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Rays Fan

Grant Balfour posted by Rays Fan

Born December 30, 1977 in Australia, Grant Balfour plays MLB for the Tampa Bay Rays as their relief pitcher. Amongst Australian pitchers in MLB, he currently holds the record for maximum strikeouts and all-time saves. Balfour made his debut in MLB in 2001, when he was drafted by Minnesota Twins. He remained with the Twins until 2004, and spent most of 2005 recovering from an injury. In 2006, Cincinnati Reds signed him, and he played for them for about a year.

Balfour was absent from the MLB scene for three years and returned in July 2007 to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. In the eighth inning against the Diamondbacks, he struck out the first hitter, and relieved Chris Capuano to end it with a tie 2-2. Later he walked a batter, hit one, and allowed a home run, which gave a 5-2 win to the Diamondbacks. In 2007, Balfour was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, and was in their bullpen for the rest of the season. He finished the 2008 season with 82 strikeouts, 6-2 record, and 1.54 ERA. In January 2011, Balfour signed a two-year contract with Oakland Athletics, and he was named to be their closer. In July 2013, Balfour made a record of highest consecutive saves in his franchise.

In December 2013, agreed to a $15 million deal with Baltimore Orioles for two years. However, in December the deal was jeopardized, as the Orioles had issues with his physical and did not want to sign him. Balfour wanted to file a grievance challenging the Orioles decision, but later agreed to a contract with Tampa Bay Rays for two years. In 2014, during the start of the season, after pitching in 24 games, Balfour's ERA was 6.46, which was quite poor. Subsequently in June, Balfour was removed from the role of a closer.

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aj wilbur

Tigers vs Rays recap posted by aj wilbur

On a cool April day with snow in the air the Tigers again railed in late innings to beat the Rays and improve to 4-0 on the season. Rick Porcello gave a strong quality start of 7 innings with 2 earned runs, 7 hits, and a walk. The sinker was working well for Porcello when he saw the rays lineup for the second and third time. The only mishap in Porcello's day was a bases loaded walk in the 3rd inning but was able to limit any more damage when he got Matt Joyce to ground out. Matt Moore went 6 2/3 innings with 2 earned runs, 4 hits, and 5 walks. Moore pitched strong with a solid fastball but was a little erratic.

The Tigers big 2 of Cabrera and Fielder once again came through in the clutch. Cabrera led off the 8th inning with a long double of the right field wall and Fielder did what he is paid to do and hit a sharp line drive single up the center to drive in Cabrera standing up for what would be the game winning run. Austin Jackson again looked strong going 1 for 2 with two walks, two runs scored and a clutch home run in the 7th inning.

The Tigers play the Rays again tomorrow at 1.05 with Justin Verlander facing James Shields

Continue reading "Tigers vs Rays recap"

aj wilbur

Tigers vs Rays Preview posted by aj wilbur

The Tigers will take on the Rays today at 1:05 in Comerica park

Tampa bay comes in with an undefeated record after sweeping the Yankees.

The Rays phenom Matt Moore will take on Rick Porcello. Matt Moore looked dominating at the end of last year when he was called up. Moore features a lot of different pitches but mosty relies on a mid 90's fastball with some movement. Porcello is facing a little more pressure then we thought he would on opening day with Fister now on the DL. Porcello must stick to what has gotten him mild success, which is forcing ground balls. When Porcello is on the sinker is down in the zone and hopefully the defence is on there toes and can turn a couple double plays.

Keys to the game:

Make Moore works to get his outs. The Tigers need to be patient and make Moore throw a lot of pitches. The Rays bullpen is not as strong as the Tigers and if we can knock him out in the 5th or the 6th we should be in good shape.

My prediction:

Matt Moore looks good today and goes 6 six solid innings only giving up 2 runs but has to work hard to get through 6. I think Porcello will pitch well and keep the game close, final line 6 1/3 pitched with 3 earned runs.

I see the tigers pulling away with a big hit in the 8th or 9th in a lower scoring game winning 4-3

Continue reading "Tigers vs Rays Preview"


Joe Halstead

The Detroit TIgers Must Approach This April Like the Playoffs posted by Joe Halstead

It is said- and correctly so- that while a pennant may not be won in April, a pennant may be lost in April.

On this note, the Detroit Tigers have immediate cause for concern. Their early schedule- in the month of April alone- includes two more games against Boston, a three-game home series with the Tampa Bay Rays (April 10-12), a four-game home series against the American League Champion Texas Rangers (April 19-22) and, just to pour a bucket of salt water over the wounds incurred, a three-game series in the Bronx Apr. 27-29.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland is known for using his entire roster liberally. OFers Clete Thomas and Andy Dirks, and 2Bmen Danny Worth, Ramon Santiago and, eventually, Brandon Inge, might see significant playing time.

