Author: Drew Silva

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A’s sign Ryan Roberts to minor league contract

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As first reported by Jeff Hem, the play-by-play announcer for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, the Athletics have signed veteran infielder Ryan Roberts to a minor league contract. He is starting at third base and batting fifth for Nashville on Sunday afternoon.

Roberts was released by the Royals near the end of spring training after struggling in the Cactus League. The 34-year-old hasn’t been an effective major league player since 2011, when he hit .249/.341/.427 with 19 home runs and 18 stolen bases across 143 games for the Diamondbacks. It was by far his best season.

Roberts went 2-for-19 (.105) in eight games last summer with the Red Sox.

A’s option fifth starter Kendall Graveman to AAA

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From the official Twitter account of the Oakland Athletics …

Graveman allowed six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings Saturday in a loss to the Astros, falling to 1-2 on the season with an 8.27 ERA and 2.02 WHIP in 16 1/3 total frames (four starts). Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says right-hander Jesse Chavez, who opened the 2015 season in the Oakland bullpen despite posting a 3.45 ERA across 146 innings last year, will take over the vacant rotation spot.

Dodgers place Yasiel Puig and Joel Peralta on the DL

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As announced Sunday on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ official Twitter feed …

Puig initially injured his left hamstring on April 13 while trying to make a catch in the outfield and wound up missing the Dodgers’ next three games. He returned on April 18 and even went 2-for-3 with an RBI double, but he had a noticeable hobble in that game and then had to be pulled from Friday night’s series opener against the Padres with renewed hamstring discomfort. Andre Ethier will presumably serve as the Dodgers’ primary right fielder over the next couple of weeks. He’s starting there in Sunday’s series finale with the Friars.

Peralta has been filling in at closer for LA while Kenley Jansen recovers from offseason foot surgery, converting three saves in three opportunities without allowing a run. Chris Hatcher may be the guy now.

Max Scherzer doubtful for next start due to thumb injury

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Via Mark Zuckerman of

The odds of Max Scherzer making his scheduled start Tuesday night in Atlanta look slim after the Nationals ace was unable to throw Sunday morning without feeling discomfort in his right thumb, which he suggested is the byproduct of a sprained ligament.

Scherzer jammed his right thumb during an at-bat Thursday afternoon against the Cardinals. It doesn’t sound like a serious injury, but the $210 million right-hander isn’t going to be rushed back. “I’ve dealt with an injury before in college where I had a cut on my middle finger, and I went back out there and pitched in pain,” he told reporters Sunday morning. “And two weeks later, I had biceps tendinitis and really almost kind of messed up my shoulder. I really respect the fact that you really have to be 100 percent to go back out there. And in this case, that’s how I’m going to treat it.”

Scherzer owns a 1.26 ERA, 0.837 WHIP, and 29/4 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings with Washington.

Tanner Roark could lead a bullpen game for the Nationals on Tuesday against the Braves.

Jose Bautista hopes to return early this week

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Last week, it looked like Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista might be headed to the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He has now missed five straight games, but the news Sunday was good …

Bautista told Shi Davidi of Toronto’s Sportsnet that he is aiming to return to action during the Blue Jays’ upcoming three-game series in Boston. He’s feeling gradual improvement with his right shoulder, which he aggravated last Tuesday night while trying to gun down Delmon Young at first base from right field.

Michael Saunders is in right field and Kevin Pillar is in center for Sunday’s series finale against the Rays.

Bautista had tallied four home runs and 10 RBI in 14 games before this extended absence.