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Report: Reds want to sign Zack Cozart to extension

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The trade deadline is just a month away, and rumor has it the Reds aren’t looking to sell — at least, not when it comes to shortstop Zack Cozart. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the two could enter extension talks prior to the July 31 deadline. According to comments by club president Dick Williams, there’s “mutual interest” in keeping Cozart on board, though nothing substantial has been agreed upon just yet.

Cozart, 31, hasn’t piqued much interest on the trade front since last August, when a deal with the Mariners fell through minutes before the 2016 deadline. That could change this summer, as the shortstop appears to be on track for a career-best season and slashed .320/.404/.562 with nine home runs and a .966 OPS over his first 255 plate appearances. He was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday after sustaining a right quad strain earlier this month.

The Reds don’t appear to be short on middle infielders, with Dilson Herrera hacking away in Triple-A Louisville and Scooter Gennett and Jose Peraza holding down the fort on the major league level, but their collective production rate has been less than impressive with Cozart on the mend. Should a deal be struck in the next few weeks, however, Buchanan adds that the club will likely be seeking some kind of discount for the shortstop. That could be a problem for Cozart, whose results at the plate and on the field are building a compelling case for his impending free agency this fall.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.