LEADING OFF: Playoffs begin, Twins-Yankees for AL wild card
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
The 2017 postseason begins at Yankee Stadium when the Minnesota Twins take on New York in the AL wild-card game. Luis Severino pitches for the Yanks — he’s 23, he averaged 97.6 mph on his fastball, tops among qualified starters. Twins starter Ervin Santana is 34, and hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2004.
As on Monday, Twins manager Paul Molitor said he hadn’t decided on the status of All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano. The slugger has been recovering from a stress reaction in his left shin and missed 38 games before returning to action Friday. He was replaced by a pinch-hitter Sunday after feeling some discomfort in the leg.
“Whether he’s going to start or not, I still haven’t inked it in yet,” Molitor said.
Torey Lovullo is managing in the playoffs for the first time, and is putting together Arizona’s roster for the NL wild-card game at home Wednesday vs. Colorado. He said he talked to other skippers who have been in one-and-done matchups — Kansas City’s Ned Yost and San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy — seeking their thoughts on whether to carry another pitcher or go with a bench player.
“That’s one thing that Ned Yost did tell me. He said that it would be his preference, he would go with the extra position player. He felt like the starter was James Shields, he was going to have enough there with James, and Boch said the same thing. He said his starter was going to be Madison Bumgarner, and he felt strong he needed the extra position player. And we have a great candidate in Zack Greinke,” Lovullo said.
The Atlanta Braves are looking for a new general manager after John Coppolella was forced to resign because an investigation by Major League Baseball revealed serious rules violations in the international player market. Braves president John Hart will take over GM duties while the team searches for a full-time replacement.
Hart said the Braves cooperated when they first learned of the investigation “in the past couple weeks.” He didn’t reveal details of the rules violations, and said they didn’t involve criminal activity.