New York Mets starting pitcher Dickey throws a knuckleball as he pitches to the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning of their MLB National League game in New York

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 6, Marlins 1: R.A. Dickey continues his dominant year. He struck out ten and didn’t walk any while tossing a complete game. And we may see more of him soon.

Royals 8, Orioles 2: Manny Machado made his major league debut. Two for four with a triple. Not bad! No one else did anything, however, and the Royals teed off on Wei-Yin Chen. Billy Butler hit a triple for cryin’ out loud. He had a homer too. Though it wasn’t a grand slam, sadly. Which would have been awesome. Probably woulda looked like this.

Diamondbacks 6, Pirates 3: Jason Kubel hit two homers. Lots of folks — myself included — scratched their heads at the signing of Kubel in the offseason, but it’s workin’ out pretty well.

Cardinals 3, Giants 1: Adam Wainwright was on point, allowing one run over seven innings, evening his record to 10-10. Carlos Beltran hit a homer. He leads the NL in RBI. Kinda has to gall the Giants a bit seeing as though he didn’t help them all that much last year. And cost them a pitching prospect.

Rays 7, Blue Jays 1: The fantastic Rays pitching continues. Their staff has allowed one or zero runs in 13 of their last 19 games. If the offense can improve they’ll really have something. Evan Longoria’s return — he had two RBI on three hits last night — is a step in the right direction.

Yankees 4, Tigers 3: Joaquin Benoit gave up back to back homers to Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez, which turned the game around. Oh, and Joe Girardi went crazy and got ejected arguing a fair/foul call that was reversed on the fly, and that was a lot of fun.

Indians 5, Red Sox 3: Break up the Indians! A winning streak!  Ubaldo Jimenez allowed three runs over six innings and struck out ten. The Red Sox have lost seven of nine. Probably time for someone to give some controversial quote now.

Nationals 5, Astros 0: The Nats basically toyed with Houston. Jordan Zimmermann struck out 11 over six three-hit shutout innings. Michael Morse hit two homers and had a sac fly. I’m wondering how the Astros would do facing nothing but Triple-A teams these days. Would they be a .500 team? Serious question.

Cubs 5, Reds 3: Alfonso Soriano’s two-run homer in the eighth broke the 3-3 tie and ended the Cubs eight game losing streak. It was Soriano’s 20th homer. He’s now done that for 11 straight years.

The Reds and Cubs had a long rain delay and were only in the 6th inning when I hit the hay. I’ll catch up when I wake up.

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.