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Rockies call up Alonso after hot stretch in minors

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WASHINGTON — Yonder Alonso has been brought up to the Colorado Rockies from Triple-A Albuquerque.

The 32-year-old was signed to a minor league contract on July 10, a week after he was released by the Chicago White Sox from a contract he signed with Cleveland. That deal guaranteed $9 million this season and included a $1 million buyout of a 2020 option.

Alonso hit .419 (13 for 31) in nine games for Albuquerque with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, and 12 RBI.

Colorado is the seventh big league team for Alonso. He has a .259 career batting average with 97 homers and 416 RBI. He hit .178 with seven homers and 27 RBI in 67 games for the White Sox this season.

Colorado designated right-handed pitcher Seunghwan Oh for assignment on Tuesday and optioned right-hander Yency Almonte to Albuquerque.

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Sale eclipses Pedro as fastest ever to 2,000 K’s

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CLEVELAND — Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale has reached 2,000 career strikeouts faster than any pitcher in history.

Sale, 30, entered Tuesday’s game against the Indians with 1,995 strikeouts. He struck out the side in the first and reached the milestone in the third when he fanned rookie Oscar Mercado.

According to information provided by the Red Sox, Sale broke Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez’s mark by getting to 2,000 in 1,626 innings. Martinez did it in 1,711⅓ innings. Randy Johnson in 1,733⅓, and Max Scherzer in 1,784.

Sale has struggled this season. He entered his 25th start at just 6-11 with a 4.41 ERA. Still, he has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors since 1920.

Sale is in his third season with Boston after spending seven with the Chicago White Sox. He opened 2019 with four straight losses and didn’t get his first win until May 3.

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Phils GM says no decision yet on Arrieta (elbow)

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Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said Tuesday that no decision has been made on Jake Arrieta‘s status in the rotation the rest of the season.

Arrieta was scheduled to meet with the Phillies brass this week to talk about whether he should shut it down for the rest of the season or continue to gut it out.

Arrieta has pitched with a bone spur in his right elbow this summer, with sporadic effectiveness. On Sunday in San Francisco, the right-hander had his worst outing of the season: seven hits, a walk and five runs allowed in three innings on just 66 pitches.

At some point, he needs to have arthroscopic surgery.

Over his past 13 starts, Arrieta has a 5.76 ERA, with 84 hits and 25 walks allowed in 65⅔ innings. He has not pitched well, but the Phillies’ rotation has been thin, and Arrieta at least offers the hope of some decent starts.

The Phillies are 60-58 and two games out in the NL wild-card race. If Arrieta’s spur treatment and rehab are typical, he could have the procedure at the end of the season and still have time to be ready for the start of next season.

But if he has the surgery now, he would have more time to prepare for 2020 — a year that might serve as a platform for his next round of free agency.

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Scherzer pitches simulated game, nears return

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WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer is getting closer to returning.

The Washington Nationals ace threw a simulated game Tuesday, a key step in his progression toward returning to active duty. Facing a trio of Washington players that included Howie Kendrick, Gerardo Parra and Ryan Zimmerman, Scherzer tossed about 30 pitches during two innings on the main mound at Nationals Park.

Prior to that, he threw roughly 30 pitches during warm-ups in the bullpen.

The mock outing, which featured the veteran hurler’s game-day walkout song (“Still D.R.E”) and Parra’s walk-up music (“Baby Shark”), comes three days after Scherzer threw his first bullpen session since going back on the injured list with back issues.

Manager Davey Martinez was encouraged by what he saw and heard Tuesday.

“He said he felt really good,” Martinez said. “But the whole deal with this injury is his recovery, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

If Scherzer feels like his normal self Wednesday, the plan would be for him to throw a light bullpen session Thursday. As for whether Scherzer would work another simulated game or perhaps go on a rehab assignment before being activated, Martinez was noncommittal. One thing the Nats skipper does know is that when his ace eventually returns, his workload will be restricted.

“If we decided to pitch him in a game,” Martinez said, “it wouldn’t be 100 pitches right away. I can tell you that right now. We really gotta be very careful where we’re at with him right now. This is to get him through the rest of the season and then some.”

Scherzer has been dealing with back issues since the end of June, a month in which he went 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA and won National League pitcher of the month honors. On July 13, after skipping the All-Star Game in an effort to get healthy, the three-time Cy Young winner was placed on the injured list with a mid-back strain, retroactive to July 10. He returned from the IL to face the Colorado Rockies on July 25, when he allowed three runs in five innings and threw a season-low 86 pitches. Four days later, Scherzer landed on the IL again (back-dated to July 26) with a mild rhomboid strain.

In other Nationals news, slugger Juan Soto is back in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. Soto missed Monday’s series opener after spraining his right ankle while rounding third base against the New York Mets on Sunday. The injury appeared serious at the time, but X-rays were negative on the 20-year old outfielder, who fractured the same ankle in 2017. Despite walking gingerly around the clubhouse Monday, Soto was cleared for action a day later.

“He checked all the boxes,” Martinez said of Soto. “We got him on the field. He ran angles. He turned like he was running the bases. The biggest thing was the turns. He said he felt great. He was bugging me yesterday to go in the game, and I told him just sit down and relax. But he was not happy that he had to sit and watch. He kept bugging me to pinch-hit. I was like, just sit down. You’ll be fine.”

Soto entered Tuesday hitting .288 with 24 home runs and 77 RBIs in 107 games. His 75 walks ranked third in the NL.

Scherzer is 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA. Despite spending time on the shelf, his 189 strikeouts were tied for most in the NL entering Tuesday.

The Nats went into Tuesday’s action with a 63-55 record. They were in second place in the NL East, six games behind the Atlanta Braves, and in possession of the top wild-card spot in the NL.

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