Saltalamacchia '50-50' for season-ending surgery

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia revealed yesterday that he’s “50-50” to undergo season-ending surgery after leaving a minor-league rehab game over the weekend with reoccurring numbness in his right arm.
Saltalamacchia has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which is described as “a rare condition” that involves a rib pressing against a nerve in his shoulder and causing the pain in his arm that landed him on the disabled list in mid-August.
“I’m not giving up,” Saltalamacchia said. “I tried 15 days and it didn’t get better. It got better but not to the point where I can play nine innings.”
Prior to the injury he hit just .236/.293/.375 with an ugly 96/22 K/BB ratio in 83 games, and the former top prospect’s lack of development is a big part of why the Rangers’ once-impressive catching depth has gone from strength to weakness this season.
Ivan Rodriguez and Taylor Teagarden have split time behind the plate since Saltalamacchia landed on the shelf, but he’s still just 24 years old and if healthy will definitely have a chance to reclaim the starting job next spring. However, the success rate for thoracic outlet syndrome surgery is said to be only 50-80 percent.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.