A look at what’s happening around baseball Thursday:
Minus injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton, the ailing New York Yankees open a four-game series at Tampa Bay – the first meeting this year between the heated AL East rivals.
Off to a great start, New York leads the division over the second-place Rays. But manager Aaron Boone said the Yankees know Tampa Bay will ”be there the whole way.”
”They’re a very complete team,” Boone said. ”You’ve got to play really well if you’re going to have a chance to beat ’em. And they’re battle-tested.”
Nestor Cortes (3-1, 1.80 ERA) pitches for the Yankees, who hope to have All-Star infielder DJ LeMahieu back from a sore left wrist that kept him out of the starting lineup the past two days.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson remained on the COVID-19 injured list Wednesday, and Stanton was placed on the 10-day IL with right ankle inflammation.
Tampa Bay went 11-8 against the Yankees last season, outscoring them 98-50 on the way to its second successive AL East title.
The Braves have remained cautious with star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. in his return from reconstructive right knee surgery, and they’ll be monitoring the two-time All-Star after he was scratched Wednesday with right quadriceps tightness.
Atlanta pulled Acuna about 90 minutes before first pitch against Philadelphia. He woke up feeling sore, testing the leg at the stadium and decided to skip the game. Acuna was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain and is unlikely to play in the finale of a four-game series against the Phillies.
Acuna is hitting .292 with two homers, eight RBIs and eight stolen bases in 65 at-bats since returning April 28 from a torn right ACL that halted his 2021 season.
Twins rookie Joe Ryan won’t pitch against Kansas City as scheduled after going on the COVID-19 injured list Wednesday. The surging starter is 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA in eight starts this year. He’ll be replaced by lefty Devin Smeltzer, who was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Ryan was ”doing OK.”
FRONT AND CENTRAL
The Brewers and Cardinals open an NL Central showdown in St. Louis. Adam Wainwright (5-3, 2.87) is expected to pitch to Cardinals batterymate Yadier Molina for the 313th time as they close in on the major record of 324 set by Detroit’s Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan.
St. Louis (24-19) trails Milwaukee (28-16) in the standings a year after finishing second to the Brewers, who just took two of three from San Diego.
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