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Astros Sign INF Jed Lowrie to 3-Year Contract

Astros Sign INF Jed Lowrie to 3-Year Contract

Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- The Houston Astros have agreed to a three-year contract with free agent infielder Jed Lowrie, the team announced on Monday. He will receive a guaranteed $23 million, according to ESPN.

In 136 games with the Oakland Athletics last season, the 30-year-Lowrie batted .249 with six home runs and 50 RBIs. He also scored 59 runs and had an OBP of .321.

Lowrie previously played for Houston in 2012, where he hit .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs in 97 games. He was dealt to Oakland on Feb. 4, 2014 along with right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez with Houston receiving first baseman Chris Carter, right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi.

Lowrie’s new contract contains a club option for 2018.

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Cubs Nearing Deal with Jason Hammel

Cubs Nearing Deal with Jason Hammel

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- The Cubs are close to bringing back pitcher Jason Hammel, a source told MLB.com on Monday.

Hammel went 8-5 in 17 starts with Chicago last year before being traded to the Oakland Athletics at the trading deadline.

Hammel is seeking a multi-year deal and struck out 104 over 108 2/3 innings.

The Cubs are also interested in free agent pitcher Jon Lester, who is weighing his options.

Red Sox owner John Henry met with Lester over the weekend, ESPN.com reports.

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New Athletic Brett Lawrie Blames Toronto’s Rogers Centre Turf for Struggles

New Athletic Brett Lawrie Blames Toronto’s Rogers Centre Turf for Struggles

Abelimages/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Newly acquired Oakland Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie never quite lived up to the hype when he played for the Toronto Blue Jays. According to Lawrie, it was the artificial turf at Toronto's Rogers Centre that caused many of his problems.

"It treats my body kind of silly and throws it off," Lawrie said. "I just want to go out and be healthy, and I feel like this getting off the turf is a big step forward for me."

The Canadian-born Lawrie was expected to be the next big thing for the Blue Jays, but injuries and inconsistent play plagued his career with the team.

The most games he's played in a season was 125 back in 2012. He missed 92 games this past season, hitting .247 with 12 home runs, but feels a change of scenery will do wonders for him.

"Give me 550 at-bats. These are things I haven't had yet in the big leagues," Lawrie said. "Hopefully, getting off that turf will do my body wonders, and I really think that it will. I feel I will show my true talents."

The 24-year-old Lawrie was the centerpiece in the Blue Jays acquiring All-Star Josh Donaldson from Oakland.

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A’s Trade Josh Donaldson to Blue Jays

A’s Trade Josh Donaldson to Blue Jays

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Ca.) -- Friday, the Oakland Athletics traded third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for third baseman Brett Lawrie.

Donaldson, 29, is considered one of the best players in baseball.  He has a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) rating second only to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout.

The A's also acquired right-hander Kendall Graveman, left-hander Sean Nolin and minor league shortstop Franklin Barreto.

"We addressed a lot of areas we thought we needed filled from our organizational standpoint," said Billy Beane, general manager of the Athletics.

Lawrie, 24, is considered a promising talent, but has been unable to remain healthy. A player with plus power, average and on-base skills, Lawrie has played in only 345 games the last four seasons, with a high of 125 in 2012. 

Oakland appears to be in a rebuilding phase after going all-in last season by acquiring pitchers Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzjia and Jason Hammel.  The team fell flat in the playoffs losing in the Wild Card to the Kansas City Royals.

The A's have also acquired designated hitter Billy Butler and first baseman Ike Davis this offseason.

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Athletics Sign Butler to Three Year Deal

Athletics Sign Butler to Three Year Deal

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Ca) -- The Oakland Athletics have signed Billy Butler to a three-year, $30 million contract.

Butler was a 2004 first round selection of the Kansas City Royals. This offseason, the Royals chose to pay Butler $1 million to buyout his contract.

In 2012, Butler was elected to the AL All-Star team when he hit .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI. Those numbers have taken a sharp dive this past season as he hit .271 with nine home runs and 66 RBI. 

Primarily a first basemen when his career began, Butler played 108 games in 2014 for the Royals as a designated hitter. He will likely continue in that role for the As. 

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Dodgers Set to Hire Zaidi as GM

Dodgers Set to Hire Zaidi as GM

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to hire Oakland Athletics executive Farhan Zaidi as their next general manager, according to ESPN. The move is expected to be made official later this week.

Zaidi will work under the Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who was hired away from the Tampa Bay Rays on Oct. 15.

Zaidi had been with the Athletics for the past ten years, where he served in various roles including assistant general manager and director of baseball operations. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998 and a Ph.D in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011.

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Adam Dunn Says He’s Retiring

Adam Dunn Says He’s Retiring

Brian Kersey/Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Adam Dunn is calling it a career after 14 seasons in the MLB.

