ALCS, Game 4: Red Sox-Tigers lineups

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Lineups for Game 4 in Detroit …

Red Sox:
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Shane Victorino
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
LF Daniel Nava
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Stephen Drew
3B Will Middlebrooks

SP Jake Peavy

Switch-hitter Daniel Nava and his .322 batting average versus right-handed pitching is finally back in the lineup after Red Sox manager John Farrell repeatedly benched him in favor of righty bat Jonny Gomes. Beyond that it’s a typical Boston lineup.

Tigers:
RF Torii Hunter
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Victor Martinez
LF Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
2B Omar Infante
CF Austin Jackson
SS Jose Iglesias

SP Doug Fister

See, now this is interesting. Tigers manager Jim Leyland has dropped slumping leadoff man Austin Jackson into the eighth spot and moved everyone else up, which means Torii Hunter is batting leadoff for the first time since 1999 and Miguel Cabrera is hitting second. Statistical studies have shown that a team’s best hitter should typically bat No. 2, but obviously most managers don’t buy into that. Cabrera has hit second just twice in his career, both in 2004 when he was a 21-year-old with the Marlins. Jhonny Peralta is back in the outfield, with Jose Iglesias manning shortstop, and perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire lineup is that Leyland didn’t find a way to start Don Kelly somewhere.

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.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.