Freeman among trio of Braves on All-MLB first team

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

NEW YORK — National League MVP Freddie Freeman was one of three Atlanta Braves selected to the All-MLB first team on Wednesday night.

The slugging first baseman was joined by Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna and starting pitcher Max Fried. Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. was chosen for the second team, giving the NL East champions more honorees than any other club following a 2020 season reduced to 60 games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

San Diego had two players on the top team: shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado.

Cy Young Award winners Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds and Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians also made the first team. Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish and New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom rounded out the five starters.

The rest of the first team featured Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu, and outfielders Mookie Betts from the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals. The relievers were Tampa Bay’s Nick Anderson and Oakland’s Liam Hendriks.

AL MVP José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox was the first baseman on the second team, which also included Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto, Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Indians third baseman José Ramírez. Acuña was joined in the outfield by Michael Conforto of the Mets and Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants. The designated hitter was 40-year-old Minnesota veteran Nelson Cruz.

The starting pitchers were Gerrit Cole of the Yankees, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, Dinelson Lamet of the Padres, Kenta Maeda of the Twins and Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Toronto Blue Jays. Cleveland closer Brad Hand and NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams from Milwaukee were the relievers.

Votes for the second annual All-MLB teams were cast by fans, media members, broadcasters, former players and other Major League Baseball officials.

Betts received the most votes from fans. Trout, deGrom and LeMahieu were the only players elected to the first team each of the past two years.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
1 Comment

TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.