Clay Buchholz cleared to start on Tuesday

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Scott Labuer of the Boston Herald shares the big news:

NEW YORK — Clay Buchholz’ long nightmare is over.

After missing three months with a shoulder injury that seemed like it would never heal, Buchholz is slated to start Tuesday night’s series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. As one final tuneup, he threw a bullpen session here today.

Buchholz opened the season 9-0 with a dominant 1.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 81/29 K/BB ratio over his first 84 1/3 innings, but he hasn’t appeared in a major league game since June 8.

“Mentally I’m ready,” Buchholz told reporters after his bullpen session Sunday morning at Yankee Stadium. “I think that’s what everyone was questioning — mental toughness and everything. But I know my body better than everybody else does. I’m comfortable pitching now. There’s nothing wrong that’s come up.”

Boston entered play Sunday with a huge 8.5-game lead in the American League East standings.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.