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Astros manager Dusty Baker back after missing five games with COVID-19

It was back to business for Houston manager Dusty Baker as he returned to the Astros after having to quarantine because of COVID-19. Here he talks with umpires Junior Valentine (center) and Dan Bellino during the third inning of the Astros win over the Rangers.David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker returned Thursday for the finale of a series against the Texas Rangers following a five-game absence after testing positive for COVID-19.

The 73-year-old Baker said he never felt bad and had only mild symptoms that he attributed to seasonal allergies before testing positive.

“I’m very fortunate that I had both my shots and the two boosters,” he said. “So, I’m really hoping that everybody goes and gets the shots and boosters, because if you do get (COVID-19) hopefully it’s mild like mine was.”

Baker tested positive on Friday when the team was on a road trip in Cleveland. He isolated in his hotel room all weekend and did not return to Houston with the team on Sunday night.

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Framber Valdez threw seven shutout innings, Martín Maldonado and Alex Bregman homered with three RBIs each, and the Astros beat the Texas Rangers, 7-3 , in Houston to move one-half game ahead of the slumping New York Yankees for the AL’s best record.

Countersuit filed against Bauer

A San Diego woman who alleges Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer sexually abused her has filed a countersuit to his defamation claim, alleging the baseball star beat her and left her bruised, according to a court filing.

Bauer has denied abusing the woman he met through social media. He sued her for defamation in April, claiming she lied about details involving their sexual encounters in order to destroy his reputation and career while enriching herself.

Major League Baseball has suspended Bauer for two years, a ruling made after Bauer sued the woman. Bauer has said he engaged in consensual rough sex with the woman but did nothing to warrant a suspension.

The woman’s battery claim filed Tuesday in US District Court in Los Angeles alleges again that Bauer punched and choked her on two occasions during sex in 2021. The Associated Press generally does not name people who claim to be victims of sexual assault.

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Phillies’ Schwarber has calf strain

Schwarber, seen here during Thursday's loss to Miami, is dealing with a calf issue.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber was pulled from the game against the visiting Miami Marlins with a mild right calf strain leaving his status for Friday’s series opener against the New York Mets in question. Edward Cabrera pitched effectively into the sixth inning, Tanner Scott worked in and out of trouble in the ninth, and the Marlins ended the Philadelphia Phillies’ seven-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory …The Atlanta Braves place lefthander Max Fried on 7-day concussion injured list. Fried banged his head hard against the ground in his start against the New York Mets on Aug. 6. The Atlanta ace is in the mix for NL Cy Young, posting a 10-4 record with a 2.60 ERA through 22 starts … Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had successful surgery for a sagittal band tear on the middle finger of his left hand. Anderson, who suffered the injury during an at-bat Saturday against the Texas Rangers, is expected to return to the active roster in approximately six weeks, the team said … Oscar Gonzalez knocked in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the 10th inning and the Cleveland Guardians extended their winning streak to five games, beating the Tigers, 4-3, in Detroit … Emmanuel Rivera homered and hit a two-run double in the seventh inning to help blow open a close game, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-3, in Phoenix.

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