But, should they?

The Tigers made substitutions in the 2011 post-season out of necessity. They were beat up, and running out of players. Luckily, some of those substitutes stepped up in a big way, such as UT Don Kelly and Santiago.

However, the Tigers are at nearly 100% health, and they need their front line to do battle with the American League's best. 

So, here's hoping that Leyland doesn't tinker with his team too much. Obviously, he wants OF Delmon Young to continue what he's been doing for the Tigers since last August, which is to drive in runs. Surely, Leyland would also like to see one of his second basemen grab the brass ring. So far, all we have are multiple second basemen who play competently enough to hit .250 and turn the double play when necessary.

Ah, maybe, that is, until now. 2B/OF Ryan Raburn had the Spring Training of his life, batting over .400 for a stretch, eventually cooling a bit to a .268 average. However, he still slugged .661, having hit 6 HRs, 2 2Bs and a 3B. That accounts for nine of his 15 hits in the spring.

Continue reading "The Detroit TIgers Must Approach ..."


David

A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day posted by David

If you’re looking for a baseball book that will keep you entertained until Opening Day, check out Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran.  The book details Hayhurst’s 2007 season at three different levels of the minors.  He describes long bus rides, living with host families, Kangaroo Court, and battling the urge to give up on a dream.  It’s an honest story about the arduous journey it takes so many ballplayers to reach their ultimate goal, knowing they may never achieve it.

Hayhurst has since made it to the majors, pitching in 25 games, making three starts, and compiling a 0-2 record and a 5.72 ERA for the Padres and Blue Jays.  The Kent State University graduate’s book received rave reviews from Bob Costas, Keith Olbermann, Tom Verducci and Tim Kurkjian, and made The New York Times Bestseller list.

Hayhurst also played for my hometown’s college summer league team, the Bethesda Big Train, back in 2001.  After missing all of 2010 with a shoulder injury, he signed a minor league contract with the Rays and will hope to spend this season in Tampa Bay.  Dirk Hayhurst, best of luck.

A big step in my career

After spending last season working for the Toledo Mud Hens, I’ll start a new job next month in the Research Department at MLB Network.  I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with baseball people who love the game as much as I do.  The researchers support the on-air personalities by providing statistical and analytical information for each broadcast.  In addition to Bob Costas and Peter Gammons, MLB Network on-air personalities include retired ballplayers Sean Casey, Bill Ripken, Al Leiter, Kevin Millar, Harold Reynolds, and John Smoltz.  Since I’ll be living so close to New York City, hopefully I’ll make it to Citi Field and New Yankee Stadium this year for the first time.

Continue reading "A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day"


David

A new champion is crowned posted by David

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who are World Champions for the first time since moving to the west coast more than 50 years ago.  Their last title in New York came in 1954, when Willie Mays made “the catch” that will be played on highlight reels forever.  The Giants came unbelievably close to not even making the playoffs this year, but the fans who claimed that watching their team was “torture” are now the happiest fans in baseball.

How ‘bout that?

How about Matt Cain?  The San Francisco hurler was nearly untouchable throughout the playoffs, outshining staff ace Tim Lincecum, who had a bad outing in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.  In three postseason starts, Cain allowed only an unearned run over 21.1 innings of work, going at least 6.2 innings in each outing and providing a huge boost to his team’s hunt for glory.  He might be the best #2 starter in the majors, but Matt Cain looked like the second coming of Cy Young when it mattered most for the Giants.

How about Brian Wilson?  The flamethrower’s postseason numbers included six saves (in seven chances) and a win in 11.2 innings pitched, allowing just an unearned run.  Additionally, Wilson allowed no more than one hit per appearance while anchoring the San Francisco bullpen.  Wilson gave Bruce Bochy the confidence this postseason usually reserved for Mariano Rivera’s manager when handing his closer the ball in October (or November).

How about the fantastic class of rookies in the postseason?  Stephen Strasburg wasn’t among them, but Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Danny Valencia (Twins), Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz and Mitch Moreland (both Rangers) would make an incredible young team if they all played together.  In fact, even top prospect Domonic Brown, who compiled just 62 regular-season at-bats, was on the Phillies’ playoff roster.  Expectations will be high for this talented group, and here’s hoping none of them experiences too much of a sophomore slump.

