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Report: Rangers open to trading Jonathan Lucroy

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers are open to trading catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who is scheduled to hit free agency following the 2017 season. While the club has yet to confirm any such plans, Rosenthal hears that they would prefer to go with Robinson Chirinos and Triple-A backstop Brett Nicholas behind the dish rather than extend Lucroy a $17.2 million qualifying offer. Chirinos is set to remain under club control through 2019.

Lucroy, 31, is in his second season with the Rangers after coming over from the Brewers in a trade for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz and Ryan Cordell last July. He’s been fairly consistent at the plate, if a bit underwhelming, and entered Saturday batting .263/.311/.375 with 20 RBI and a .686 OPS through 241 plate appearances. Compared to his counterparts, however, Lucroy’s production rate feels lackluster, and a decline in his defensive skills behind the plate hasn’t helped his cause, either. Chirinos is sporting a .918 OPS and 12 home runs through his first 123 PA, one shy of his career single-season record, while Nicholas has been running rampant through the Pacific Coast League with a .316/.354/.478 batting line as he awaits his second major league stint.

According to Rosenthal, the team has shifted their priorities to the bullpen, which currently ranks fourth-worst in the American League with a collective 4.67 ERA and 0.7 fWAR. They acquired veteran right-hander Jason Grilli from the Blue Jays on Sunday and will likely continue to add pieces while Matt Bush takes a step back from the closer role.

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.