Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs acquire José Martínez in trade with Rays

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CINCINNATI — The Chicago Cubs acquired Jose Martinez in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, giving manager David Ross another option at designated hitter.

The 32-year-old Martinez is a .294 hitter with 43 homers and 182 RBIs in 422 major league games. He debuted with St. Louis in 2016 and spent four years with the Cardinals before he was traded to the Rays in January.

“It’s a nice boost to get an offensive piece that makes you deeper than you already are,” Ross said after Chicago’s 10-1 win at Cincinnati. “It’s nice to be able to mix-and-match some bench pieces as well. It’s always nice to get a good player at the trade deadline.”

It’s a rare deal between division leaders ahead of Monday’s trade deadline for the pandemic-shortened season. Tampa Bay is on top of the AL East, and Chicago is trying to hold on in the NL Central.

The Rays acquired two players to be named or cash considerations in the trade. The team also promoted outfielder Randy Arozarena from its alternate training site.

Martinez, who can play first base or the outfield, batted .239 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 24 games with Tampa Bay. He had his best season with St. Louis in 2018, hitting .305 with 17 homers and 83 RBIs in 152 games.

“He’s hit his entire career,” Ross said. “We have a DH spot that makes sense for him. He hits lefties, and that will be a big help for us, but he can hit righties as well. When you see him come to the plate, you know he’s a tough out. When you see him on TV, you know he’s going to get a big hit.”

The Cubs designated catcher Josh Phegley for assignment to make room for Martinez on their roster.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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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.”