Report: Pirates have been scouting Phillies starter A.J. Burnett

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As the Pirates prepare to gear up for another run at the post-season, they may be looking to bring back a familiar face. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a Pirates scout went out of his way to watch Burnett while he made his start at Turner Field against the Braves on Friday.

Burnett struggled, allowing six runs over five innings. In his first season with the Phillies, Burnett has not had nearly the same success that he enjoyed in his two seasons with the Pirates. On the season, the right-hander owns a 4.08 ERA over 21 starts. He has allowed a league-leading 58 walks. Part of the struggles may be attributed to the inguinal hernia, which he has been dealing with since mid-April.

Burnett, 37, is earning $7.5 million this season. His contract includes, for 2015, a $15 million mutual option or a $7.5 million player option. The player option can increase to as much as $12.75 million depending on how many starts he makes. He is currently at 21. Three more starts (24) will bump it up to $8.5 million; six more bump it up to $10 million; nine more bump it up to $11.75 million; 11 more bump it up to $12.75 million.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.