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David

Will Chipper hang 'em up? posted by David

Chipper Jones is out for the year with a torn ACL, but let’s hope this isn’t it for the man who has played his entire major league career for manager Bobby Cox.  Chipper has made it known since last season that retirement could be around the corner, but like Baseball Tonight’s Eduardo Perez, I don’t see Chipper calling it quits now that his season has ended unexpectedly.  He wants to go out on his own terms, and these aren’t them.  At 38, his career is nearing the end, but I find it hard to believe that he will be able to say good-bye after watching from the bench as his team battles for the National League crown.

If he’s truly done, Chipper’s numbers speak for themselves: a .306 career batting average and .405 On-Base Percentage, 436 home runs, 147 stolen bases, 2,490 hits, two Silver Sluggers and an MVP award.  The six-time All-Star won a batting title at the age of 36, hitting a staggering .364 to edge Albert Pujols, who hit .357.  He is also tied for the most home runs in a season by a switch-hitter (45 in 1999; Lance Berkman accomplished the feat in 2006).  A little known fact about Chipper is that he and Paul Waner hold the Major League record for most consecutive games with an extra-base hit (14).  Chipper will join Waner in Cooperstown as soon as he is eligible.

How ‘bout that?

How about Jered Weaver?  The 27-year-old righty leads the majors with 182 strikeouts and is having his best season (11-7, 2.87 Earned Run Average) since his rookie year (2006), when he went 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA.  Since the All-Star break, Weaver has been even better, posting a 1.93 ERA, limiting opponents to a .204 batting average, and averaging seven innings per outing over six starts.  With the Rangers playing so well in the AL West, the Angels are unlikely to win the division for the fourth straight year and may even finish under .500 for the first time since 2003, but they have to be pleased with how their ace has pitched this season.

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Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Sox sweep Rays, NBA Officials should be Ashamed posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Beltre's bombs were by themselves enough to win the final game of this set. The one he literally hit from one knee was easily in the top 5 most impressive home runs I've seen from a Sox player, ever. It was like he was down on one knee, proposing to Sox Nation, hoping we'll finally accept him as a worthy replacement for our beloved Mike Lowell. Beltre, on behalf of Red Sox Nation, I can happily say, "Yes!"

 Ortiz's homerun was great simply because the Remdawg called it. "They don't want to pitch him up and in..." next pitch, up and in, and then up and out of the park. Forget drinking the kool-aid. I'm all about the new peach-mango salsa.

 Lackey... well, you didn't look like Slackey, so that's a good sign. 2 runs over 6 and 1/3 innings is good, but it still wasn't the dominant performance folks are waiting for. You got the win, that was a nice change of pace. I'll leave your performance at that for now.

 Pedroia, you're still the heart of this team. That head's up baserunning on the Ortiz groundout was indescribably excellent. As my father commented last night, your uniform is dirty every game. Aside from winning, there's not much else we fans could ask of a player.

 So the Sox swept the Rays, and my only complaint is that we didn't have 4 games this series. I don't think the Rays have an answer for the Sox right now, and I'd love to pay them back for their 4 game sweep of us back in April. Ah well. We might not be able to catch the Rays or the Yankees just yet, but at least we've finally clawed past the Blue Jays by half a game...

Continue reading "Sox sweep Rays, NBA Officials should be Ashamed"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Real men don't need Brooms posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Give the Magic credit, they didn't lay down, roll over, or get swept out of Boston.

 J.J. Redick redeemed himself in game 4. Without his three pointers the Magic never would have had a second chance in OT. Jameer Nelson also found his three-point stroke. Howard played to his strengths. He scores more points by being in position for offensive rebounds, and it seemed as though he was there to dunk with authority immediately after every missed shot. Just once I'd like to see Perkins gather a rebound and throw down with that type of authority.

 Now folks are going to be all over Pierce for losing his dribble in the final seconds of the game. Sadly, this is the problem with the Celtics team. If Pierce had been in the same position at the end of regulation I would have trusted him more to get to the basket or to draw a foul. In OT, I think Pierce's age and past injuries catch up with him, and he simply does not have the stamina to take on a team by himself. Ray Allen should have taken the final shot. Ah well.

 So now the series moves back to Orlando, and I'm willing to bet that Rondo is going to have a bounce-back game, and he will carry the team to the Finals. That is, assuming the SI cover curse doesn't smite him. Damn you SI!!!

 Red Sox! The Red Sox took two out of three from the Phillies (made Doc look like he was a Blue Jay again) and then Buckholz dominated the Rays last night at the Trop. It's a damn shame that the Rays are in 1st place in the most competitive division in the major leagues, and there are still more Sox fans at the field than Rays. For Shame Tampa Bay! For Shame for St. Pete!

