MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEWS-METS, YANKEES, ASTROS, PUJOILS, OHTONI

Jacob deGrom is 2 1/2 seasons away from free agency, so if he is traded, he could potentially lead a team to three postseasons. Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Jacob deGrom has faced 12 batters with the bases loaded this year, and of those, nine have struck out and zero have gotten hits. There have been times when pitching coach Dave Eiland has visited the mound and deGrom has said flatly that he’ll get out of the jam, his words sounding nothing like a boast and everything like recitation of fact. By Buster Olney

Saturday night, the New York Yankees won for the ninth time in their last 10 games, rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Mets (NYY 4, NYM 3). At 42-18 (.700), the Yankees have the best record in baseball. They are 13-1-1 in their last 15 series.

The Yankees have built their MLB best record despite a rotation that has been good, but hardly great. Their starters own a 3.91 ERA, 12th best among the 30 teams. Even after adjusting for their hitter friendly home ballpark, their rotation is only six percent better than average, which is 11th among the 30 teams. By 

Seeing the bullpen cart is fun, but an endless parade of relief pitchers certainly isn’t. AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Here’s a fundamental change that would improve the game on many levels: Limit managers to the use of four pitchers per nine innings, with exceptions built in for injuries and blowouts.

Major league baseball desperately needs to get off the growing front-office addiction to relief pitchers, which is helping to destroy important components of the game. By Buster Olney

The Houston Astros announced that catcher Tim Federowicz has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers.  Federowicz was designated for assignment two days ago when Brian McCann returned from the disabled list.  After signing a minors deal with Houston in the offseason, Federowicz appeared in two games for the Astros while filling in during McCann’s brief DL stint, and he’ll continue to provide organizational catching depth. By MLB Trade Rumors

Shohei Ohtani has been one of the bright spots of the 2018 season. With a UCL sprain, we may not see him again for a while. By JON TAYLER

SI

The novelty of milestones has likely worn off for Albert Pujols by now, but the one he reached on Sunday afternoon was different.

Pujols collected his 1,952nd career RBI in the first inning of the Angels’ 7-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, passing fellow Cardinals great Stan Musial for sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list. By Maria Guardado

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks have outrighted infielder/outfielder Jon Jay to Triple-A Reno, per an announcement from Arizona. Because Negron has been outrighted in the past, he could reject the assignment in favor of free agency, but it seems he’ll stay with the Diamondbacks. Negron lost his spot on Arizona’s 40-man roster this week when the team designated him for assignment to make room for the addition of outfielder Jon Jay. Prior to that, Negron collected 34 plate appearances with the D-backs dating back to last season (including three this year). The 32-year-old has otherwise played with Reno since 2017. By MLB Trade Rumors

Michael Conforto could be going from All-Star last season to minor-leaguer this season. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported on Saturday that the New York Mets are considering sending the 25-year-old outfielder down to the minor leagues to work on his swing. Sherman also adds that the likeliest scenario is that the Mets send him down when Yoenis Cespedes returns from the DL. By  Darryn Albert

Larry Brown Sports

The New York Mets have been dealing with a lot of injuries this season, but even in that context, manager Mickey Callaway’s explanation for how the team handled Yoenis Cespedes is a strange one.

Cespedes, currently struggling to recover from a hip injury, played through his issues for a while before ultimately hitting the disabled list. In light of his most recent setback, the team was questioned for perhaps persisting with him to his detriment, and Callaway gave a curious response. By Grey Papke

Mat Latos played with an edge during his major league career, and on Saturday, he showed it has not subsided in the independent leagues when he incited a benches-clearing brawl.

After Latos’ catcher was knocked over at the plate on a throw home from left field, Latos, now a pitcher for the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, followed it up against the next Rockland Boulders batter with one pitch inside and one over the head.

May 21, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Hector Santiago (not pictured) during the forth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Machado is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and with the Orioles currently one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball, it would make sense for them to deal the 25-year-old by the trade deadline to avoid losing him for nothing this winter. The Chicago Cubs have been tied to the most rumors surrounding a Machado trade, while the Cleveland Indians reportedly also are a contender. But based on a recent report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, there’s another team you can count on being in the sweepstakes. By Adam London

The players you should be targeting on your league’s fantasy baseball waiver wire Ben Zobrist, Matt Davidson and Eric ThamesBy MICHAEL BELLER

The Washington Nationals placed pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation on Saturday. An MRI confirmed the inflammation but showed no structural damage in Strasburg’s shoulder. By NIHAL KOLUR

Astros manager A.J. Hinch successfully argued for a balk call on Rangers pitcher Keone Kela. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter

The Houston Astros scored the winning run against the Texas Rangers on Sunday when manager A.J. Hinch successfully argued that the Rangers’ Keone Kela had balked with a runner on third, even though the call hadn’t originally been made on the field.

With runners on second and third and the count 1-2 on the Astros’ Evan Gattis, Kela made a quick pitch to Gattis that was called a ball. After he made the pitch, Hinch came out of the dugout to point out that the pitch was illegal and should have resulted in a balk. The umpires convened and agreed, calling a balk that allowed George Springer to score from third base. Rangers manager Jeff Banister then came out to argue and was ejected from the game.

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