Blues sign Parayko to five-year deal

Jul 20, 2017 20

The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Colton Parayko to a five-year, $27.5 million contract just before the sides were set to go to arbitration.

Parayko will count $5.5 million against the salary cap through 2021-22. General manager Doug Armstrong announced the deal Thursday.

Armstrong and the 24-year-old restricted free agent and his representatives had arrived at the hearing in Toronto when they settled on a long-term contract. Armstrong said if Parayko had gone to arbitration, the contract would have been for two years and the Blues could have worked something out in 2019 before he hit unrestricted free agency.

Parayko has 13 goals and 55 assists for 68 points in 160 games over his first two NHL seasons. Armstrong expects Parayko’s production to increase with more ice time.

Wild could have future captain in Kunin

Jul 20, 2017 18

For nine years, the Minnesota Wild operated without a fixed captain.

The “C” changed hands again and again from 2000-09, before then-head coach Todd Richards named Mikko Koivu the Wild’s first full-time captain, when the stoic Finn was 26.

Koivu, now 34, has held the position ever since.

In 19-year-old prospect Luke Kunin, the Wild may have found their captain of the future.

The Wild’s first-round pick in 2016, Kunin signed with Minnesota earlier this year following his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin, where first-year head coach Tony Granato appointed him one of the youngest captains in the program’s history.

“There’s not many 19-year-old kids in the country who can be a captain,” Granato said. “That shows a lot about what we feel of Luke.”

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Kunin was the first sophomore to captain the Badgers in more than 40 years, and the second in their history. He took the added responsibility in stride, leading Wisconsin in scoring with 22 goals and 38 points, helping the Badgers to their best finish since the 2013-14 season.

His leadership, Granato says, showed up everywhere.

“There were plenty of times during the year, whether it’s on the bench, whether it’s in practice, whether it’s away from the rink, where he’d turn to us coaches and say ‘I’ve got this under control,'” Granato told FOX Sports North.

His brief Badgers career wasn’t his only brush with the “C.”

Granato’s brother Don coached Kunin for two years at the U.S. National Team Development Program in Michigan, where he captained a star-studded U-18 team that featured players like NHL-bound Clayton Keller and uber-prospect Auston Matthews.

He took up the mantle again in December, when he captained the U-20 team to gold at the World Junior Championships.

Kunin was on hand for the Wild’s player development camp earlier this month and made a big impression on Director of Player Development Brad Bombardir, himself a former Wild captain.

“I just want him to come in and take on a little bit more of a leadership role,” Bombardier said. “He’s a natural leader anyway, and for him, he’s made great strides again physically too. He’s in phenomenal shape again.”

For his part, Kunin is open to a bit more learning.

Leading, he says, means learning.

“[Leaders are] always learning, always soaking up information, whether it’s from players, coaches; just the little things you can do to always get better,” Kunin said.

After watching him tear through the NCAA, where he often competed against players 3-4 years his senior, Granato is adamant about Kunin’s chances in the pros.

He’s ready.

“He’s strong on his skates, he’s as big a competitor as you’re going to find, he shoots the puck,” Granato said. “It’s not going to take long for the people of Minnesota to see how well he shoots the puck.”

But while goals will take him far in the NHL, Kunin’s versatility could be the thing that accelerates his path to the big leagues.

“He’s a goal-scorer thats committed to doing everything he can away from the puck to become a complete player,” Granato said. “I just watched his development last year, I just think he’s a kid who’s been on a mission to play in the NHL for a long, long time.”

Kunin isn’t particular about where he plays. For Kunin, it’s all about making the team.

“Whatever they want me to play, what position and where throughout the lineup, it’s up to them, but that’s my goal and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Kunin said.

He took another step forward in March, when he left the Badgers to finish out the season with the AHL’s Iowa Wild. He scored five goals in 12 games, making headlines in just his third pro game with a hat trick.

“I think his work ethic and what he put into it to get ready is really what’s impressed me,” Granato said. “In his mind he knows what it’s going to take.”

