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Yanks’ Boone, Gardner ejected again for ump tiff

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NEW YORK — Manager Aaron Boone, Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees again hammered away at the umpires Saturday, this time in prolonged rants that brought several members of the team spilling onto the field, while beating the Cleveland Indians 6-5.

For the third time in a month — each time with a minor league call-up umpire behind the plate — the team with the best record in the American League lost its temper in a big way. This episode led to Boone and Gardner as well as pitcher CC Sabathia, who is on the injured list, all being ejected.

The trouble began in the sixth inning after Triple-A ump Ben May called out Cameron Maybin on strikes. The final pitch to Maybin was, according to strike zone charts, a bit outside. He calmly stood and discussed it with May and went back to the bench.

Moments later, things heated up in a hurry.

Boone came rushing from the dugout to confront May, and engaged in an animated argument. When Boone returned to the bench, all seemed calm — for a moment, anyway.

That’s when Boone came back for another go at May, with crew chief Tom Hallion coming in from second base, trying to quell the beef. But at the same time, several Yankees were hollering from the dugout, engaging in a close-up argument with first-base ump Phil Cuzzi.

“Just in that couple innings, obviously we objected to a few calls,” Boone explained after the game. “I start in there not wanting to get one of our guys if I can out of that game, but you know I had some issues where I felt like something might have affected another, might affect [James] Paxton being in that game, so just voiced it.”

Gardner was then ejected after banging his bat against the dugout roof — it’s become his habit when he gets upset — and then he climbed over the railing to continue to the dispute with Cuzzi. Coaches Phil Nevin, Marcus Thames and Josh Paul also were on the field, holding back Gardner, who was also arguing with third-base umpire Todd Tichenor.

“Kinda crazy to be honest,” Gardner said. “Got ejected for hitting the top of the dugout with my bat, making too much noise I guess. I wasn’t happy about it, I didn’t feel like what I did warranted an ejection.”

Boone said he thought the umpires were looking for Gardner to repeat his previous assaults on dugout roofs.

“I think in this case, in kind of talking with Gardy and watching it back, I think it’s clearly something they were probably looking for with us,” the manager said. “I haven’t received any memos or anything saying that’s illegal. Gardy was saying nothing again other than, ‘Hey, this is a spot in the game, we’re fired up, we’re playing for a lot,’ and we get a little passionate in that dugout in spots, and Gardy I don’t think was doing anything more than that.”

Boone added that on the topic of hitting the roof, the Yankees would “work closely with the commissioner’s office and find out what’s acceptable and not and try and certainly be respectful of that, and try and do a better job of staying in the game.”

Gardner said he believes any potential rule limiting players’ expression from the dugout would not be good for the sport.

“I guess if we’re trying to make the game fun again, like a lot of guys say the last few years — I don’t think you want all the guys sitting in the dugout not being able to say anything or make any noise or anything like that,” Gardner said. “That wouldn’t be too much fun. I’m not saying what I did was right…But I probably wouldn’t do it again tomorrow.”

It was Gardner’s sixth ejection of his career and second in little more than a week.

Last Friday, Gardner was tossed after an incident in Toronto in which plate umpire Chris Segal heard some words from the dugout and singled out the outfielder. Gardner had been silent at the time but earlier had been slamming his bat into the roof of the dugout.

On July 18, Boone screamed and hollered at another rookie umpire, Brennan Miller, leading to the expletive-filled rant that prompted the manager to call his hitters “savages” in the batter’s box. That netted him a one-game suspension.

These frustrations have come as the Yankees are running away with the American League East, with an 11-game lead over their nearest rival.

“I think it got taken too far with sending Gardy out of that game again, but look we’re playing for a lot right now,” Boone said. “You can feel that with all our guys right now, we’re in this thing — we’re playing for keeps.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Playing for October, Cubs preach ‘next guy jumps in’ mantra with Rizzo, Baez out

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CHICAGO — As if the Chicago Cubs weren’t fighting an uphill battle already, the heart and soul of the team, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, is out indefinitely with an ankle sprain — and it couldn’t come at a worse time of the season. With the Cubs in a dogfight to make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year, Rizzo’s presence will be missed in all facets of the team.

