Phillies

MLB Notes: Red Sox reportedly used Apple Watch to steal signs

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MLB Notes: Red Sox reportedly used Apple Watch to steal signs

NEW YORK -- Looking for any edge in an age-old rivalry, the Boston Red Sox got called out in a high-tech sign-stealing scheme they ran on the New York Yankees.

The first-place Red Sox admitted to Major League Baseball that they used an Apple Watch to relay signals from opposing catchers to Boston players, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Sign stealing has long been a part of the game, but employing electronic gadgets to do it is against the rules.

MLB is looking into allegations levied by the Yankees after a series between the teams last month in Boston. The Times said the Red Sox told MLB investigators that Boston manager John Farrell, general Dave Dombrowski and other team executives were not aware of the operation, which had been going on for weeks.

Commissioner Rob Manfred, who was at Fenway Park on Tuesday night as part of a previously planned visit, said he wanted to get the matter resolved quickly. He didn't comment about possible penalties.

"The only thing that I can tell you about repercussions is that to the extent that there was a violation on either side -- and I'm not saying that there was -- to the extent that there was a violation on either side, we are 100 percent comfortable that it is not an ongoing issue -- that if it happened, it is no longer happening," he said (see full story).

Pirates: Manager Hurdle, GM Huntington get extensions
PITTSBURGH -- Neal Huntington arrived in Pittsburgh a decade ago confident he had the right plan to turn around the floundering Pirates. Three years later, the general manager hired Clint Hurdle to take the building blocks the front office put in place and mold it into finished -- and winning -- major-league product.

Together, Huntington and Hurdle oversaw the franchise's end to a generation of misery. While the buzz provided by three straight playoff berths from 2013-15 has dulled with Pirates entering the final month of a wildly uneven 2017 season well out of things in the NL Central, the resolve of the men who oversaw baseball's renaissance in Pittsburgh has not.

Rather than panic or split, Huntington and Hurdle are doubling down. The Pirates signed both to four-year contract extensions on Tuesday that will keep them in Pittsburgh through 2021.

"We were able to accomplish some things in the last seven years that have meaning," Hurdle said Tuesday. "There are things out there that have more meaning that we want to accomplish together" (see full story).

Cubs: Arrieta undergoes MRI, iffy for next start
PITTSBURGH -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta underwent an MRI on his achy right hamstring on Tuesday, and manager Joe Maddon says his team's ace could have his next start pushed back.

Arrieta left with one out in the third inning of Monday's loss to Pittsburgh after experiencing what he described as a cramp in the hamstring. Arrieta said afterward he felt fine, but the team opted for an MRI as a precaution.

Arrieta is scheduled to start on Saturday when the first-place Cubs host second-place Milwaukee at Wrigley Field. Maddon said it's likely the team will exercise some caution regardless of the MRI results.

If Arrieta can't go on Saturday, Chicago would likely use Mike Montgomery to fill in.

Arrieta had been 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA since the All-Star break before Monday's shortened outing.

Marlins: Families travel with team as Irma looms
MIAMI -- With Hurricane Irma bearing down on South Florida, the Miami Marlins are allowing families of players and staff to travel with the team on their upcoming road trip.

"Jeffrey (Loria) ultimately made the decision that all the families are going to get to go with us, travel the whole trip, kids and the whole thing, and really provide a service for our families, which is really very nice of the organization," manager Don Mattingly said, referring to the Marlins' owner.

The Marlins will be leaving Miami after Wednesday night's game against the Washington Nationals for a seven-game road trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia.

"We all feel the same way, you all feel the same way too. If you had your kids here and you're leaving on a trip, it's not the best feeling to leave your family somewhere," Mattingly said. "We really don't have a family trip so it is actually probably a good thing. To me, I would like to see us have a couple trips where the families could travel with us and be a part of it. So it's a pretty good opportunity to see what it looks like" (see full story).

Marlins continue fire sale by trading Marcell Ozuna

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Marlins continue fire sale by trading Marcell Ozuna

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Miami has agreed to trade left fielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, the third All-Star jettisoned by the Marlins this month in an unrelenting payroll purge under new CEO Derek Jeter.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement had not been announced and was subject to a physical.

"Ozuna is one of those names that you have to have great respect, especially as much we see him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said at the winter meetings. "We're at that necessary point of talking through health always, no matter what the player is. It's not just a formality."

An All-Star the past two seasons, the 27-year-old Ozuna set career bests this season with a .312 average, 37 homers and 124 RBIs. He is eligible for salary arbitration and likely will earn more than $10 million. He can become a free agent after the 2019 season.

Miami traded second baseman Dee Gordon to Seattle last Thursday for three prospects and dealt right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, the reigning NL MVP, to the New York Yankees on Monday for second baseman Starlin Castro and two prospects. The Cardinals had a deal in place for Stanton last week, but he invoked his no-trade clause and blocked the move.

"I was just very impressed the fact that we were involved in those conversations," Matheny said. "Unfortunately, that didn't work, but I think that just kind of parlayed into, OK, now what are we going to do?"

Ozuna likely will be in the outfielder with Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham. St. Louis could trade right fielder Stephen Piscotty.

Matheny wouldn't commit to an alignment.

"Something we're appreciative of is the humility of our players to maybe go to a spot where they haven't been before," he said. "You go in with your ideals of what you would like to see, and you're going to have to be flexible."

Center fielder Christian Yelich could be the next to exit the downsizing Marlins, bought by Bruce Sherman's group on Oct. 2.

Miami had a $116 million payroll on Aug. 31, up from $81 million at the end of last year, and is intent on reducing obligations. Stanton was owed $295 million over the next decade, and Gordon $38 million through 2020.

Source: Phillies finalizing 2-year deal with Tommy Hunter

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Source: Phillies finalizing 2-year deal with Tommy Hunter

Matt Klentak keeps adding to his bullpen.

The Phillies are finalizing a two-year deal with reliever Tommy Hunter, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury on Tuesday night.

The experienced right-hander will join veteran righty Pat Neshek, who is on the verge of re-signing with the Phillies, multiple sources said on Monday (see story).

Hunter, 31, has played for five teams over parts of 10 seasons. In 61 games (58 2/3 innings) with the Rays in 2017, Hunter posted career bests with a 2.61 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and .202 opponents' batting average, to go with 64 strikeouts and 14 walks. He started his career as a starter after he was taken in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Rangers. Since 2013, he has come out of the bullpen, compiling a 3.12 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.

In 2011, Hunter was traded to the Orioles from Texas when current Phillies president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was in Baltimore. MacPhail left the Orioles after the 2011 season.

Hunter and Neshek will complement an already promising group of Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Adam Morgan, Edubray Ramos and Hoby Milner.

"I think if we can run out a bullpen of seven or eight guys that are all high-leverage type arms, then we can start matching up in the fifth or sixth inning," Klentak said Monday at the winter meetings. "If there are days when our young starters throw 100 pitches to get us through five or six innings, we shouldn't be in a position where that’s taxing our bullpen because we have the ability to carry an eighth bullpen member next year. We shouldn’t be in a position where we lose our competitiveness in the sixth inning because we should have a deep bullpen where we start throwing really good players out there early in the game. If it turns out that’s the best way for us to improve our run prevention, then that’s the way to do."