Norichika Aoki

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 4, Cubs 3: Norichika Aoki hit two homers including the walkoff. Overall, he’s kicking some major butt.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: As I said yesterday: Dickey beats Wang. I’m still giggling, by the way.

Pirates 5, Reds 4: Aroldis Chapman finally allowed a run. You see? You see? He’s not a machinehe’s a manhe’s a man!  Someone alert the authorities. Wait, don’t do that. Chapman doesn’t need anymore interaction with the authorities.  It was a an RBI double by Michael McKenry in the 10th which proved to be the game winner.

Giants 8, Padres 3: The Giants stay hot, winning their ninth in 11 tries. Matt Cain struck out nine and withstood some awful San Francisco defense to win his sixth straight start.

Dodgers 8, Phillies 3: The sweep. Aaron Harang won his 100th. And Charlie Manuel is losin’ it:

Asked about his frustration level, manager Charlie Manuel said: “I never put it up to a level. I just feel how hot my face gets.” And it is, he said, “pretty damn hot.”

Nightmare season for Philly thus far.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 0: The Sox finally beat the O’s at home. And do it in impressive fashion. Clay Buchholz with the four-hit shutout.

Athletics 7, Rangers 1: Yu Darvish gets shelled by one of the worst offenses in baseball and walks six on top of that. Brandon McCarthy, meanwhile, allows one run in seven innings. Coco Crisp had a triple a homer and drove in four. The A’s took three of four from Texas, which according to the Rangers fans I follow on Twitter has caused some Texas fans to freak out and think about trading everyone.

Tigers 7, Indians 5: Casey Crosby won his first ever game. Not that it came easy. Detroit was up 7-1 and the Indians started to rally to close it to 7-5 and had the bases loaded in the eighth but couldn’t get one more hit that they needed. It was the first win by the Tigers over the Indians in six tries.

Braves 8, Marlins 2: Jason Heyward had two homers in a game for the first time since 2010 and Mike Minor finally had an effective outing, allowing one run in five innings. The Braves scored all of their runs from the sixth inning on. It was a 4-1 road trip for the Braves and now they get nine straight at home.

Rays 7, Yankees 3: David Price only went five innings but he survived them well, striking out eight and getting out of a one-out bases loaded jam in the fifth by retiring Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.  CC Sabathia struck out 12 over seven innings in a losing effort.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Orlando Hudson singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Rios drove in three.

Cardinals 14 vs. Astros 2: Two homers and six RBI for David Freese as Lance Lynn joins R.A. Dickey with nine wins. Just as everyone predicted would be the case before the season began.

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.