Aaron Judge Breaks Record for Most Consecutive Games with Strikeout

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge set an MLB record Saturday by striking out in his 36th consecutive game.

According to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, Judge broke the record previously set by Montreal Expos pitcher Bill Stoneman in 1971:

Judge took sole possession of the dubious distinction when Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale struck him out swinging in the top of the fifth inning.

Judge previously broke the record for most consecutive games with a strikeout by a position player on Wednesday against the New York Mets, surpassing Adam Dunn.

Despite his recent struggles, Judge is having a spectacular season that will almost certainly net him the American League Rookie of the Year award and warrant AL MVP consideration as well.

He is hitting .286 with 37 home runs and 80 RBI, and he is among the biggest reasons the Yankees currently hold the AL's top wild-card spot.

Judge hit .329 with 30 homers and 66 RBI in the first half of the season, but entering Saturday's game, he was hitting just .181 with seven home runs and 14 RBI in 33 second-half games.

The 25-year-old is second in the American League in strikeouts behind only Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano, and he is projected to finish with 218.

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Cody Bellinger Suffers Ankle Injury During Dodgers vs. Tigers

Los Angeles Dodgers star rookie Cody Bellinger left Saturday's game against the Detroit Tigers in the seventh inning after suffering an apparent ankle injury.

According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Bellinger rolled his ankle while making a catch in right field in the sixth inning.

Plunkett added that Bellinger was diagnosed with a mild right ankle sprain and is considered day-to-day.

Yasiel Puig pinch hit for Bellinger in the seventh with the game tied 0-0.

The 22-year-old Bellinger is in the midst of a spectacular season that should net him the National League Rookie of the Year award, as well as NL MVP consideration.

He is hitting .274 with 79 RBI, and his 34 home runs are second only to Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton's 44 in the National League.

Bellinger has also been valuable to the Dodgers due to his versatility in the field. He has primarily played first base but also has seen action in left field and right field.

With Adrian Gonzalez healthy and able to play first, Bellinger may be used more often in the outfield down the stretch provided his injury isn't serious.

If Bellinger does have to miss some time, L.A. has solid depth in the outfield, including Puig, Chris Taylor and the newly acquired Curtis Granderson.

The Dodgers entered play Saturday with an MLB-best 86-34 record, and a 19-game lead in the NL West.

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Joc Pederson Optioned to Triple-A After Dodgers Trade for Curtis Granderson

The MLB-leading Los Angeles Dodgers optioned outfielder Joc Pederson to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday, according to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA.

The move came after the Dodgers acquired veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson from the New York Mets in a trade Friday for cash considerations and a player to be named later.

Pederson had been struggling mightily this season to the tune of a .215 batting average, 11 home runs and 33 RBI.

He hit 26 home runs as a rookie in 2015 and was named to the National League All-Star team, but a massive second-half slump resulted in him hitting .210 that season.

Pederson bounced back in 2016, however, to hit a career-best .246 with 25 homers and 68 RBI.

The 25-year-old had been starting fairly regularly for the Dodgers in center field this season, but they have a number of options at their disposal.

Yasiel Puig is a fixture in right field, the surprising Chris Taylor plays both left and right, NL Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Cody Bellinger plays left when he isn't at first base, and utility man Enrique Hernandez can play all over the field.

Granderson's arrival gives the Dodgers a ton of outfield depth, and Pederson's struggles mixed with his general lack of positional flexibility made him expendable.

A trip to the minors should allow Pederson to work on his swing, and it is likely he will be back in the big leagues before long with rosters set to expand on Sept. 1.

 

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Drew Pomeranz Suffers Lower Body Injury vs. Yankees

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz was forced to leave Friday night's game against the New York Yankees in the fourth inning due to back spasms, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe.

Pomeranz appeared to tweak something, and manager John Farrell decided to remove him from the game after he attempted two warm-up pitches.

Prior to leaving, Pomeranz had allowed four hits and no runs while striking out four in 3.1 innings with Boston leading 2-0.

Pomeranz was replaced in the game by long reliever Brandon Workman.

Boston has dealt with injuries to key starters all season long with David Price and Steven Wright currently on the disabled list, and Eduardo Rodriguez having previously spent time on the DL as well.

Pomeranz has been a constant for the Sox, though, boasting a 12-4 record with a 3.31 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 136 strikeouts in 130.2 innings.

