Alex Rios hits for the cycle against the Astros


Rangers outfielder Alex Rios became the third player this year to hit for the cycle Monday, doing so in just six innings against the hapless Astros.

Oddly enough, all three cycles this year have been contained entirely within the AL West. The Angels’ Mike Trout had one in May against the Mariners, and the Astros’ Brandon Barnes delivered one in July, also versus Seattle.

It hadn’t been too long since the Rangers had experienced a cycle: Adrian Beltre had one last August.

Rios now has 30 doubles, four triples and 18 homers this season. He’s hit .288 with six homers and 13 steals in 160 at-bats since the Rangers acquired him from the White Sox last month.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.