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Mariners’ Mitch Haniger undergoes second core surgery

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Mitch Haniger is recovering from a second surgery in three weeks on a core muscle injury, meaning the Seattle Mariners won’t have the veteran outfielder for Opening Day and beyond.

“2nd surgery today in the last 3 weeks,” Haniger wrote on Instagram Thursday night. “Not how I imagined heading into the 2020 season but I’m really excited to start this recovery process and build myself back up. I’ll do whatever it takes to come back even better than I’ve ever been!”

It wasn’t immediately clear how long Haniger will be sidelined. General manager Jerry Dipoto had said last month that Haniger likely needed an initial surgery and wasn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day — but that was before he had the additional procedure.

Haniger suffered the injury during an offseason workout in January. Dipoto had said the setback was tied to Haniger’s injury issues from last year, when he missed the final 3½ months of the season after suffering a ruptured testicle and then experienced back and core issues during his recovery. Haniger was limited to 63 games and batted .220 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs.

A year earlier, Haniger was an All-Star after hitting .285 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs and an OPS of .859.

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Aaron Judge first Yankee in 13 years to homer in 5 straight

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NEW YORK — Aaron Judge homered for the fifth consecutive game Sunday night, becoming the first New York Yankees player in 13 years to accomplish the feat.

The big slugger connected off left-handed reliever Matt Hall in the second inning, sending a three-run drive off the facing of the second deck in left field at Yankee Stadium to give New York a 3-2 lead over the Boston Red Sox.

The previous Yankees hitter to go deep in five straight games was Alex Rodriguez in September 2007. Judge joined A-Rod as the only players in club history to hit five home runs in the first eight games of a season. Rodriguez also did that in 2007.

Judge had never homered in four games in a row until connecting during Saturday night’s 5-2 victory over Boston. The two-time All-Star led the American League with 52 home runs in 2017, when he was the AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up for MVP. Limited by injuries the past two years, he hit 27 homers each season.

The home run on Sunday gave Judge five homers and 12 RBIs in eight games this year.

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Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw sharp in season debut; Mookie Betts (finger) day-to-day

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Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, a late scratch for the season opener last month, allowed three hits and struck out six across 5⅔ innings in his 2020 debut Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Kershaw left with a 3-0 lead, after throwing 81 pitches, 57 of them for strikes. Not long after he left the game, Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts also departed with a sore middle finger on his left hand.

Following the Dodgers’ 3-0 victory, manager Dave Roberts said X-rays on Betts’ finger were negative and he is day-to-day. Roberts said Betts was removed from the game because he had a lot of swelling on the finger.

Kershaw was scratched just four hours before the season opener vs. the San Francisco Giants because of back stiffness.

Kershaw’s back originally stiffened up while he went about his normal routine in the weight room in the days leading up to the Dodgers’ opener, but an MRI later that day came back clean. He received treatment over the next couple of days but couldn’t get his back loose enough to make his first start.

Kershaw’s return is a welcome addition on several levels for a Dodgers’ rotation that lost starter Alex Wood to the injured list because of shoulder inflammation last week.

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Tigers’ Tyler Alexander ties AL mark for strikeouts in a row

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DETROIT — Tigers reliever Tyler Alexander struck out the first nine batters he faced on Sunday, tying the American League record for consecutive strikeouts in Detroit’s 4-3 loss to Cincinnati in the opener of a doubleheader.

Alexander came on in the third and mowed down the Reds. His streak ended in the top of the sixth, one short of Tom Seaver’s major league record, when he hit Mike Moustakas with a 1-2 pitch. Moustakas left the game with an apparent hand injury.

Alexander finished with 10 strikeouts — most in a game by a relief pitcher since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson struck out 16 on July 18, 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The game marked the first seven-inning doubleheader game in major league history, and Shogo Akiyama made it memorable with an RBI single in the seventh that lifted the Reds to victory.

It was strange from the start — the scoreboard at Comerica Park listed nine innings instead of seven.

Former Tigers slugger Nick Castellanos homered twice and drove in three runs for Cincinnati, but his three-base error in right field in the sixth inning allowed Detroit to tie the game.

Cincinnati’s Raisel Iglesias (1-1) got the final out of the sixth before pitching a scoreless seventh.

Joe Jimenez (0-1) got the loss.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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