Following Tuesday night's 12-inning loss in the Wild Card game to the Royals, Dunn told ESPN's Pedro Gomez that he is retiring.

Dunn played in his first postseason game on Tuesday and watched from the bench.

Dunn came in a trade from the White Sox in August and also played for the Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cincinnati Reds during his career.

Dunn finished his career with a .237 batting average, 462 home runs and 1,168 RBIs.

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Perez Sends Royals into ALDS with 12th Inning Single

Perez Sends Royals into ALDS with 12th Inning Single

Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Salvador Perez's walk-off single with two outs in the 12th sent the Kansas City Royals past the Oakland Athletics 9-8 Tuesday night, in the American League Wild Card game.

After the Athletics took the lead in the top of the 12th on an Alberto Callaspo RBI single, the Royals answered back. Eric Hosmer hit a triple and then scored the tying run on Christian Colon's RBI infield single. Colon then stole second base before scoring the game-winner on Perez's clutch hit.

"This will go down as the craziest game I've ever played," Hosmer said. "This team showed a lot of character. No one believed in us before the game. No one believed in us before the season."

Hosmer is right, the game was pretty crazy. The Royals, who were playing in their first postseason since 1985, were leading 3-2 in the sixth inning when starting pitcher James Shields allowed a hit and then walked a batter. That prompted Kansas City skipper Ned Yost to pull Shields for rookie Yordano Ventura. Ventura then allowed a three-run home run to Brandon Moss, his second homer of the game, to make it 5-3. The A's added two more runs that inning, creating a deficit that appeared the Royals would not overcome. But Kansas City clawed out three runs in the eighth and Norichicka Aoki's sacrifice fly in the ninth sent the game into extra innings.

This is the Athletics seventh-straight loss in a winner-take-all playoff game since 2000.

The Royals now advance to take on the Los Angeles Angels in their best-of-five Division Series. Game 1 is Thursday night in Los Angeles.

 

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Scoreboard Roundup – 9/30/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 9/30/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB American League Wild Card: Kansas City Royals 9 - Oakland Athletics 8 - 12 Innings (Royals Advance)

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Scoreboard Roundup – 9/26/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 9/26/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Washington Nationals 4 (94-65) - Miami Marlins 0 (76-83) - Game 1

Miami Marlins 15 (77-83) - Washington Nationals 7 (94-66) - Game 2

Cleveland Indians 1 (84-76) - Tampa Bay Rays 0 (76-84)

Philadelphia Phillies 5 (73-87) - Atlanta Braves 4 (77-83)

Toronto Blue Jays 4 (82-78) - Baltimore Orioles 2 (95-65)

Pittsburgh Pirates 3 (88-72) - Cincinnati Reds 1 (74-86)

Houston Astros 3 (70-90) - New York Mets 1 (77-83)

Minnesota Twins 11 (69-91) - Detroit Tigers 4 (89-71)

New York Yankees 3 (83-77) - Boston Red Sox 2 (70-90)

Kansas City Royals 3 (88-72) - Chicago White Sox 1 (72-88) 

Oakland Athletics 6 (87-73) - Texas Rangers 2 (66-94)

Chicago Cubs 6 (72-88) - Milwaukee Brewers 4 (81-79) 

Seattle Mariners 4 (85-75) - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3 (98-62)

San Diego Padres 4 (77-83) - San Francisco Giants 1 (86-74)

St. Louis Cardinals 7 (89-71) - Arizona Diamondbacks 6 (63-97)

Los Angeles Dodgers 7 (92-68) - Colorado Rockies 4 (66-94)

 

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Scoreboard Roundup – 9/1/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 9/1/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Philadelphia Phillies 7 (63-74) - Atlanta Braves 0 (72-66)

Miami Marlins 9 (67-69) - New York Mets 6 (64-74)

Minnesota Twins 6 (60-77) - Baltimore Orioles 4 (79-57)

Tampa Bay Rays 4 (67-71) - Boston Red Sox 3 (60-77) - 10 Innings

Chicago Cubs 4 (62-76) - Milwaukee Brewers 2 (73-64)

St. Louis Cardinals 5 (74-63) - Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (71-66)

San Francisco Giants 4 (75-62) - Colorado Rockies 2 (54-83) - Game 1 (Suspended Game from May 22)

Colorado Rockies 10 (55-83) - San Francisco Giants 9 (75-63) - Game 2

Oakland Athletics 6 (79-58) - Seattle Mariners 1 (73-63)

San Diego Padres 3 (65-71) - Arizona Diamondbacks 1 (57-80)

Detroit Tigers 12 (75-62) - Cleveland Indians 1 (70-65)

