Chien-Ming Wang pitches Chinese Taipei past Australia in WBC opener

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Thanks to six shutout innings from Chien-Ming Wang, Chinese Taipei took a huge step towards advancing in the World Baseball Classic in Saturday’s opener, beating Australia 4-1.

South Korea is viewed as the lock to advance from Pool B. The winner of today’s opener was in a great position to earn the other spot, with The Netherlands likely to have a tough time winning any of its three games.

Wang managed to get through six innings despite the 65-pitch limit starters work with in round one of the World Baseball Classic. He walked none and got three double play balls before taking a seat. Another familiar name, Hong-Chih Kuo, pitched in relief for Taiwan, throwing a perfect inning.

Both Wang and Kuo are auditioning for spots with big-league clubs during the WBC. Wang made 10 appearances with the Nationals last year, while Kuo was out of the league after developing the yips in his final year with the Dodgers.

Australia got down 3-0 early in the contest and simply didn’t have the offense to make its way back. Cleanup man Stefan Welch homered for the team’s only run. Oft-injured, ex-major leaguer Chris Snelling, batting eighth, singled in his first at-bat and was immediately removed for a pinch-runner because of a leg strain.

Chinese Taipei got a homer from first baseman Cheng-Min Peng. Astros outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin went 2-for-3 with a double.

Report: Phillies ‘shopping the hell’ out of Carlos Santana

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In today’s column for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana, according to a rival executive. Doing so would allow the Phillies to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base and open up a spot in the outfield for free agent Bryce Harper, with whom the Phillies have been commonly connected.

Santana, 32, is coming off of a mediocre season in which he hit .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI in 679 plate appearances. His 1.7 WAR, per Baseball Reference, was his lowest output since 2015. He has $35 million remaining on his contract. The Phillies would presumably eat a significant portion of that $35 million in order to make a trade work.

If the Phillies can’t move Santana but still end up signing Harper, Santana could share third base with Maikel Franco and first with Hoskins. Right now, the Phillies have a glut of outfielders with Hoskins, Odúbel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Hoskins rated among the worst outfielders defensively in 2018, so moving him back to first base is likely one of the Phillies’ bigger priorities.