Craig Kimbrel
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Report: Rays are still interested in Craig Kimbrel

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays are still in communication with free agent closer Craig Kimbrel, for whatever that’s worth at this point in the season. Topkin doesn’t reveal exactly how far along any potential discussions between the two sides might be, but it’s probably safe to say the Rays aren’t close to offering a formal deal just yet.

Kimbrel, now approaching his age-31 season in the majors, has been linked to the Phillies, Braves, Nationals, and Brewers this spring, though no one team has emerged as a clear frontrunner so far. Previous reports from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman indicated that the right-hander was willing to lower his asking price from a five-year contract to a three-year deal, which may still be too hefty a commitment for some of his potential suitors.

Last season, the veteran righty earned his seventh career All-Star nomination, rounding out a three-year stint with the Red Sox and pitching to 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, and 13.9 SO/9 across 62 1/3 innings of relief. There’s no question the Rays could stand to benefit from Kimbrel’s proven experience, even as they already boast the third-best bullpen in the majors (per FanGraphs). Like their competitors, however, they may be waiting to make a play for the free agent until the MLB amateur draft concludes on June 5 and they no longer need to sacrifice their third-highest draft pick to do so.

Twins tie team record with 8 homers in 16-7 win over Angels

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Miguel Sano and Jonathan Schoop each hit two of Minnesota’s franchise record-tying eight home runs and the Twins hammered Matt Harvey and the Los Angeles Angels 16-7 Thursday.

C.J. Cron homered, doubled twice and singled twice for the Twins. Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario also homered for Minnesota.

It was the third time in franchise history – dating to their days as the Washington Senators – and second time this season Minnesota homered eight times. Before doing it April 20 against Baltimore, the last time it happened was in 1963 against Washington.

Schoop drove in four runs and Sano three as the Twins won six of seven on their road trip that began in Seattle and wound up with their first sweep in Anaheim since 1996. Minnesota, with the best record in the majors, hit 22 homers against the Mariners and the Angels while outscoring them 67-24.

There were a total of 11 home runs in this game, which was originally set for Wednesday but postponed due to unplayable field conditions following a pregame storm.

Angels first baseman Jared Walsh, who made five relief appearances in Triple-A this season, pitched for the first time in the majors. He gave up a run on two hits and a walk in the ninth.

The eight home runs also tied the Angels mark for most allowed. It previously happened in 2005 against Texas and 1996 vs. Oakland.

Four of the seven hits Matt Harvey (2-4) allowed in 2 2/3 innings went over the wall as the right-hander gave up eight runs for the second time this season.

Tommy La Stella hit his first grand slam in the ninth for the Angels, who have dropped four straight. David Fletcher and Brian Goodwin also homered for Los Angeles.

Minnesota broke open the game in the second inning with six runs, which included a three-run shot by Schoop and two-run drive by Polanco. Harvey was chased in the third after solo homers by Cron and Sano.

The Twins hit three home runs in the seventh to extend their lead to 14-2. Sano’s two-run shot and Schoop’s solo homer marked the sixth time the Twins had gone back-to-back this season. Kepler added a two-run drive.

Twins starter Martin Perez (7-1) went five innings and yielded two runs on five hits.

TOUGH DAY

Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun came up twice with the bases loaded but was unable to get a hit. He struck out in the third and grounded into a force out to end the fifth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: DH Nelson Cruz (left wrist sprain) returned to Minneapolis. He is eligible to come off the injured list on Friday but manager Rocco Baldelli said they are still seeing how he is doing swinging during batting practice.

Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons (left ankle sprain) saw a foot and ankle specialist Wednesday and expects to remain in a walking boot for at least two weeks. . LHP Andrew Heaney (elbow) had a bullpen session before Thursday’s game and could make his season debut Sunday.

UP NEXT

Twins: Return home and open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Jose Berrios (6-2, 3.39 ERA) has seven or more strikeouts in his last four starts.

Angels: Conclude their home stand with three games against Texas. RHP Griffin Canning (2-3, 3.80 ERA), who became the second LA starter to go seven innings last Saturday against Kansas City, gets the call on Friday.

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