LEADING OFF: Deadline deals, Pineda returns, Rays roll Yanks

Sports
Mike Clevinger

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger gets another ball after giving up a home run in the first inning in a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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FACES IN NEW PLACES

Mike Clevinger, Starling Marte and Archie Bradley are among the notable players headed to new teams after a flurry of deals before Monday’s trade deadline.

The aggressive Padres landed Clevinger in a multiplayer swap with Cleveland, bolstering their rotation in a rare deadline deal between contenders. It was San Diego’s fifth big trade since Saturday, and the cost was a package of young players that included outfielder Josh Naylor, right-hander Cal Quantrill and catcher Austin Hedges.

The surprising Marlins reeled in Marte for their outfield, and the Reds boosted their bullpen by acquiring Bradley from Arizona. The trade deadline is normally July 31, but it was pushed back when the start of the season was delayed because of the coronavirus.

“I’d say the volume of consummated transactions probably surprised me a little bit,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said.

BIG MIKE IS BACK

Michael Pineda comes off the restricted list to make his season debut for Minnesota. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound righty is scheduled to start against the Chicago White Sox after completing his 60-game suspension for testing positive for a weight-loss drug on baseball’s banned substances list. Pineda came into the year with 36 games remaining on his punishment after he was sidelined on Sept. 7, 2019, with the Twins on their way to an AL Central title. He was ineligible for the postseason. The 31-year-old Pineda went 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA, 28 walks and 140 strikeouts in 146 innings over 26 starts in 2019, coming off Tommy John surgery that kept him out in 2018.

The White Sox are in sole possession of the AL Central lead for the first time since April 2, 2018. The last time Chicago entered September alone in first place was 2012, the last winning season on the south side.

OAKLAND UNCERTAINTY

With players and staffers quarantined in their Houston hotel, the first two games of Oakland’s scheduled series at Seattle this week have been postponed to allow for additional testing and contact tracing after a member of the Athletics’ organization tested positive for the coronavirus. Oakland’s game Sunday against the Astros already had been postponed. Now games versus the Mariners on Tuesday and Wednesday have been put off. The first-place A’s are also scheduled to play at Seattle on Thursday, but the club was to remain in Houston overnight again into Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the front office stayed busy. Oakland acquired left-hander Mike Minor in a trade with the Texas Rangers on Monday, adding another pitching piece as the A’s try to win their first AL West crown since 2013.

“With the uncertainty going forward and the potential for a number of doubleheaders down the road and players potentially missing time, I think it was critical that we were able to complete this deal for Mike,” general manager David Forst said. “Whether he pitches as a starter or reliever or both, I think he’s going to be very valuable for the last month.”

Minor has struggled this year, going 0-5 with a 5.60 ERA for Texas, but he went 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA in 32 starts last season.

RAYS UP

After a decade spent chasing their big-budget AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays are pummeling the New York Yankees. The Rays are 4½ games up in the division on the Bronx Bombers after winning Monday night at Yankee Stadium to improve to 7-1 against New York this season. After Tyler Glasnow outshined Gerrit Cole in the series opener, the Rays plan to run a bullpen game against Masahiro Tanaka, with Charlie Morton expected to come off the injured list and pitch for Tampa Bay in the series finale Wednesday.

HOT AT THE PLATE

Several hitters in the Nationals-Phillies series are on a serious roll. Washington slugger Juan Soto has 11 homers in just 24 games played this season after going deep twice Monday night. Nationals teammate Trea Turner is the first player in franchise history to have at least three hits in four straight games. And slugger Rhys Hoskins became the first Phillies player since 1900 to have three consecutive games with multiple extra-base hits and a home run. He’s the only player in the majors to do so this season. On the mound trying to cool off those bats will be Washington lefty Patrick Corbin (2-2, 3.82 ERA) and Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola (3-2, 3.00).

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