Here are the lineups for Game 6 of the World Series, in Kansas City:
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
DH Michael Morse
LF Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford
SP Jake Peavy
Returning to American League rules means manager Bruce Bochy again has Michael Morse at designated hitter while sticking with career first baseman Travis Ishikawa in left field.
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
2B Omar Infante
SP Yordano Ventura
With the series shifting back to Kansas City manager Ned Yost had a chance to return to his standard postseason lineup, but instead he’s done that with one exception. Mike Moustakas, who had batted ninth in games played in AL rules, flip-flops with Omar Infante. Jarrod Dyson returns to the bench in favor of Norichika Aoki, with Lorenzo Cain back in center field.
Justin Smoak has been Seattle’s primary first baseman for the past four seasons, but the Mariners have given up on the 27-year-old former first-round draft pick and the Blue Jays claimed him off waivers.
There’s been some talk of the Blue Jays potentially trading first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind, so Smoak gives them a possible fallback option.
However, despite being a former top prospect with 20-homer power and solid plate discipline Smoak has never managed to be an above-average hitter for a first baseman. Overall he’s hit just .224 with a .689 OPS in 566 career games, including .202 with a .614 OPS in 80 games this season.
Smoak’s contract includes a $3.65 million option or $150,000 buyout for 2015. It’s hard to see why the Blue Jays would want him around at that price and by claiming him off waivers they’d now be on the hook for the buyout.
Back in June the A’s purchased left-hander Brad Mills from the Brewers for one dollar when they needed some short-term rotation help. Mills was later claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays before becoming a free agent in September.
And now the A’s have re-signed him to another minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, according to Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com.
Oakland has plenty of starting pitching options with several 2013 regulars coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, so Mills will have a hard time cracking the Opening Day roster. He’s pitched poorly in the majors, but the 29-year-old southpaw did have a 2.01 ERA and 103/23 K/BB ratio in 107 innings at Triple-A this season.
Byron Buxton’s injury wrecked year keeps getting worse.
Buxton came into this season as the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball, but a spring training wrist injury cost him three months and after finally returning he suffered a concussion in his first game at Double-A.
That ended his season in August, but Buxton was cleared to participate in the Arizona Fall League in the hopes of recouping some of the lost playing time. And now he’s suffered another injury, this time dislocating the middle finger on his left hand while diving for a ball in the outfield yesterday.
Luckily a dislocated finger is not a particularly serious injury, but the 20-year-old Buxton still needs to show that he’s fully recovered from the wrist and brain injuries. And if his AFL season is over he’ll have played a grand total of just 40 competitive games this year.
Not surprisingly former Rays manager Joe Maddon is a non-factor in the Twins’ search to replace Ron Gardenhire and Darren Wolfson of 1500-ESPN in Minnesota says the choice looks likely to be either Paul Molitor or Torey Lovullo.
Molitor has been viewed as the favorite for the job this entire time. After years of fans and media members calling for the Minnesota native and Hall of Famer to join Gardenhire’s coaching staff he finally did so this season.
Lovullo is the only outside candidate to gain any real traction in the Twins’ search and the Red Sox bench coach is reportedly interviewing with general manager Terry Ryan and the team’s ownership for a second time.
Doug Mientkiewicz, who managed at high Single-A this season, is believed to be the Twins’ third finalist.