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Royals tab Shields, Ventura for World Series Games 1, 2


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/18/2014) The Royals will start pitchers James Shields in Game 1 and Yordano Ventura in Game 2 of the World Series, Yahoo! Sports reports. The Royals are making their first World Series appearance in 29 years.

Kelvin De La Cruz elects free agency


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/18/2014) Orioles pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz has elected free agency. He delivered a 5.98 ERA and 49:31 K:BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings with Triple-A Norfolk.

Rangers, Colby Lewis have exchanged numbers


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/17/2014) The Rangers have had some preliminary contract talks with pitcher Colby Lewis, according to ESPN.

Lewis put up less-than-stellar numbers last season, but was coming off hip and elbow surgery. He was better over the second half, posting a 3.86 ERA over 86 1/3 innings. Both Lewis and the club have shown interest in a possible reunion, and have exchanged contract figures. 


Rangers' Tanner Scheppers ahead of schedule thus far


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/17/2014) Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers was able to throw a bullpen session Friday, according to ESPN.

Scheppers dealt with elbow issues throughout much of the season. He tossed just 23 innings in the majors due to the injury. Scheppers is now considered ahead of schedule in his recovery. He's expected to shift back into a relief role in 2015.


Rangers' Elvis Andrus losing weight


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/17/2014) Rangers infielder Elvis Andrus is losing weight this offseason, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Andrus said he's already lost 10 pounds since the end of the year, and is hoping to lose 10 additional pounds going forward. Andrus struggled this past season, hitting .263/.314/.333 over 619 at-bats. 


Report: Orioles make option decisions on three players


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/17/2014) The Orioles have made decisions regarding team options on several players, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Among them is southpaw starter Wei-Yin Chen, whose $4.75 million option for 2015 will be picked up. The team will do the same for impressive right-handed reliever Darren O'Day, whose $4.25 million option will also be picked up.

The exception is catcher Nick Hundley. The team will not exercise his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.


Report: Royals don't expect to keep James Shields


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/16/2014) The Royals don't expect to keep pitcher James Shields once the season ends, according to the New York Daily News

The club is expected to attempt to re-sign Shields, but it's believed another team will outbid them for the pitcher. Shields posted a 3.21 ERA over 227 innings during the regular season. He was a key component behind the Royals playoff push.


Nelson Cruz reiterates desire to stay with Orioles


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Impending free agent Nelson Cruz reiterated after Wednesday's ALCS elimination that he'd like to stay with the Orioles this offseason, masnsports.com reports.

Cruz said he loves the organization and team. However, he'll be looking to cash in on an excellent walk year after leading the majors with 40 home runs. He hit .271/.333/.525 with 108 RBI in 613 at-bats during the regular season.


Lorenzo Cain named ALCS MVP after Game 4 win


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain was named the MVP of the American League Championship Series after the team finished off a sweep of the Orioles Wednesday with a 2-1 win.

Cain went 0 for 3 in Game 4 Wednesday but still finished the series with a .533 batting avearge and five runs scored in 15 at-bats. Like the rest of the outfield, he was also responsible for plus defense to help the Royals advance to the World Series for the first time in 29 years.


Ryan Flaherty homers in Game 4 loss Wednesday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty went 1 for 3 with a solo home run Wednesday, but it was the only offense Baltimore could muster in a 2-1 eliminaton loss to the Royals in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Flaherty performed well during the postseason, hitting .286/.400/.429 in 21 at-bats after posting a .221/.288/.356 line during the regular season. The Orioles were outscored by only six runs during the ALCS but wound up being swept by the Royals, ending their season in disappointing fashion.


Miguel Gonzalez takes loss, Orioles eliminated Wednesday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez was stuck with a loss Wednesday, allowing two earned runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four in his team's 2-1 defeat against the Royals as the Orioles were swept in the ALCS and eliminated from the postseason.

