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  • A’s get Lester, Gomes from Red Sox for Cespedes Jul 31, 2014 3:56 PM
    OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics won the Jon Lester sweepstakes, acquiring the left-hander and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before Thursday’s trade deadline. Oakland, with the best record in baseball at 66-41, also received cash from Boston in another blockbuster deal by A’s general manager Billy Beane. The Red Sox also get a draft pick in a deal confirmed by both teams. “I believe that the deliberations leading to the two trades we did today were deeply analyzed, thoughtful and value-added,” A’s owner Lew Wolff said in an email. “The best trades are when all parties have potential benefits, and what Billy accomplished is an example of such a win-win. The calls I have received from other owners were very complimentary.” A few hours later, the Red Sox traded their No. 2 starter, right-hander John Lackey, to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig, a person with knowledge of the deal said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because neither club announced that trade. Lester is having an outstanding season with a 10-7 record and career-best 2.52 ERA in 21 starts. He has allowed seven earned runs in his last eight games with 54 strikeouts and nine walks. But the Red Sox put him on the trading block because he can become a free agent after the season. He was sought by many teams, including Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 30-year-old, three-time All-Star originally was scheduled to start Wednesday night for the slumping Red Sox, who instead scratched Lester ahead of the trade deadline. After winning their third World Series in 10 seasons last year, with Lester getting two of the four wins with a 0.59 ERA against St. Louis, the power-poor Red Sox are last in the AL East with a 48-60 record. They had Thursday off after losing for the eighth time in nine games to drop 13 games behind first-place Baltimore. While the Red Sox look toward next season, the A’s are determined to take the next step after losing in each of the past two Octobers in five-game division series to Detroit. Oakland was off Thursday before returning home to begin a weekend series with Kansas City on Friday night. It’s unclear what day Lester would start, though it’s likely to be Saturday. Sonny Gray (12-3) is scheduled for Friday. Manager Bob Melvin has discussed the idea of giving some pitchers extra days between outings to keep them fresh in the second half. “Well I am awake,” Gray posted on Twitter when the trade news broke early Thursday. Oakland later sent lefty Tommy Milone to the Twins for outfielder Sam Fuld. Beane believes in starting pitching depth, and the A’s sure have it. Lester joins Gray, Scott Kazmir and recently acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, each dealt by the Chicago Cubs on July 4. Gomes, a fan favorite who grew up in nearby Petaluma, provides Oakland with a veteran presence that proved invaluable during the A’s run to the AL West title in 2012. The A’s reached the playoffs for the first time in six years. He also was a respected clubhouse leader in Boston, which signed him as a free agent before last season. Gomes is hitting .234 with six homers and 32 RBIs in 78 games this season. For Boston, this marks another big move of a starting pitcher to the Bay Area after Jake Peavy was traded to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday for two solid pitching prospects. The 28-year-old Cespedes won the past two Home Run Derby titles at the All-Star game. The Cuban left fielder is in the third season of a $36 million, four-year contract he signed before spring training 2012. Cespedes is batting .256 with 17 homers and 67 RBIs, 26 doubles and three triples. Speculation had centered on the Red Sox seeking prospects to add to their already deep farm system. That would have given them more young players to use in another deal for an established player, possibly a power-hitting outfielder. They got that in Cespedes, whose 17 homers is the exact number hit this season by the nine Red Sox players who spent time in the outfield. And Gomes’ six was the most. Lester has said leaving the Red Sox doesn’t rule out a return to the team next season. He had said he would take a hometown discount to stay in Boston, but the team’s four-year, $70 million offer in spring training fell far short of what he could get on the open market. Lester leaves his only pro baseball organization. The Red Sox drafted him in the second round in 2002. He made his major league debut June 10, 2006 and got no decision in a 7-4 loss to the Texas Rangers. He won five of his next seven starts before taking his first loss in his 10th. In his nine major league seasons, all with Boston, Lester is 110-63 with a 3.64 ERA. He’s also a proven postseason star with a 3-0 record in his two World Series. He pitched 5 2-3 shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies in the clinching fourth game in 2007. Without Lester and Lackey, Clay Buchholz heads a rotation that includes youngsters Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Brandon Workman. Felix Doubront began the season in the rotation but was ineffective and sent to the bullpen before being traded to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Boston’s minor league system is rich with pitching prospects, featuring right-handers Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes at Triple-A Pawtucket and left-handers Henry Owens and Brian Johnson at Double-A Portland.

