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Nationals Name Dave Martinez Manager

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The Washington Nationals shocked the MLB by firing manager Dusty Baker after the Chicago Cubs  eliminated them from the NLDS. Though Baker led the team to consecutive NL East titles in his two seasons, the team evidently believed change was necessary, a move that reportedly upset some of the team. Baker’s calm presence lifted the Nationals from the tumult of 2015. The move is certainly a head-scratcher.

It did not take very long for Washington to find its new man. MLB.com reported this morning that Dave Martinez, ironically the bench coach of the Cubs, has agreed to become the Nats’ next skipper, though Washington has not yet confirmed this.

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Dusty Baker’s firing stunned the baseball world. (MLB.com)

Martinez comes to the nation’s capital after spending the past ten seasons as Joe Maddon’s first mate in Tampa Bay and Chicago. He helped Maddon to the 2008 Fall Classic with the Rays and the Cubbies’ triumph over Cleveland a year ago.

Though the Nationals are stacked with ability, Martinez’ task isn’t slim. Washington can’t ever seem to get it done when it matters the most and has not advanced past the Division Series despite qualifying four of the last six seasons. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Max Scherzer, Daniel Murphy and Steven Strasburg all had terrific seasons this year, but it proved all for naught once again. Martinez will have to find a way to get his new team past the first hurdle, something that Davey Johnson, Matt Williams and Baker could not do.

There’s been a plethora of managerial firings since the regular season came to an end. Detroit, both New York teams, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington have all parted ways with their skippers. What’s even more surprising is that four of those teams have already found their new men.

In addition to Martinez, Mickey Callaway replaces Terry Collins for the Mets, Alex Cora replaces John Farrell for the Red Sox and Ron Gardenhire replaces Brad Ausmus for the Tigers. The Phillies and Yankees are still searching.

Check back with Home Run Daily for updates on the managerial hunt and all your baseball needs!

American League

April 2019’s Biggest MLB Stories

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Yahoo! Sports

Holy smokes, the first season of the 2019 MLB season is already in the books, and stories were abundant in this one. From certain players tearing it up and others struggling to records being broken, April 2019 was certainly eventful in the baseball world. Here are the biggest stories, happenings and surprises from the first month of the 2019 campaign.

Albert the Great

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UPI.

At 39, Albert Pujols might not be the revered slugger that he was in his prime, but the Anaheim Angel is still getting it done and joined elite company in April. His two-run double off of Kansas City’s Homer Bailey on April 28 gave him career RBIs no. 1,996 and 1,997, putting him ahead of Barry Bonds and in sole possession of no. 3 on the all-time list. Only Alex Rodriguez (2,086) and Hank Aaron (2,297) remain ahead of him. Though it’s unlikely that he’ll ever catch the latter, Pujols could pass A-Rod with a healthy and productive 2019 and 2020.

C&C on a tear

Outfielders Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers spent April wreaking havoc on National League pitching. Bellinger appears to have regained his form after a sophomore slump in 2018 and was the first month’s best hitter. The 23-year-old currently has the NL Triple Crown with a .431 AVG, 14 HR and 37 RBI. Reigning MVP Yelich is picking up where he left off last year, and owns a share of the homer lead in addition to a .353 AVG and 34 RBI. It’s obviously still early and both of these guys will cool off at some point, but they are as good as it gets in the Senior Circuit right now.

K&K still on the sidelines

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New York Post.

Two of this past winter’s most high-profile free agents still remain unsigned as the calendar turns to May. 2015 American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and 2x Reliever of the Year Craig Kimbrel are still without homes and MLB.com Insider Ken Rosenthal reports that it may be as long as June before either star signs. Both men have different contract desires, as Rosenthal reports that Kimbrel does not want a one-year deal whilst Keuchel is aiming for the short-term. There are plenty of teams that would love the services of either, but it looks as if a signing won’t occur any time soon.

Medical costs soaring in the Bronx

The New York Yankees had enough injuries in the first month of the season to fill an entire hospital ward. Sophomore manager Aaron Boone has had the difficult task of holding his team together with more than half his starting lineup on the disabled list. Miguel Andujar, Dellin Betances, Greg Bird, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Giancarlo Stanton are all currently laid up. Considering half of the team’s minor league system has seemingly played in the past month, New York has done pretty well and Boone should be commended for his work. But fans in the Bronx will feel much better when all their superstars return.

Transaction declined?

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NESN.

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale is one of the MLB’s most dominant lefties and has been since he became a starter in 2012, but he’s been MIA for the first month of this year. Fans accustomed to the 7x All-Star dazzling batters with his slider would be shocked to see that he’s currently 0-5 with a 6.30 ERA. There’s still every chance that he can turn it around, but the Red Sox and their Nation have not enjoyed their ace struggling so mightily. Sale has taken full responsibility for his failures, but if his team wants to repeat as World Series champions, they’ll need him to regain his form.

