Twins’ Andrew Albers nearly pitches shutout in ML debut

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Minnesota left-hander Andrew Albers defeated the surging Royals on Tuesday, throwing 8 1/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut. He allowed just four hits.

Albers’ superb outing came just one day after the Royals walloped the Twins 13-0.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire chose to pull the 27-year-old Albers after a single and a one-out walk in the ninth. It was his first walk of the night, and after 109 pitches, he likely was tiring.

Still, it’s too bad he didn’t get one shot to get a game-ending double play. No active major leaguer has thrown a shutout in his major league debut. The last to do it was Detroit’s Andy Van Hekken on Sept. 3, 2002. It’s happened just seven times since 1980.

Albers, who was signed out of indy ball a couple of years ago, was a nice story even before the shutout. The native of Canada was drafted in the 10th round by the Padres in 2008, underwent Tommy John surgery and was released in 2010. That’s the short version. Seth Stohs has the longer one over at Twinsdaily.com.

Shelby Miller will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Last we heard from Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks’ right-hander was contemplating Tommy John surgery for a partial UCL tear in his right elbow. Now, he appears to have decided to go through with the procedure.

Miller decided to skip Tommy John alternatives like plasma-rich platelet injections or stem cell treatment, which have been used to varying degrees of success by other major league pitchers with similar injuries. The surgery will set him back an estimated 12-18 months, FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke reports, which puts Miller’s estimated return date somewhere in 2018 if all goes well.

The 26-year-old starter was off to a rocky start this season, posting a 2-2 record and 4.09 ERA through 22 innings and striking out just 20 of 99 batters faced. This was his sophomore campaign in Arizona after muddling through the 2016 season with a 3-12 record, 6.15 ERA and 0.5 fWAR over 101 innings with the club.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.