LEADING OFF: Braves need a closer, Royals-Chisox tempers

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher A.J. Minter (33) wipes his face in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


The Braves have a big hole in their bullpen now that closer Arodys Vizcaino will miss the rest of the season after having right shoulder surgery. General manager Alex Anthopoulos has heard fans chanting at SunTrust Park for the team to sign free agent closer Craig Kimbrel and bring him back to Atlanta, and he indicated the Braves are exploring all available options.

“There’s been a ton of turnover from the beginning of camp to where we are today,” Anthopoulos said. “I think it goes without saying we’re going to look to do what we can both internally and externally.”

The NL East champion Braves have recently used A.J. Minter as their closer, but he’s struggled.


Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson (7) is restrained by Jose Abreu after he was hit by a pitch from the Kansas City Royals, as benches cleared during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The Royals won 4-3 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Major League Baseball will certainly review at the bench-clearing fray that erupted after Kansas City’s Brad Keller drilled Tim Anderson with a fastball on Wednesday. In his previous at-bat, the energetic White Sox shortstop had spiked his bat to celebrate a home run.

Anderson, the AL’s leading hitter, was ejected along with Keller, Chicago manager Rick Renteria and Royals bench coach Dale Sveum.

Anderson has often talked about encouraging players to express themselves, something MLB has tried to embrace with its “Let the Kids Play” marketing campaign. But not everybody in the game sees such exuberance the same way.


Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia throws to first after forcing out Toronto Blue Jays’ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 11, 2019, at Fenway Park in Boston. Socrates Brito was safe at first. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

The Red Sox will see how second baseman Dustin Pedroia is feeling, a day after an early exit at Yankee Stadium because of discomfort in his left knee. The 35-year-old former AL MVP was pulled in the second inning.

Pedroia was activated April 9 and is 2 for 20 at the plate. He has been slowed since a slide into his surgically repaired left knee at second base by Baltimore’s Manny Machado in April 2017.

Pedroia had left knee surgery in October 2017 and was limited to three games in the majors last year.


The Dodgers return to Milwaukee for the first time since Game 7 of last year’s NL Championship Series, when they sank the Brewers to earn a second straight pennant.

Julio Urias got one out for Los Angeles as a reliever in that game, and he’ll start the opener of this four-game series. He also faced Milwaukee last Friday and allowed six runs in five innings. Brewers righty Zach Davies makes his second straight start against the Dodgers. He pitched seven innings of one-run ball in a win last Saturday.



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