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Jon Heyman: Twins are still serious about signing Mike Napoli

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports hears that the Twins are still seriously pursuing free agent first baseman Mike Napoli. The two sides don’t appear close to a deal at the moment, however, and Napoli has also attracted interest from both the Mets and Rays over the past month. Still, Heyman adds, the slugger would bring a much-needed boost to the club’s lineup and his connection to both president Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine could give them a welcome advantage in negotiations.

Napoli, 36, is coming off of one of the worst performances of his career. He took a one-year contract with the Rangers in 2017 and slashed a meager .193/.285/.428 in 485 plate appearances, despite an impressive 29 home runs and .713 OPS. Outside of his power surge, part of his overall decline in value can be attributed to injuries, from a lower back strain to a stress reaction in his right leg. In December, it was revealed that the veteran infielder had played the entire season with a torn ligament in his right hand, which was later corrected through surgery.

Warts and all, Napoli still looks like a good fit for the Twins, who could utilize him at DH or stash him behind Joe Mauer at first base. Earlier this week, both MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press said talks between the two weren’t “as intense as [was] being reported,” and Berardino pointed out that pitching remains the top priority for the club as they look toward the 2018 season.

Yankees, Astros lineups for ALCS Game 6

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Things haven’t gone quite according to plan for the Astros, who missed the opportunity to clinch the American League Championship Series after losing 4-1 to the Yankees in Game 5 on Friday. Still just one win away from a World Series invitation, they’ll try their luck again on Saturday night.

Neither lineup has been significantly altered for Game 6. The Yankees will try to push the series to a final Game 7 with right-hander Chad Green, backed by this configuration:

1. DJ LeMahieu (R) 1B
2. Aaron Judge (R) RF
3. Gleyber Torres (R) 2B
4. Aaron Hicks (S) CF
5. Edwin Encarnación (R) DH
6. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
7. Gary Sánchez (R) C
8. Gio Urshela (R) 3B
9. Brett Gardner (L) LF

The Astros, meanwhile, will send Brad Peacock to the mound in what figures to be a bullpen game for both sides, marking the righty’s first official postseason start since the 2017 ALDS. Martín Maldonado is back in the lineup, as is Josh Reddick, while both Robinson Chirinos and Jack Marisnick will be available off the bench.

1. George Springer (R) CF
2. José Altuve (R) 2B
3. Michael Brantley (L) LF
4. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
5. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
6. Carlos Correa (R) SS
7. Yordan Álvarez (L) DH
8. Martín Maldonado (R) C
9. Josh Reddick (L) RF

Starting tonight, the ALCS returns to Houston for Game 6 and a potential Game 7. Game time is set for 8:08 PM EDT.