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Steve Cishek

Cardinals “looking at” former Marlins closer Steve Cishek

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Mat Latos and Dan Haren are drawing most of the discussion on the Marlins’ trade block, but Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald notes that right-handed reliever Steve Cishek could also be on the move ahead of the July 31 deadline. And the National League Central-leading Cardinals are interested.

Cishek owns a rough-looking 4.65 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 31 total innings this season and he was stripped of closer duties in May, but the 29-year-old has registered a promising 0.77 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11 2/3 frames since returning June 12 from a short demotion to Double-A Jacksonville.

Cishek, who saved 39 games for the Marlins in 2014 and 34 in 2013, is making $6.65 million this year in his second turn through salary arbitration. He carries two more seasons of arbitration eligibility.

Miguel Sano returns to Twins’ starting lineup after missing two games with right ankle sprain

Miguel Sano
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Twins slugger Miguel Sano suffered a sprained right ankle last Saturday in Oakland and hasn’t played since. Or, hadn’t played since. Sano is back in the Minnesota starting lineup on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium, batting cleanup and serving as the Twins’ designated hitter in the second game of an important three-game series versus Anaheim.

Angels center fielder Mike Trout also sat out of Tuesday night’s series opener and is also returning to action on Wednesday night.

Sano has batted .326/.434/.558 with two home runs and nine RBI over his first 13 major league games.

The 22-year-old top prospect was promoted from Double-A Chattanooga on July 2.

Mike Trout back in Angels’ lineup following heel scare

Mike Trout
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Angels center fielder Mike Trout missed his first game of the 2015 season on Tuesday night against the Twins because of soreness in his left heel. But he claimed it was only a minor issue and he is back in the starting lineup Wednesday in the second game of a three-game set versus Minnesota.

Trout, 23, is batting .307/.400/.614 with 28 home runs and 57 RBI in 395 plate appearances this season for the American League West-leading Angels. He ranks second in FanGraphs’ version of WAR, only behind 22-year-old Nationals slugger Bryce Harper. The future is now, people.

Trout was named the MVP of last week’s 2015 All-Star Game at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.

Kevin Gausman returns to O’s rotation amid trade rumors

Kevin Gausman
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Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and will return to Baltimore’s rotation Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, but where will he be after July 31?

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Wednesday afternoon that the Orioles “appear to be willing to talk” to other teams about Gausman, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of Louisiana State University and has appeared in games for the O’s in each of the last three seasons.

Gausman owns an underwhelming 4.31 ERA and 1.32 WHIP through 188 career major league innings, but he still carries high-level upside at age 24 and he is under contractual control through 2020.

The Orioles, like many teams, are right on the line of buyer or seller as the trade deadline approaches. They are currently 3 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race and five games back in the AL East.

Francisco Liriano to return to Pirates’ rotation on Thursday following minor neck injury

Francisco Liriano
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Pirates southpaw Francisco Liriano was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday against the Brewers just minutes before first pitch due to tightness in his neck. But it’s only a minor thing.

Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Liriano made it through a side session Monday without issue and is scheduled to take his next turn in the rotation this Thursday night versus the Nationals. Vance Worley started in his place on Saturday night at Miller Park and surrendered five runs — four earned — over just four innings.

Liriano owns a stellar 2.98 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 125/39 K/BB ratio in 114 2/3 innings this season for the Pirates, who currently hold the third-best record (54-39) in Major League Baseball. They’re in the midst of a big three-game series in Kansas City.