Joe Mauer exits game with strained left oblique

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From MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger comes word that Twins first baseman Joe Mauer made an early exit from Tuesday night’s game against the Royals after suffering a strained left oblique muscle. Most oblique strains need 2-3 weeks of rest and rehab, so Mauer is presumably headed to the 15-day disabled list.

Mauer hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday versus Kansas City, but he is still batting just .271 with a .695 OPS in 76 games this season. The 31-year-old entered 2014 — his first season since moving permanently away from catcher — with a .323 career average and .873 career OPS.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.