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Minnesota will use the “opener” strategy with its pitchers
for the first time this season when left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya is
expected to start for the Twins against the Texas Rangers on Sunday http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-shawn-kelley-jersey ,
following a practice began in May by Tampa Bay and utilized by a handful of
other major league teams this year.Right-hander Zack Littell will be recalled
from Triple-A Rochester to serve as what Minnesota manager Paul Molitor has
dubbed the Twins’ “primary pitcher” after Moya.The Rangers will counter with
left-hander Yohander Mendez (0-1, 14.73 ERA) as their starter in the rubber game
of the series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.Article continues below
...Texas hit four homers to beat Minnesota 7-4 on Saturday to snap a five-game
losing streak. Rookie Ronald Guzman hit a three-run homer while Nomar Marzara,
Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor hit solo homers.The Twins have been utilizing the
“opener” strategy for months at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Minnesota
decided to push back right-hander Kyle Gibson’s start to Monday in Houston to
try the strategy because the Rangers have a left-handed top of their batting
order.The “opener” is employed to keep the game’s primary pitcher from facing
the top of the lineup early and to be limited to two times through the
order.“You don’t want to do it on a whim,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told
MLB.com. “There’s always going to be a risk, and then you try to decide in the
game when it’s worthwhile to try to find out if this is something that’s going
to be helpful to help your team win. You’re looking for an advantage.”The
Rangers activated pitcher Bartolo Colon off the disabled list Saturday, but then
scratched him from Sunday’s start against the Twins because of a stomach virus.
Colon hasn’t pitched since Aug. 20 because of stiffness in his back. The
45-year-old is a free agent after this season.The 23-year-old Mendez is set to
be recalled Sunday to make his second start and third appearance of 2018. He has
never faced Minnesota.Mendez is being brought back to the big leagues for the
first time since June 19, when he was demoted to Class A after violating team
rules in Kansas City.“He took the challenges with the right attitude, went back
down, and he’s going to get an opportunity to come back up tomorrow and start
for us,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said of Mendez.The Rangers are satisfied
that Mendez has done everything asked of him since the demotion.“Reports I got
were that he worked his rear end off, physically and mentally, and took all the
challenges and met all of them, even when they were a little bit tough,”
Banister said. “The thing that I like about our coaching staff and this
organization is that things like that happen. (But if) you go do your
work Trea
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, you’re given that opportunity to clean that slate,
go do what you need to do.”Mendez exited his last start for Triple-A Round Rock
on Tuesday at home against Memphis after two innings when he was struck on his
left arm by a batted ball. He is expected to be fully healthy for Sunday’s
start. CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians are in that rarest of positions: it’s
early September, but they are already preparing for October. Such is the luxury
enjoyed by a team leading its division by 14 games.The American League
Central-leading Indians are 14 games ahead of the second-place Minnesota Twins.
So the Indians, who host Kansas City on Monday afternoon at Progressive Field,
will use most of this month to prepare for postseason baseball.The Indians added
Josh Donaldson to their active roster. However, Donaldson, acquired from Toronto
in a trade on Aug. 31, won’t see any action against the Royals, who have won
five in a row.Article continues below ...Donaldson is still rehabbing a calf
strain. That means Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who will become the odd
man out in the infield once Donaldson starts playing, remains at second
base.It’s a challenging situation for Kipnis, who made a statement of sorts
Saturday, when in his first at-bat after learning he was going to eventually
lose his job to Donaldson, belted a pinch-home run.The 31-year-old Kipnis, a
career .268 hitter at the start of this season http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-matt-wieters-jersey ,
has hit in the .220s for most of this year, with career lows in most offensive
categories. He’s a two-time All-Star who has spent eight years in Cleveland. But
the plan, once Donaldson starts playing, is he takes over at third base, moving
Jose Ramirez to second, and Kipnis will compete for playing time in center field
with Greg Allen.“He’ll start taking balls in center field (during batting
practice) and at some point we’ll put him out there and see how it looks,”
Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kipnis. “He’s a pretty good
competitor.”Indians president Chris Antonetti applauded Ramirez’s
unselfishness.“It’s not often that you see an MVP candidate being asked to
change positions during the season, but Jose has been great about it,” Antonetti
said.With Donaldson not yet ready to play, the Indians’ lineup on Monday against
the Royals will be the one they’ve used most of the season — with Kipnis at
second and Ramirez at third.On the mound for Cleveland will be right-hander Adam
Plutko (4-4, 4.94 ERA), who will make his first career appearance against Kansas
City. In Plutko’s last start, he received a no-decision in the Indians’ 4-3 loss
to the Twins on Aug. 29.In that game, Plutko pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up
two runs and five hits with five strikeouts and two walks.Plutko hasn’t won a
game since June 24. In six appearances (four starts) since then Joe
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, he is 0-3 with a 5.27 ERA.Kansas City’s starter
will be right-hander Jakob Junis (7-12, 4.53), who is coming off the first
complete game of his career in his last start on Aug. 28. In a 6-2 win over
Detroit, Junis pitched nine innings while throwing 104 pitches, allowing two
runs and six hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks.Junis’ last start against
Cleveland was a 9-3 loss on July 2. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs
(eight earned) with eight hits, two strikeouts and one walk.In two starts
against the Indians this year, Junis is 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA. In four career
appearances (three starts) vs. Cleveland, he is 0-2 with an 8.05 ERA.Before
Sunday’s game, the Indians activated right-hander Neil Ramirez off the disabled
list.
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