Kansas City Royals 4 (75-61) - Texas Rangers 3 (53-84)

Washington Nationals 6 (78-58) - Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (77-61)

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Athletics Acquire Adam Dunn From White Sox

Athletics Acquire Adam Dunn From White Sox

Brian Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Oakland Athletics acquired power-hitter Adam Dunn from the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn and cash considerations Sunday.According to ESPN MLB Insider Buster Olney, the A's will pay Dunn approximately half of the remaining $2.5 million that is owed to him this season. The 34-year-old Dunn can help an Athletics' team that has ranked 20th in runs scored since trading away slugger Yoenis Cespedes on July 31.Dunn is playing in his 15th major league season. During that time he's compiled a .237 batting average, 460 home runs, 1,158 RBIs and a .365 on-base percentage.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/28/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/28/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Detroit Tigers 3 (72-60) - New York Yankees 2 (69-63) 

Cincinnati Reds 7 (65-69) - Chicago Cubs 2 (59-74)

San Francisco Giants 4 (71-62) – Colorado Rockies 1 (53-80)

Baltimore Orioles 5 (76-56) – Tampa Bay Rays 4 (65-69)

Atlanta Braves 6 (70-64) – New York Mets 1 (62-72)

Cleveland Indians 3 (68-64) - Chicago White Sox 2 (60-73)

Minnesota Twins 11 (59-74) - Kansas City Royals 5 (74-59) - 10 Innings

Los Angeles Angels 4 (80-53) - Oakland Athletics 3 (78-55) - 10 Innings

Top 25 College Football: (21) Texas A&M 52 (1-0) – (9) South Carolina 28 (0-1)

(18) Ole Miss 35 (1-0) - Boise State 13 (0-1)

(19) Arizona State 45 (1-0) - Weber State 14 (0-1) *

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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/25/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/25/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: St. Louis Cardinals 3 (71-59) – Pittsburgh Pirates 2 (67-64)

Baltimore Orioles 9 (74-55) – Tampa Bay Rays 1 (64-67)

Philadelphia Phillies 3 (59-72) – Washington Nationals 2 (75-55)

Boston Red Sox 4 (57-74) – Toronto Blue Jays 3 (66-65) 10 Innings

New York Yankees 8 (68-61) – Kansas City Royals 1 (72-58)

Milwaukee Brewers 10 (73-58) - San Diego Padres 1 (60-70)

Oakland Athletics 8 (77-53) - Houston Astros 2 (55-77)

Colorado Rockies 3 (53-77) - San Francisco Giants 2 (68-62)

Miami Marlins 7 (65-65) - Los Angeles Angels 1 (77-53)

Texas Rangers 2 (51-79) - Seattle Mariners 0 (71-59)

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Angels Power Past Oakland, Regain MLB’s Best Record

Angels Power Past Oakland, Regain MLB’s Best Record

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The two days off for Josh Hamilton have proven to be a perfect remedy for the former slumping slugger. Hamilton drove in three runs, including his 10th home run of the year, on Sunday night as the Los Angeles Angels defeated Oakland 9-4 to regain the best record in baseball.

The Angels (77-52) also took back the top spot in the American League West division with the victory. Los Angeles also got a sixth inning homer from Mike Trout, which opened up a 9-0 lead on the Athletics (76-53). That proved to be more than enough offense for starting pitcher Jered Weaver (14-7) as the righty struck out eight in six and two-thirds innings.

"It's nice to end the series on top of the AL West division," Weaver said. "This was obviously a huge game. We didn't want to get swept, and the offense was the story of the game."

Los Angeles opened the scoring in the second, plating three runs off Scott Kazmir (14-6) before Hamilton's two-run blast in the third made it a 5-0 lead. Hamilton brought home another run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly, effectively ending Kazmir's night. 

Oakland did attempt a comeback late, getting home runs from Alberto Callaspo and Andy Parrino in the seventh to make it a 9-3 deficit. The Athletics added another in the ninth, but Jason Grilli struck out the final two batters of the night.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/20/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/20/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Philadelphia Phillies 4 (56-71) - Seattle Mariners 3 (68-58)

Texas Rangers 5 (49-77) - Miami Marlins 4 (63-63)

Toronto Blue Jays 9 (65-62) – Milwaukee Brewers 5 (71-56)

New York Mets 8 (60-68) – Oakland Athletics 5 (74-52)

Washington Nationals 3 (72-53) – Arizona Diamondbacks 2 (53-74)

Pittsburgh Pirates 3 (65-62) – Atlanta Braves 2 (66-61)

Detroit Tigers 6 (68-56) – Tampa Bay Rays 0 (61-65)

Colorado Rockies 5 (50-76) - Kansas City Royals 2 (70-56)

