Dodgers re-sign left-handed reliever J.P. Howell to a two-year, $11.5 million contract

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From ESPN’s Buster Olney comes word that the Dodgers finalized a two-year contract with left-hander J.P. Howell on Tuesday afternoon.

The two-year pact, which carries $11.5 million in guaranteed money along with a $6.25 million vesting option for 2016, will be officially announced Thursday after Howell passes his pre-signing physical exam.

Howell drew heavy free agent interest this winter from the Rockies, but they opted for a three-year, $16.5 million agreement with southpaw Boone Logan. Howell, 30, registered an outstanding 2.03 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 62 innings this past summer for Los Angeles while holding left-handed batters to a hopeless .164/.225/.227 slash line.

Video: Dexter Fowler robs Asdrúbal Cabrera of three-run homer

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Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler made a critical catch in the eighth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against the Nationals. With the Cardinals leading 5-1, the Nationals were threatening with runners on first and second with one out against lefty Andrew Miller. Asdrúbal Cabrera worked a full count before serving a 3-2 outside slider to right field. The ball had home run distance, but Fowler tracked it, leaped at the wall, and robbed Cabrera of a three-run home run.

Carlos Martínez relieved Miller, getting Victor Robles to ground out to end the inning. The Cardinals would go on to win 5-1.

The game had playoff implications on both sides. The win bumped the Cardinals’ hold on first place in the NL Central to 2.5 games while the Nationals’ lead over the Cubs and Brewers for the first NL Wild Card shrinks to just one game.

The Nationals will close out their final road trip of the regular season with three games against the Marlins before hosting the Phillies for five games and the Indians for three. The Cardinals, meanwhile, begin their final road trip of the regular season with four against the Cubs followed by three against the Diamondbacks before closing out the season at home with three games versus the Cubs.