MLB Notes: Bush-Rothbaum group reportedly halts bid for Marlins

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MLB Notes: Bush-Rothbaum group reportedly halts bid for Marlins

MIAMI -- A group led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Quogue Capital investment fund founder Wayne Rothbaum has halted its bid to buy the Miami Marlins, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday.

The person confirmed the decision to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the groups that have been involved in negotiations aren't commenting publicly. Massachusetts businessman Tagg Romney was part of the Bush-Rothbaum group before pulling out more than a month ago, the person said.

The latest twists in the Marlins sale saga leave groups led by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and by South Florida businessman Jorge Mas still in contention to buy the franchise.

Marlins president David Samson declined to comment on the status of sale efforts, which became public in February.

Major League Baseball owners meet next week in Chicago, where the Marlins situation may be discussed. At the All-Star Game a month ago in Miami, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the team soon expected to choose a winning bid, and each group had offered about the same amount of money.

Jeter's group bid about $1.3 billion to buy the team from Jeffrey Loria but has not yet raised the money needed. Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry.

Nationals: Strasburg feels good after simulated game
WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg said he felt good after a four-inning simulated start on Wednesday.

Strasburg is on the 10-day disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement. He threw 57 pitches before Washington's game against the Miami Marlins.

"It feels really good," Strasburg said. "I'm definitely happy with it."

Strasburg, 10-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 20 starts, hasn't pitched since July 23, when he left his outing at Arizona after two innings.

Outfielder Jayson Werth batted against Strasburg on Wednesday. On the DL since June 4 with a left foot contusion, Werth said he expects to start a rehab assignment in the next week or two.

"I haven't been running for nine weeks now," Werth said. "Probably going to take some time to get the legs in shape, get up to speed."

Werth batted .262 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 47 games before the injury.

Yankees: Sabathia MRI shows no new damage to knee
TORONTO -- A scan showed no new damage to CC Sabathia's arthritic right knee, but the status of the New York Yankees left-hander for Sunday night's start against Boston remains unclear.

Forced from Tuesday's loss to Toronto after three innings, Sabathia returned to New York for an MRI on Wednesday. Manager Joe Girardi says the team was happy with the results, but he will wait until returning home Friday before making a decision on Sabathia's next turn.

"When you have a guy that has a banged-up knee, you worry that there's more damage," Girardi said.

Sabathia has worn his current knee brace since the second half of 2015. Eligible for free agency at the end of the World Series, the 17-year veteran is 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 19 starts.

"The key for him has been bringing stability back to the knee and the brace has been a big part of that," Girardi said. "But when you're landing and you have pain every pitch, you're going to have a hard time. That's what we saw last night, so we've got to knock that out" (see full story).

At The Yard Podcast: Mounting injuries; Edwin Diaz could've been a Phillie; bat flips

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At The Yard Podcast: Mounting injuries; Edwin Diaz could've been a Phillie; bat flips

On this edition of At The Yard, Corey Seidman and Jim Salisbury discuss Nick Pivetta being sent down to AAA. How much concern should there be with Aaron Nola's slow start?

What impact will Roman Quinn have? How does he fit in this lineup?

Also, do the Phillies need to make a move to help their bullpen? And this week's version of the MLB bat flip controversy.

0:30 - Nick Pivetta sent down to AAA.
5:00 - How much concern do the guys have over Aaron Nola's start?
8:00 - Can Jake Arrieta sustain this level?
10:00 - How does Roman Quinn fit in the lineup?
13:00 - The importance of a healthy David Robertson.
17:00 - Do the Phillies need to make a move if Robertson isn't healthy moving forward?
19:30 - How involved were the Phillies with Edwin Diaz?
22:30 - This week in bat flip controversy.

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Similar starting pitchers open a fun Phillies series at Coors Field

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Similar starting pitchers open a fun Phillies series at Coors Field

Remember how terribly the Phillies' four-game series in Colorado went last season? This should be a different story.

Last September, the Phils were swept at Coors Field and outscored 39-7 by a playoff-bound Rockies team. That sweep ensured the Phils would finish with a losing record.

Expectations were high for the 2019 Rockies but they've started off on the wrong foot, going 6-12 in their first six series. They began 2-0, then lost 12 of 13 before winning three in a row.

The 11-6 Phillies have gone 4-1-1 in their six series, five of which have come against NL East teams.

When: 8:40 p.m. — Pregame Live starts at 8

Where: NBC Sports Philadelphia+ and streaming live on the MyTeams app and 

Pitching matchup: Zach Eflin (2-1, 3.94) vs. Kyle Freeland (1-3, 5.40)

Facing Freeland

The Phillies will see lefty Kyle Freeland, who last year had maybe the best season ever for a Rockies starting pitcher, going 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA in 33 starts and an astonishing 10-2 with a 2.40 ERA at Coors Field. The narrative with Freeland is that because he's a Denver native, he's used to pitching at altitude.

Last year's fourth-place Cy Young finisher is off to a rough start. After a gem on opening day, he's allowed 13 runs and 29 baserunners in 14⅔ innings, failing to make it past the fifth inning.

There was a school of thought that Freeland was bound for regression this season because of his home park, the extended book the league now has on him, and his lack of consistent swing-and-miss stuff.

With Freeland, you will see mostly sinkers, cutters and four-seam fastballs. Those three pitches have accounted for more than 85% of his repertoire this season. He's a lanky, 6-foot-4 lefty with a three-quarters delivery who has good movement.

The cutter is the pitch that led him to so much success a season ago. He used it to jam right-handed hitters or backdoor them on the outside corner for strike three. He also used it against lefties, which you don't see all the time because a cutter in the strike zone against a same-handed hitter tends to move directly toward the barrel of the bat. 

Freeland's opponents have still struggled with the cutter this season but have teed off on his fastball, hitting .348 with three homers, three doubles and a triple.

Who's in, who's out?

Jean Segura and Odubel Herrera exited the Phillies' wins Tuesday and Wednesday with hamstring injuries. Segura is being considered day to day, while Herrera was taken out as a precautionary measure. Gabe Kapler described Herrera's injury as a hamstring cramp. Herrera was his typical smiley self in the Phillies' clubhouse after Wednesday's game.

The issue is, though, that the Phillies can't afford to carry two position players who both need to sit for a few days. It would leave them with a three-man bench in a four-game series that you know will feature a good number of pinch-hitters and/or early exits for pitchers.

We'll see this afternoon what the Phillies decide to do, whether one or both of Segura and Herrera are ready to return or if they have to send one to the IL to free up a spot for another position player.

Which Eflin shows?

Zach Eflin lived on the corners in his first two starts against the Nationals and Twins before a surprising stumble last Saturday in Miami. 

Eflin's outing showed that even the worst of teams can hit a fastball that catches too much plate or a breaking ball that hangs. 

It will be difficult to judge Eflin too strongly one way or another tonight because of what Coors Field does to most pitchers. He's started there twice, allowing two runs in six innings as a rookie in 2016 and five runs in 2⅔ innings last September.

The Rockies' lineup isn't currently as formidable as it was last season. Daniel Murphy, a big free-agent signing with batting title potential in that ballpark, broke his finger two games into the season and has been out since. Starting outfielder David Dahl is also on the IL.

The three big threats in Colorado's lineup are Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon. All three are off to relatively slow Aprils, but Arenado and Story are coming on. The Rockies are 0-5 at home but were eager to get back to Coors Field after spending most of their month on the road.

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