Zunino hits 2-run homer, Gaddis gets 1st win, Guardians beat White Sox 3-0 to end slide

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND – Mike Zunino‘s critics have been silenced – for a day or two.

Mired in a miserable slump in May, Zunino connected for a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help Hunter Gaddis get his first major league win and lead the Cleveland Guardians over the Chicago White Sox 3-0 on Monday night.

Zunino was just 1 for 31 with 21 strikeouts this month – he recently struck out in 17 straight games – before delivering his biggest moment since signing a $6 million, one-year contract with Cleveland as a free agent in the offseason.

With the Guardians, who have played an MLB-high 22 one-run games, clinging to a 1-0 lead and rookie Gabriel Arias on first with two outs, Zunino drove a pitch from Gregory Santos to right. The ball barely crept over the wall for his third homer, one that must have felt for Zunino like it went 500 feet.

“Hopefully that’s one of those that turns the corner here,” he said.

Cleveland fans have been clamoring for the team to bring up catcher Bo Naylor from Triple-A Columbus to start. And while that still may be the case, Zunino finally gave the Guardians a return on their investment.

“I was so happy,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “You could hear our whole dugout. He shows up every day and he’s been working like crazy and hasn’t had a lot to show for it. You grow pretty fond of these guys and you want them to have some success, and it made me feel good when I saw the way the dugout reacted.”

Gaddis (1-1) was recalled from Triple-A Columbus and gave the Guardians a badly needed quality start after they were swept over the weekend in New York, losing all three to the Mets by one run.

The right-hander gave up just two hits, combining with four relievers on a three-hitter to end Chicago’s modest three-game winning streak.

It was personally satisfying for Gaddis, who was torched for five homers in just four innings against Chicago on Sept. 15 – his second major league start.

“I would be lying if I didn’t think of that,” Gaddis said. “So yeah, it definitely makes it a little better.”

Sam Hentges, Nick Sandlin and Trevor Stephan combined for two scoreless innings before Emmanuel Clase worked a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 16th save in 21 chances. Clase has had his own issues lately, blowing his fifth save on Friday.

“It’s always keeping your head up,” Clase said through an interpreter. “This is a difficult game. They’re going to be ups and downs and the other teams are also competing. I know sometimes we’re not going to get our way, but the important part is to be able to go there with a head up and compete in the best way we can.”

The Guardians scored their first run in the second on a wild pitch by Jesse Scholtens (0-2), who was otherwise solid in allowing just two hits in five innings. The right-hander recalled to replace Mike Clevinger, who went on the injured list with wrist inflammation.

“He pounded the strike zone and made some good pitches when he needed to,” said Sox manager Pedro Grifol. “He did a nice job for us. He’s a good guy to have around, especially in the minor leagues in case something like this happens. He can pitch a little bit.”


The Guardians observed a pregame moment of silence for legendary Browns running back Jim Brown, who died last week at the age of 87. Brown played nine seasons in Cleveland and led the NFL in rushing eight times.


White Sox: RHP Liam Hendriks (cancer treatment) threw his second bullpen session in four days as he continues to work his way back. Grifol stood in the batter’s box to observe the shape of Hendriks’ pitches, and was impressed with wat he saw. “His slider was really, really good,” Grifol said. He’s getting really close.” Hendricks, who is in remission for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will likely throw again Thursday in Detroit.

Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (shoulder strain) is scheduled to make a second rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said McKenzie will throw four innings or 60-65 pitches. He’s eligible to come off the injured list on May 29. RHP Aaron Civale (oblique strain) is also nearing his return. He’ll start for Columbus on Tuesday.


Guardians rookie LHP Logan Allen (1-1, 3.04) starts against Chicago’s Dylan Cease (2-3, 4.79), who lost to Cleveland last week.

Jacob deGrom, oft-injured Rangers ace, to have season-ending right elbow surgery

rangers degrom
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers signed Jacob deGrom to a $185 million, five-year deal in free agency last winter hoping the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner could help them get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and make a push toward winning a World Series.

They also knew the risks, with the pitcher coming off two injury-plagued seasons with the New York Mets.

Even with deGrom sidelined since late April, the AL West-leading Rangers are off to the best start in franchise history – but now will be without their prized acquisition until at least next year. The team said Tuesday that deGrom will have season-ending surgery next week to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

“We’ve got a special group here and to not be able to be out there and help them win, that stinks,” deGrom said, pausing several times with tears in his eyes. “Wanting to be out there and helping the team, it’s a disappointment.”

General manager Chris Young said Tuesday the decision on surgery came after an MRI on deGrom’s ailing right elbow, but the extent of what is required might not be determined until the operation is performed next week.

Tommy John surgery, in which the damaged ligament is replaced, is often needed to fix a torn UCL, but Young and the Rangers didn’t go as far as saying the pitcher would have that particular procedure. After being drafted by the New York Mets in 2010, deGrom made six starts in the minors that summer before needing Tommy John surgery and missing all of 2011, three years before his big league debut.

DeGrom last pitched April 28 against the New York Yankees, when he exited early because of injury concerns for the second time in a span of three starts. The announcement about surgery came a day after deGrom was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Young said the latest MRI showed more inflammation and significant structural damage in the ligament that wasn’t there on the scan after deGrom left the game against the Yankees.

“The results of that MRI show that we have not made progress. And in fact, we’ve identified some damage to the ligament,” Young said. “It’s obviously a tough blow for Jacob, for certainly the Rangers. But we do feel this is what is right for Jacob in his career. We’re confident he’ll make a full recovery.”

Young and deGrom, who turns 35 later this month, said the goal is for the pitcher to return near the end of next season. Both said they were glad to have clarity on what was wrong with the elbow.

Texas won all six games started by deGrom (2-0), but the right-hander threw only 30 1/3 innings. He has a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts and four walks. He threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees in his last start before leaving because of discomfort in his arm.

The Rangers went into Tuesday night’s game against St. Louis with a 39-20 record, the first time they were 19 games over .500 since the end of 2016, their last winning season.

Before going home to Florida over the weekend for the birth of his third child, deGrom threw his fifth bullpen last Wednesday in Detroit.

“I’d have days where I’d feel really good, days where I didn’t feel great. So I was kind of riding a roller coaster there for a little bit,” deGrom said. “They said originally there, we just saw some inflammation. … Getting an MRI right after you pitch, I feel like anybody would have inflammation. So, you know, I was hoping that that would get out of there and I would be fine. But it just didn’t work out that way.”

DeGrom spent his first nine big league seasons with the Mets, but was limited by injuries to 156 1/3 innings over 26 starts during his last two years in New York.

He had a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021 before missing the final three months of the season with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow.

The four-time All-Star didn’t make his first big league start last year until Aug. 2 after being shut down late in spring training because of a stress reaction in his right scapula.

His latest injury almost surely will trigger Texas’ conditional option on deGrom’s contract for 2028.

The option takes effect if deGrom has Tommy John surgery on his right elbow from 2023-26 or has any right elbow or shoulder injury that causes him to be on the IL for any period of 130 consecutive days during any season or 186 days in a row during any service period.

The conditional option would be for $20 million, $30 million or $37 million, depending on deGrom’s performance during the contract and health following the 2027 season.

“I feel bad for Jake. If I know Jake, he’ll have the surgery and come back and finish his career strong,” second-year Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I know how much it means to him. He enjoys pitching. It’s certainly sad news for all of us.”