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Troy Tulowitzki traded to AL East team in blockbuster deal

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Troy Tulowitzki traded to AL East team in blockbuster deal

By PAT GRAHAM

DENVER (AP) -- After all that speculation the past couple of years, the Colorado Rockies finally traded Troy Tulowitzki.

Surprising spot, too -- north of the border to a team loaded with bats.

Tulowitzki was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects late Monday night in a stunning swap of star shortstops, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity early Tuesday because the deal had not yet been announced.

In addition to Tulowitzki, the Rockies sent 42-year-old reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays.

Along with Reyes, the Rockies picked up rookie reliever Miguel Castro and two minor league pitchers in a blockbuster transaction -- the biggest yet in the days leading up to Friday's trade deadline.

FoxSports.com first reported the sides agreed to a swap involving Tulowitzki, Reyes and minor leaguers.

The talented but oft-injured Tulowitzki is a five-time All-Star who is hitting .300 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs in 87 games this season. He helped the Rockies reach the World Series as a rookie in 2007.

Tulowitzki was replaced on defense in the bottom of the ninth inning during Colorado's 9-8 loss to the Cubs in Chicago on Monday night. After the game, the slugger spent at least 30 minutes in manager Walt Weiss' office at Wrigley Field, but was unavailable to reporters.

The deal gives Toronto (50-50) another powerful, right-handed bat in a dangerous lineup that includes Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin. The Blue Jays, by far the highest-scoring team in the majors, sit three games behind Minnesota in the race for the second AL wild card.

They are tied for second place in the AL East, seven games back of the New York Yankees. Toronto has not reached the playoffs since winning the 1993 World Series -- the longest drought of any major league team.

Donaldson bid farewell to Reyes on his Twitter account: "Going to miss my boy. ... Once a brother always a brother."

Reyes is batting .285 with four homers, 34 RBIs and 16 steals in 69 games. He was acquired by Toronto in a November 2012 trade with Miami.

The face of Colorado's franchise, the 30-year-old Tulowitzki has spent his entire career with the Rockies (42-55) but has been the subject of trade talk for some time. Still, the Blue Jays seemed an unlikely destination.

"Tremendous player," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in San Francisco. "Sometimes you're surprised when you have a guy like Tulo who's so iconic in Colorado."

Before the 2011 season, Colorado made a big commitment to Tulowitzki by agreeing to a contract that guaranteed him $132 million over seven seasons from 2014-20. The deal included a $14 million team option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout.

Combined with his previous deal, it meant the Rockies agreed to pay Tulowitzki $157.75 million over 10 years. The plan was to build around him and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who signed an $80 million, seven-year contract around the same time.

With the Tulowitzki trade, Gonzalez might be next -- especially considering how hot he's been at the plate lately after an injury-riddled 2014 season.

The speedy Reyes is signed through 2017 on a $106 million, six-year contract he received from Miami.

A four-time All-Star with the New York Mets, Reyes also has struggled with injuries throughout his career.

Hawkins is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 24 games and is headed to his 11th major league team.

There's no doubting the hitting prowess of the 6-foot-3 Tulowitzki. Staying healthy has been his biggest challenge. During his career, he's had stints on the disabled list for a quadriceps tendon tear, lacerated right hand, broken left wrist and a groin injury.

Last season, Tulowitzki played only 91 games before undergoing hip surgery.

This year, he's been injury-free, with Weiss resting him on occasion to save wear and tear. Tulowitzki was out of the lineup Sunday, which would've been his last appearance at Coors Field in a Rockies uniform.

Asked about Friday's non-waiver trade deadline before leaving town, Tulowitzki responded: "I don't worry about it. I've been through it multiple times. My job is to play for the Rockies. I signed up to play here for a long time. Until they tell me differently, which they haven't, I plan on being here."

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AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco, and AP Sports Writer Jay Cohen and freelance writer Brian Sandalow in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Stephen Strasburg returns to Nats lineup after DL stint

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Stephen Strasburg returns to Nats lineup after DL stint

Friday night marks the first second-half game of Major League Baseball's 162-game season. 

The Washington Nationals begin 5.5 games out of the first-place Phillies and host the second-place Braves for a three-game series before traveling to Milwaukee. 

One big piece to Dave Martinez's staff who has been missing since June 8 is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander was activated from the DL and will start on the mound Friday night. 

Ryan Zimmerman was also activated but is not in Martinez's starting lineup. 

Prior to experiencing inflammation in his right shoulder during a June 8 start that forced him out of the game early, Strasburg saw flashes of dominance throughout his 13 starts owning a 3.46 ERA with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. 

Zimmerman hasn't played since May 9 due to a strained right oblique. With the emergence of Matt Adams, it will be interesting to see how Martinez uses both guys throughout the summer. 

Here is a look at Friday night's official lineup: 

According to Byron Kerr, Zimmerman is still happy to be back, despite not being in the starting lineup. 

Catch the Nationals hosting the Braves Friday at 7:05 p.m. on MASN2. 

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8 bold MLB predictions sure to be proven wrong

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8 bold MLB predictions sure to be proven wrong

It doesn't have quite the same feel as Opening Day, but the first games after the MLB All-Star break certainly have their own unique excitement to them.

Teams are jockeying for playoff position, and the trade deadline is rapidly approaching. The Nats have struggled through the first half, but are still within striking distance of a spot in the 2018 postseason, so every game matters.

To help get you ready for the rest of the 2018 regular season, our baseball writers have provided a couple of bold predictions which are sure to be proven wrong by August.

Bold predictions for the second half of the 2018 MLB season:

Ryan Wormeli: 1) Despite the consensus top three teams in baseball all residing in the American League, this year’s World Series champion will be a National League squad.

2) Max Scherzer does NOT win the National League Cy Young award, even though most fans agree he has the best statistical season.

Cam Ellis: 1) Bryce Harper ends up with 45 home runs this season.

2) Koda Glover eventually gets the 7th inning spot.

Michaela Johnson: 1) Nationals win the NL East (I know this VERY bold but like I said I have high expectations).

2) Tanner Roark will get back on top of his game.

Tyler Byrum: 1) The Milwaukee Brewers will drop out of the playoff hunt. 

Every year the Brewers seem to be close to running away with the NL Central. Then, once we get closer to the All-Star break and move beyond they go silent. It’s getting quite ridiculous at this point. Last year they had 50 wins in the first half, finished with only 86.

2) Philadelphia will make a trade deadline acquisition, but it will not get them over the hump. 

There are just too many issues with the Phillies; starting pitching behind Aaron Nola, consistent batting as a team, and the bullpen. They’ve done a fantastic job to piece together a 53-42 record and sit atop the division, but it will be tough to maintain it. 

Right now, they are almost the exact opposite of the Nationals.