     
  • Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig Jul 31, 2014 3:56 PM
    The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday’s deadline. The deal leaves the Red Sox without their top two starters. Both teams announced the move a few hours after the struggling Red Sox said they had sent their No. 1 starter, left-hander Jon Lester, to the Oakland Athletics with outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 draft pick. The Red Sox also sent cash and minor league left-hander Cory Littrell to St. Louis. Lackey is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in the fourth year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal. Kelly is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts. He has made four starts since being activated from the disabled list on July 11. Craig is batting .237 with seven homers and 44 RBIs. Lackey has had two strong seasons since being sidelined for all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA last year when he pitched his second World Series-clinching game, allowing one run in 6 2-3 innings in a 6-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 6. In 2002, he won Game 7 for the Anaheim Angels over the San Francisco Giants, a 4-1 victory in which he gave up one run in five innings. The Cardinals, in a tight race with the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central, had obtained right-hander Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. Kelly joins a Red Sox rotation with a much different look than the one that began the season. Lester, Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront all are gone. Peavy was traded to the San Francisco Giants last Saturday and Doubront was sent to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Only Clay Buchholz, an inconsistent right-hander, remains from the original group. The 26-year-old Kelly was 5-7 with a 3.53 ERA as a rookie in 2012 and 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA last season. Craig brings more power to a weak-hitting outfield that was bolstered by the acquisition of Cespedes. In the past two seasons, Craig totaled 35 homers and 189 RBIs, hitting .307 in 2012 and .315 in 2013. The 30-year-old Craig has been in a season-long slump after batting a major league-best .454 with runners in scoring position in 2013. He’s gotten days off to help emerge from his slide with little success. He hasn’t been the same since missing the last month of regular season with a left mid-foot strain but came back for the World Series, playing some designated hitter and first base. Kelly and Craig both were hurt running to first, Craig when he landed awkwardly rounding the base and Kelly injuring his hamstring sprinting to beat out a bunt. While the Cardinals make their playoff push, the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East and looking ahead to next season. With the departure of four veteran starters, several of their top prospects should get a long look the rest of the season.

     
  • Cubs trade Russell, Bonifacio to Braves Jul 31, 2014 4:27 PM
    The Cubs on Thursday traded lefty reliever James Russell and infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio to the Atlanta Braves for catching prospect Victor Caratini

     
  • Rich get richer as Tigers acquire ace Price from Rays Jul 31, 2014 5:33 PM
    The Detroit Tigers have added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Tampa Bay's David Price in a blockbuster deal Thursday. The Rays received left-hander Drew Smyly and minor league infielder Willy Adames from the Tigers. Tampa Bay also got infielder Nick Franklin from Seattle, with Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson going to the Mariners.

     
  • Cubs catcher/pitcher gets beer shower after longest game Jul 30, 2014 11:00 AM
    “I got beer, chocolate milk, I got hair gel, I got shampoo, I got body wash and I got some more beer,” Cubs backup catcher and winning pitcher John Baker said after Tuesday night's 16 inning marathon win over the Colorado Rockies. “Best shower I've ever taken.” It's the longest game by time in Cubs history.

     
  • Who's played longer than Cubs record game? (Hint: Look south) Jul 30, 2014 10:57 AM
    Ever feel like you've been to a game that just won't end? That's what it felt like last night for Cubs fans, who sat through 6 hours and 27 minutes at the Cubs battled the Rockies in 16 innings until 1:27 a.m. But that's not the longest game in Chicago history. See who else has kept fans up late at night.

     
  • White Sox allow 6 in 1st, lose 7-2 to Tigers Jul 30, 2014 10:51 PM
    Max Scherzer pitched seven impressive innings, and the Detroit Tigers scored six runs in the first inning en route to a 7-2 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday night. Nick Castellanos hit a three-run homer in the first and added an RBI single in the seventh for the Tigers, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Scherzer (13-3) allowed a run and five hits. He struck out six and walked one.

     
  • No trades yet, but plenty of White Sox news Jul 30, 2014 11:52 PM
    With the nonwaiver trade deadline looming, Wednesday was a quiet day on the trade front for the White Sox. But there was plenty of other news involving Avisail Garcia and Matt Lindstrom, Nate Jones and Carlos Rodon.

     
  • Cubs’ Baker enjoys his moment in historyc Jul 30, 2014 10:07 PM
    Cubs catcher John Baker was still enjoying the attention he received for being the winning pitcher in Tuesday night's marathon against the Rockies. Baker came on in an emergency role and acquitted himself well. He said the text messages kept pouring in long after the game was over.

