LEADING OFF: Minor, Stroman start on deadline radars

Sports

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman sits on the bench during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Tuesday, July 23, 2019 in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press via AP)

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A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

DEADLINE SHOWCASE

Contenders will be tuned into starts by Texas left-hander Mike Minor and Toronto righty Marcus Stroman as the July 31 trade deadline nears. The free-falling Rangers have just about played their way out of contention for an AL wild card, and the 31-year-old could fetch a useful package of future pieces. Minor (8-5, 2.86) is set to face Seattle in a matinee. Stroman (6-10, 3.06) and the Blue Jays are set to play the Indians, who will pitch All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber (9-3, 3.69). Stroman pitched seven scoreless innings against the Tigers in his previous start.

HOMER SPIKE

Powered by upper-cut swings and higher-flying baseballs, big league hitters entered the day with 4180 homers, six shy of the total from the 2014 season. The league is on pace to eclipse the record 6,105 homers hit in 2017. The 2014 total was baseball’s lowest since 1995. The Twins lead the majors with 191 homers, including four of them during a wild 14-12 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night.

WELL MET

Robinson Canó has finally found his groove with the Mets. The veteran second baseman slugged three homers in a game Tuesday night for the first time in his career, helping New York beat the Padres 5-2. Canó began the day batting just .243 with six homers in his first season with the Mets. Of his nine homers this season, five have come since the All-Star break. Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard (7-4, 4.36) will oppose Padres righty Dinelson Lamet (0-2, 5.14), who is making his fourth start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

GET THE RIGHT PRICE

David Price (7-3, 3.61) tries to get back on track as the Red Sox attempt to finish a three-game sweep in Tampa Bay. Price allowed six runs in four innings against Baltimore on Friday, his first appearance since reigniting a public spat with Hall of Famer and Red Sox TV analyst Dennis Eckersley. Price will oppose Rays right-hander Charlie Morton (11-3, 2.61), who is also coming off a tough outing against the Yankees. Morton pitched six scoreless innings against Boston in their previous matchup on April 27.

LA UPGRADE

The Los Angeles Dodgers plan to welcome the All-Star Game back to Dodger Stadium with a $100 million renovation of their landmark ballpark. The Dodgers unveiled the logo for next year’s Midsummer Classic along with their latest modernization plans Tuesday for their 57-year-old home, the majors’ third-oldest park. The primary addition will be a Centerfield Plaza area spanning nearly 2 acres behind the outfield fences that will include food, entertainment and a statue of Sandy Koufax, which will join a statue of Jackie Robinson already on the property.

BACKSTOP BACK

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is set to come off the injured list and start behind the plate for lefty Jon Lester in the afternoon series finale at San Francisco. Contreras has been sidelined by a sprained right foot. Lester (9-6, 3.87 ERA) is coming off a no-decision last Friday against the Padres in which he was tagged for 12 hits, matching the most he has allowed in his career. He is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA in six career regular-season starts against the Giants.

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