He made his first career All-Star team with the San Diego Padres last season before San Diego traded him to Boston for highly touted prospect Anderson Espinoza.

The 28-year-old Pomeranz is key for the Red Sox down the stretch and heading toward the playoffs, but Boston entered Friday with a cushion of four games over the Yanks in the AL East.

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Yu Darvish Left vs. White Sox with Back Tightness, Removed as Precaution

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish left the team's 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday after six innings due to back tightness.

According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, manager Dave Roberts made the move as a precaution.

 

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

 

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Curt Schilling Says He ‘Absolutely’ Still Supports Donald Trump

Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling reaffirmed his support for President Donald Trump in an interview with TMZ Sports posted on Thursday.

When asked if he was "still with Trump," Schilling replied, "Absolutely, why would I not be?"

Schilling has long been vocal about his admiration for Trump, and he even held a rally for him in Boston last year.

                

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Andrew McCutchen Leaves Game vs. Blue Jays with Apparent Leg Injury

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen suffered an apparent left leg injury Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays and was forced to leave the game, according to Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After the game, McCutchen delivered a positive update:

The 30-year-old veteran is currently hitting .289 with 23 home runs and 71 RBI on the heels of a somewhat disappointing 2016 campaign.

McCutchen hit .256 with 24 home runs and 79 RBI in 2016, which broke a five-year streak of All-Star appearances.

He was especially dominant at the plate every year from 2012 through 2015, hitting at least .292 with a minimum of 21 home runs, 83 RBI and a .400 on-base percentage in each of those campaigns.

McCutchen has been a durable player over the course of his career, but injuries were a bit of an issue last season.

He revealed in early June he had some swelling in his thumb, which may have contributed to his struggles at the plate.

With the exception of the 2014 season, in which he missed 16 games, McCutchen has sat out nine or fewer contests every season from 2010 through 2016.

McCutchen is a five-tool player when healthy, as he can hit for power, has great speed and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense in the outfield.

The former National League MVP's defense took a hit last season, though, which resulted in him being moved from center field to right field.

The Pirates have excellent outfielders in Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, but finding a replacement for McCutchen, if need be, will be challenging.

Provided McCutchen misses some time, it is likely that second-year player Adam Frazier will see additional action. While Frazier doesn't provide McCutchen's pop, he has been one of the hottest hitters in the National League since the All-Star break.

While the Bucs are fairly deep and versatile, McCutchen is their most complete player, and being without him for any period of time will be a major blow to their chances to catch the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

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Ian Kinsler Trade Rumors: Tigers 2B Reportedly Placed on Revocable Waivers

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Wednesday that the Detroit Tigers placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on revocable waivers.

Any team is free to claim Kinsler, at which point the Tigers can pull him back and negotiate a trade or keep him. Kinsler can also be traded to any team if he passes through waivers.

The 35-year-old veteran is struggling this season to the tune of a .245 batting average, 10 home runs and 30 RBI.

He is a four-time All-Star, however, and put up big-time production in 2016 with a .288 batting average, 28 homers and 83 RBI. He also earned his first career Gold Glove.

Kinsler's contract has a club option for 2018, which means a team could acquire him as a rental and allow him to hit free agency during the offseason.

The Tigers are 51-61, and with a playoff push looking unlikely, dealing Kinsler rather than potentially losing him for nothing as a free agent is an attractive option.

 

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Matt Joyce Apologizes for Directing Homophobic Slur at Fan in Game vs. Angels

Oakland Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce apologized Saturday for yelling a gay slur toward a fan during Friday's 8-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

In a series of tweets, Joyce expressed remorse and offered support to the LGBTQ community:

"In regard to last night's incident, I first and foremost want to sincerely apologize to the fans, the Oakland A's, MLB and most importantly the LGBTQ community for my comments and actions. A fan yelled vulgar and obscene words about me and my family and I let my frustrations and emotions get the better of me. I am beyond sorry for the inappropriate language that I used and understand and agree that those words should NEVER come out of someone's mouth no matter the situation. Anyone who knows me will tell you that incident it is not reflective of me as a person, how I treat others, how I live my life and that those hurtful words are not my views. I fully support and hope to help the LGBTQ community with their efforts in being treated fairly and intend to let my actions speak louder than anything more that can be said about this truly regrettable moment."

According to ESPN.com, Associated Press photographer Mark J. Terrill reported Joyce used the gay slur while he was heading toward the dugout after grounding out in the eighth inning.

