Two gnome runs? Astros' Gattis explains

Two gnome runs? Astros' Gattis explains

HOUSTON -- It was fitting that Evan Gattis made such an impact on the same day the Astros handed out 10,000 Evan Gattis gnomes to fans.

Gattis, who returned to the Astros lineup after missing one game with a left hand contusion, powered the Astros to a 7-2 win over the Angels with a home runs in each of his first two at-bats. It was the Astros' 10th straigth win over the Angels.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros beat Angels for 10th straight time

Astros beat Angels for 10th straight time

HOUSTON -- Evan Gattis homered twice on his gnome night, Carlos Correa went deep to achieve a club milestone, and the Astros beat the division-rival Angels once again, torching Jered Weaver through the first four innings en route to a 7-2 victory at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night.

The Astros have won 10 consecutive games against the Angels and are a Major League-best 36-16 since May 23.

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Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Correa's homer sets Astros milestone

Shortstop's 36th long ball is most at that position in club history

Correa's homer sets Astros milestone

HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa made his rookie debut for the Astros a little more than a year ago, on June 8, 2015.

He already has more home runs as a shortstop than anyone else in the club's 51-year history.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros sign Cuban free-agent shortstop Sierra

Club also adds four international pitchers

Astros sign Cuban free-agent shortstop Sierra

HOUSTON -- The Astros announced the signing of Cuban shortstop Anibal Sierra, as well as four other international prospects, on Saturday evening.

"Anibal stood out to me after my first look in November 2015 in the Dominican Republic," Astros senior scouting adviser Charlie Gonzalez said. "Offensively, Anibal has an aggressive hitting approach with a quick leveraged swing, high contact ability, and average to solid-average raw power."

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fiers tasked with completing sweep vs. Angels

In the finale of their three-game series, the Astros and Angels will pit a pair of veteran right-handers, with both eager to get back on track. 

The Angels will hand the ball to two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who has struggled in his first season with Los Angeles. The last time Lincecum pitched against the Astros, it wasn't pretty; he allowed seven hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings on June 28, and the Astros won, 7-1.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fresno Grizzlies suit up in 'Three Amigos' jerseys

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Fresno Grizzlies suit up in 'Three Amigos' jerseys

Over the years, one team has elevated the Minor League promotion into an artform: the Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. They've married a pizza with a hot dog. Their mascot has married actual couples. They even dared to pose that eternal question: "Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?"

But, as they say, with great promotional power comes great responsibility. How can you keep raising the bar when you've already worn Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle uniforms? Where is there to go after dedicating your entire franchise to the taco? For Friday night's game against the Albuquerque Isotopes: a mariachi jersey inspired by "Three Amigos!," the classic 1986 comedy starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short.

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Duffy claimed off waivers by Rangers

Duffy claimed off waivers by Rangers

HOUSTON -- The Astros announced Saturday afternoon that their division rival, the Texas Rangers, claimed infielder Matt Duffy off waivers.

The Astros designated Duffy for assignment when Houston signed Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel on July 16. Duffy is expected to be optioned by the Rangers to Triple-A Round Rock,

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros ride McCullers' arm to win over Angels

Astros ride McCullers' arm to win over Angels

HOUSTON -- Lance McCullers faced the game's most productive offense this month and dominated, twirling eight-plus strong innings to lead his Astros to a 2-1 victory at Minute Maid Park on Friday night, their ninth in a row against the division-rival Angels.

The Astros have gone a Major League-best 35-16 since May 23 and are now only 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Rangers in the American League West.

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Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCullers takes it to another level at home

McCullers takes it to another level at home

HOUSTON -- Lance McCullers has been good at home before, but Friday night was something different.

McCullers took it to another level against the Angels at Minute Maid Park, striking out 10 in a season-high eight-plus innings of work in Houston's 2-1 win over Los Angeles.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Defense is key in Astros' win over Angels

Defense is key in Astros' win over Angels

HOUSTON -- In a low-scoring affair such as the Astros' 2-1 win over the Angels at Minute Maid Park on Friday night, every play, especially on defense, matters. But two plays in particular stood out.

