A look at what’s happening around the majors Tuesday:
Pete Alonso and the resurgent Mets face Cleveland in the opener of a pivotal nine-game homestand against a trio of playoff contenders: the Indians, Braves and Cubs. All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber (12-5, 3.27 ERA) starts for Cleveland against Steven Matz (7-7, 4.33). Mets manager Mickey Callaway was the Indians’ pitching coach under skipper Terry Francona before getting the top job in New York. Cleveland begins the second leg of a weeklong visit to New York City after splitting a four-game series at Yankee Stadium last weekend.
Back in Ohio, the Indians got encouraging news about Carlos Carrasco, who returned to the mound Monday two months after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a treatable form of cancer. Carrasco, who hopes to pitch for Cleveland again this season, threw one inning of relief for Double-A Akron against Harrisburg. When he jogged in from the bullpen, Carrasco received a standing ovation from fans. He got another one after striking out his final batter to end the inning.
“It was really special,” Carrasco said. “It feels great.”
The 32-year-old is scheduled to pitch again Thursday for Akron. He and the Indians will then decide his next step.
ON HIS WAY
Oakland is expected to call up top pitching prospect A.J. Puk before its series opener against the New York Yankees in what could be a postseason preview. The 6-foot-7 Puk is a hard-throwing lefty with long hair who was drafted sixth overall in 2016 out of the University of Florida. He could provide a new weapon out of the bullpen for the A’s, who are in a tight race with Cleveland and Tampa Bay for the two AL wild cards.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
If the Red Sox are still going to make a serious playoff push, they’ll have to do it without ace lefty Chris Sale. The seven-time All-Star is receiving treatment for inflammation in his pitching elbow that will shut him down for the rest of the regular season — another blow to the defending World Series champions. Dr. James Andrews gave Sale an injection of platelet-rich plasma on Monday and said he will be re-evaluated in six weeks. Looking beyond this frustrating season, the treatment could be good news for the club, which feared Sale might need Tommy John surgery. That would likely have cost him the 2020 season.
Speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton has a new team after the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves claimed him off waivers from Kansas City to bolster their injury-plagued roster. The 28-year-old Hamilton is a five-time Gold Glove finalist and switch-hitter who gives Atlanta some defensive options and speed off the bench. He played in 93 games for the Royals, hitting .211 with 18 stolen bases.
Hamilton spent six years with the Reds before signing with Kansas City for this season. He is a career .242 hitter with 295 stolen bases, including four straight seasons with more than 50 steals in Cincinnati. Atlanta is short-handed because of injuries to outfielders Nick Markakis, Austin Riley and Ender Enciarte, as well as shortstop Dansby Swanson.
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