MLB announces plan for three-way tiebreaker

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This was pretty much a no-brainer, and it’s a highly unlikely scenario with the Angels having lost three out of four, but just in case, MLB today announced what would happen in the event of a three-team tie in the AL wild card.

Thursday: Angels at Red Sox
Friday: Rays at first-game winner

The Rays had the pick of the litter.  They could choose the one game Friday on the road or set themselves up to play two games at home.  Figuring it’d be easier to win one game than two, they made the obvious choice.  The Red Sox then had the second pick in the draw and made their choice to play the Angels at home.  The winner of the Angels-Red Sox game would host the Rays the following day.

Anyway, it’s likely all for naught now.  The Angels are three games out in the wild card, meaning their first loss or first Boston win puts them out of the running for a postseason spot.

The Red Sox are one game up on the Rays.  If it’s a two-way playoff between those two teams, it’d be played in St. Pete on Thursday.

Also still to be determined in the AL is who will host the wild card winner.  The Rangers are one game up on the Tigers for the two-seed and the right to avoid the Yankees.

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.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.