Gonzalez (0-1) saw both runs score on an infield groundball in the first inning, as catcher Caleb Joseph was unable to hang on to the ball on a play at the plate, with a second runner coming home as Joseph chased the ball down. Gonzalez hit two batters on the day as he continued to deal with control issues in his first appearance during this postseason. The Orioles fall in their first ALCS appearance since 1997.


Royals' Greg Holland racks up fourth ALCS save Wednesday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Royals closer Greg Holland earned another save Wednesday, walking a batter and striking out one in a scoreless ninth inning to finish off his team's 2-1 win over the Orioles and send the Royals to the World Series with a 4-0 ALCS sweep.

Holland delivered saves in each of the team's four wins over the Orioles, and the Royals bested their opponents by just six runs during the four-game sweep. The Royals closer has given up just one earned run in eight innings while racking up six saves this postseason.


Jason Vargas wins Game 4, sends Royals to World Series


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Royals pitcher Jason Vargas earned a win in Wednesday's series-clinching victory, allowing one earned run on just two hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings while striking out six in his team's 2-1 win over the Orioles in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Vargas (1-0) was staked to a 2-0 lead after the first inning, and the only damage he surrendered came on a third-inning solo home run. The Royals head to the World Series for the first time in 29 years on the strength of eight straight postseason wins, following up a Wild Card victory with sweeps of the Angels and Orioles.


Dombrowski: Joe Nathan still Tigers closer heading into 2015


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Tigers general manager and president Dave Dombrowski has proclaimed embattled right-hander Joe Nathan as the team's closer in 2015 despite plans to bolster what was a terrible bullpen this season.

"I would think he starts as our closer going into it," Dombrowski told MLive.com. "But he has to perform up to the capabilities required of doing it."

Nathan struggled mightily in his first season with Detroit after signing a two-year deal worth $20 million. He converted 35 of 42 save opportunities, but finished with a 4.81 ERA. He did bring it down from 5.61 at the All-Star break, but lost velocity and recorded a 1.56 WHIP in the second half.


Report: Miguel Cabrera might not need surgery on ankle


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Tigers general manager and president Dave Dombrowski believes the large bone spur in the right ankle of slugger Miguel Cabrera might not require surgery, per MLB.com.

"Is it a possibility? I'd say it is a possibility," Dombrowski said. "I don't know if it's going to happen or not. Sure. There's a spur in there, and people that have looked at him so far tell me that it has to be removed. It's a relatively easy - for them - procedure. But I don't want to draw any conclusions yet, because he's not done with that whole process."

Cabrera performed better down the stretch despite an ankle ailment that plagued him throughout the year. He won American League Player of he Year honors in September by batting .379 with eight home runs and 18 RBI.


Tigers not negotiating long-term deal with LHP David Price


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Both David Price and general manager Dave Dombrowski have confirmed that the Tigers have not spoken with the left-hander about a possible long-term contract.

Dombrowski has not ruled out the possibility for down the road, according to MLive.com, but he did say there are no current negotiations.

Price who is under contract through 2015, was a mild disappointment before and after joining the Tigers at the trading deadline, though he did pitch well in a loss in his lone postseason outing. He finished the season 15-12 with a 3.26 ERA. He yielded a career-high 25 home runs and was criticized for staying in the strike zone too much.


Yost: Jeremy Guthrie would start if Royals forced to Game 7


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Though the likelihood of the scenario has grown more remote with every game, Ned Yost has declared via MLB Network Radio that right-hander Jeremy Guthrie would start Game 7 of the American League Championship Series if necessary.

The Royals would have to lose the next three games for that to happen. Guthrie performed well in a five-and-fly effort in Game 3, yielding just one earned run on three hits.


Orioles LF Alejandro De Aza on bench Wednesday


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Orioles left fielder Alejandro De Aza is out of the lineup for Game 4 of the American League Championships Series at Kansas City. A matchup against left-hander Jason Vargas has him on the bench. Nelson Cruz is set to play that position instead.

De Aza is just 12 for 79 against southpaws this season.