In addition to his apology, Joyce said immediately after the game that he regretted engaging with the fan:

"It's just one of those things that fans kind of get into the game. Obviously, we're pretty frustrated on our side and I had just hit a ball hard and had [Angels first baseman C.J.] Cron make a good play. I was walking back to the dugout and just had a fan yell some vulgar and obscene words. For me it just wasn't the right time to say some stuff like that. I fired back and obviously as soon as you fire back you regret saying anything, because it's just not worth it."

Joyce went 1-for-4 in the game, and he is currently hitting .227 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI on the season.

Oakland is struggling through a difficult campaign, as it is last in the American League West with a record of 48-62.

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Sean Rodriguez Reportedly Traded to Pirates for Prospect

MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported Saturday that the Atlanta Braves traded utility man Sean Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a catching prospect.

Per Bowman, the trade was completed after the Pirates claimed Rodriguez off waivers.

Rodriguez appeared in just 15 games for the Braves this season, hitting .162 with two home runs and three RBI. The 32-year-old veteran missed more than three months after suffering a shoulder injury in a January car accident.

Rodriguez played for the Pirates in 2015 and 2016, and last season was the best of his 10-year MLB career. He hit .270 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI, all of which were career highs by substantial margins.

Rodriguez is valuable because of his versatility, as he has played every position except catcher during his time in the majors. His most familiar spot is second base, where he's made 301 appearances, but he mostly played shortstop and first base with Pittsburgh in 2016.

Rodriguez figures to play all over the diamond upon his return to the Pirates, much like fellow Pittsburgh utility player Josh Harrison.

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Jose Bautista Reportedly Placed on Revocable Waivers After Trade Deadline

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Thursday that the Toronto Blue Jays placed outfielder Jose Bautista on revocable trade waivers.

The Blue Jays can pull Bautista off waivers if he is claimed and potentially negotiate a trade, however he has a full no-trade clause in his contract.

The non-waiver trade deadline passed Monday, but teams can still make trades provided the players involved clear waivers.

Any trade completed after Aug. 31 will result in the players not being eligible to play in the postseason.

The 36-year-old Bautista has a mutual $18 million option for 2018 and a $20 million vested option for 2019 remaining on his contract, per Spotrac.

Although he is a six-time All-Star, the veteran slugger is in the midst of his worst season since 2009. He is hitting just .216 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI for the struggling Jays.

Bautista has hit 35 or more home runs in a season on four occasions, and he clubbed 40 of them in 2015.

His production has declined sharply since then, however, to the point that he has become a liability in Toronto's lineup this season.

With the Jays sitting eight games out of first place in the American League East, getting some type of return for Bautista could be attractive if a team bites and he is willing to waive his no-trade clause.

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MLB Could Require Diamondbacks to Move over Stadium Issues, Says Attorney

An attorney representing the Arizona Diamondbacks argued in court Tuesday that Major League Baseball could force the franchise to move from Chase Field due to concerns about the venue.

According to Rebekah L. Sanders of the Arizona Republic, Leo Beus said the following regarding the need for the county government to fund repairs after recent piping issues:

"Major League Baseball ... they're very, very concerned. If Major League Baseball decides they want to create issues for us, there might not be baseball at all in Arizona. ... We'd like to keep the franchise in place, we'd like to make peace with Major League Baseball, not that we're at war. We don't know where that's going to come out. They're very concerned."

Maricopa County, Arizona, attorney Cameron Artigue countered that the Diamondbacks are trying to leverage the county for funding when the bursting of a sanitation pipe and failure of an air conditioning system in June are repairs the organization are responsible for:

"This (lawsuit) has nothing to do with the water leaks and the merits of Chase Field. The Diamondbacks are the facility manager. When a pipe breaks, that is a Diamondbacks problem. And that is, in fact, what happened. They got out the mops and they mopped it up, and life goes on. It's a big facility and sometimes pipes break. So what?"

The two sides are awaiting a decision regarding whether they will go to court in order to settle the issue or have their case heard by an arbiter.

Should the case go to arbitration, Beus said the Diamondbacks want everything out in the open and available to the public.

The D-backs have played at Chase Field in Phoenix since their inception in 1998, when it was then known as Bank One Ballpark.

Despite their stadium issues, the Diamondbacks are 60-46 this season, and they have a firm grasp on the No. 2 wild card in the National League currently.

