Anthony Rizzo watches his hit in the eighth inning land exactly where it needed to for a Cubs lead.

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Rizzo was attempting to score from third base on a lineout to center field by Kris Bryant in the bottom of the sixth when he slammed into Hedges. Rizzo’s left shoulder caught Hedges square in the right thigh and midsection and the San Diego catcher fell over backward, holding onto the ball for an inning-ending double play.

“I owe the first start of my career to those who taught me the fundamental baseball skills I needed to become the player I am today,” said Rizzo, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Red Sox out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2007. “Without the help of my coaches, I don’t know if I would have had this much success. I am grateful for the support and encouragement they gave me when I needed it the most.”

When Rizzo was drafted, the Red Sox already were a championship-caliber organization. They had won the World Series in 2004 and then did it again months after Rizzo came aboard. There was a sense that just making it to the big leagues wasn’t enough — you had to be ready to win right away on the biggest stage.

Rizzo hosts several fundraisers a year both in season and wholesale mlb jerseys during the winter, and he often visits hospitals all over Chicago. On the Cubs’ last trip to Pittsburgh, earlier this year, he visited the Clemente museum on the same day he was named a nominee for the award.

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I can understand why you’d lobby for Rizzo. According to Elias Sports, he’s the only player in the past 60 seasons to reach base safely to start a game in each of his first seven career games batting leadoff. He hit three home runs, a double and two singles in those seven games. He’s a natural, right? But as much fun as Rizzo had being the self-proclaimed greatest leadoff hitter of all time, I’d keep him at either third or fourth in the lineup where he’ll have a better opportunity to drive in runs. He’s driven in at least 100 runs in each of his past three seasons and batted .

Cubs #44 Anthony Rizzo Grey Flexbase Authentic 2017 Gold Program Stitched MLB Jersey
Cubs #44 Anthony Rizzo Grey Flexbase Authentic 2017 Gold Program Stitched MLB Jersey

“It’s something we’ll certainly discuss,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said this week at the Winter Meetings. “Anthony’s a big part of what we do here, a homegrown player that’s a great performer and a guy that’s a core piece of our organization.”

Rizzo announced through his foundation on Monday that he will donate $150,000 to his Parkland, Fla., high school to cover half of the cost of a state-of-the-art lighting system at newly named Anthony Rizzo Field. He hopes to raise the rest during a fundraiser planned for January.

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Last season, Caratini was promoted to the big league team in late June. Contreras handled the majority of games, but on July 30 in Milwaukee, Anthony Rizzo was a late scratch and Caratini was needed to play first base. He hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning of the Cubs’ 4-2 win over the Brewers. It also was his last game with the big league team until mid-August because the Cubs had acquired Alex Avila from the Tigers.

Rizzo is 4-for-12 with a double, a home run and five RBIs through the first three games. The Cubs have scored only eight in the series so far. Runs batted in might be an antiquated statistic but don’t tell the Cubs’ manager that. Rizzo has been at the center of some of the biggest RBIs for his team this year.

When Rizzo was drafted, the Red Sox already were a championship-caliber organization. They had won the World Series in 2004 and then did it again months after Rizzo came aboard. There was a sense that just making it to the big leagues wasn’t enough — you had to be ready to win right away on the biggest stage.

The Dodgers’ three-time Cy Young Award winner was none too pleased

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The Dodgers will continue their road trip and head to Milwaukee to begin a three-game set with the National League Central leaders on Friday. Lefty Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.37 ERA) will take the mound for the series opener at 5:10 p.m. PT, looking to bounce back from his last outing, when he lasted a season-low 4 1/3 innings and surrendered four runs on a career-high-tying 11 hits.

While utilizing an eight-man bullpen, you need versatility on the bench. But given Garcia can handle either of the corner outfield spots, if necessary, and Santana is essentially a more productive version of Bonifacio, I think it’s safe to assume the Braves can comfortably part ways with Bonifacio, who has a .405 OPS over 169 plate appearances since the start of the 2015 season. The only two players to produce a lower OPS while tallying at least 160 plate appearances within this span are starters Jon Lester (.255) and Clayton Kershaw (.365).

The ball bounced into the air to the left of home plate. Grandal couldn’t find it, Kershaw was pointing to it as it rolled toward the entry gate by the owners’ dugout seats, and by then, Grandal was too late to make a play.
“I saw it pretty well, a ball in the dirt,” said Grichuk. “I knew I was going to get third. Just kind of running hard. I saw that he [Grandal] did a little twist and kind of threw up his arms like he didn’t see it. I knew at that point that it would be tough for him to slide and catch it and make a good throw if I continued to run hard.”

Jimmy Nelson outdueled Clayton Kershaw and had nothing to show for it. Yasmani Grandal forced extra innings Friday with a home run in the ninth and discount mlb jerseys and Cody Bellinger won it for the Dodgers with another solo shot in the 12th for a 2-1 win over the Brewers in a strikeout special at Miller Park.

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The Brewers tied their own Major League record by striking out 26 times as the teams combined to set a new National League mark with 42 strikeouts in the game.

“If there’s a guy with the game on the line, I still trust him,” manager Dave Roberts said of Forsythe, who missed 30 games with a broken toe and tight hamstring. “It takes a lot of mental strength to  strike out four times, take a walk, and then come up with the game on the line and get a hit. Kiké’s at-bat shouldn’t go unnoticed. He’s played good baseball for us.”