Whenever Kunin gets to the NHL, Granato doesn’t think it will take him long to acclimate.

“It won’t take the people that dont know him long to see what a special kid he is, what he’ll bring to the Wild,” Granato said. “He’ll jump in and figure it out.”

Preview: D-backs at Reds, 9 a.m., FOX Sports Arizona

Jul 20, 2017 12

Streaming live on FOX Sports GO

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds are rebuilding around young pitching, and the mantra the organization has hammered home at all levels of the minor leagues is to throw strikes.

Guys who do that consistently will get an opportunity at the big-league level. Guys who nibble won’t.

Right-hander Luis Castillo, who is scheduled to start the finale of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, is learning this lesson as well.

After being promoted from Double-A, Castillo seemed reluctant to challenge major league hitters in the zone, leading to eight walks in his first 10 2/3 innings. But, as his confidence grew, so did Castillo’s strike-zone command. He has walked six in his past 18 1/3 innings, with 22 strikeouts.

“This kid’s jumping from Double-A,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He had a little bit of trepidation pounding the strike zone. When he gets on the plate and turns those counts from 1-0 to 0-1, he has a chance to really be sensational. He has a presence beyond his experience and years. I expect that will improve.”

Castillo is 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA in five starts, twice being the victim of blown saves. On Thursday, he’ll have a tall order against an Arizona club that just added slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez in a trade with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.

Martinez, however, left his D-backs debut Wednesday with a left-hand contusion after being hit by a pitch. X-rays were negative and his status for Thursday’s matinee finale was uncertain.

“Based on what (head trainer) Ken (Crenshaw) and the medical team has said, we feel like we’re in pretty good shape,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. I took a deep breath. We’re very excited to have J.D. here and thankful that it worked out.”

Right-hander Taijuan Walker (6-4, 3.61 ERA) will start for Arizona on Thursday. He lost his only career start against the Reds on July 8 after allowing five runs over five innings. Walker is 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in eight road starts this season. In his last four starts away from Chase Field, Walker is 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA.

The D-backs (54-40) are off to one of the best starts in franchise history. But they’ve been scuffling a bit recently; they have lost 12 of 16 games, including a season-high five straight before they beat the Reds in the series opener.

Cincinnati (40-54) had dropped five straight since the All-Star break by a combined 46-14 before earning a 4-3, 11-inning win on Wednesday night to set up Thursday’s rubber game. The Reds are rebuilding around a very inexperienced pitching staff, and manager Bryan Price, a former pitching coach, challenged their toughness in a brief tirade after Tuesday’s loss.

Wednesday’s win provided some relief.

“We were pulling out all the stops to win a good ballgame,” Price said.

Duffy's plan vs. Tigers: 'Do my homework … and keep it simple'

Jul 20, 2017 13

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals will close out their four-game series Thursday with a premier pitching matchup.

Right-hander Michael Fulmer, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year and a plumber in Oklahoma during the offseason, will start for the Tigers.

The Royals will counter with left-hander Danny Duffy, who missed five weeks with an oblique strain before returning just prior to the All-Star break. Duffy has held left-handed hitters to a .188 batting average this season.

Duffy (5-6, 3.51 ERA) is very familiar with the Tigers. He is 5-7 with a 3.84 ERA against Detroit in 18 outings, including 16 starts. He is 4-1 with a 4.28 ERA vs. the Tigers since the start of the 2015 season.

“I’ve played against this division so much that you really can’t bank on a certain team and how you do well against them,” Duffy said. “Obviously, I’ve fared well against them at times and I’ve had a couple of rough starts, but that goes for every team.

“(I will) go in and do my homework, like I always do, and keep it simple.”

He said he does not feel the need to alter anything against the Tigers.

“I’m just going to keep doing what I do and pitch to my strengths,” Duffy said. “If I’ve got to change anything up, I’ll adjust during the game.”

The Royals rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off, 4-3 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday, snapping Detroit’s four-game winning streak. Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly scored Brandon Moss with the winning run.

