Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence
- August 23, 2014 - 6:35 PM
The offensive MVP for the Tigers this year has not been Miguel Cabrera. It’s Victor Martinez, who leads the team in home runs and RBI and whose .391 on-base percentage entering Saturday was the best of any regular. His presence keeps teams from pitching around Cabrera. First-year manager Brad Ausmus said of Martinez: “The focus is unparalleled. His work ethic, the passion which he goes about the art of hitting, I didn’t know anything about. I haven’t seen another player that can match him.”
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Cleveland entered Saturday five games back of a wild-card spot. The Indians don’t look like they have enough to make a late charge, but they are not giving up. Especially manager Terry Francona, who will manage his way to three-hour games the rest of the season. Francona used 13 relievers in the three-game series against the Twins, matching up right-for-right and left-for-left. He really doesn’t have a rotation of pitchers known for going deep into games.
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Billy Butler has played well at first base in place of Eric Hosmer, who is recovering from a fractured right hand. But Hosmer is a key cog in the Royals’ playoff push. Hosmer hasn’t swung a bat since July 31 and is scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday. So former Twins slugger Josh Willingham will continue to fill the designated hitter role for Kansas City.
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The White Sox aren’t done with presenting young mashers. Avisail Garcia, whom they received from Detroit in a trade last year, has missed most of the season with a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder. He’s back, and he hit a two-run home run Wednesday in a loss to Baltimore. But he had six RBI in his first five games since returning from the disabled list.
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