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Monday, June 17, 2019

Baseball

Angels designate Cody Allen for assignment

Angels logo

The Los Angeles Angels have parted ways with ill-fated offseason addition Cody Allen.

The Angels designated Allen for assignment just over two months into the season after the former Cleveland Indians closer posted a 6.26 ERA in 23 innings.

Allen was signed to a one-year, $8.5 million deal before the season with the Angels clearly hoping he could shore up the back end of the bullpen after several successful years in Cleveland. It did not happen. He allowed nine home runs in 23 innings, had a WHIP that flirted with 2, and lost his closer’s job very early on in the campaign. The warning signs were there with Cleveland last season, as he was coming off a down year and his fastball velocity was dropping. Now the Angels are paying for their bad decision. The only good news is it was only a one-year deal, but it wasn’t successful at all.

Trevor Story avoids concussion after being hit in head

Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story left Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres in the eighth inning after a batted ball hit him in the head.

Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe smacked a grounder to the left side on the first pitch of the eighth, and Story ran over to his right to field the ball. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, the ball took a bad hop, bounced off the heel of his glove and hit him right above his left eye. Story promptly fell to the ground.

Rockies manager Bud Black decided to remove Story from the game as a precautionary measure. The Rockies were winning big at the time, 11-4, though they eventually lost the contest 16-12 in 12 innings.

After the game, Black told reporters Story did not have a concussion, but the impact of the ball caused the shortstop’s head to swell up almost immediately.

Story went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base before his premature departure.

Clayton Kershaw defends Yu Darvish ahead of return to Dodger Stadium

Clayton Kershaw

Yu Darvish will likely get booed when he makes his return to Los Angeles this weekend, but one ex-teammate does not think he deserves harsh treatment.

Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw spoke Friday on Darvish ahead of the Chicago Cubs righty’s first start at Dodger Stadium since giving up five runs in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series to sink the Dodgers’ championship hopes.

“People forget fast that we’re not in that position without him,” said Kershaw, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Fans have the right to boo players who don’t perform, there’s no doubt about it. I just think when you’re in here in the clubhouse with the team and you know everything we go through on a day-in, day-out basis and you know Yu performed really well up to that point, pitched two really big games to get into the World Series – against the Diamondbacks and the Cubs.

“We wouldn’t even have been in that position without him,” Kershaw added. “People forget that fast and I understand that. But to us, to me – he was a big contributor to us being there in the first place. That’s kind of how I think about it.”

Darvish, who was acquired by the Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline, was with them for just a few months before leaving to sign with the Cubs as a free agent. That Game 7 implosion proved to be Darvish’s final game as a Dodger.

Kershaw wasn’t exactly thrilled about Darvish joining an NL rival, but he does not seem to blame the Japanese star for the ghosts of the 2017 World Series.

Prospect Casey Mize going on IL with minor shoulder inflammation

Casey Mize

The injury news on Casey Mize is much better than it could have been.

The Detroit Tigers prospect underwent an MRI on Friday that revealed minor shoulder inflammation. He will be placed on the injured list.

Mize left his start on Thursday for Double-A Erie in the third inning after experiencing discomfort.

Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Mize has been dominant this season in the minors. He has gone 8-0 with a 0.92 ERA across two levels in the Tigers’ organization. The right-hander is the top prospect in the Tigers’ system and one of the best pitching prospects in baseball.

Eight MLB players having disappointing seasons

Yu Darvish

We’re over two months into the MLB season, and things are really starting to take shape across the league. While we’ve been delighted by the performances of numerous star players, there are also some big names that have, for whatever reason, simply failed to launch in 2019 and have actually turned out to be detrimental to their teams.

Which key players aren’t doing enough this season? Here are eight who have disappointed so far.

8. Manny Machado, 3B, Padres

What Machado has meant to the Padres in terms of legitimacy makes up for a lot of on-field struggles, but he hasn’t really delivered at the plate so far for San Diego. The power has been there — he’s into double-digit homers — but his sub-.250 average would be the worst of his career to date. He’s adjusting to a new league and a ballpark that isn’t exactly hitter-friendly, so a bit of a learning curve was to be expected, but this is not what the Padres paid for.

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Stephen Piscotty has surgery to remove melanoma

Oakland Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty had to deal with a significant health scare that will lead to a brief absence from baseball activities.

The Athletics announced Friday that a routine spot check turned up a suspicious mole on Piscotty’s right ear, and it tested positive for melanoma. Piscotty underwent surgery to remove the melanoma, and is expected to miss about a week.

The statement notes that melanoma has a 98 percent 10-year survival rate, so it’s an extremely treatable form of skin cancer. That is evident in the fact that the A’s don’t expect Piscotty to be away for long.

Piscotty’s family has had to deal with some serious health issues in the past, and he pays tribute to his late mother whenever he homers. It’s great news that, in this instance, it hasn’t turned out to be serious long-term.

Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton stepping up rehab assignments

Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees are closing in on the return of their two star sluggers.

The team announced Friday that Giancarlo Stanton is stepping up his rehab and being transferred to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, while Aaron Judge will begin his own rehab assignment with the team as well.

The Yankees had been talking about a potential return for Judge in time for their trip to London. That’s still two weeks away, giving them plenty of time to make that a reality. Barring any setbacks, it seems likely that they’ll be able to make that target date.

Judge hasn’t played since April 20 with an oblique injury. Stanton is working his way back from a shoulder injury, and has only played three regular season games in 2019.