“Tomorrow we’ll come back and we’ll try to win the series,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “We’ve got Michael Fulmer going and they’ve got Danny Duffy going, who is also very good.

“We didn’t win tonight, but it was a good baseball game. Overall, there were a lot of good things that happened for us despite the fact we lost the game.”

The Tigers have won five of their past seven against the Royals. If they win Thursday, it would be their third consecutive series victory over the Royals. Kansas City has had problems winning within the American League Central, losing 23 of 37 games.

The Royals picked up a game on division leader Cleveland, which lost at San Francisco. Kansas City trails the Indians by two games in the Central, and the Tigers are five games out, so the series finale will be an important game.

“All of them are,” Duffy said. “It’s obviously a pivotal time in the season, but I take all the games extremely seriously. I’m not going to put any extra emphasis on this one, but I do know what’s at stake.”

Fulmer, who has won his past four starts, is 2-2 with a 2.29 ERA in five career starts against the Royals. Fulmer (10-6, 3.06 ERA) beat the Royals on June 29 at Comerica Park, yielding three runs (two earned) on seven hits with seven strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. He is 0-2 in two career starts at Kansas City.

Eric Hosmer is 4-for-16 with a home run off Fulmer, while Alcides Escobar is 1-for-14 (.071) and Salvador Perez is 1-for-12 (.083).

Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez is 12-for-35 (.343) with three home runs and six RBIs against Duffy, while Justin Upton is 4-for-11 with two home runs. Miguel Cabrera is hitting only .219 (7-for-32) with three doubles vs. Duffy, but he also has drawn nine walks.

Cardinals go for series win in matinee finale at Mets

Jul 20, 2017 15

NEW YORK — On Wednesday afternoon, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said he hoped his team was ready to return to playing Cardinals-style baseball.

A few hours later, a 7-3 victory by the Mets over the Cardinals left New York manager Terry Collins speaking optimistically about the possibility of his squad mounting a long-overdue run.

The truth is both teams are running out of time entering the finale of a four-game series Thursday at Citi Field. The Mets’ Seth Lugo (4-2, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to oppose the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn (8-6, 3.40) in a matinee matchup of right-handers.

The Mets will be going for a split of the series after ace right-hander Jacob deGrom earned his seventh straight win by allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday.

Afterward, Collins said he hoped deGrom’s performance could spark the Mets (42-50), who are 11 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the race for the National League’s second wild card and 14 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals in the NL East.

“We don’t know when the streak’s going to hit, when we’re going to get going,” Collins said. “Maybe it starts tonight. We got some big hits, we got a well-pitched game. Maybe we’ll break out (Thursday) and the next five days we pitch very good.”

The Cardinals (46-48) failed in a bid to move to .500 for the first time since June 2. St. Louis is 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and eight games behind the Diamondbacks.

“Kind of been our aim, not necessarily to get to .500 (but) get to what looks like Cardinals baseball,” Matheny said Wednesday afternoon. “And there’s a level of expectations that should go along with that.”

The Cardinals will need a better performance from Lynn and their defense than they got Wednesday, when Mike Leake gave up seven runs — four earned — while lasting just two innings. It was the third-shortest of his 221 major league starts. Leake likely would have gotten out of a four-run second inning unscathed if third baseman Jedd Gyorko had not thrown the ball away on a potential inning-ending double play.

Lynn enters Thursday on a 13 1/3-inning scoreless streak. He won his second straight start Saturday after scattering eight hits over 6 1/3 innings in the Cardinals’ 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his previous outing, he tossed seven scoreless innings against the Mets in a 6-0 win at Busch Stadium on July 9.

Lugo appeared in relief that day, allowing one run in three innings.

Lugo earned a victory Saturday, when he gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings as the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies 9-3. At the plate, Lugo helped his own cause by hitting his first career homer, a solo shot in the third inning.

Lynn is 3-3 with a 2.45 ERA in eight career appearances (six starts) against the Mets. Lugo is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two career appearances (one start) against the Cardinals.