Dombrowski: Tigers SS Jose Iglesias should return as starter


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) Tigers general manager and president Dave Dombrowski believes shortstop Jose Iglesias is talented enough to regain the starting spot in 2015 that he lost this year to injury.

Dombrowski told MLive.com that he didn't want to "anoint" Iglesias as the starter because Brad Ausmus and his coaching staff deserves to make that determination after seeing him perform in spring training. But he added that the medical prognosis looks good.

"The doctors tell me he'll be fine," Dombrowski said. "The doctors tell me he's going to be ready for spring training."

There would appear to be no strong candidate to compete with Iglesias if he picks up where he left off in 2013, when he batted .303 and played sterling defense. They used several players at shortstop, none of whom performed particularly well.


Option on Orioles OF Nick Markakis could force him out


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) The perception that the $17.5 million option on outfielder Nick Markakis is too steep will likely play out with him leaving the Orioles for free agency if the two sides can't get together on a long-term contract, according to CBSSports.com MLB Insider Jon Heyman.

Markakis, who struggled from mid-August forward, finished the regular season with a stat line of .276/.346/.386. He hit 14 home runs and drove in 50 with 81 runs scored. He is known to be a favorite of owner Peter Angelos, so a return to Baltimore at a lower salary remains a possibility.


Report: Rangers decline option on OF Alex Rios


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/15/2014) What was previously reported has apparently played out - the Rangers have declined the team option on outfielder Alex Rios, per CBSSports.com MLB Insider Jon Heyman.

Rios proved highly disappointing during an injury ravaged season for his team in 2014. He managed a respectable stat line of .280/.311/.398, but he slugged just four home runs, none after July 6. He scored a career-low 54 runs and also drove in 54, his second-lowest total.

He will now try to maximize his potential in free agency.


Orioles sticking with Miguel Gonzalez for Game 4


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/14/2014) The Orioles will send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound for Game 4 against the Royals, according to MASN.

The move was announced early Tuesday, but there was some thought manager Buck Showalter could change his mind with the season on the line. Chris Tillman, who pitched Friday, may have been available for the start, but Showalter confirmed he would go with Gonzalez.

Gonzalez posted a 3.23 ERA over 159 innings. He hasn't pitched since September 28.


Royals' Greg Holland shuts the door again


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/14/2014) Royals closer Greg Holland managed to shut the door Tuesday against the Orioles.

Holland didn't take long to nail down the save. He threw just six pitches, including five strikes. He did not give up any hits, and did not record any strikeouts during the outing. Holland has now saved all three games in the series. 


Royals' Jeremy Guthrie survives Game 3


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/14/2014) Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie managed to get through five innings Game 3 against the Orioles.

Guthrie allowed just one run on three hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked two during the outing. Guthrie had some issues later on, mostly involving his pitch-count and hard contact. J.J. Hardy worked a 14-pitch at-bat against Guthrie in the fourth inning. Guthrie wound up throwing 32 pitches during the inning. While most of the hard contact against Guthrie resulted in outs, it also shortened his outing. With the game tied after five innings, Guthrie was pulled in favor of the bullpen. He did not factor into the decision. 


Orioles SP Wei-Yin Chen takes loss in Game 3 of ALCS


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/14/2014) Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen was stuck with a loss Tuesday, surrendering two earned runs on seven hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings while striking out four in his team's 2-1 defeat against the Royals in Game 3 of the ALCS.

Chen (0-1) gave up his first run on a groundout in the fourth inning and ran into further trouble in the sixth, when he was removed from a tie game with runners on first and third and only one out. The lead runner scored on a sacrifice fly, and the Orioles offense was unable to get the run back, taking a loss and falling behind 3-0 in the series. The two teams will play again Wednesday, with the Orioles hoping to stave off elimination.


 
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Fan Poll

Which of these third basemen would you want on your teams for the second half?

Nolan Arenado, Rockies
17%
Manny Machado, Orioles
25%
Todd Frazier, Reds
33%
Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
4%
Kyle Seager, Mariners
17%
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
4%

Total Votes: 3,689