Jay Bruce

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Reds 1, Phillies 0: CONTINUED FROM TUESDAY NIGHT: Nine minutes, a quick score and then the whole thing was over. About as good a night as you coulda hoped for when you were 17, but for the Phillies this had to be disappointing.

Reds 11, Phillies 2: Well, maybe not as disappointing as this. The Reds complete their first sweep of Philly in 17 years. John Lannan was pummeled. So too was the rest of the Phillies pitchers. Heck, Mike Leake had three hits including a triple. The Phillies only scored four runs in the series.

Royals 1, Braves 0: I was tempted to say that Doug Eddings and Wade Davis combined on a shutout, but that’s just petty I suppose. There were A LOT of bad ball and strike calls, sure. But watching Dan Uggla swing at everything from the dirt to the bill of his cap in the ninth inning made me think, well, some days it’s just not your day. Game’s lone RBI goes to Jeff Francouer. Which I presume will lead to some Francouer fans down in Georgia to start up that “we never shoulda gotten rid of him” chatter they’re prone to down there. Doesn’t matter who’s in the Braves’ outfield. There’s always a group of dead-enders who pine for Jeffy.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 0: A.J. Burnett allowed one hit, taking the no-no into the seventh. He also notched his 2,000th career strikeout.  Not a bad night for Shelby Miller either, but tough luck is part of the game, yo.

Nationals 6, Marlins 1: Bryce Harper went 4 for 5 and Ross Detwiler allowed only one run in seven innings. And the Marlins went back to remembering that they are, in fact, the Marlins.

White Sox 7, Blue Jays 0: Jose Quintana tamed the Jays. Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer. Old friend Alex Rios hit one too.

Rays 6, Orioles 2: Tampa Bay snaps its four-game losing streak. Matt Moore got the win. He has three on the season. The entire Rays team has five.

Red Sox 6, Indians 3: Five straight wins for the Bosox. Alfredo Aceves, pressed into service as a starter, took a shutout into the sixth, but then he hit a wall. After three solid starts Justin Masterson hit a wall of his own, surrendering 11 hits.

Yankees 4, Diamondbacks 3: Down 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees tied it up and then Travis Hafner hit a pinch-hit homer in the eighth to cap off a four-run rally. New York has won seven of eight, which is really messing with a lot of predictions of doom out there. Pretty inconsiderate, you guys.

Athletics 7, Astros 5: Six runs in the first was a less than gracious homecoming for Marin County’s Bud Norris, but such is life for the Astros. Meanwhile, the A’s have played approximately 193 games against Houston so far this year. I think it’s time they move up a level.

Padres 7, Dodgers 2: Clayton Kershaw gave up three homers in three innings. Because baseball. Even the best ones get rocked on random Wednesday nights.

Tigers 2, Mariners 1: 14 innings. Batters combined for 14 strikeouts. Prince Fielder led the pack with five. The only runs in the game scored on a couple of fielder’s choices and an RBI single. But there was some goodness here in the starting pitching. Indeed, it’s a shame neither starter could win this one, with Max Scherzer striking out 12 while allowing only one run in eight innings and Felix Hernandez striking out 12 while allowing only an unearned run in his eight.

Brewers 4, Giants 3: Pinch hitter Blake Lalli — who has a name that I’d sooner place on some actress in her early 20s who stars in some new show that is decidedly not aimed at my demographic — hit the first pitch he saw for the game-winning single in the ninth. Runners hit second and third just before that thanks to a Brandon Crawford throwing error.

Angels vs. Twins: POSTPONED: Three, four: Hey mr. rain. Ain’t you follow me down. Hey mr. rain. Ain’t you follow me down. I’ve been working baby oh! so hard. Stayin up in the sky. Hey mr. rain. Ain’t you follow me down

Rangers vs. Cubs: POSTPONED: See the sky about to rain, broken clouds and rain. Locomotive, pull the train, whistle blowing through my brain. Signals curling on an open plain, rolling down the track again. See the sky about to rain.

Mets vs. Rockies: POSTPONED: Dreamed I was an eskimo. Frozen wind began to blow. Under my boots and around my toes. The frost that bit the ground below. It was a hundred degrees below zero…

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.

Diamondbacks hire Mike Fitzgerald to head Research and Development department

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mike Hazen, new Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Red Sox, addresses the media during a press conference to announce his promotion before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on September 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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According to an official announcement, the Diamondbacks have acquired former Pirates quantitative analyst Mike Fitzgerald as their new Director of Research and Development.

Fitzgerald joined the Pirates’ front office in 2012, where he frequently accompanied the team on the road to help breach the divide between analytics and the clubhouse. According to a profile written by Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh in 2014, Fitzgerald’s multifaceted approach brought balance and perspective to the organization, whether he was assisting coaches in making statistically sound decisions, optimizing the batting order, weighing in on scouting and personnel decisions, developing more effective defensive positioning, or keeping players and personnel appraised of the latest developments in sabermetrics.

In the wake of Fitzgerald’s departure, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington praised the Diamondbacks for a smart acquisition and said that the club has every intention of finding a replacement analyst, albeit one who will have some big shoes to fill.