Phillies

Galvis to Triple A; Amaro won't rush trade calls

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Galvis to Triple A; Amaro won't rush trade calls

LOS ANGELES – You might be wondering why the Phillies acquired a 38-year-old infielder who is hitting .053 (2 for 38) on Thursday.

Freddy Galvis is the reason the Phils picked up John McDonald from the Cleveland Indians in a trade for a player to be named later.

Galvis’ playing time has shrunk recently -- entering Thursday night’s game against the Dodgers he’d had just three at-bats in the previous nine games -- and the Phillies’ brass doesn’t want the 23-year-old infielder’s development to stagnate.

So, Galvis was sent to Triple A Lehigh Valley after Thursday night’s game. McDonald will join the club Friday.

Neither manager Charlie Manuel nor GM Ruben Amaro Jr. would confirm that Galvis would be the player sent out prior to Thursday's game, but the writing on the wall was pretty clear.

“I think Freddy has to have some at-bats,” Manuel said. “It’s hard to play every now and then. We have tremendous expectations for Freddy. If he’s going to play once a week -- that’s not enough. But we’ll see.”

Galvis has appeared in 54 games and is hitting .207 in 164 at-bats.

With Chase Utley having come off the disabled list last week, Manuel seems keen on riding his veteran infielders -- Utley at second, Jimmy Rollins at shortstop and Michael Young at third -- to see if the Phillies can make a surge in the standings. If the Phils don’t make a run, management could trade any one of the three aforementioned players and Galvis would be right back to take over the vacated spot.

The Phils entered play Thursday night at 38-41, seven games back in the NL East. The remaining 17 games before the All-Star break could determine whether the Phils hang on to their core players or look to trade talent that could also include Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Carlos Ruiz. The Phils are not looking to give anyone away, but would listen to any team that presents an attractive package. For Lee, it would have to be super-attractive.

The coming 10-game homestand includes seven games against first-place Atlanta and second-place Washington, so it could be a major difference-maker -- positive or negative -- for the Phils.

Amaro said Thursday that he expects to ride his team’s core “down to the wire.” The trade deadline is July 31.

“The reason I say that is because [the races] are still really dicey,” he said. “No one has really stepped out and gone crazy. The Dodgers are playing their butts off now all of a sudden. Now they’re six games back and they’re in it. We’re only seven back.

“We had one streak where we’ve really played well. And we’ve only had a brief period where we’ve had our whole team on the field. We’ll find out. I honestly think it’s going to end up going to July 20 or July 30 or somewhere around then and we’ll decide which direction we’re going to go.

“If we have to do things to improve the team, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are selling or giving up. It may mean we change some areas and improve others.”

MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON — Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

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Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker's time as the manager of the Washington Nationals is over after two seasons, two NL East titles and zero playoff series victories.

The Nationals announced Friday that they would not be bringing Baker back. His two-year deal with the club is expiring.

The contracts for the members of Baker's coaching staff also are finished. The team said it will work with its new manager to fill those positions.

The moves come the week after Washington was eliminated from its NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs with a 9-8 loss at home in Game 5. The Nationals also were bounced from the postseason in the NLDS round in 2016 -- also with a Game 5 loss at home by one run, that time against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This outcome, essentially, is what Baker was worried about as far back as spring training in February, when he made clear his desire for a new contract, knowing his was up after 2017.

Before the series against the Cubs began, Baker was asked about his possible future in Washington.

"I've given some thought to some things, but we were told that we were waiting until after the season to make a determination," he said at the time. "There's a good chance I'll be back."

He expected negotiations to pick up after the season ended (see full story).

Turner, Taylor repay Dodgers' patience by sharing NLCS MVP
CHICAGO -- Justin Turner and Chris Taylor shared MVP honors in the NL Championship Series, repaying a Dodgers organization willing to roll the dice on players whose big league careers were stalled.

In Turner's case, it was then-bench coach Tim Wallach who rediscovered him playing in a Cal State-Fullerton alumni baseball game four years ago, after his career appeared all but over.

In Taylor's case, it was Los Angeles' willingness to gamble that an offseason of grueling workouts would enable the young utilityman to rebuild his swing in a matter of months.

The co-MVPs turned up in the interview room together after the Dodgers eliminated the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs 11-1 in Game 5. They were champagne-soaked with hats turned backward, a pair of goggles still perched on Turner's head. Fittingly, they doused each other with praise.

"He's a dynamic player and a table setter," said Turner, who hit .333 for the series, with two home runs and seven RBIs. "When he goes, we usually go as a team."

"I talk to him as much as I can. He's one of the reasons I decided to make the changes I did," said Taylor, who finished at .316 with two homers and three RBIs. Both men also walked five times, as many as the entire Cubs roster (see full story).

Rare Jackie Robinson rookie jersey up for auction
NEW YORK -- A rare jersey from Jackie Robinson's historic rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers 70 years ago could be available for someone with a few spare millions.

The jersey, part of a Heroes of Sports offering by Heritage Auctions, has been certified by Mears, one of the top memorabilia authentication companies. It is accompanied by a letter from Robinson's widow, Rachel, saying it is the one brought home by the Hall of Famer at the end of the 1947 season, when he became the first black player in the majors and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

"This is the only one known from the `47 season, the only one that survived," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "It stayed in his closet for five decades plus until it was eventually sold to a private collector in the early 2000s."

The online auction opened Friday and closes at 11 p.m. on Nov. 19. The entire collection is from one owner and can be viewed on Heritage's website. Other items available for bidding include Babe Ruth's pants from the Hall of Fame induction in 1939, Keith Hernandez's 1978 Gold Glove award, a Wilt Chamberlain jersey from 1966, Bill Vukovich's Indianapolis 500 trophy from 1953 and Muhammad Ali's shoes from his fight against Ken Norton in 1973.

Ivy said the Robinson jersey has been valued at more than $3 million. He wouldn't be surprised to see it exceed that.

"It's tough to estimate a piece like this -- it's a one of a kind," he said. "As far as collectibles a rookie (jersey) is always sought after, something that's significant."