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Oakland's Anderson returns from elbow surgery

Oakland's Anderson returns from elbow surgery

Brett Anderson endured grueling workouts, lost 20 pounds and pushed through the challenging rehab for elbow-ligament replacement surgery with one thing in mind: getting back on the Oakland mound for a meaningful game.

He's got it, all right. The Athletics left-hander will start Game 3 of the AL division series at home Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers with his team down 2-0 and trying to stave off elimination.

At 24 years, 251 days, Anderson will become the fifth-youngest pitcher in Oakland history to make his first career postseason start.

Just when he got on a roll in six starts after returning from a 14-month absence in August, he strained his right oblique muscle after landing awkwardly at Detroit on Sept. 19.

``It wasn't ideal getting hurt again,'' Anderson said. ``But I feel good, and the postseason, who knows when we're going to get back here. You'd like to say you're going to get back here again.''

Manager Bob Melvin said the game and Anderson would dictate how long he pitches, though pitching coach Curt Young said it likely would be around an 80-pitch count.

``Not too many limitations,'' Melvin said. ``Adrenalin kicks in and sometimes you have more in the tank than you normally would after a little bit of time off.''

The A's had gotten by with an all-rookie rotation minus Anderson, opening day starter Brandon McCarthy - who needed brain surgery after taking a line drive to the head Sept. 5 - and lefty Dallas Braden as he recovers from a shoulder injury.

``It really ruins our rookie starting pitching streak,'' teammate Jonny Gomes joked. ``One less historic thing we can do this year.''

Anderson lost more than 20 pounds from his previous playing weight of 248 - and noticed he felt stronger late in games during his minor league rehab appearances.

Anderson, a second-round draft pick by Arizona in 2006, went 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA in 19 starts during 2010, then 3-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 13 starts last year.

He is eager to put the injuries behind him for good and regain his top form - again.

``If he feels good and he comes back and throws the way he's capable of, then he's the guy to have out there,'' closer Grant Balfour said. ``He has great stuff.''


SIMPLY THE BEST: Orioles manager Buck Showalter often marvels at the fashion in which 26-year-old Matt Wieters performs behind the plate.

``He does something every night where I just kind of go, `That's pretty special,''' Showalter said Monday, hours before Baltimore faced the New York Yankees. ``Best catcher I've ever had. I'm lucky to have had him pass my way.''

Wieters put his deft glovework on display in the series opener, snaring a tricky throw from second baseman Robert Andino before slapping the tag on Russell Martin trying to score from third base.

``The play he made last night on the short-hop from Robert, a lot of people I'm sure think that's easy,'' Showalter said. ``That's a remarkable play, but fortunately we get to see something like that every night. ... Every once in a while you have to remind yourself how old he is.''

Wieters is a two-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner, but none of that compares to being in the postseason.

``What's been so great about this year is you don't have to worry about individual accolades or individual awards,'' Wieters said. ``This is what everybody in the clubhouse wants to play for. It's nice to get honored by your peers and get honored by people in the game, but at the same time you're playing for the playoffs, playing for a ring, and that's ultimately what you want your career to sort of be based on.''


DOUBLE SWITCH: Rookie Cardinals manager Mike Matheny takes offense to the notion Davey Johnson boxed him into a corner before the game-deciding, two-run single by pinch-hitter Tyler Moore in their division series opener.

``Dictated to?'' Matheny said before Game 2. ``They won, so he apparently did.''

Matheny lifted setup man Mitchell Boggs with two outs and runners on second and third in the eighth after Johnson sent left-handed-hitting Chad Tracy up to pinch hit, opting for lefty Marc Rzcepczynski. Johnson switched to Moore, a rookie who hit two of the Nationals' three pinch homers, and Moore came through by reaching out for an outside pitch and poking a two-run single to right for a 3-2 lead.

Matheny was happy with the matchup, which just didn't work out. Now, he's getting a taste of postseason second-guessing.

``People can look at it any way they want,'' Matheny said. ``I've got to tell you, plan and simple, I have faith in Zep getting him out. It does come all come down to results, but I have faith in my guy to get the job done. And you know what, he made a pretty good pitch, too. It's not like he went out there and served it up.''

Johnson preferred Tracy but was happy with the alternative, too, and told Tracy that if Matheny went to the lefty he'd be making a change, too.

``I actually did not think that Mike was going to get Boggs,'' Johnson said. ``I'd rather have the veteran player in that situation than a rookie, but rookies have been having success all year.''


YOUTH MOVEMENT: Cardinals rookie shortstop Pete Kozma has been a magnet for controversy the first two postseason games, backing off on the infamous infield fly in the one-game playoff against the Braves and then booting a backhand attempt on a grounder for an error that fueled the Nationals' go-ahead two-run eighth in Game 1.

Manager Mike Matheny could have inserted veteran Skip Schumaker at second base and moved Daniel Descalso to shortstop, but he stuck with the kid who was an effective fill-in after Rafael Furcal was sidelined by a season-ending elbow injury.

``He's getting kind of beat up right now. It seems to be an increasing distraction, I'm sure, if this is getting around to him,'' Matheny said. ``The message that we're staying with is the right message, which is we've had you in here in high leverage positions from the start and you've done a terrific job. Hopefully, he gets back to playing his game and trusting himself.''

Kozma is the first rookie shortstop to start in the postseason since Jed Lowrie with Boston in 2008, and Kozma batted .333 in September with three errors. After Game 1, he did his best to shrug off his error.

``It's still the same game. There's just a little bit more on the line,'' he said. ``But you can't think about that.''

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."