Martinez hurts hand, D-backs fall to Reds in 11

Jul 20, 2017 23

CINCINNATI — J.D. Martinez couldn’t stop his swing and get out of the way of an inside pitch. The ball plunked him on the side of his left hand.

Just like that, Arizona’s newest addition was headed for the trainer’s room, a stunning blow to a team that felt so good about his arrival a few hours earlier.

Martinez bruised his left hand, forcing him out of his Arizona debut, and the Cincinnati Reds ended their five-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory on Wednesday night capped by Adam Duvall’s bases-loaded single in the 11th inning.

At least there’s no fracture that would sideline Martinez for a long time.

“We’re very thankful for that,” manager Torey Lovullo said.

Torey Lovullo on what was going through his mind when he decided J.D. Martinez needed to be taken out of the game. #Dbacks pic.twitter.com/27Im5D0qNV

FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) July 20, 2017

Arizona was buoyed by getting Martinez from the Tigers for three prospects, adding a run producer to the middle of the lineup. Lovullo said before the game on Wednesday that “it was an exciting moment” to write his name on the lineup card.

Martinez struck out in his first at-bat against Tim Adleman, chasing a pitch in the dirt. He couldn’t hold back his swing at a two-strike pitch that jammed him in the fourth inning, the ball hitting him squarely on the hand.

“I took a deep breath,” Lovullo said.

Martinez left the game in significant pain after his strikeout. X-rays were negative. He’s expected to miss the final game of the series on Thursday.

Arizona has dropped nine of 11.

The Reds had lost all five games since the All-Star break, including Arizona’s 11-2 victory on Tuesday night that featured nine extra-base hits by the Diamondbacks. The Reds broke their slump by rallying off T.J. McFarland (4-2) to snap a 3-3 tie.

Zack Greinke said the long layoff between his starts wasn’t an issue tonight. #Dbacks pic.twitter.com/4M9FpL17Lx

FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) July 20, 2017

Billy Hamilton singled — his third hit of the game — with one out. Zack Cozart hit a ground-rule double, and Joey Votto was walked intentionally ahead of Duvall’s single to right. Michael Lorenzen (5-2) pitched two innings for the win.

“With Billy’s speed, I knew I didn’t have to hit it that deep,” Duvall said .

Adleman, who had lost his last three starts, gave up a run-scoring double and a solo homer to David Peralta in six innings before leaving with the score 3-3.

Cozart also had an RBI single and a solo homer off Zack Greinke, who gave up three runs in five innings. Greinke had won his last three starts, including a victory over Cincinnati in his previous start on July 7.

“They felt comfortable up there, it seemed like,” Grienke said. “I pitched them sort of similar. I pitched a little better last time.”

NEW LOOK

Lovullo gave his lineup a new look with Martinez batting fifth. Paul Goldschmidt dropped from third to cleanup, and leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock swapped spots with Peralta, the No. 2 hitter. The top four hitters accounted for all three runs.

Tough night for the #Dbacks, but with J.D. Martinez, it could have been much worse. pic.twitter.com/0ZbUcUzKZI

FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) July 20, 2017

STATS

The Diamondbacks are 7-2 in extra-inning games. The Reds are 3-5. … Goldschmidt has hit safely in a career-high 17 straight road games. … Hamilton stole his 40th base, most in the majors. He also was caught stealing for the first time since May 30.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks OF Rey Fuentes went on the 10-day DL with a sore left thumb. He hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning on Tuesday night and hurt the thumb in his next at-bat.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: Taijuan Walker (6-4) lost his only career start against the Reds, giving up five runs in five innings on July 8. He’s 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in eight road starts this season.

Reds: Luis Castillo (1-2) makes his sixth major league start. He pitched at Arizona on July 8 and gave up only three hits in 6 2/3 innings for his first big league victory.

Reds break out of slump with walk-off win

Jul 20, 2017 30

CINCINNATI (AP) — J.D. Martinez couldn’t stop his swing and get out of the way of an inside pitch. The ball plunked him on the side of his left hand.

Just like that, Arizona’s newest addition was headed for the trainer’s room, a stunning blow to a team that felt so good about his arrival a few hours earlier.

