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Pirates opening day starter Musgrove heads to IL

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PITTSBURGH — An unexpected break didn’t stop the steady stream of pitchers to the injured list for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The team placed opening day starter Joe Musgrove on the 10-day IL Tuesday with what manager Derek Shelton called a right triceps issue. The Pirates scratched Musgrove (0-3, 6.75 ERA) before Sunday’s start against Detroit with what Shelton called an ankle injury.

Musgrove is the sixth Pittsburgh pitcher to be placed on the injured list this season. The list includes starter Mitch Keller and relievers Nick Burdi, Clay Holmes, Michael Feliz and Kyle Crick. It doesn’t include closer Keone Kela, who has yet to pitch this season after testing positive for COVID-19. The Pirates began the truncated season with starters Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer already out due to injury.

Travis Williams will start when Pittsburgh travels to Cincinnati for a four-game series beginning on Thursday. The Pirates were supposed to be in St. Louis on Tuesday, but their three-game set with the Cardinals was scratched while St. Louis continues to grapple with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The injuries have forced Pittsburgh to get aggressive in finding arms healthy enough to help a team that currently has the worst record in the majors (3-13). The Pirates signed veteran Henderson Alvarez on Sunday. Alvarez last pitched in the majors with Philadelphia in 2017. On Tuesday, Pittsburgh claimed right-hander Nick Tropeano off waivers from the New York Yankees. Tropeano is 12-15 with a 4.51 ERA in 42 career appearances (39 starts) with Houston and the Los Angeles Angels.

“Obviously we didn’t know coming in to this year what it was going to be like,” Shelton said. “No one is going to feel sorry for you, so we just have to continue to execute, to get better, to continue to teach and get guys out there.”

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”