LEADING OFF: Pirates go for 12th straight, eyes on Eovaldi
A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
STEEL CITY STREAK
The Pirates aim for their 12th straight win in a series finale against Cleveland. Pittsburgh pounded starters Corey Kluber and Shane Bieber for seven runs apiece in the first two games of the series. Starling Marte has a career-high 17-game hitting streak, and Pittsburgh is averaging 6.6 runs per game during its streak, which has pushed the team to 53-49 overall. Trevor Bauer will try to slow the Buccos and rediscover his command after walking a season-high five in a game against Texas last time out.
Many of baseball’s top teams will likely be watching Nathan Eovaldi’s start against the Yankees closely. Eovaldi (3-4, 4.26) has been the subject of trade speculation after making a strong return with Tampa Bay following Tommy John surgery. New York may even be among the teams looking to acquire Eovaldi. The Yankees could use another starter, and they know the right-hander well — he pitched in 51 games for New York between 2015 and ’16 before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
BIG CITY DRAMA
The Mets say they’re still waiting for a diagnosis from a second opinion on Yoenis Cespedes’ troubled heels. The team is trying to decide if the oft-injured slugger needs surgery on both feet that would require an 8-to-10 month recovery. An announcement had been expected before Tuesday night’s game against San Diego, but about 35 minutes prior to the first pitch, Mets spokesman Harold Kaufman said the team was waiting to receive a second opinion and it was unlikely the news conference would take place until after the game. After the game, the team said it was still awaiting word from doctors.
Trea Turner may return to the Nationals’ lineup a day after being benched for a lack of hustle. Turner failed to run to first base after a bunt Monday, angering manager Dave Martinez. Turner said he put the bat up in “self-defense” because he thought he was going to be hit by the pitch and inadvertently put the ball in play, but added that he “probably should have run to first.” Martinez said Tuesday that Turner needed time to think about his actions.
“I felt after yesterday that he probably needed a day off,” Martinez said. “Let him ponder about it. We need Trea, and he’s a very good player. I don’t ask these guys to be perfect, but I want them to be present, and I know he knows that. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
The Cubs are monitoring star third baseman Kris Bryant as he deals with a recurrence of the left shoulder inflammation that caused him to miss 16 games. Bryant was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday, and manager Joe Maddon said he may sit Wednesday as well. Bryant did not play between June 22 and July 11 because of the shoulder pain, which bothered the two-time All-Star on the follow-through of his swing.
“He’s a little bit sore and I have to be proactive with that,” Maddon said. “I want to be sure we’re not pushing him too hard right now.”
Ervin Santana is set to make his first start of the season for Minnesota against Toronto. Santana has been out since having surgery on his right middle finger in February. The two-time All-Star was 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA in 33 starts a year ago.
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