The Dodgers improved to 17-7 at home, second-best record in the National League, despite striking out a season-high 19 times, the second-most in franchise history. The Dodgers have won five of their last six and St. Louis has lost five of its last six.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Sunday that the plan is for Clayton Kershaw to return to the big league rotation Friday against the Marlins. Kershaw made his return to the mound Saturday night at LoanMart Field starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Class A affiliate. 

Kershaw struck out five batters in three innings for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, allowing one hit and no runs on 34 pitches, including 23 strikes.After the outing, Kershaw talked about the recovery for his back, which has forced him to sit out since June 26 because of a herniated disc. Despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw threw a light bullpen session Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ staff ace will not be in the club’s rotation when the second half of the season kicks off next weekend at Arizona.

Dodgers #22 Clayton Kershaw Blue Cool Base Stitched MLB Jersey

Before his bumpy opening to the game, as the game was set to start, Kershaw had to wait as Colorado Rockies starter Tyler Anderson made his way to the dugout from the bullpen in right field after completing his pregame warm-ups.

With so many quality left-handed hitters on the team, Segedin’s analysis could have covered any of a number of Dodgers batters. He was talking about Clayton Kershaw.

Sure, Segedin’s analysis was partly in jest, but it struck Ward as more than amusing because it was also partly true. There has been something to Kershaw’s approach at the plate this year that makes him different from the easy out that pitchers often represent when bringing up the rear of the lineup.

Kershaw’s consecutive Opening Day streak is the longest in the National League and the second longest in the majors to the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, who has started every opener since 2009. The Dodgers also officially announced Saturday that Chase Utley has agreed to a one-year deal. The veteran will make $2 million plus incentives, according to ESPN sources and multiple reports, to fill what is expected to be a bench role. Roberts said that Utley could see time as a backup second baseman and first baseman but that he is not expected to spend any time at third base.

The Nationals’ Bryce Harper, the 2015 NL MVP

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After a rough year, the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, the 2015 NL MVP, hasn’t been boisterous or even all that talkative this spring. Instead, he has bulked up, learned to keep calm and focused, and is tearing the cover off the ball.

In retrospect, it’s not hard to connect the dots, which is why MLB wasted little time in doling out suspensions to both players Tuesday afternoon. Harper got four games, which based on precedent sounds about right (Manny Machado got four games for his role in a similar incident last season). And Strickland got six games, which seems a little light, considering that amounts to about two or three innings missed for a reliever, as opposed to Harper’s 36 innings. But let’s imagine that Harper had never charged the mound in the first place. Let’s pretend that instead of blowing a gasket, Harper simply laid down his bat and took the base that he had just earned. What then?

Would plate umpire Brian Gorman have issued a warning to Strickland and the Giants and/or the Nationals? Maybe so, given that the projectile in question was upper-90s cheese right at the hip on the first pitch of the at-bat. Then again, maybe not. After all, it had been 965 days since Harper’s homer against Strickland.

Washington Nationals star right fielder Bryce Harper agreed to terms on a contract for the 2018 season earlier in the day, and then hit a two-out, walk-off home run to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night.

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Harper will make $21.625 million next season, as first reported by FanRag Sports and confirmed by ESPN. The agreement locks up Harper for his final arbitration-eligible year. He can become a free agent after the 2018 season.

“That was one of the longest f—ing home runs I’ve ever seen,” said Washington Nationals interim manager Chris Speier after his team’s 5-1 win over the visiting San Diego Padres on Friday night. The home run in question was a two-run, seventh-inning moon shot that Harper deposited into the third deck. It was just the sixth jack ever to reach the upper bowl of Nats Park. Although five of those six have come off of Harper’s bat, this one had added significance because of what had happened earlier in the game. 

The last time Harper was intentionally walked that many times over such a short span was May 2016, during the infamous four-game series at Wrigley Field. Officially, the Cubs intentionally walked Harper three times in the third game and once more in the finale (not to cheap jerseys mention another nine walks in the same series that may or may not have been unintentional). As if that wasn’t enough, in each of his next two games against the Tigers, Harper received an IBB. All that getting pitched around seemed to take its toll on Harper, as the otherworldly patience that was part of his historic 2015 MVP season (and the beginning of 2016) disappeared, and he became a shadow of his old self. Granted, three intentional walks in three games isn’t the same as what Joe Maddon did last year, but still — given the history, you could hardly blame Harper if these last few games started messing with his head. So far, though, the preponderance of free passes doesn’t seem to be fazing him.

National League home run leader Bryce Harper is among four starters out of the lineup for the Washington Nationals in their series finale against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

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Daniel Murphy, Jayson Werth and Matt Wieters also did not start for the Nationals, who open a nine-game, 10-day road trip Monday afternoon in San Francisco.

Murphy missed the previous two games due to illness, Chris Speier said Saturday. Speier, serving as acting manager with Dusty Baker away this weekend to attend his son Darren’s high school graduation in California, did not meet with the media before Sunday’s game.

More than anything, last season’s success can be attributed to patience. It followed three years of injuries and uninspiring production that birthed a new theme: He was overhyped and overrated, all before he turned 22. But last year he quieted the noise and looked inward. On April 24, he stopped taking batting practice on the field, removing the temptation to acquire bad habits while impressing fans. “You don’t want to be a 5 o’clock guy,” he says. “You want to be a 7:05 guy.” Former manager Matt Williams would tell him, “Most great hitters can figure on getting one pitch an at-bat, and they can’t miss it. You’re going to get half a pitch.” Still, there were times during Harper’s 124-walk season when Williams would chide Harper by asking, “Are you going to swing the bat today?” Thirty-two times in big league history a player has scored four runs in a game with zero hits. Harper did it twice in a three-week period.