Sonny Gray
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Brewers, Padres remain active in Sonny Gray trade talks

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The market for Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray may be starting to shrink at last. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Brewers are still “prominent” in trade discussions for the right-hander, while the Reds have faded into the background somewhat after acquiring southpaw Alex Wood from the Dodgers and Tanner Roark from the Nationals. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell adds that the Padres are “very much a part of trade talks” as well, though the club will likely look to the free agent market for at least one starting pitcher this offseason.

Gray’s stat line left much to be desired following a mediocre 2018 season, during which he went 11-9 in 23 starts with a combined 4.90 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9, and 1.7 fWAR through 130 1/3 innings out of the rotation and bullpen. It’s worth noting, however, that most of his poor performances were staged within the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium (4-4, 6.98 ERA, 1.29 SO/BB), while he presented well on the road (7-5, 3.17 ERA, 3.55 SO/BB) and may yet return to the sub-3.00 ERA, 3.0+ fWAR totals of years past.

Given his extreme splits, it appears the righty would be significantly more comfortable in the pitcher-friendly PETCO Park over Milwaukee’s Miller Park, though that’s far from the only consideration here. Reports from the last several weeks indicate that the Yankees’ asking price is still fairly high, as they’ve demanded everything from top-20 prospects to “high-end major league talent” in return for the starter. Even if the Brewers or Padres are willing to meet those demands, they’ll have to hope for a productive year from the 29-year-old in his walk year or else plan on shopping him around come July.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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