Brett Tomko still drawing interest from half a dozen teams

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Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors hears from a source that “about half a dozen teams” have expressed interest in free agent pitcher Brett Tomko. We learned a couple weeks ago that he plans to audition for teams this month in an attempt at a comeback as the 40-year-old right-hander hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2011 with the Rangers.

Tomko dealt with elbow and shoulder issues in 2008 and ’09. Since 2010, Tomko has mostly bounced around in the Minor Leagues, spending time in the systems of the Athletics, Rangers, Reds, and Diamondbacks. He spent 2013 with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League, posting a 4.98 ERA in 124.2 innings of work spanning 19 starts.

Links adds that Tomko is willing to take a Minor League deal. Further, he is willing to mentor young pitchers which will be one point in his favor as he attempts to find employment. He is also willing to pitch out of the bullpen if necessary.

Braves clinch NL East title

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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.