Continue reading "Real men don't need Brooms"


Ed West

Sox Begin 2010 posted by Ed West

I have folded up the Tom Brady jersey and put it away.  I have set aside the Kevin Garnett jersey until i take it out for the Celtics playoff push.  It is time now to don the jersey of your favorite Red Sox players and get ready for another exciting Major League Baseball season.  Spring is finally here.  I have to hand it to Major League Baseball.  I think that this year they got it right.  They didn't ship the World Series winners overseas to play in Japan or China or somewhere and they didn't open the season with Royals vs Tigers or some other match-up without much appeal.  This year the season began on Easter Sunday with a match-up between the defending World Series champion New York Yankees and their arch rival the Boston Red Sox.  This is, hands down, the best rivalry in sports.  The series didn't go the way I wanted it to, but we did get our first win against the Yankees under our belt and the games were well played for the most part.  Hey, when you think about it last year the Sox won the first 8 games against the Yankees only to lose 9 out of the next 10 so maybe losing 2 out of the first 3 ain't bad.

All I can say is that I watched 3 very entertaining games to start this year and I am looking to watch 159 more throughout the regular season.  And I have a feeling that there will be meaningful baseball played in Fenway Park well into October.  The Red Sox have an exciting mix of young players and veterans both in the field and on the mound.  You have to like your team when your 3rd starter is John Lackey and your 4th or 5th starter has thrown a no-hitter.  It's also nice when your back-up catcher is Jason Varitek and the first bat off your bench is in the very capable hands of Mike Lowell.  I know that the "experts" picked the Red Sox to finish 3rd in the East behind both the Yankees and the Rays, but I think those experts are underestimating the heart this Sox team has.  We have seen 3 great games against the Yankees and get to look forward to 15 more.  We also have 18 games against the Rays and that equals one great season.

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Tampa Bay Rays News

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The Yankees haven't won a game like this in over a century (Big League Stew)

With one swing of the bat, the New York Yankees' game completely turned. Things looked bleak early, as Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi had no-hit the club through six innings. In the seventh, one swing of the bat was all it took to turn the tides. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] That swing came courtesy of Starlin Castro. With a man on first, Castro belted a 91 mph fastball from Odorizzi out to left center, giving the Yankees the 2-1 lead.  With a lead, manager Joe Girardi turned to his fearsome trio of relievers in the final three innings. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman would deliver, keeping the Rays off the board to secure the 2-1 victory . It was all due to Castro's blast. That hit was even more special than it initially appeared. It was the only hit the Yankees managed the entire day. Despite that, they came away with the victory. That was a feat the team hadn't accomplished in over a century.  First time since at least 1913 that Yankees have won a game of 9+ innings with 1 hit or fewer. — Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 29, 2016 While the above stat is correct, it's actually been 102 years since the Yankees managed to win despite one hit. But that came in a six-inning game . The contest was presumably shortened due to rain. Sunday marked the first time since 1913 the Yankees pulled off the feat in a nine-inning contest.  Amazingly, this is not the first time this season a team has won a game with just one hit. It's already happened twice to the Seattle Mariners. The club lost on one hit to the Texas Rangers on opening day, and then again April 29. Felix Hernandez started both of the those games for Seattle. [Elsewhere: A-Rod's daughter says this is the craziest thing he's ever done ] Mariners aside, what the Yankees managed Sunday is fairly rare, at least, for them. But given the club's offensive struggles (they rank 25th in runs scored) and lights out bullpen, this could become a much more common occurrence. (BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball ) More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

The Walk Off: White Sox bullpen implodes again in loss to Royals (Big League Stew)

Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.   The relentless Kansas City Royals of the past few years appear to be back. You know, the team that constantly strung out lengthy rallies that served to rip the heart and soul out of the opposing club? Yeah, those Royals are back. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] The team proved as much during a weekend series with the Chicago White Sox. After completing an incredible comeback down 7-1 in the ninth inning on Saturday, the Royals managed another tremendous comeback win against the White Sox bullpen on Sunday. While this one wasn't as dramatic, it was still impressive. With Chicago up 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, White Sox manager turned to Nate Jones to hold the lead. After inducing a quick pop out to lead off the frame, things appeared to be going just fine.  That changed quickly. Lorenzo Cain blasted a solo shot, cutting the lead to just one run. Eric Hosmer responded with double, putting the tying run on second. Jones then walked Kendrys Morales, and gave up a single to Paulo Orlando to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Jones walked in the tying run. He was removed from the game at that point. Matt Albers was called upon to get out of the situation, but couldn't get the job done. Cheslor Cuthbert singled in the go-ahead run, giving the Royals the 5-4 lead. Albers would get out of the inning without giving up any more runs, but the damage had been done. Kansas City went on to win the contest 5-4 , sweeping the division-rival White Sox. After the weekend series, the Royals have now risen to first place in the American League Central. The White Sox fell to third.  TOP PERFORMERS    Hunter Pence: After spending much of last season on the disabled list, Hunter Pence is making up for lost time this year. He played a huge role in the San Francisco Giants 8-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, driving in three runs. Pence did so with three doubles, finishing the day 3-for-5. He also scored two runs during the contest. Pence now has a .304 batting average this season. Rich Hill: When the year is over, Rich Hill may prove to be the best free-agent bargain of the offseason. Hill turned in another fantastic start Sunday, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Hill allowed two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked three, but also managed nine strikeouts during the contest. With the start, Hill now owns a 2.25 ERA.  [Elsewhere: A-Rod's daughter reveals the craziest thing he's ever done ] Wilson Ramos: Ramos might not get a lot of attention with Bryce Harper doing Bryce Harper things and Daniel Murphy tearing it up, but Ramos has quietly put together a strong season with the Washington Nationals. That continued Sunday in a 10-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Ramos was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3. He managed two singles and a home run during the contest, diving in four runs. Ramos is hitting .336 following the game. MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT    Starlin Castro's two-run shot in the seventh inning of the New York Yankees game against the Tampa Bay Rays gets our nod here. It's not because the blast is particularly impressive compared to other home runs, though. It's because it broke up a no-hitter, gave the team a win and was the only hit the Yankees managed all game. It was the first time in over a century the Yankees managed to win a game despite only having one hit. Thanks to Castro's blast, the team won 2-1. THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3: A late home run by Edwin Encarnacion tied the game, but the Blue Jays eventually lost after Gavin Floyd allowed two runs in the 11th inning. Orioles 6, Indians 4: Hyun-Soo Kim's first major-league home run couldn't have come at a better time. His seventh inning blast gave the Orioles the go-ahead run in the eventual win. Brewers 5, Reds 4: Jonathan Lucroy did most of the heavy lifting, knocking in a run on a sac fly, a single and a triple. He finished 3-for-5, with three RBI and a walk. Cubs 7, Phillies 2: The Cubs offense led the way again, pounding Phillies pitcher Vincent Velasquez for seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.  Rangers 6, Pirates 2: The Rangers pounced on Francisco Liriano, tagging the left for five earned runs in six innings.  Astros 8, Angels 6: Carlos Correa's pinch-hit homer in the top of the 13th gave Houston a three-run lead. The Angels would threaten in the bottom of the frame, but came up short.  Twins 5, Mariners 4: Robbie Grossman, Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano all homered in the club's fourth-straight win. Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3: Archie Bradley gave up three runs over 7 1/3 innings, striking out nine. Paul Goldschmidt added two hits, driving in two. Marlins 7, Braves 3: Marcell Ozuna's breakout continues. The 25-year-old went 2-for-4, with his 10th home run of the season in the win. Dodgers 4, Mets 2: Clayton Kershaw lost the win after Adam Liberatore gave up a run-scoring triple in the eighth, but the Dodgers rallied back for the win in the ninth. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Odorizzi loses no-hit bid on Castro's homer in 7th (The Associated Press)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi lost his no-hit bid in the seventh inning when Starlin Castro hit a two-run homer with one out to give the New York Yankees a 2-1 lead. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Odorizzi loses no-hit bid and game on 1 pitch (The Associated Press)

Jake Odorizzi was bummed out for good reason, even after allowing just one hit over seven innings. Starlin Castro's two-run drive off Odorizzi in the seventh inning was the Yankees' only hit of the game, and it was enough to give New York a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. ''One swing changes the whole outcome, and that's solely upon me,'' Odorizzi said. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Beltran has shoulder tightness; Ackley could be put on DL (The Associated Press)

New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran missed Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays because of right shoulder tightness, and infielder Dustin Ackley could be headed to the disabled list. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira didn't start for the fifth consecutive game because of neck stiffness but entered in the seventh as a defensive replacement for Ackley, who jammed his right shoulder one inning earlier diving into first base. Ackley was to have an MRI, and manager Joe Girardi said he expects Ackley to go the disabled list. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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