American League Wild Card Game: Rays-Indians lineups

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Here are the lineups for tonight’s American League Wild Card Game between the Rays and Indians, in Cleveland:

Rays:
LF David DeJesus
RF Wil Myers
1B James Loney
3B Evan Longoria
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Desmond Jennings
DH Delmon Young
SS Yunel Escobar
C Jose Molina

SP Alex Cobb

Wil Myers only batted second 11 times all season, but did so in five of the last seven games. Desmond Jennings slides down in the lineup, with midseason pickup David DeJesus leading off. And manager Joe Maddon is going with Delmon Young at designated hitter versus Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, which is odd. For his career Young has a measly .709 OPS off righties, compared to .812 off lefties. Salazar showing a reserve platoon split as a rookie no doubt played a big part in Young getting the DH nod over Matt Joyce, Kelly Johnson, or Luke Scott (who isn’t even on the roster).

Indians:
CF Michael Bourn
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jason Kipnis
DH Carlos Santana
LF Michael Brantley
RF Ryan Raburn
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
C Yan Gomes
3B Lonnie Chisenhall

SP Danny Salazar

Michael Bourn is back in the Indians’ lineup after leaving the regular season final with a calf injury. Terry Francona went with Yan Gomes at catcher and Carlos Santana at designated hitter most of the time down the stretch and he’s sticking with that tonight, which means no Jason Giambi. Lonnie Chisenhall gets the nod at third base over Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn starts over Drew Stubbs in the outfield. In all the Indians have seven left-handed hitters in the lineup versus Rays right-hander Alex Cobb.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.