Dodgers name Turner Ward their new hitting coach

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Buster Olney reports that the Dodgers have hired Turner Ward to be their new hitting coach.

Ward was the Dbacks’ hitting coach for three years but left last month after a disagreement over the contract the club tendered him for 2016. Some have reported that Ward was lowballed by the Dbacks on his renewal. Either way, if he had accepted it, he would’ve had to get permission from the club to interview elsewhere and Arizona would not likely grant permission to the rival Dodgers. So: good call for Ward.

The Diamondbacks ranked second in the NL in runs scored this year with hitters Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta all developing fantastically with Ward at the hitting helm.

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.