Mets, A’s “discussing pieces” for Ben Zobrist trade

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Via Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News

The Mets have gotten as far as discussing pieces with the A’s for a possible deal for Ben Zobrist, a source told the News Tuesday afternoon.

The A’s have identified the prospects they would need to send the veteran utility man to New York, but nothing is imminent, the source said.

Zobrist is also reportedly drawing interest from the Yankees, Giants, and Nationals, but the Mets are said to be willing to overpay to get him from the A’s because how desperate they are for an upgrade on offense. Zobrist is capable of playing just about anywhere on the diamond defensively, which makes him a fit for any and every contending team.

The versatile 34-year-old has a .768 OPS (114 OPS+) in 61 games this season for the A’s, who stand just 43-51 and should be one of the more active sellers ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Scott Kazmir, Josh Reddick, and Eric O’Flaherty are some of the other Oakland players who could be on the move.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.