A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
GIVING IT BACK TO THEM
The Astros have planned a weekend of giveaway items at Minute Maid Park that's sure to pique the interest of the visiting New York Yankees.
Star second baseman Jose Altuve and his Houston teammates were loudly heckled in May when they played at Yankee Stadium for the first time since their sign-stealing was revealed. The Astros beat New York in the 2017 AL Championship Series on their way to the World Series championship, and topped them again in the 2019 ALCS on Altuve’s game-ending home run.
Fans attending the series opener in Houston this weekend will get a replica 2019 AL champions trophy. The Saturday game includes a 2019 AL champions replica ring and the Sunday matchup offers an Altuve jersey. The promotions were announced last month.
Altuve and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, meanwhile, will not play in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Both players were chosen as reserves for the showcase in Denver.
Altuve cited a need for time off to deal with unspecified “issues” with his left leg as his reason for pulling out of the game. Correa wants to spend time with his wife, Daniella, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom previously bowed out.
BAUER LEAVE EXTENDED
Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended by seven days through July 15 by Major League Baseball and the players’ union while investigations continue into allegations of sexual misconduct against the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher.
Bauer was placed on seven days’ paid leave on July 2 under the joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy adopted by MLB and the players’ union in 2015. The paid leave has been repeatedly extended for players in the past while investigations proceed.
Police in Pasadena, California, and MLB are investigating the allegations made against Bauer by a Southern California woman who says the pitcher choked her to the point where she lost consciousness and punched her during two sexual encounters earlier this year. The woman obtained a protection order against Bauer last month under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.
"We continue to refute (the woman’s) allegations in the strongest possible terms and Mr. Bauer vehemently denies her account of their two meetings,” the pitcher’s agents, Jon Fetterolf and Rachel Luba, said in a statement.
The Chicago Cubs might be viewing the July 30 trade deadline a little differently after an 11-game losing streak dropped them from first place to below .500.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer acknowledges the team could be a seller rather than a buyer going into the July 30 date to make deals.
Stars Kris Bryant, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo are set to become free agents after this season. Hoyer hinted that, barring a resurgence, the club's marquee names might available if the deal is right.
“I think turnover is inevitable,” Hoyer said Thursday. “We’ve probably been as stable as anyone, but at some point there is going to have to be some turnover with the roster, in part because we’re not seeing the results we need to."
“When you’re at this moment and your playoff odds get into single digits at this time of the year, you have to keep one eye on the future,” he said. "You’d have to be irresponsible to not take those phone calls and think through them.”
ON THE MEND
White Sox slugger Eloy Jiménez starts his rehab assignment with Class A Winston-Salem, working his way back from a torn pectoral muscle that’s sidelined him since spring training.
There is no timeline yet for when the AL Central-leading White Sox expect to have Jiménez back in the lineup. When he returns, it’s likely he’ll see time at DH as well as the outfield.
The 24-year-old Jiménez hit 31 home runs as a rookie in 2019 and batted .296 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs during the pandemic-shortened season. Despite a rash of injuries and a lack of power -- they’re last in the AL with 86 home runs -- the White Sox own the biggest division lead in the majors.
MAKING HIS PITCH
Orioles ace John Means is scheduled to throw three or four innings in a rehab start for Double-A Bowie as he comes back from a strained left shoulder. If all goes well, the 2019 All-Star will have a final rehab start with Triple-A Norfolk next week and join the team after the All-Star break in Kansas City.
“I’m projecting that his next start with us will be early on in the Rays series (July 19-21),” manager Brandon Hyde said.
The 28-year-old Means is 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA in 12 starts, including a no-hitter at Seattle. He departed in the first inning against Cleveland on June 5 and went on the injured list.
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