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Baseball Notebook

Terry Francona undergoing tests, misses fourth straight game

Cleveland manager Terry Francona has missed the last three games as he undergoes medical tests for a gastrointestinal issue.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona has missed the last three games as he undergoes medical tests for a gastrointestinal issue.Phil Long/Associated Press

Indians manager Terry Francona continues to undergo medical tests for a gastrointestinal issue, and there remains no clear timetable for when he’ll return to the team.

Francona missed his fourth game in a row Wednesday night when the Indians returned home to play two straight against the Reds. The two teams just wrapped up a two-game series in Cincinnati while Francona underwent tests and exams for three days at the Cleveland Clinic.

Francona had appointments with “a series of doctors” at the Cleveland Clinic, said team President Chris Antonetti, who is with the team in Cincinnati. Antonetti doesn’t know when Francona will be back and doesn’t believe he will be sidelined for a significant period.

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“That’s not our expectation at this point,” Antonetti said shortly after speaking with Francona. “But as I’ve shared and have been pretty consistent, our first priority will always be Tito’s health and well-being and whatever puts him in the best position to be healthy and feel better that will always take priority. But that’s not our expectation at this point.”

Francona has been bothered by a stomach issue since spring training opened earlier this year. He was forced to miss a couple games because he wasn’t feeling well.

On Sunday, the 61-year-old left the ballpark and returned to the team's hotel in Minnesota and he skipped the Indians' two-game series against the Reds in order to get checked out.

“He’s not happy about it, but he understands it’s the right thing to do,” Antonetti said. “He wants to feel better and that’s what we all want and for him to get back to doing what he loves, which is managing the team every day and hopefully that can happen in the not-to-distant future.”


First base coach Sandy Alomar has been filling in as interim manager for Francona while he’s away.

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Scherzer leaves, Porcello wins 150th

Max Scherzer is the type who is going to try to play if he possibly can, even on a tweaked right hamstring that prevents him from driving his lower body into his pitches.

So the three-time Cy Young Award winner gave it a shot Wednesday night for the Washington Nationals against the New York Mets. It was clear right away — to him and his catcher, pitching coach, manager — that the usual power and command were missing.

Rick Porcello reached a milestone on Wednesday.
Rick Porcello reached a milestone on Wednesday.Greg Fiume/Getty

Scherzer exited because of the leg issue after laboring through just one inning, overshadowing Juan Soto’s eventful 2020 debut for the World Series champs, and Rick Porcello collected his 150th career win in the New York Mets’ 3-1 victory over Washington.

“The best decision,” said Scherzer, who needed 27 pitches to get three outs then gave way to Erick Fedde, “was just to get out of the game.”

Porcello called it “an incredible feeling” to get his milestone win, going seven innings, allowing one run and five hits and retiring the last 10 batters he faced.

“He’s been working on his changeup and I saw some real good ones. Good cutter, slider, and mixed it well,” New York manager Luis Rojas said. “What a great performance.”

Soto went on the COVID-19 IL on opening day after failing a test — he thinks it was a false positive — and he put on quite a show Wednesday for the 16 cutouts of his family members positioned in the first few rows of the Nationals Park left-field corner.

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In Soto’s first official at-bat since October, the 21-year-old outfielder had a run-scoring double. He singled his second time up, although he was soon tagged out when he slid off the bag trying to go first-to-third on a teammate’s hit.

Ohtani wants to keep pitching

Shohei Ohtani has struggled with health issues.
Shohei Ohtani has struggled with health issues.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Shohei Ohtani still wants to be a two-way player for the Los Angeles Angels despite having another season cut short on the mound due to arm troubles.

Ohtani won’t pitch again this year after being shut down with a strained right forearm after an abbreviated outing Sunday. It was the second start of the season for the Japanese star since having Tommy John surgery in 2018. Ohtani said Wednesday if the Angels asked him to end his dream of being a two-way player, he would listen.

But his preference is to continue on the path of pitching and being an everyday hitter.

“If the possibility is there, I still want to try it,” Ohtani said of still pitching. “The Angels signed me thinking I’m going to be a two-way player. I just need to get healthy, back on the mound and try to accomplish it.”

Braves put Albies, Adams on IL

Nick Markakis is back on the field.
Nick Markakis is back on the field.Curtis Compton/Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves are facing lineup changes after placing second baseman Ozzie Albies and designated hitter Matt Adams on the 10-day injured list. In another move, outfielder Nick Markakis was reinstated from the restricted list. Markakis announced on July 29 that he was returning to the team, three weeks after opting out due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Albies is batting only .159 after he was held without a hit in Tuesday night’s 10-1 win over Toronto. He is in a 2-for-21 slump as he tried to play with a bruised right wrist. Adams has been the team’s primary designated hitter and has made two starts at first base. He hit a second-inning homer on Tuesday night before leaving the game with a strained left hamstring … Five pitchers combined on a four-hitter for Don Mattingly’s undermanned, gritty and first-place Miami Marlins, who beat the Orioles, 2-1, for a doubleheader sweep in Baltimore. Brian Anderson homered in opener, and Miami won, 1-0, despite getting only two hits. The sweep kept the Marlins atop the NL East and earned Mattingly his 281st win as Miami’s manager, tying Jack McKeon’s club record … Adrian Houser dominated over seven innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the White Sox, 1-0, to snap Chicago’s six-game win streak. In two starts this year, Houser (1-0) he has allowed just one run through 12 innings. Milwaukee held struggling star Christian Yelich out of the lineup, with the 2018 NL MVP and two-time defending NL batting champion mired in a season-opening 3-for-34 slump. Chicago’s win streak was its best since a six-game run in April 2017 … Yu Darvish pitched seven sharp innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the Kansas City Royals, 6-1, for their sixth straight victory, improving them to a National League-best 10-2..

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