Almost ready: Jose Fernandez strikes out 10 in rehab start

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Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez was dominant in his second minor-league rehab start Wednesday, striking out 10 batters in 4.2 innings at Single-A as he comes back from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Fernandez served up a solo homer and exited before completing five innings because he was on a pitch count of 80, but the outing was a very encouraging one following the Marlins’ announcement that he’s scheduled to come off the disabled list and rejoin the rotation July 2.

Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that Fernandez is slated to make two more rehab starts on June 22 and June 27. He underwent surgery 14 months ago, ending a 2014 season that saw him post a 2.44 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 52 innings through eight starts as a 21-year-old.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.