More rumblings that Jorge Posada will be released by the All-Star break

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We heard this last month, but we’re hearing it again: If Jorge Posada isn’t hitting by the All-Star break, he’s gone.  Here’s how Ian O’Connor put it in his column at ESPN New York this morning:

Posada doesn’t have two more seasons beyond this one on his contract, with a player option for a third. He has only until the All-Star break, give or take a couple of weeks, to prove he can be a productive member of a winning Yankees team. If he fails in that pursuit, his distinguished career in pinstripes will end. The Yankees would never release Posada before his best friend’s milestone achievement, likely arriving by the end of next week.

That wasn’t a “might,” that was a “will,” suggesting that O’Connor is getting this on decent authority.  And that “milestone” reference, of course, refers to Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit.

So I guess that means that Posada must really be rooting for Jeter to struggle, huh?

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.