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Jeb Bush optimistic he and Derek Jeter can close deal for Marlins

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MIAMI (AP) Jeb Bush says he is optimistic he can close a deal to buy the Miami Marlins, with his partner Derek Jeter taking charge of baseball operations.

“Given the interest we have inside Miami and among people that are potential partners, I’m really excited about it,” Bush said, speaking publicly for the first time about his efforts to purchase the team from Jeffrey Loria. “It’s a sport that has huge potential in Miami. I’m excited about the community aspects of this.”

The former Florida governor, who lives in Miami, made his comments Tuesday during a discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles.

Jeter and Bush were part of rival efforts to buy the Marlins before joining forces. Jeter was a 14-time All-Star shortstop who retired in 2014 after 20 seasons with the Yankees.

“Derek Jeter is a phenomenal guy, a person of incredible integrity,” Bush said. “I get to meet famous people all the time, and sometimes they don’t match up to what their reputation is. Jeter is the exact opposite. He has this incredible, impeccable reputation he earned, and in person he’s maybe even better. He’s humble, really smart and totally focused on this.

“We have had to make some tough decisions that would require a little conflict. He has made them in a way that has made me feel really good to be his partner, so we’re really excited.”

Jeter has no front office experience, and he would be taking over a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003. Bush said they agree a free agent spending spree is not the best path forward.

“There is no correlation between high salaries and winning,” Bush said. “The sport is different maybe from others in that regard.”

Bush and Jeter lead one of multiple groups that have submitted bids for the Marlins. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week none had yet been accepted.

Bush said he expects a decision “pretty soon,” but completion of any sale could take months and would require approval by at least 75 percent of the major league teams.

More than half of the winning bid could involve cash because of MLB’s debt service rule, meaning the Bush-Jeter group would need to raise a lot of money. Their bid is for $1.3 billion, Bloomberg reported.

It is not known who might be joining Bush and Jeter as partners. Bush said he wants to expand the reach of the franchise and MLB in Latin America.

Loria, 76, became unpopular in Miami in part because of the Marlins’ perennially small payrolls, and Bush didn’t sound as though he’ll be a big spender, either.

“Losing money along the way is not the plan,” Bush said. “Baseball doesn’t have a salary cap. You have to have the discipline to identify players the right way. Be patient about it, and use data and analytics the right way.

“Derek is going to be in charge of the baseball. He fully appreciates the need to do this in a patient way.”

Bush, 64, served two terms as governor from 1999-2007 and was an unsuccessful candidate last year for the Republican nomination for president. His brother, former President George W. Bush, was controlling owner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 until he became governor of Texas in 1995.

Jeter, 42, lives in Tampa and has long talked of his desire to own a team.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”