In the top of the third, with the game scoreless, Los Angeles' Gregorio Petit hit a slow chopper to Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tucker makes immediate impact after callup

Tucker makes immediate impact after callup

HOUSTON -- The Astros called up a batter from Triple-A Fresno on Friday, it just wasn't the one most were expecting.

But Preston Tucker gave the Astros just what they needed in Friday night's 2-1 win over the Angels. Tucker, who started at designated hitter, tripled to Tal's Hill in the bottom of the fifth and later scored to put Houston up, 1-0.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bregman focused on making most of time at Triple-A

Bregman focused on making most of time at Triple-A

ROUND ROCK, Texas. -- Alex Bregman finished his four-day stay at Dell Diamond on Thursday and was met with a steady stream of reporters asking him if he was ready to stay in Texas a little longer. Bregman, the Astros' top prospect who's tearing it up for Triple-A Fresno, appears to be big league ready and is simply waiting on the call to Houston.

Until that happens, Bregman is saying all the right things. He says he's focused on helping the Grizzlies win, and determined to get better. The Astros have thrown him an extra challenge by putting him at third base and left field in recent days, but he's handled both well.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fister's 7 scoreless help Astros shut down A's

Fister's 7 scoreless help Astros shut down A's

OAKLAND -- Right-hander Doug Fister strung together seven scoreless innings to help the Astros avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the A's with a commanding 7-0 win at the Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.

"Doug was at his best," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I thought he did a great job of getting through their lineup and continuing to put up zeros while we hung there. We let them hang in there a little bit by not separating in the game, but Doug Fister was really, really good."

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Behind red-hot Altuve, Correa racking up RBIs

Shortstop takes advantage of opportunities to drive in 3 Wednesday

Behind red-hot Altuve, Correa racking up RBIs

OAKLAND -- Each time Astros second baseman Jose Altuve reaches base -- and that has been rather frequent this year -- shortstop Carlos Correa's RBI total seems to creep upward. Correa added three more RBIs in Wednesday's 7-0 win over the A's at the Coliseum, pushing his team lead to 62.

Correa, who hits fourth in the lineup right behind the red-hot Altuve, drew a bases-loaded walk in the second inning and added a two-run bloop single in the eighth to push the Astros' lead to 5-0. He has 29 RBIs since June 20, which is the most in the Major Leagues in that span (Albert Pujols had 27 entering Wednesday's game against Texas).
 

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Top prospect Bregman makes 1st start in LF

Houston wants shortstop, Cuban infielder Gurriel to be versatile

Top prospect Bregman makes 1st start in LF

OAKLAND -- Alex Bregman, the Astros' top prospect who's dominated Minor League pitching this year, made his first start of the season in left field for Triple-A Fresno in Wednesday's game at Round Rock, going 3-for-5. It was Bregman's ninth multi-hit effort in his last 16 games.

Bregman, a shortstop, is expected to join the Astros soon, but with Carlos Correa entrenched at shortstop in Houston, he's been playing some other positions. When he gets called up, he's expected to play some third base, designated hitter and the outfield.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Manfred: Investigation ongoing in data breach

Commissioner says no timetable set for possible discipline of Cardinals

Manfred: Investigation ongoing in data breach

ST. LOUIS -- Commissioner Rob Manfred, in his first comment on the issue since former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa was sentenced on Monday, said Major League Baseball's investigation is ongoing and that there is no timetable for any potential discipline.

"It's difficult to discipline either players or clubs," Manfred said to assembled media at Joe Torre's Safe At Home Foundation Golf and Tennis Classic on Thursday in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. "We've had situations where that is necessary. We're going to get to the bottom of the Houston-St. Louis situation, and we'll take appropriate action when we have all of the facts."

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Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. MLB.com enterprise editor Mark Newman contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Pipeline Inbox: Where would Gurriel rank if he was a prospect?