Martinez bruised his left hand, forcing him out of his Arizona debut, and the Cincinnati Reds ended their five-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory on Wednesday night capped by Adam Duvall’s bases-loaded single in the 11th inning.

At least there’s no fracture that would sideline Martinez for a long time.

“We’re very thankful for that,” manager Torey Lovullo said.

Arizona was buoyed by getting Martinez from the Tigers for three prospects, adding a run producer to the middle of the lineup. Lovullo said before the game on Wednesday that “it was an exciting moment” to write his name on the lineup card.

Martinez struck out in his first at-bat against Tim Adleman, chasing a pitch in the dirt. He couldn’t hold back his swing at a two-strike pitch that jammed him in the fourth inning, the ball hitting him squarely on the hand.

“I took a deep breath,” Lovullo said.

Martinez left the game in significant pain after his strikeout. X-rays were negative. He’s expected to miss the final game of the series on Thursday.

Arizona has dropped nine of 11.

The Reds had lost all five games since the All-Star break, including Arizona’s 11-2 victory on Tuesday night that featured nine extra-base hits by the Diamondbacks. The Reds broke their slump by rallying off T.J. McFarland (4-2) to snap a 3-3 tie.

Billy Hamilton singled — his third hit of the game — with one out. Zack Cozart hit a ground-rule double, and Joey Votto was walked intentionally ahead of Duvall’s single to right. Michael Lorenzen (5-2) pitched two innings for the win.

“With Billy’s speed, I knew I didn’t have to hit it that deep,” Duvall said .

Adleman, who had lost his last three starts, gave up a run-scoring double and a solo homer to David Peralta in six innings before leaving with the score 3-3.

Cozart also had an RBI single and a solo homer off Zack Greinke, who gave up three runs in five innings. Greinke had won his last three starts, including a victory over Cincinnati in his previous start on July 7.

“They felt comfortable up there, it seemed like,” Grienke said. “I pitched them sort of similar. I pitched a little better last time.”

NEW LOOK

Lovullo gave his lineup a new look with Martinez batting fifth. Paul Goldschmidt dropped from third to cleanup, and leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock swapped spots with Peralta, the No. 2 hitter. The top four hitters accounted for all three runs.

STATS

The Diamondbacks are 7-2 in extra-inning games. The Reds are 3-5. … Goldschmidt has hit safely in a career-high 17 straight road games. … Hamilton stole his 40th base, most in the majors. He also was caught stealing for the first time since May 30.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: OF Rey Fuentes went on the 10-day DL with a sore left thumb. He hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning on Tuesday night and hurt the thumb in his next at-bat.

Reds: C Devin Mesoraco was activated off the 10-day DL after recovering from a strained left shoulder that had sidelined him since July 5. He had a pinch-hit single in the sixth.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: Taijuan Walker (6-4) lost his only career start against the Reds, giving up five runs in five innings on July 8. He’s 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in eight road starts this season.

Reds: Luis Castillo (1-2) makes his sixth major league start. He pitched at Arizona on July 8 and gave up only three hits in 6 2/3 innings for his first big league victory.

Brewers' skid hits 4 games as Pirates walk off winners

Jul 19, 2017 38

PITTSBURGH — Max Moroff got his first career game-ending hit with a single in the 10th inning, pulling the Pittsburgh Pirates closer to the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.

Moroff raised his right arm and ran to first base while his seventh big league hit scored Josh Harrison. Teammate Gregory Polanco hoisted the rookie into the air as the Pirates celebrated their fourth straight win and 10th in 12 games. They are four games back of the Brewers. Pittsburgh and Milwaukee conclude a four-game set Thursday.

More Brewers coverage

Harrison reached on a double against former Pirates reliever Jared Hughes (3-2), who got his first loss since April 18.

Pittsburgh blew a lead in the eighth before tying it in the ninth against closer Corey Knebel. Francisco Cervelli singled home Moroff, who was pinch-running for David Freese. The rally began with Freese’s walk and Polanco’s single. It was the fifth blown save this year for Knebel.

