catcher.

Wainwright accompanied the Cardinals to Milwaukee this week and watched as the active members of the St. Louis roster picked up a crucial sweep. He’s still talking about potentially returning in October if the Cardinals are able to secure a postseason spot, but acknowledged Thursday to Leach and Co. that it’s more of a motivational tactic than an actual goal.

“Realistically the only way to get in a game is if we were to go deep in the playoffs,” Wainwright said. “And I think realistically the chances of that happening — not that we go deep in the playoffs, but the chances of them placing me in a game if we do — are very, very, very, very, very, very small. But my work is drastically improved with the thought that I’m working for something.”

Wainwright should be back near 100 percent when spring training opens next February. The Cardinals have already hinted that they’re going to exercise his $9 million option for 2012 and $12 million option for 2013.

A 30-year-old right-hander, Wainwright has posted a 2.97 ERA through the first 874 1/3 innings of his career.

Yankees defeat Blue Jays to clinch postseason spot

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The Yankees guaranteed their place in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Sonny Gray led the charge against their division rivals, clinching his 10th win of the season with six innings of four-hit, one-run, four-strikeout ball.

Gray worked into a little trouble in the first inning, putting runners in scoring position after Josh Donaldson drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Smoak advanced him with a single. The Yankees’ ace induced two quick outs to end the threat, but was overpowered by a Teoscar Hernandez home run in the third inning, the rookie’s fourth blast of the season:

Thankfully for the Yankees, that was the only run that slipped through the cracks. Gray finished the remainder of his outing with two hits and two walks and was backed by another three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Greg Bird supplied the go-ahead run with a three-RBI shot in the fifth inning, plating Chase Headley and Starlin Castro to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.

Todd Frazier tacked on another solo homer in the eighth, while Starlin Castro returned in the ninth to cap the win with an RBI single. Aroldis Chapman did the rest, wielding just 10 pitches to get three straight outs from Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Rob Refsnyder.

Following Saturday’s win, the Yankees have at least secured one wild card berth, though they’re not out of the division race just yet. They still sit a full four games back of first place in the AL East, with eight games left to play.

Watch: Brian Dozier pulls off a bunt home run

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Brian Dozier had a bonafide Little League moment during Saturday’s contest against the Tigers. In the first inning, the Twins’ second baseman squared up a bunt against Detroit left-hander Matt Boyd, which was scooped by Jeimer Candelario halfway up the third base line. The throw to first skirted the bag, allowing Dozier to touch all the bases and slide home to score the Twins’ first run of the game.

In other words, it was just your run-of-the-mill bunt home run:

Officially, the play was scored as a single and run scored on a throwing error. Still, if this is a sampling of the kind of plays we can expect to see from the Twins this October, it’s shaping up to be one wacky postseason.