Jake Bauers
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Jake Bauers hits for the cycle

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It’s been a slow road to major-league success for Indians infielder-outfielder Jake Bauers, who showed up to Friday’s series opener against the Tigers batting a lackluster .209/.294/.396 in his first 63 games of the year. So, when he rounded out his first career cycle with a two-run, 405-foot homer off of Detroit’s Blaine Hardy in the eighth inning, he was all smiles.

Bauers collected his first hit in the second inning with a line drive double to right field, advancing Roberto Pérez and scoring Jason Kipnis to put the Indians on the board. In the fourth, he knocked a single off of the list and scooted around the bases to score on Leonys Martín’s subsequent three-run shot.

The most difficult hit, however, Bauers saved for the fifth inning. He worked a 1-2 count against right-hander Buck Farmer, then skied a ball to deep center field and sprinted over to third base to land a triple — his first of the year. The speedy 23-year-old didn’t wait nearly as long for his fourth and final hit of the night, plucking the first pitch he saw from the top of the strike zone and returning it to the right field bleachers to complete the cycle in the eighth.

Per MLB.com, he’s the first Indians player to complete the feat since Rajai Davis hit for the cycle in the summer of 2016. His incredible four-run output — more runs than he’s managed to scrape together in all but one of his 160 MLB games to date — helped boost Cleveland to a 13-4 finale and a 35-33 record overall.

Andrew McCutchen ‘ready to go’ whenever season begins

Andrew McCutchen
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen would have opened the regular season on the injured list if it had started on time. Now, with the start of the season pushed back at least a few months due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the veteran five-time All-Star says he will be “ready to go” whenever the season begins, he told NBC Sports Philadelphia.

McCutchen, 33, tore his ACL in early June, ending his 2019 campaign. To that point, he had been quite productive for the Phillies, batting .256/.378/.457 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI over 262 plate appearances. If and when the 2020 season does begin, he will likely reprise his role as the leadoff hitter, this time under new manager Joe Girardi.

2020 marks the second year of McCutchen’s three-year, $50 million contract initially signed with the Phillies in December 2018. The Phillies also hold a $15 million club option for the 2022 season with a $3 million buyout.