Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Twins 6, Yankees 5: Justin Morneau hit two homers. That’s four homers in six games, which hopefully means that Morneau is back to his mashing ways. Jason Marquis, who missed most of spring training when his daughter was seriously injured in a bicycle accident, made his first ever start in Yankee Stadium and got the win with his daughter — now healthy — looking on.

Rockies 8, Padres 4: Chase Headley had two homers too, though they were in a losing effort. Still count, though. It says so right there in the rules.

Cardinals 11, Reds 1: The Cards’ bats continue to go nuts, touching Matt Latos for eight runs in five and two-thirds. Carlos Beltran and Tyler Greene homered. Jaime Garcia, in addition to handcuffing the Reds, tripled in a couple of runs. This was Adam Wainwright’s reaction to it. I think the Cardinals are having fun.

Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer — his fourth bomb in three games — and drove in four. Bobby Valentine got booed when he made a pitching change in the eighth. Kevin Youkilis hit a home run, but his heart wasn’t in it, I hear.

Marlins 9, Cubs 1: Miami racked up 14 hits including a dinger from Hanley Ramirez, his third in as many games. Four straight losses for the Cubs.

Nationals 3, Astros 2: Three Astros relievers combined to walk three Nationals and allow two runs in the eighth inning. One of them was on a bases loaded walk to Jayson Werth. Washington pitching was good again, but they only struck out four in nine innings. Dudes: we’re used to K Street here, not 6-3 street, OK?

White Sox 8, Orioles 1: Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn have, at various times over the past year or so, looked like they had giant forks sticking out of their backs. Last night Peavy pitched seven strong innings and Dunn doubled in three runs to break it open late and walked a couple of times.

Pirates 2, Diamondbacks 1: Pittsburgh started the west coast swing poorly but finished strong. Pedro Alvarez hit a homer and, as the game story noted, “he raised his batting average 32 points to .074.” Good times.

Rays 12, Blue Jays 2: Four homers for the Rays including a Luke Scott grand slam. He asked the official scorer to only grant him three RBI for it because even numbers are socialist.

Braves 14, Mets 6: Atlanta knocked R.A. Dickey out early and kept piling on runs. This with Chipper Jones and Brian McCann out of the lineup (though Jones did pinch hit, doubling in a run and scoring). The offensive outburst overshadowed a poor outing by Jair Jurrjens, who couldn’t make it to the fifth inning.  His performance this season has thus far been … worrisome.

Tigers 4, Royals 3: I could tell you all about what went down here, but I’ll just note that Prince Fielder stole a friggin’ base and let you pick the pieces of your mind up off the floor for the remainder of the morning.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 2: A walkoff sacrifice fly for Ryan Braun in the 10th. More impressive: Zack Greinke hit a double. Him and Jaime Garcia: making the case against the DH last night.

Giants 1, Phillies 0: Holy crap. Cliff Lee threw ten shutout innings and got a no decision. That’s because Matt Cain threw nine shutout innings and three Giants relievers combined for a tenth and eleventh while Melky Cabrera singled home Brandon Belt in the Giants’ half of the eleventh inning for the win. More on this one later this morning.

Athletics 6, Angels 0: Meanwhile Bartolo Colon shut the Angels out on four hits over eight innings himself. Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run homer. The Angels are kinda reeling, yes?

Mariners 4, Indians 1: Jason Vargas was on it, striking out seven in seven innings in front of the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history (11,343). Apparently seeing Eric Wedge’s old team come to town is not a big deal to some people. The Indians’ four-game winning streak comes to an end.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.