Banged-up Astros to get Springer back

UNDATED (AP) — All-Star outfielder George Springer is expected to come off the disabled list for the Houston Astros when the defending champions visit Oakland for the opener of a pivotal three-game series between AL West contenders. Last year's World Series MVP has been sidelined with a sprained left thumb.

Charlie Morton pitches for the banged-up Astros, who have a two-game lead in the division over the surprising Athletics. Edwin Jackson gets the ball for Oakland.

In other games tonight's schedule:

— Yadier Molina and the Cardinals host Milwaukee in a matchup of NL Central contenders chasing the first-place Cubs. Rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty starts for St. Louis, which had its eight-game winning streak snapped Thursday night with a 5-4 loss to Washington. Flaherty struck out a career-high 13 in his last start against the Brewers on June 22. Freddy Peralta goes for Milwaukee.

— Cole Hamels looks to keep it going for the Cubs at Pittsburgh. Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA since Chicago acquired him from Texas at the trade deadline. Trevor Williams starts for the Pirates.

— San Francisco turns to right-hander Casey Kelly to start in Cincinnati after placing standout rookie Dereck Rodriguez on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Kelly is the son of Reds bench coach Pat Kelly. Rodriguez, the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, is 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 14 outings this season. The Giants have gone 9-3 in his starts. He was injured during the scrum between the Giants and Dodgers on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Casey Kelly pitched five scoreless innings of relief Saturday against Pittsburgh in his first major league appearance since 2016, then took the loss Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

— After setting a franchise record by scoring 24 runs Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader at Philadelphia, the Mets send Noah Syndergaard to the mound against Phillies ace Aaron Nola. With the help of 11 unearned runs, New York became the first NL team since the 1933 New York Giants to score 15 runs in consecutive games. The Mets routed Baltimore 16-5 on Wednesday night. They also are the only team since 1900 to have a win and a loss by at least 20 runs in the same season.


Lower leg injury sends Reds' Votto to DL; Barnhart at 1B

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds placed first baseman Joey Votto on the 10-day disabled list Friday with a right lower leg injury.

The All-Star was hit by a pitch from Ryan Madson in Washington on Aug. 4. In Cincinnati's 10 games since then, he missed four starts and two full games.

Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart was in the Reds' lineup for his first career start at first base for their game against San Francisco. Barnhart has made three career appearances at first base, all this season.

Outfielder Aristides Aquino was recalled from Double-A Pensacola to fill Votto's roster spot. Aquino will make his major league debut.


PawSox planning move to Massachusetts

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The Pawtucket Red Sox say they have signed a letter of intent to build a new ballpark in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Triple-A affiliate of the of the Boston Red Sox made the announcement Friday, signaling an end to its effort to find a new stadium during the past three years. The team is leaving its aging park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for a city 40 miles northwest.

PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino says the team is "eager to build an innovative, family-friendly ballpark" in central Massachusetts.

The move is subject to approval from the Worcester City Council and Minor League Baseball.

The PawSox say they will continue to play at 77-year-old McCoy Stadium for the next two years.


AP source: No deal for Browns, Dez Bryant but talks continue

UNDATED (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations says free agent Dez Bryant concluded his visit with the Browns without agreeing to a contract, but "conversations continue." The person spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The former star receiver for the Cowboys and his agent met with Cleveland officials for the second straight day. One of the NFL's top receivers the past eight seasons, Bryant was cut by Dallas in April. The Browns, despite coming off a 0-16 season, are intriguing to Bryant.

Cleveland has significantly upgraded its talent. If Bryant signs, the Browns would have three Pro Bowlers — Bryant, Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon — on their roster. Gordon is away from the team to deal with health issues.

In other NFL news:

—The San Francisco 49ers have signed defensive back Dexter McCoil to a one-year contract. The 49ers placed safety Terrell Williams Jr. on injured reserve with a leg injury Friday to make room on the roster. McCoil originally joined the 49ers last season after the team claimed him off waivers from the Chargers in October. He played in eight games for San Francisco and registered one tackle. McCoil was waived on April 30. Williams originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Houston. He got injured during joint practices this week.

— The Oakland Raiders are considering holding training camp in Reno when the team moves to Las Vegas before the 2020 season. Team President Marc Badain toured potential training sites Thursday at the University of Nevada and two high schools. He told reporters following the tour with Reno's mayor that he is committed to making sure the training camp is in northern Nevada. Badain said the decision will be based partly on where the team does its offseason training.


NASCAR champion Truex needs sponsor to keep team intact

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. says his return to his championship-winning race team is dependent on sponsorship.

Truex is locked in a fierce battle with former NASCAR champions Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick in his push to defend last year's Cup Series title. His Furniture Row Racing team is in the mix even though the future of the No. 78 team is in flux.

Furniture Row is seeking a primary sponsor for next year, and does not have contracts with Truex or manufacturer Toyota.

Truex said Friday he hopes to have a better idea on what his future holds in the next few weeks. But he stressed his situation with Colorado-based Furniture Row is heavily dependent on owner Barney Visser finding a primary sponsor.


Santa Anita, Keeneland, Del Mar are Breeders' Cup sites

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The Breeders' Cup has chosen Santa Anita, Keeneland and Del Mar to host its World Championships from 2019-2021 respectively, continuing its recent venue rotation between California and Kentucky tracks.

Santa Anita will host the season-ending event for a record 10th time in Nov. 1-2, 2019. Kentucky-based Keeneland (Nov. 6-7, 2020) and Del Mar (Nov. 5-6, 2021) will present the races for the second time each after debuting as venues in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel noted those tracks' success with the event in a release on Friday and added we "look forward to building upon past triumphs."

Louisville's Churchill Downs will host races on Nov. 2-3. The last Breeders' Cup held outside California and Kentucky was at New Jersey's Monmouth Park in 2007.