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Baseball notebook

Cole Hamels one and done for snakebit Braves

In what would be his only appearance of 2020, Cole Hamels is pulled in the fourth inning by manager Brian Snitker last week in Baltimore.
In what would be his only appearance of 2020, Cole Hamels is pulled in the fourth inning by manager Brian Snitker last week in Baltimore.Julio Cortez/Associated Press

After making just one start for the Braves, Cole Hamels went back on the 10-day injured list and is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he just didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. He was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

Hamels went 3⅓ innings last week in Baltimore, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss.

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Cole Hamels is done for the season.
Cole Hamels is done for the season.Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves were hoping Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last fall, would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him position to join the postseason rotation.

Blue Jays' Giles needs elbow surgery

Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, likely causing him to miss all of 2021 and affecting the deal he will receive as a free agent this offseason.

Giles, a righthander who turned 30 on Sunday, is 0-0 with a 9.82 ERA and one save in four appearances this season. He left a July 26 game at Tampa Bay because of forearm soreness and was placed on the injured list the next day. He returned with one inning against the Mets on Sept. 11, pitched one inning at the Yankees on Sept. 15, then went back on the injured list the following day.

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Manager Charlie Montoyo said Giles decided Monday to go ahead with the surgery.

Ken Giles is reportedly facing Tommy John surgery
Ken Giles is reportedly facing Tommy John surgeryFred Thornhill/Associated Press

"He was a great clubhouse leader. He was awesome. I love the guy,″ Montoyo said. “When he was on the mound, when he was healthy, he was one of the best relievers in baseball.”

Giles earned $3,555,556 as a prorated share of his $9.6 million salary this season.

He was 2-3 with a 1.87 ERA in 53 games last year, saving 23 games in 24 chances. He was on the injured list because of elbow soreness in June 2019 and pitched in three straight games from July 2-4 but did not appear in consecutive games again the rest of the season.

A seven-year veteran who has also pitched for Philadelphia and Houston, Giles has a 14-18 record with a 2.47 ERA and 115 saves in 130 chances over 357 big league games.

Toronto acquired Giles from Houston at the trade deadline in 2018, sending Roberto Osuna to the Astros after Osuna was suspended for 75 games under baseball’s domestic violence policy. Giles had lost the closer’s job with Houston after he punched himself in the face that May 1 while heading to the dugout after giving up a three-run, ninth-inning homer to the Yankees' Gary Sanchez.

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Higher seed to get Series edge

The higher seeded team reaching the World Series will have last at-bats in Games 1 and 2 and, if needed, Games 6 and 7, not necessarily the team with the best record.

The specification was contained in the July 23 agreement between Major League Baseball and the players' association to expand the playoffs following a regular season shortened because of the novel coronavirus. A copy of the deal was obtained by the Associated Press.

This year’s change means a No. 1 seed from one league with fewer regular-season wins than a lower seed from the other league would have the “homefield advantage” for the World Series should they both win pennants. In the event both pennant winners have the same seed, regular-season winning percentage would decide which team is “home” for the first two games.

Under an agreement reached last week between MLB and the union, all World Series games will be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the new ballpark of the out-of-contention Texas Rangers.

Home-field advantage in the World Series generally rotated between the leagues through 2002. At the behest of then-commissioner Bud Selig and Fox, home-field advantage went to the All-Star Game winner from 2003-16. Home-field for Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 was based on winning percentage from 2017-19.

The League Championship Series and Division Series also will be played at neutral sites this year. The AL Championship Series will be in San Diego and the NL Championship Series in Arlington, while the AL Division Series will be in Los Angeles and San Diego and the NL Division Series in Houston and Arlington.

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Under the agreement, the division champions in a league will be ranked as the first, second and third seeds in order of winning percentage, and the second-place teams will be ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth seeds in the same manner, followed by the wild-card teams as seventh and eighth seeds in order of winning percentage.

MLB commits $10m to foster Black representation

Major League Baseball and the players' association say they have committed $10 million to fund programs of the new Players Alliance to improve representation of Black Americans in baseball.

Management and the union said in a statement Monday that The Players Alliance will fund joint grants and scholarships through 2024, school and youth programs, player-led mentors, youth and young adult leagues and equipment, clinics and tournaments, Black cultural education, Black business partnerships, and employment in baseball.

“As the stark racial minority in all aspects of our game, The Players Alliance has given a voice and platform to our Black players, unified in our stance against systemic racism,” said former outfielder Curtis Granderson, The Players Alliance president. “We stand together for what is right and to change our game for the better. The power of our player membership, including our non-Black teammates, coupled with the support of MLB and the Players Association, gives us the unique ability to create increased opportunities for the Black communities we care so much about.”

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More than 100 current and former players are involved in The Players Alliance, which launched in June.

Ailing Harper back in lineup

Philadelphia slugger Bryce Harper was the designated hitter for Monday’s game in Washington, a day after leaving a game with lower back stiffness. Harper exited Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays after he struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. The Phillies right fielder took a slow walk in the dugout toward the clubhouse and signaled to manager Joe Girardi he was done for the day. Harper hit second in the lineup Monday for the start of a four-game series with the Nationals, his former team, but 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in the 5-1 loss . . . The Rockies will chase after a flickering playoff spot without All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was placed on the injured list with a sore left shoulder. Arenado has been hampered this season by inflammation in his AC joint, along with a bone bruise, and the team elected Monday to shut him down. Surgery isn’t required but Arenado will need about a month of rest for a shoulder ailment that first started to surface in Oakland at the start of this 60-game season. “Definitely not feeling good and definitely bothering me. But the pain, it’s not sharp pain. It’s just pain,” said Arenado, who began feeling a nagging sensation in the shoulder after sleeping wrong. “It’s just constant pain and soreness. I think rest will do it real well. I don’t think it will linger on if I take care of it the right way, which I will.”