Nationals, Chien-Ming Wang in talks for contract extension

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The Nationals were very patient while Chien-Ming Wang rehabbed from shoulder surgery. And now that he’s back in the big leagues, it appears they are working to keep him in the fold for 2012.

According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Wang’s agent Alan Nero said the two sides are in the “preliminary stages” of negotiations about a contract extension.

Wang re-signed with the Nationals last winter, inking an incentive-laden one-year, $1 million contract. Entering play this afternoon, the 32-year-old right-hander has a 4.31 ERA and 21/13 K/BB ratio in 56 1/3 innings over 10 starts since returning in late-July. He hasn’t walked a batter in each of his last three starts. The sinkerballer has a ground ball rate of 53.4 percent this season, which is almost exactly where he was when he last appeared in the majors in 2009.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.