St. Louis Cardinals 7 (69-57) - Cincinnati Reds 3 (61-66)

Cleveland Indians 5 (63-61) - Minnesota Twins 0 (55-70)

Baltimore Orioles 4 (73-52) - Chicago White Sox 3 (59-68)

Los Angeles Angels 8 (75-50) - Boston Red Sox 3 (56-70)

San Francisco Giants 8 (66-58) - Chicago Cubs 3 (54-71)

Houston Astros 5 (54-73) - New York Yankees 2 (63-61)

San Diego Padres 4 (59-66) - Los Angeles Dodgers 1 (71-57)

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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/12/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/12/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (64-55) – Detroit Tigers 2 (63-54)

Boston Red Sox 3 (53-65) – Cincinnati Reds 2 (60-59)

Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (69-52) – Atlanta Braves 2 (60-59)

Miami Marlins 3 (59-60) – St. Louis Cardinals 0 (62-56)

Washington Nationals 7 (64-53) – New York Mets 1 (57-63)

Chicago Cubs 3 (51-67) – Milwaukee Brewers 0 (66-54)

Houston Astros 10 (50-70) - Minnesota Twins 4 (53-65)

Oakland Athletics 11 (73-46) - Kansas City Royals 3 (64-54)

San Diego Padres 4 (56-62) - Colorado Rockies 1 (46-73)

Seattle Mariners 6 (64-55) - Toronto Blue Jays 3 (63-58)

Los Angeles Angels 7 (69-49) - Philadelphia Phillies 2 (53-67)

Texas Rangers 3 (47-72) - Tampa Bay Rays 2 (58-61) -14 Innings

Chicago White Sox 3 (57-63) - San Francisco Giants 2 (62-57) -10 Innings

New York Yankees (61-57) @ Baltimore Orioles (68-50)  (postponed due to rain)

Arizona Diamondbacks (51-67) @ Cleveland Indians (59-59) (postponed due to rain)

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Royals Acquire OF Josh Willingham from Twins

Royals Acquire OF Josh Willingham from Twins

Robbie Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) --  In attempt to bolster their lineup, the Kansas City Royals have acquired outfielder Josh Williingham from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Jason Adam.

Willingham was hitting just .210 this season for the Twins, but the Royals were looking to add power to their lineup and were intrigued by the 35-year-old.  Just two years ago he hit 35 home runs and drove in 110 runs for Minnesota.

"Obviously the goal was to win with the Twins," Willingham said upon hearing about the trade. "Unfortunately, we weren't. Now I have a chance to go help another club and hopefully make the playoffs."

Willingham is expected to play Tuesday night when the Royals take on the Oakland Athletics at home.

The Royals hope Willingham will help the team make the playoffs for the first time since 1985, when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.

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Royals Take AL Central Lead with Win

Royals Take AL Central Lead with Win

Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Just over a week ago, Kansas City was five games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. Now, the Royals (64-53) won their eighth straight on Monday and overtook the Tigers in the division race with a 3-2 win over Oakland.

Kansas City jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after two innings, but Brandon Moss singled home a pair of runs for the Athletics (72-46) in the third to tie the game.

It remained deadlocked until Alcides Escobar singled in a run in the seventh, giving the Royals a 3-2 advantage.

Yordany Ventura out dueled Sonny Gray by allowing two runs on two hits over six innings. Gray went seven strong, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out a pair.

Kansas City was able to gain the top spot in the AL Central when Pittsburgh defeated Detroit 11-3. It marks the latest point in the season since 2003 that the Royals have been in first place.

"You want to be in first place. Our goal was to get back to first place," said Royals manager Ned Yost, who has won eight games in a row. "Now our goal is to stay in first place."

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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/11/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/11/14

Photos.com​/Thinkstoc​k(NEW YORK) -- MLB: New York Mets 5 (57-62) - Philadelphia Phillies 3 (53-66)

Pittsburgh Pirates 11 (63-55) – Detroit Tigers 6 (63-55)

Baltimore Orioles 11 (68-50) – New York Yankees 3 (61-57)

Los Angeles Dodgers 6 (68-52) – Atlanta Braves 2 (60-58)

Miami Marlins 6 (58-60) – St. Louis Cardinals 5 (62-55)

Kansas City Royals 3 (64-53) – Oakland Athletics 2 (72-46)

Tampa Bay Rays 7 (58-60) - Texas Rangers 0 (46-72)

Minnesota Twins 4 (53-64) - Houston Astros 2 (49-70)

Milwaukee Brewers 3 (66-53) - Chicago Cubs 1 (50-67)

Seattle Mariners 11 (63-55) - Toronto Blue Jays 1 (63-57)

San Diego Padres 4 (55-62) - Colorado Rockies 3 (46-72)

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