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Reds call up Tyler Mahle for big league debut

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Reds’ right-hander and top pitching prospect Tyler Mahle is getting the call for Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates, the club announced Friday. He’ll take the place of fellow right-hander Homer Bailey, who’s still working back from a minor shoulder issue and has been pushed back to Wednesday’s game against the Mets.

Mahle, 22, finally made the jump to Triple-A Louisville in 2017. After starting his year with a remarkable 1.59 ERA in Double-A Pensacola, he continued to dominate at the Triple-A level, carrying a 3-4 record through 10 starts and turning in a 2.73 ERA, 1.8 BB/9 and 9.2 SO/9 through 59 1/3 innings.

According to MLB.com, the righty placed fourth among the Reds’ top 30 prospects and boasts a fastball that tops out at 96 MPH and a variety of average-quality breaking balls. His efforts in the Reds’ system were crowned by his first career perfect game in June, and while he doesn’t appear to have the stuff to make it as a front-end starter in the long term, his poise and command should be a welcome addition to a rotation that currently ranks dead last in the league.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.