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Sonny Gray Traded to Yankees for Dustin Fowler and More

The rebuilding Oakland Athletics dealt another big-name player Monday, trading starting pitcher Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees for prospects Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian.

The Athletics announced the deal after Jack Curry of the YES Network first reported the deal was done. The Yankees will also receive $1.5 million in international bonus money as part of the swap.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports provided further information about Oakland's return for its former ace:

Following three excellent seasons to start his MLB career, Gray struggled mightily in 2016 to the tune of a 5-11 record with a 5.69 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 117 innings.

He was also hampered by injuries as he landed on the disabled list on two occasions with trapezius and forearm injuries.

The 27-year-old righty then began the 2017 season on the DL with a back injury, and he has posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with 94 strikeouts in 97 innings across 16 starts since returning to action.

His nightmarish 2016 campaign was a far cry from a 2015 season that saw him go 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 169 strikeouts en route to finishing third in American League Cy Young Award voting.

Big things were expected out of Gray in 2016 after a three-year stretch where he went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA, but his struggles were a microcosm of an A's team that went a disappointing 69-93 and finished last in the AL West.

Gray is under team control and arbitration eligible for two more years, which was seemingly a good fit for the A's, but they decided to go even younger.

Oakland is in the midst of another rebuild. While Gray is coming off the worst season of his career, the A's landed a solid return in exchange for the former All-Star.

The Athletics went against conventional wisdom by selling low on Gray, but it could turn out to be a savvy move if he is unable to regain the form he displayed in his first three seasons.

New York is banking on the idea that injuries rather than true regression contributed to Gray's struggles in 2016. If that turns out to be the case, they scored a massive coup by landing a quality starter in his prime.

The Yankees have a deep, dangerous lineup and a strong bullpen, but their starting rotation has been a question mark all season long.

Adding Gray goes a long way toward easing concerns, as he and Luis Severino should form a dynamic combination at the top of their pitching staff.

There is still uncertainty elsewhere in the rotation, but the Yanks are now a more dangerous team and bigger threat to do damage in October.

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Justin Verlander Reportedly Highly Unlikely to Be Traded by Tigers

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Saturday that a trade involving Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander prior to Monday's non-waiver trade deadline doesn't appear to be in the cards.

Heyman said sources indicated it would take a "miracle" for the Tigers to move the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner.         

                                                             

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

 

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Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia Reportedly on Yankees’ Trade Radar

With Monday's non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the New York Yankees are reportedly exploring several possible deals for starting pitchers, including Lance Lynn of the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins left-hander Jaime Garcia.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lynn and Garcia are on the Yanks' radar since the franchise considers the asking prices for Oakland Athletics starter Sonny Gray and Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish too high.

    

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Dodgers’ Yu Darvish Trade Hopes Hurt by Reluctance to Deal Top Prospects

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Saturday that the Los Angeles Dodgers are unwilling to part with their top prospects, which figures to hurt their chances of landing Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish prior to Monday's non-waiver trade deadline.

Feinsand noted the Dodgers are "bargain hunting" in their quest to improve for the stretch run.

    

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Jeremy Hellickson Reportedly Traded from Phillies to Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles reportedly bolstered their starting rotation Friday, as they acquired pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies.

FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported the Orioles were getting Hellickson. 

The veteran righty joined the Phils in an offseason trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, and he enjoyed his best season since posting a 3.10 ERA with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012.

Hellickson went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 154 strikeouts for a Philadelphia team that has struggled as a whole.

He performed so well that the Phillies re-signed him to a one-year, $17.2 million contract, though this season has been a disappointment with a 4.73 ERA and career-low 5.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 20 starts. 

After a strong start to his career with the Rays, Hellickson struggled mightily from 2013 through 2015, going 22-27 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. Hellickson seemed destined to become a perennial All-Star when he won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2011 by posting a 13-10 record to go along with 2.95 ERA. He followed that up with a strong 2012 campaign but has struggled to recapture the magic ever since.

Although the 30-year-old may never again be a sub-3.00 ERA pitcher, he has shown a penchant for eating up innings and turning in quality outings over the past two seasons, which made him an ideal trade deadline target.

There is also no need to commit to him beyond the remainder of this season since he will be a free agent once the campaign concludes, so he was an attractive option as a pure rental.

Hellickson may not make or break the Orioles' playoff hopes. But pitching depth is a must at this juncture in the season, and he provides that at the least.

