Rangers outfielder Alex Rios became the third player this year to hit for the cycle Monday, doing so in just six innings against the hapless Astros.
Oddly enough, all three cycles this year have been contained entirely within the AL West. The Angels’ Mike Trout had one in May against the Mariners, and the Astros’ Brandon Barnes delivered one in July, also versus Seattle.
It hadn’t been too long since the Rangers had experienced a cycle: Adrian Beltre had one last August.
Rios now has 30 doubles, four triples and 18 homers this season. He’s hit .288 with six homers and 13 steals in 160 at-bats since the Rangers acquired him from the White Sox last month.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.