Tal Smith got two weeks’ severance pay after 35 years with the Astros

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When the Astros fired Tal Smith last week after 35 years in the organization the longtime team president was upset with how the situation unfolded, saying he learned the news through the media and hadn’t spoken to new owner Jim Crane in months.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has a few more details about Smith’s firing, including the fact that the 78-year-old “will receive only two weeks’ severance pay from the club … because the Astros’ previous owner, Drayton McLane, did not arrange a more enticing golden parachute.”

Rosenthal reports that Smith’s contract actually expired on October 31, but he continued working as an at-will employee until being fired six days after the ownership transfer became official. Meanwhile, general manager Ed Wade was let go with two guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.