Tonight will be Michael Pineda’s last start

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It’s been several months since people outside of the Pacific Northwest stopped paying attention to the really super rookie year Michael Pineda is having, but know that it has continued just fine.  And after tonight it ends. But it ends with an easy mark: the punchless Minnesota Twins.

It’s been a great year for Pineda. Entering tonight he has a a 3.72 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 171/53 K/BB ratio in 167 innings. He’ll finish with his biggest professional workload ever, but it’s not some dramatic increase and the Mariners seem to be being sensible about it.

After the Twins, the next thing up for Pineda will be the Rookie of the Year voting. He’s a strong candidate, though I think Jeremy Hellickson will get the trophy. Partially, but not completely, because he’s simply on everyone’s radar in the wild card race and during earlier hours in the evening than is Pineda. To be honest, though, a vote for either of them is totally defensible.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.