Baltimore's starting rotation has been dreadful in 2017. The group ranks 29th in Major League Baseball with a 5.90 ERA, and their 525 innings pitched entering Friday ranks as the fourth-fewest in MLB

Hellickson at least offers the Orioles a healthy starter who can take the ball every fifth day. He's not likely to increase his performance with such a low strikeout rate, but Baltimore manager Buck Showalter is trying to find bodies to help his team make it through the season. 

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Yadier Molina Says Mike Matheny Is ‘Misinforming’ by Suggesting He’s Tired

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina denied manager Mike Matheny's suggestion that he is tired in an Instagram post Friday.

Molina posted Matheny's quote and insisted that he isn't feeling tired:

The 35-year-old veteran has appeared in 86 games this season, and he is in the midst of his 14th year as an MLB catcher.

Before becoming the Cards' manager, Matheny spent 13 seasons as an MLB catcher, and he was Molina's teammate in 2004.

Molina is widely regarded as one of the best catchers of his era with eight All-Star nods, eight Gold Gloves and two World Series championships to his credit.

He is enjoying another solid offensive season thus far in 2017 as well, hitting .275 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI.

The Cardinals have struggled as a team with a record of 50-52, but they entered Friday still in the NL Central race, trailing the Chicago Cubs by 4.5 games.

Keeping Molina fresh is key since he is an important part of the lineup, but he made it clear Friday that the workload hasn't taken a toll on him.

Prior to this season, Molina had appeared in at least 136 games in seven of the previous eight seasons, which is no small feat considering the rigors of being a catcher.

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Adrian Beltre Ejected by MLB Umpire Gerry Davis After Moving On-Deck Circle

Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected from Wednesday's 22-10 loss to the Miami Marlins due to his antics in the on-deck circle in the eighth inning.

Beltre was standing outside the circle and essentially behind the plate, which prompted second base umpire Gerry Davis to tell him to return to the circle.

Rather than doing so, Beltre dragged the circle to where he was standing, and Davis tossed him.

Prior to his ejection, Beltre was 3-for-3 with one home run and two RBI.

With those three hits, Beltre is up to 2,996 for his career (31st all time), and on the verge of joining the exclusive 3,000-hit club.

Following Beltre's ejection, Rangers manager Jeff Banister argued and earned an ejection of his own.

Drew Steckenrider was pitching for the Marlins at the time, and he commented on it after the game, per MLB.com's Sam Butler and Joe Frisaro:

"He's a great guy and a great player. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I didn't, honestly, know how to react out there. I went over and stood next to [Derek] Dietrich, and we just laughed with our gloves over our faces. That was the first time [I've noticed] a player, because it was the most extreme. I saw him back there. It wasn't bothering me at all."

The 38-year-old Beltre has appeared in just 48 games this season due to injury, but he is enjoying a strong year nonetheless, hitting .307 with nine home runs and 34 RBI.

Entering play Friday, Texas is 4.5 games back of the Kansas City Royals for the second wild-card spot in the American League at 49-52.

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Adrian Beltre Ejected by MLB Umpire Gerry Davis After Moving On-Deck Circle

Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected from Wednesday's 22-10 loss to the Miami Marlins due to his antics in the on-deck circle in the eighth inning.

Beltre was standing outside the circle and essentially behind the plate, which prompted second base umpire Gerry Davis to tell him to return to the circle.

Rather than doing so, Beltre dragged the circle to where he was standing, and Davis tossed him.

Prior to his ejection, Beltre was 3-for-3 with one home run and two RBI.

With those three hits, Beltre is up to 2,996 for his career (31st all time), and on the verge of joining the exclusive 3,000-hit club.

Following Beltre's ejection, Rangers manager Jeff Banister argued and earned an ejection of his own.

Drew Steckenrider was pitching for the Marlins at the time, and he commented on it after the game, per MLB.com's Sam Butler and Joe Frisaro:

"He's a great guy and a great player. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I didn't, honestly, know how to react out there. I went over and stood next to [Derek] Dietrich, and we just laughed with our gloves over our faces. That was the first time [I've noticed] a player, because it was the most extreme. I saw him back there. It wasn't bothering me at all."

The 38-year-old Beltre has appeared in just 48 games this season due to injury, but he is enjoying a strong year nonetheless, hitting .307 with nine home runs and 34 RBI.

Entering play Friday, Texas is 4.5 games back of the Kansas City Royals for the second wild-card spot in the American League at 49-52.

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