Slow start for Harper in Philly

The most high-profile free agent acquisition in recent MLB history hasn’t gotten off to the start that his new team was expecting. 26-year-old Bryce Harper is having a rougher time acclimating to the Philadelphia Phillies than anyone would have thought. Through the first month of what is to be a very long tenure in the City of Brotherly Love, Harper is batting .231 with 6 HR and 20 RBI. He’s far too talented to struggle like this long-term, but considering what the Phillies are paying him, they can’t be too happy.

Vlad Jr. makes long awaited debut

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CBS Sports.

The baseball world had been chomping at the bit for some time to see no.1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the big league level. However, the Toronto Blue Jays waited patiently with the young phenom and allowed him to spend the end of 2018 and the beginning of this season with Triple-A Buffalo. Fans finally got their wish when the Jays made the call last week and brought Guerrero up for his MLB debut on April 26 vs. Oakland. A proud Vlad Sr. looked on as his son ripped a double in the bottom of the ninth for his first career knock. There will surely be many more to come.

Mets endure deGrom TJ scare

Jacob deGrom is currently the best pitcher baseball has to offer and he hasn’t slowed on the heels of his masterful 2018 campaign. However, the Mets and their fans had to endure a brief panic when it looked as if the superstar righty had been claimed by the curse of Tommy John. It turned out to be nothing more than a scare and deGrom only missed one start, but baseball fans in Queens surely thought the sky was falling at the time.

Ichiro retires in grand fashion

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Sporting News.

Though it happened in March actually and most fans may have forgotten about it by now, it’s still one of best stories to come from baseball in some time. The Seattle Mariners opened the 2019 season vs. the Athletics at Tokyo Dome in Japan’s capital. It was undoubtedly an amazing experience for all players involved, but it stood out for one player especially. 45-year-old Ichiro Suzuki played the series with the Mariners and called it a career after the second game. Not many foreign players in Major League Baseball can say that they played their last game in front of their native country and it’s an honor Ichiro more than earned throughout his 28-year professional career in Japan and North America. An undoubted future Hall of Famer and one of the best hitters of all time, Ichiro walked off an MLB field for the last time to a thunderous ovation from his countrymen. Thanks for the memories, no.51.

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deGrom Tommy John Scare Apparently Over For Mets

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Mets superstar Jacob deGrom feels better after his Tommy John scare yesterday (NESN).

The New York Mets made an announcement on Friday that surely had baseball fans in Queens screaming and running around in circles.

The team’s golden goose Jacob deGrom, the National League’s reigning Cy Young winner, was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Manager Mickey Callaway then stated his ace would placed on the 10-day disabled list and undergo an MRI on his right elbow after it was reportedly “barking” after a Friday bullpen session.

However, the Mets have apparently backed down from DEFCON 1, as deGrom threw today in the outfield at New Busch Stadium and told the media afterwards that he felt okay.

“It’s just a little sore,” he said to ESPN. deGrom has been experiencing illness and recent weeks and went on to attribute that to the discomfort in his arm, stating he decided it was better to be safe than sorry.

“I had been sick since Atlanta and kinda had a whole-body soreness. For me when I don’t throw, it seems that things pop up and I wasn’t on a normal routine. I was trying to just get enough in to be able to make my start and I felt a little soreness in my elbow. I decided to say something and talked it over with Mickey and [Mets pitching coach] Dave [Eiland].

Fans across baseball knew exactly what the Mets were getting at when the news broke. When coupled together, “T” and “J” are the two most infamous letters in the game, and it looked like the notorious operation was stalking its most high-profile victim in years.

deGrom has already undergone Tommy John surgery in once before, but that was back in 2010 when he was in the rookie class Appalachian League. Nine years later he’s the best pitcher in baseball, and it would be a horrible shame to see his meteoric momentum halted so abruptly.

It remains to be seen if deGrom will miss a prolonged period of time, or if there is actual damage to his elbow, but Mets fans can let out a sigh of relief and breathe easy, at least for the time being.

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American League

Red Sox Call Up Top Prospect Chavis

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Top Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis was recalled for the first time on Friday.

With two infielders being placed on the DL and desperate for any kind of spark they can get, the Boston Red Sox called up their top prospect Michael Chavis (MLB no. 75) from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.

Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Nunez were both placed on the disabled list this week with knee and back injuries, respectively. And with super utility man Brock Holt out as well with an eye injury, Boston’s infield has become quite depleted in a hurry. Infielder Tzu-Wei Lin was recalled as well as the stumbling Red Sox open up a three game set in Tampa with a Good Friday matchup.

Boston hasn’t yet announced if Chavis will be in the lineup tonight, but the team is evidently hoping that the presence of the 23-year-old can provide some kind of a spark. Boston has struggled considerably so far in the young season and is coming off consecutive embarrassing losses to arch-rival New York. At 6-13, the defending World Series champs are dead last in the AL East.

Chavis, on the other hand, has risen through Boston’s minor league system quickly despite a setback last season. A PED suspension cost him half of 2018 after he was busted for Turinabol, an anabolic-androgenic steroid. He denied knowingly taking any banned substance but played well enough after his return to be promoted from Double-A to Triple-A.

Can Chavis provide a boost for the struggling Sox and help them shake off their World Series hangover?

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