Jim Callis answers fans' questions about baseball's future stars

Pipeline Inbox: Where would Gurriel rank if he was a prospect?

About a month ago, I had a Pipeline Inbox question about my thoughts on the Astros calling up Alex Bregman. Short version of my answer: Start playing him regularly at third base and bring him to Houston ASAP.

Since then, Bregman has bid goodbye to Double-A, where he was leading the Texas League in on-base percentage (.415) and slugging (.559), and he has torn up Triple-A with a .388/.414/.746 line and six homers in 15 games. He also threw in three hits, two for extra bases, during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bregman among top prospect performers Wednesday

Pair of Dodgers pitching prospects each rack up double-digit K's in strong starts

Bregman among top prospect performers Wednesday

Ten was the magic number for a pair of Dodgers pitchers on Wednesday night as both Jose De Leon and Yadier Alvarez struck out 10 hitters in their respective starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City and Class A Great Lakes.

De Leon, the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect and No. 20 on the Top 100, yielded four hits over a career-high eight scoreless innings to pace Oklahoma City in a 7-0 shutout of Tacoma. The 23-year-old right-hander hit one batter but did not issue a walk in the outing, as he demonstrated exemplary command of his arsenal by throwing 80 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen falters late as Astros fall to A's in 10

Bullpen falters late as Astros fall to A's in 10

OAKLAND -- Josh Reddick hit a walk-off single against Astros reliever Tony Sipp in the 10th inning, spoiling a four-hit night from Jose Altuve and helping the A's secure a series-clinching 4-3 victory at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.

The A's tied the game in the ninth inning against Houston closer Will Harris, getting back-to-back doubles from Stephen Vogt and Coco Crisp, who was tagged out on the basepaths on the play for the second out to help the Astros send the game into extras.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No place like road for hit-machine Altuve

No place like road for hit-machine Altuve

OAKLAND -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve continues to make batting look as easy as child's play, going 4-for-5 and finishing a homer shy of the cycle in Tuesday's 4-3, 10-inning loss to the A's at the Coliseum.

The numbers are astonishing. Altuve, who leads the American League in batting average (.354) and the Majors in hits (131), had his second four-hit game in three days and is 10-for-14 during that span. He extended his road hitting streak to 18 games -- he's batting .514 in that span -- and has reached base in 34 consecutive road games.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keuchel affected by long rest between starts

Keuchel affected by long rest between starts

OAKLAND -- Taking the mound on eight days' rest was something Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel would like to avoid, but it certainly didn't seem to have a negative effect on the way he pitched in Tuesday's 4-3, 10-inning loss to the A's at the Coliseum.

Keuchel, however, said he thought he extra rest threw him off despite his sixth consecutive quality start. He's 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last six starts and was in line for his fourth consecutive win Tuesday before the Astros faltered in the ninth and fell in the 10th.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hinch: Astros' clubhouse can handle newcomers

Hinch: Astros' clubhouse can handle newcomers

OAKLAND -- A day after dugout confrontations involving pitcher Mike Fiers made news in the Astros' loss to the A's, manager A.J. Hinch said Tuesday that his team is equipped to put such matters behind them. A bigger issue Hinch may soon deal with is the arrival of Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel, who signed last week and is expected to join the team in a few weeks.

The likely eventual arrival of Gurriel, as well as top prospect Alex Bregman from Triple-A Fresno, means a couple of players currently on the roster will lose their spots. The players are cognizant Gurriel and Bregman are coming, and Hinch said his team's position player youth and enthusiasm will make that easier.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Springer is Astros' Heart and Hustle winner

Award recognizes passion, desire and work ethic

Springer is Astros' Heart and Hustle winner

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) announced the 30 preliminary winners of the 2016 Heart and Hustle Award on Tuesday, honoring one player from each of the 30 Major League teams.

