Marlon Byrd struck in left eye with pitch, leaves game

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Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd was struck on the side of the head by an Alfredo Aceves pitch in the second inning of Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.

The Aceves breaking ball rose quickly on Byrd, who attempted to dip his head back at the last second. That motion exposed his left eye from the protective flap and brim of his batting helmet, and he took the pitch square without any sort of ricochet.

Byrd was able to walk off the field under his own power, but a trainer was covering the left side of his face with a towel and blood was spotted by the FOX cameras. He at least suffered a cut, and possibly something much more serious. It was his first at-bat of the game.

Carrie Muskat of MLB.com says that Byrd is being taken to a local hospital for evaluation. He never lost consciousness but has a gash under his left eye. There should be updates throughout the night.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.