“It’s going to be tough to be without Anthony for a while here,” team president Theo Epstein said on Monday afternoon. “He’s so important to everything we do, on the field and off the field.”

Shortstop Javier Baez has been out with a thumb injury, but Rizzo might be the bigger loss. He’s integral to everything Cubs, from leading off, to two-strike hitting, to the bunt defense they incorporate — that’s where he got hurt — to simply being the face that meets the media before and after games. For comparison, Baez hasn’t even commented on his injury since being diagnosed with a hairline fracture, whereas Rizzo was at his locker to discuss the bad news on Monday.

“It’s throbbing but I keep my mind in better spirits and try to be in as good a mood as I can,” he said. “Every year isn’t going to be 2016. You have ups and downs. Everyone in this locker room is fully capable of carrying a heavy load at all times.”

As much as the team is hopeful for a quick recovery, the history of moderate ankle sprains doesn’t scream “a few days,” or even a couple of weeks.

“In the meantime you just have to plan that he’s not going to be there,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You have to get the guys ready and get them indoctrinated in these positions. I really believe our guys will rally around this moment. We have different options to play over there.”

It’s true. The team has better defensive options at first base than one might think, but Rizzo was the best leadoff hitter on the team this season. Chicago was terrible from that spot in the order — until he took over recently. So where do the Cubs turn, at first base and leadoff, to help keep their playoff streak alive?

Replacing Rizzo

A little-known, switch-hitting, backup catcher has emerged as the best candidate to replace Rizzo at first base, at least on the days he’s not behind the plate. Victor Caratini is actually beginning to make a name for himself, both as Yu Darvish‘s personal catcher and as a decent hitter. It’s not just his OPS+ of 113 that’s impressive, it’s actually his batting average. Sometimes, that statistic tells a story. Hitting .282 entering play on Monday, Caratini has become a more complete hitter. And don’t forget his two home runs that won a game off New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom last month. That was a defining moment for Caratini.

“He’s not chasing as much out of the zone,” Maddon said. “And he’s using left-center a lot more consistently. He’s not hitting that rollover ground ball, left-handed. He’s staying through the ball. Left-center has become his buddy. And the right side has gotten better.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information, 33 percent of Caratini’s balls in play have been to the opposite field; that’s up 10 points from a year ago.

“Caratini has showed time and again he’s good enough to be an everyday player,” outfielder Nicholas Castellanos said. “The fact that he’s getting an opportunity, I’m happy for him.”

Ben Zobrist added: “You don’t make that up with one player. You have to make it up with a couple players. That’s how you try to fill that hole.”

On Tuesday night, in the second game of their series against the Cincinnati Reds, Caratini will be behind the plate for Darvish; the hurler has a 3.17 ERA this season with Caratini catching. It means Maddon will need another first baseman and Ian Happ is his best bet. Like Caratini, he has flashed some decent leather filling in for Rizzo at times, but his offensive game isn’t quite like that of the Cubs’ regular first baseman.

Rizzo has a strikeout rate of 13.9, while Happ is at 25.6 percent after spending four months in the minor leagues. And that percentage is actually down from last year. Meanwhile, Rizzo plays against all types of pitchers, while Happ’s starts are limited to the good matchups. The drop-off is considerable.

“Next man up,” Zobrist said. “Rizz and Javy are a big part of this but no one is bigger than the team.”

It’s the same attitude the Milwaukee Brewers must be embracing as they continue to play good baseball even after losing MVP Christian Yelich to a knee injury. The loss of stars can be overcome for a period of time in baseball. When a very productive player is out several months, that’s when it usually catches up to a team. That’s not the time frame the Cubs are looking at. They can survive — for a bit.

“That’s our expectation,” Maddon said. “Of course it is … It is the next man up kind of a theory. And I do believe there are galvanizing moments when you do lose key people in key situations. I do expect a good result.”