     
  • Cubs keep dealing, acquire lefty Doubront from Boston Jul 31, 2014 12:12 AM
    The Cubs did not wait for Thursday's nonwaiver trading deadline to continue wheeliing and dealing. The acquired left-handed pitcher Felix Doubront from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named. They also acquired a minor-league pitcher from the Dodgers to complete the trade for Darwin Barney.

     
  • 7 things to know about Cubs' longest game ever Jul 30, 2014 2:00 PM
    Cubs pitcher John Baker is believed to be the first Cubs position player, at least as we tradtionally think of them, to earn a victory as a pitcher. Baker was the unlikely hero in Tuesday night's 16-inning victory over the Rockies in the longest game in terms of time in Wrigley Field history.

     
  • Cubs win with catcher as a pitcher in record long game Jul 30, 2014 10:44 AM
    Both the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies ran out of relief pitchers in a marathon game. The Cubs used a catcher — and won. “It’s really cool to get a chance to do this,” said John Baker, who scored the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning after pitching a scoreless top half.

     
  • ‘Moving day’ could be here at Wrigley Field Jul 30, 2014 1:54 AM
    Edwin Jackson turned in yet another poor start for the Cubs Tuesday night as he lasted just 4 innings against the Colorado Rockies. Before the game, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said it's possible the Cubs will make a deal before Thursday's nonwaiver deadline. Just after 1:30 a.m., the Cubs won 4-3 on a 16th-inning sacrifice fly by Starlin Castro.

     
  • And now Cubs’ Ramirez is on disabled list Jul 29, 2014 8:51 PM
    The Cubs changed course Tuesday on relief pitcher Neil Ramirez. Although Ramirez has been one of the team's most effective relievers, the Cubs sent him to the minor leagues Saturday in a curious move. On Tuesday, they moved him to the DL with triceps soreness.

     
  • Abreu hits 31st homer, White Sox pound Tigers 11-4 Jul 30, 2014 12:12 AM
    Jose Abreu homered, drove in four runs — and accomplished something nobody on the White Sox had managed in 94 years. Abreu's three-hit night extended his hitting streak to 18 games, and the White Sox routed the Detroit Tigers 11-4 on Tuesday. Abreu has hit safely in 36 of his last 37 games, and this is his second 18-game streak of the year. The only other player with two 18-game hitting streaks in a season for the White Sox was Hall of Famer Eddie Collins, who had runs of 21 and 22 games in 1920. Collins was already a seasoned veteran by that point. Abreu is in his first year in the majors.

     
  • Kasper: Every broadcaster has to find comfort zone Jul 28, 2014 5:30 AM
    I am a preparation fiend. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that. And every year I try to tighten up and streamline that process, which can become onerous if you let it overwhelm you. The last thing you want to be thinking about once the game starts is, “Did I prepare properly for this game?” Ultimately, it comes down to comfort, and every broadcaster is different. I used to try to know every little detail about each player before we ever hit the air. But that takes an exorbitant amount of time and it also created some tunnel vision, making it more difficult sometimes to focus on the big storylines of the game.

     
  • White Sox second to none at first base Jul 29, 2014 12:31 AM
    Historically, the White Sox have been known as a franchise successful at throwing the baseball. You won’t find many years over the last decade or so that would be considered thin pitching seasons. Usually, the Sox have excelled in that area. In fact, since 2003, no team in baseball has made more quality starts than they have. They’re good for 1,029 of them over that time. It’s rare that we go into a season with great concern over the pitching staff. More often than not, it’s a point of comfort.

     
  • Cubs work out trade for Barney to Dodgers Jul 28, 2014 11:00 PM
    The Cubs managed to get something for Darwin Barney after all. They traded the second baseman Monday to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with a cash consideration in exchange for a player to be named later. Barney was designated for assignment last week.

     
  • Frank Thomas was head of the class at Cooperstown this year Jul 28, 2014 8:50 PM
    When it came to entertaining Hall of Fame induction speeches, Frank Thomas stole the show at Cooperstown on Sunday. White Sox beat writer Scot Gregor was there, and he says Thomas scored even more points by backing off his anti-steroids crusade.

     
  • Hall of Famer Gibson appreciates Big Frank Jul 28, 2014 7:44 PM
    None other than Bob Gibson believes Frank Thomas is one of the great hitters in the history of baseball. “There’s certain hitters who can spit on a pitch and say that’s a ball, and if he says it’s a ball it’s a ball,” Gibson said of Thomas. “His eye was that good. He said, ‘If it’s not my pitch, then I’m not swinging.’ He would take a walk. Frustrating for the pitcher."

     
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