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Sean Rodriguez hits walk-off home run in first game back with the Pirates

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On Saturday, the Pirates brought back utilityman Sean Rodriguez in a trade with the Braves. Rodriguez spent the 2015-16 seasons with the Pirates, having the best year of his career in ’16 as he finished with a .270/.349/.510 triple-slash line across 342 plate appearances.

Rodriguez didn’t start in Sunday’s game against the Padres, but he did enter the game as a second baseman in the top of the eighth inning as part of a double-switch. He grounded out in his first at-bat, ending the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied 4-4. Rodriguez came back to the plate to lead off the bottom of the 12th against reliever Buddy Baumann. With a 1-1 count, Rodriguez pulled a 90 MPH fastball into the left field seats for a walk-off solo home run.

It’s been a tough year for Rodriguez. He, his wife, and two of his children were involved in an SUV accident in late January. Rodriguez suffered a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder, which was expected to keep him out all season, but he returned on July 17.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.