Cliff Lee returns, and it is good. Mostly.

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Cliff Lee windup.jpgYeah, I think Cliff Lee is all better.

Lee handcuffed the Rangers for seven innings last night, allowing only three hits, not walking anyone and striking out eight. He threw 98 pitches, 73 of which were strikes. He was up around 93 m.p.h. with his fastball.  It was like the guy from Game 1 of last year’s World Series in a different uniform. When he departed Mark Lowe and David Aardsma each threw a shutout inning of their own.

That was the good news for Seattle. The bad news: Colby Lewis was even better.  The Rangers starter went nine, shutting out the Mariners in regulation and striking out 10, and keeping it 0-0 after nine.  It was one of the tougher no-decisions of the season. Elvis Andrus scored from third on a wild pitch by Brandon League in the top of the 12th inning and Julio Borbon hit an RBI groundout to make it 2-0, and thus Cliff
Lee’s night was spoiled.

But it’s just one loss, and having Cliff Lee back at 100% makes it a bit easier to stomach.

Report: White Sox acquire Yonder Alonso from Indians

Yonder Alonso
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The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.

Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.

While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.