Domingo Santana hit a solo homer off Juan Nicasio in the eighth to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Santana also doubled and scored in the first and finished 3 for 4.

His homer was the second given up in the last four days by Nicasio, who hadn’t allowed a home run all season until Sunday.

Tony Watson (5-2) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win.

Pirates starter Gerrit Cole went seven innings and struck out a season-high 10. It was the first time a Pirates pitcher has struck out 10 this season and the most for Cole since May 22, 2015. Six of his strikeouts were looking.

The Pirates tied it in the first when Starling Marte singled, advanced to third on Harrison’s single and scored on Andrew McCutchen’s sacrifice fly.

Milwaukee starter Zach Davies gave up an unearned run and eight hits over seven innings. He struck out four.

The Pirates nearly scored in the second, but Davies made a diving stop on a suicide-squeeze attempt by Cole and recovered in time to throw out Cervelli at home. That was the last time the Pirates advanced a runner into scoring position until the ninth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: 2B Eric Sogard (left ankle strain) made his first rehab appearance with Class A Wisconsin. He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. Sogard has been on the disabled list since July 6.

Pirates: 1B Josh Bell did not start but is expected to be fine after getting into a collision at first base with Eric Thames on Tuesday. He went 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter.

UP NEXT

Brewers: Jimmy Nelson (8-4, 3.27 ERA) will pitch in the series finale. Nelson has a team-leading 11 quality starts.

Pirates: Jameson Taillon (5-3, 3.06 ERA) will start. He has the team’s best ERA among starters, but the Pirates are just 6-6 when he pitches.

Giants rally to top Indians, 5-4

Jul 19, 2017 36

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Buster Posey pinch hit a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Wednesday.

Posey, on a scheduled rest day, doubled off the wall on a 3-2 slider on the seventh offering from Indians reliever Bryan Shaw (2-4).

Indians first baseman Carlos Santana booted an infield grounder that figured prominently in the three-run rally.

With two aboard and one out, Conor Gillaspie hit a ground ball that skipped through Santana’s legs. Brandon Belt, who drew a one-out walk off Boone Logan, scored and Brandon Crawford went to third.

Posey’s hit scored Crawford and Gillaspie to make it 5-4.

The Indians lost for the sixth time in seven games as they concluded a 1-5 West Coast trip. The American League Central front-runners fell to 4-13 in interleague and are winless in six interleague series.

The Giants improved to 5-8 in interleague play as they won their first interleague series since sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays June 17-19 of last year.

Dyson pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fifth save. Dyson got Jose Ramirez to fly out to deep right after Cleveland loaded the bases on a single, a hit batsman and a walk.

Cory Gearrin (4-3) faced just one batter in the top of the eighth.

Denard Span of the Giants was 2 for 4 with two extra-base hits including his fourth career “splash” home run.

Span doubled leading off the game and scored on Crawford’s infield grounder.

His seventh home run of the season off starter Carlos Carrasco made it a 3-2 game in the fifth.

Michael Brantley was 2 for 4 and collected his 1,000th career hit in the eighth inning when he doubled off Giants reliever Steven Okert.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (neck stiffness) will have his next turn in the rotation pushed back at least two days, manager Terry Francona said. RHP Danny Salazar will come off the DL (shoulder soreness) to start Saturday’s game and either Kluber or RHP Josh Tomlin will start Sunday’s game. The 2014 Cy Young Award winner didn’t throw a bullpen session on his scheduled between-starts throwing day on Wednesday. Kluber gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings in his last start on July 15.

Giants: INF/OF Eduardo Nunez is experiencing lingering discomfort from a left hamstring injury he missed 20 games with last month. Manager Bruce Bochy rested Nunez on Wednesday but said his condition isn’t serious, noting he wouldn’t have hesitated using him as a pinch hitter or defensive substitution.

