Yankees, Phillies going hard after Cuban OF Jorge Soler

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With Yoenis Cespedes officially signed and sealed by Oakland, the market for fellow Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler is really beginning to heat up. And two early front-running suitors have been identified.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the teams “in hardest on” the 19-year-old Soler at this time are the Yankees and Phillies. The Blue Jays had a private workout in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday morning with Soler and the Orioles are scheduled to meet with him Sunday. The Red Sox, Cubs and White Sox have also been linked.

Soler has yet to establish residency in the Dominican and must do so before being granted free agency by Major League Baseball. But it appears the courting process is already well underway. He won’t top Cespedes’ four-year, $36 million deal in total value, but Soler does seem likely to beat him in length.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.