The Heart and Hustle Award, given annually, celebrates active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. It's the only award in the Majors that is voted on by former players, and voting is conducted prior to the All-Star break.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Musgrove among top prospect performers Tuesday

Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect strikes out 10 in 6 one-hit frames, Nats' No. 1 wins Triple-A debut

Musgrove among top prospect performers Tuesday

After he gave up a season-worst six earned runs in his last start, Sean Reid-Foley returned to form Tuesday as he fired six innings of one-hit ball to lead Class A Advanced Dunedin in a 2-0 shutout over Charlotte.

Reid-Foley, the Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect, struck out the side in his first and last innings of work and fanned 10 of the 21 hitters he faced, marking his third start this season in which he's recorded double-digit strikeouts. He recorded five ground-ball outs and walked a pair, while throwing 57 of his 90 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros undone by A's big fourth inning

Astros undone by A's big fourth inning

OAKLAND -- The A's used a five-run fourth to back a strong seven-inning performance from right-hander Kendall Graveman in a 7-4 series-opening victory against the Astros at the Coliseum on Monday night.

Yonder Alonso's two-run, go-ahead single with two outs sparked the big inning, which saw Astros starter Mike Fiers depart two batters later. Fiers was responsible for six runs on five hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five in the loss.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros' emotions surge in loss to Oakland

Fiers has words with manager, Gomez after departing game in fourth

Astros' emotions surge in loss to Oakland

OAKLAND -- Astros starter Mike Fiers admitted his emotions got the best of him in the fourth inning of Monday's 7-4 loss to the A's at the Coliseum. The inning unraveled quickly on Fiers and led to dugout tiffs between Fiers and manager A.J. Hinch, then Fiers and outfielder Carlos Gomez.

After the game, everyone involved echoed the same tone, saying the highly charged emotions are proof how much the Astros care and they'll emerge stronger because of it. Fiers was one strike away from pitching a 1-2-3 fourth inning before he allowed the next five batters to reach, and all of them scored.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

I want Altuve? 2B sings with Backstreet joy

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I want Altuve? 2B sings with Backstreet joy

Jose Altuve is the Astros' fire, the type of energetic, maximum-effort player that all rival clubs desire. The second baseman entered play Monday hitting .346/.417/.551, numbers that helped him make his fourth All-Star Game presented by Mastercard last week in San Diego. 

But as much as fans get to experience 'Tuve on the field, some of his real magic takes place in the otherwise private confines of the clubhouse. Thanks to teammate Lance McCullers Jr., however, the world was given a glimpse of his karaoke skills on Monday. 

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Former Cards exec sentenced in Astros database breach

Former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa was sentenced to 46 months in prison by a federal judge on Monday for illegally accessing the Astros' player personnel database and email system.

In January, Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer from 2013 to at least December '14. Correa was promoted to St. Louis' director of baseball development in '14, but he was dismissed last July after allegations of the illegal conduct first surfaced.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bregman among top prospect performers Monday

Braves' No. 1 prospect knocks in four runs, No. 2 hurls six scoreless

Bregman among top prospect performers Monday

The future of the Atlanta Braves was on full display on Monday as Dansby Swanson tallied a career-best four RBIs and Sean Newcomb fired six scoreless frames to lead Double-A Mississippi in a 5-0 shutout over Jackson.

After hitting his second inside-the-park home run of the season on Friday, Swanson, the Braves' top-ranked prospect, cranked a two-run shot over the left field wall on Monday, giving him two home runs in his last three games for the M-Braves. The No. 6 overall prospect added a two-run single to finish 2-for-4 with four RBIs.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros plan to be involved in trade market

Astros plan to be involved in trade market

OAKLAND -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Monday "there's a good chance" he will be able to make a trade prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but said there's no urgency to do so. Luhnow didn't say what the Astros are targeting, but starting pitching and left-handed relief pitching are their biggest needs.

What Luhnow has to weigh over the next couple of weeks is whether there's an arm on the market that would be an upgrade over what they have now, and at what price? Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and Doug Fister are entrenched in the rotation, and Mike Fiers has pitched better of late.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.