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Reds vs. Cubs – Game Recap – September 16, 2019

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CHICAGO — Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run homer and made a diving catch in left field, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

Nicholas Castellanos added a two-run double in the eighth inning as Chicago moved a season-high 14 games above .500. Castellanos is the third right-handed hitter in MLB history to record at least 55 doubles and 25 homers in a season, joining Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg (1934) and Joe Medwick (1937).

Chicago has outscored its opponents 59-18 during its win streak.

The Cubs (82-68) pulled within a half-game of Washington for the top spot in the wild-card standings and stayed two games back of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which held off the Nationals for a 4-2 win.

Steve Cishek, Alec Mills (1-0), Rowan Wick, Kyle Ryan and David Phelps combined for 5 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of an ineffective Cole Hamels. It was Mills’ first major league win in his 17th big league appearance.

It was Chicago’s first game since Anthony Rizzo had an MRI that showed the big first baseman had a moderate lateral right ankle sprain sustained during Sunday’s 16-6 victory over Pittsburgh.

Rizzo will wear a walking boot for five to seven days, casting doubt on his availability for the rest of the season.

“We’re not shutting any doors, but we’re realistic that this is a legitimate injury that under ideal circumstances would take some time to heal,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.

Cincinnati (70-81) had won three of four, but it went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.

Kevin Gausman (3-9) pitched two innings for the Reds in his first start since he was claimed off waivers from the Braves last month. The right-hander has been a starter for most of his career, and manager David Bell wanted to give him another look in that spot while giving the rest of his rotation an extra day of rest.

Gausman got into trouble in the first when Chicago put runners on first and second with one out. Schwarber then connected for the second straight day, driving a 2-2 pitch deep to center.

It was No. 37 for Schwarber, the highest total for a lefty batter for the Cubs since Hall of Famer Billy Williams hit 37 in 1972.

Schwarber also robbed pinch hitter Derek Dietrich with a stellar grab on his liner to left in the fourth. Phillip Ervin‘s sacrifice fly cut Chicago’s lead to 3-2, but Cishek struck out Eugenio Suarez looking to end the inning.

IN-GAME CHANGE

Reds infielder Josh VanMeter left in the fourth inning because of a family medical issue. He started at first base after Joey Votto was scratched with an illness.

HE’S HERE

The Reds promoted infielder Christian Colon from Triple-A Louisville. Colon was hit by a pitch while batting for Gausman in the third and scored on Curt Casali‘s bases-loaded walk. It was Colon’s first major league appearance since June 20, 2017, for Miami against Washington.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: SS Jose Iglesias (sore back) was out of the starting lineup. Bell said Iglesias likely will start Tuesday. … SS Freddy Galvis missed his second straight game with left knee soreness. Bell said Galvis doesn’t have meniscus or ligament damage and won’t be out long-term.

Cubs: Closer Craig Kimbrel (right elbow inflammation) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday and could return this weekend. … SS Addison Russell (concussion protocol) hit off a tee before the game.

UP NEXT

RHP Sonny Gray (10-7, 2.80 ERA) faces RHP Yu Darvish (6-6, 3.97 ERA) on Tuesday night in a matchup of two of baseball’s best pitchers since the All-Star break. Gray is 4-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his last eight starts for Cincinnati. Darvish struck out 14 while pitching six scoreless innings in Chicago’s 4-1 victory at San Diego on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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White Sox shut down RHP Giolito with lat strain

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The Chicago White Sox are shutting down right-hander Lucas Giolito for the rest of the season with a mild lat strain.

The team said there are no long-term concerns.

“For me, it just sucks because I wanted to finish what I started. But at the same time, it is what it is,” Giolito told reporters. “It just was kind of a random thing that happened. That’s it.”

Giolito, who was slated to pitch against the Twins on Tuesday, ends his bounce-back 2019 season with 14 wins, 228 strikeouts, two shutouts and a 3.41 ERA.

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