Hiroki Kuroda hopeful to make next start

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Hiroki Kuroda was forced to leave his season debut last night after he took a line drive off his right middle finger, but fortunately for the Yankees, X-rays didn’t show a fracture. However, his status for his next start is up in the air.

According to Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York, Kuroda acknowledged today that while he doesn’t feel “normal” and is still experiencing a “little discomfort,” but he plans to test the finger by throwing a bullpen session tomorrow. If all goes well, he’ll be cleared to make his next scheduled start Monday against the Indians.

“The bottom line is I’m going to try to make my next start,” Kuroda said.

The Yankees are already using David Phelps in the rotation since Phil Hughes is on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back, so they could have to turn to Adam Warren for a spot-start if Kuroda isn’t ready. Warren allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in relief of Kuroda last night, so he would be stretched out for the potential assignment.

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.