UP NEXT

Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer will pitch Friday’s series home opener against Toronto. Bauer lasted just 2/3 of inning in his last start on Sunday in which he threw 43 pitches and gave up four runs in a 7-3 loss to Oakland.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will make his first home start since suffering a Grade 2 AC joint sprain in a dirt biking accident on April 19 as the Giants open a four-game series with San Diego. The 2014 World Series MVP gave up three runs and four hits including two home runs to the Padres on Saturday in his first start since coming off the DL.

James Jones ends playing career, joins Suns front office

Jul 19, 2017 27

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has a new three-year contract and an additional front office helper in longtime NBA player James Jones.

Suns owner Robert Sarver extended McDonough’s contract through the 2019-20 season and hired Jones as vice president of basketball operations.

Jones will report directly to McDonough in the new position.

“Today’s a good day,” Sarver said at a news conference Wednesday. “Ryan’s sticking around and James is joining. I think we’re just in a better position moving forward today than we were yesterday.”

McDonough is entering his fifth season as general manager and is the architect of an exceedingly young roster built with draft picks.

“I think he’s developed a keen ability to analyze talent,” Sarver said, “and draft some key players for this franchise that I think we’re going to have the privilege of watching develop for a long time here.”

Sarver said he’s not a patient man but said he has learned a lot about being an owner over the past 13 years and decided he must wait for this young core to develop and eventually compete with the top teams in the Western Conference.

“Right now I think I just have a clear vision of what we want to do and how we want to get there,” Sarver said, “so I have no choice but to be patient.”

Jones played the past 14 seasons in the NBA, two with the Suns, and was part of three championship teams — two in Miami and one in Cleveland. He also was secretary-treasurer of the NBA players association and helped develop its collective bargaining agreement with the league.

After playing in the last seven NBA Finals, Jones said he decided it was time to end his playing career that included being a teammate to the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosch and Steve Nash.

“What they taught me was that the process and the journey to being excellent, to being elite, is one that requires dedication every single minute of the day,” Jones said, “so that’s what I hope to bring to the organization. That’s what I hope to exemplify as I move forward with these guys to give Phoenix what it deserves, which is a great basketball team and a championship organization.”

McDonough said he and Sarver had their eyes on Jones for a front office job for some time. The details were worked out when the three were attending the Las Vegas Summer League last week.

“I know how well-respected he is around the league,” McDonough said. “When he speaks, people listen.”

Sarver said Jones “is intimately familiar with what it takes to win a championship. As I think I’ve said before to some of our season ticket holders, it’s really the only thing this organization hasn’t accomplished.”

That goal still seems a long way off. Phoenix hasn’t made the playoffs the last seven seasons, the longest such streak in the franchise’s 50-year history.

McDonough noted that the team had four teenagers on its opening night roster last year and at one point in March had a younger starting lineup than 15 of the NCAA’s Sweet 16 teams.

“It’s hard to win with young players,” McDonough said. “We all understand that.’

But he said he and Sarver are convinced that developing from within — with a young group headed by Devin Booker and including recent first-round pick Josh Jackson — is the best way to get the team back in contention.

A title contender needs three, maybe four, star players, Sarver said.

“We have studied Golden State and Oklahoma City and some of the teams who have tried this to look at how they develop the players,” McDonough said, “what the time line is and kind of when it took off. And I think over the next couple of years we’ll have the opportunity to accelerate our growth.”

Statement from Dan Gilbert Regarding James Jones

Congratulations to James Jones on what has been one of the most successful NBA careers a player can have. Being widely known as one of the best teammates ever is possibly the greatest tribute a player could receive and he has earned that reputation with hard work, incredible consistency, dependability, strong character and trust.

He is a champion and role model on the court, in the locker room, in the community and as a mentor and friend to many across the NBA. Champ is one of those special people that helps create success wherever they are, in many different ways, with character and brains that are on un-paralleled levels.

We wish Champ, his wife Destiny and their children, J.D., Jadynn and Jodie, the very best as they move into the next phase of their basketball journey and life in Phoenix. We also thank Champ and Destiny greatly for the positive impact they made as Cavaliers and in the Cleveland community as well.