<span class="vcard">Drew Silva</span>

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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.

Navy lieutenant Mitch Harris made his MLB debut

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Pretty cool moment from Saturday night’s game between the Cardinals and Brewers …

If you didn’t watch the entire clip, Cardinals right-hander Mitch Harris is the first graduate of the United States Naval Academy to appear in a major league game since 1921. He struck out Adam Lind — the first batter he faced — and then worked around a couple singles and a couple walks to deliver 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

Dodgers sign Mike Carp to minor league deal

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From Eric Stephen of SB Nation’s True Blue LA comes word that the Dodgers have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with Mike Carp. The 28-year-old first baseman and outfielder will report to the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.

Carp was released by the Nationals at the end of spring training after failing to win an Opening Day roster spot. But he has a decent .744 OPS (108 OPS+) in exactly 1,000 career major league plate appearances and will serve as quality organizational outfield depth this summer for Los Angeles.

Carp, a ninth-round pick back in 2004, has played for the Mariners, Red Sox, and Rangers in parts of six big league seasons.

Brandon McCarthy left his start Saturday with tight elbow

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Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy called for a trainer immediately after serving up a three-run homer to Padres slugger Justin Upton in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday night at Petco Park. McCarthy then acknowledged to reporters after the game that he has been experiencing tightness in his pitching elbow for over a week, adding that he probably should have departed in the second inning of Los Angeles’ eventual 11-8 victory over the Padres.

McCarthy will get an MRI on the elbow Monday.

It figures that he’ll miss at least one turn in the rotation, and quite possibly much more.

McCarthy, 31, signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Dodgers this past offseason after posting a 4.05 ERA, 1.275 WHIP, and 175/33 K/BB ratio across 200 innings last season for the Diamondbacks and Brewers.

Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards

ALCS - Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles - Game One
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It was a long, tense Saturday night at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, where the home team needed extra innings to beat the Red Sox inside the park and thousands of protesters angry over the death of Freddie Gray made their presence felt outside.

Police and news helicopters circled throughout the game, sometimes shining spotlights at the growing crowd of protesters and riot-geared cops beyond the center field fence. Before the bottom of the ninth inning, an announcement was made that fans would not be allowed to leave the stadium because of an “ongoing public safety issue” and when that order was lifted in the bottom of the 10th Orioles officials urged fans to avoid the busy northeast gates.

There were similar scenes last August around Busch Stadium following the death of a black teenager named Michael Brown, who was shot and killed in broad daylight by a white member of the Ferguson Police Department. Freddie Gray, 25, suffered a fatal spinal cord injury on April 12 when Baltimore police officers pinned him to the ground after a foot chase and then loaded him into a van without a safety harness.

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, one of the few black players in Major League Baseball, spoke to CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff after Saturday night’s 11-inning victory:

“It’s not about what I do for the city, it’s about that it can happen at any other city. An African American is an African American, it doesn’t matter that I’m in Baltimore,” Jones said.

“I just want people to be safe during this issue. It’s a tough issue. I think everybody needs to get all the facts. Stay safe, stay smart. Protest, but let’s not damage our own city. At the end of the day, you got to live here.”

O’s manager Buck Showalter also had some words: “Challenging day for a lot of people, probably a lot more than a baseball game. It’s a game of baseball and those are life issues, so this kind of pales in comparison to what’s going on in my life off the field and what’s going on in our city. Just have to continue to have confidence that we’ll get through it like we get through most things in Baltimore and hopefully learn from it.”

The next seven games on the Orioles’ schedule are at Camden Yards, so this likely isn’t over.