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16.01.2019 07:31
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CHICAGO (AP) — The celebration was under way by the time David Bote flung his helmet high into the air on his way home.Teammates were already jumping up and down , ready to mob him at the plate. The fans were in a frenzy, too.Nothing like a game-ending grand slam to get the festivities started.A pinch-hitting Bote smashed one against Ryan Madson with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday night.Bote’s long drive to center field came after dominant starts by Washington’s Max Scherzer and Chicago’s Cole Hamels.Madson (2-5) entered with a 3-0 lead to start the ninth and quickly ran into trouble.He gave up an infield single to Jason Heyward with one out and hit Albert Almora with a pitch. Madson then retired Kyle Schwarber on a foul pop before hitting Contreras to load the bases.With a 2-2 count, Bote drove a knee-high fastball well beyond the center-field wall, setting off quite a scene.Teammates ripped off his jersey at the plate. He also had a cooler emptied on him as he gave an interview on the field while fans chanted “Bote! Bote!”“It’s magical,” he said. “It’s incredible. It’s an unbelievable feeling. It couldn’t happen to a better team, a better group of people in that clubhouse. And I’m so blessed and honored to be part of it.”There was more after he finished his postgame interview with reporters. As he walked back into the clubhouse, he got a quick hug from none other than noted Cubs fan Bill Murray, who asked, “Is this the hero?”Bote has made quite an impression while bouncing back and forth between the minors as a rookie. He is batting .329 with three homers in 34 games for the Cubs, with Kris Bryant battling injuries this season.His big slam helped Chicago take two of three in the first meeting between these teams since the Cubs beat Washington in the NL Division Series. It also made a winner of Justin Wilson (4-3), who got the final two outs in the ninth.Madson said a recurring back issue flared up when he was warming up, causing pain going down his right leg.“Sometimes it will shoot, sometimes it won’t,” he said. “That’s really the truth of the matter. Just trying to fight through it. Not everybody feels 100 percent all the time, but this one’s pretty big. So I’ll lose basically position, control over the ball.”Scherzer tossed three-hit ball over seven innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out 11 and walked one.But the Nationals managed just three hits — one off Hamels. He gave up one run in seven innings Jason Kipnis Jersey , struck out nine and walked one in his third start since Chicago acquired him from Texas.The only hit he allowed was Daniel Murphy’s single in the second to put runners on first and third. Mark Reynolds then drove in Ryan Zimmerman with a sacrifice fly.The Nationals did not get another hit until Trea Turner tripled against Brandon Kintzler, sparking a two-run ninth.A-ROD, MADDON MAKE PEACECubs manager Joe Maddon and ESPN analyst Alex Rodriguez insisted they made peace over the former slugger’s comments criticizing pitcher Yu Darvish last month.Maddon said they had a “very open and candid” conversation before the game. Rodriguez also said it was “very positive.”The two were at odds after Rodriguez accused Darvish — sidelined since May 20 because of triceps and elbow injuries — of causing a rift in the clubhouse by rehabbing with the team rather than at the Cubs’ facility in Arizona. Maddon fired back at the time, and he made it clear again Sunday that he will protect his players.Rodriguez, who took two questions from reporters before sprinting away, seemed to have no regrets.“What’s great about this is we all have the same interests — to grow the game, to highlight stories as objectively as we can,” he said.Both he and Maddon said they planned to have drinks together at some point.TRAINER’S ROOMNationals: The Nationals held 3B Anthony Rendon out of the lineup for the second straight game because of a sore left wrist, though he entered in the bottom of the ninth. … Closer Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) hopes to start throwing off the mound in the next day or two. He has not pitched since July 6.Cubs: The Cubs activated RHP Anthony Bass (right mid-thoracic strain) and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa after he cleared waivers.UP NEXTNationals: Washington opens a four-game series at surging St. Louis, with LHP Tommy Milone (1-1, 5.50 ERA) starting for the Nationals and RHP Miles Mikolas (12-3, 2.74) pitching for the Cardinals.Cubs: Send LHP José Quintana (10-8, 4.28) to the mound when they open a two-game series against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Pool/Getty ImagesSplashy free-agent signings make headlines, and this offseason will be no different with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado likely to dominate the rumor mill until they ink a new deal.However, an under-the-radar signing can sometimes be as fruitful as a headline-grabbing addition.No one batted an eye when the Los Angeles Dodgers signed a non-tendered utility infielder by the name of Justin Turner to a minor league contract prior to the 2014 season. Now, he's one of the best hitters in baseball and a key cog for the NL champs.Ahead is a quick look at some of the latest notable rumors surrounding some of the underrated options on this year's free-agent market.Nick Hundley to re-sign with the San Francisco Giants?Lachlan Cunningham/Getty ImagesVeteran catcher Nick Hundley has made quite an impression on the San Francisco Giants in his two seasons with the team."Hundley is one of the most popular players in the clubhouse and some in the organization think he鈥檒l one day be a strong candidate to manage the Giants Lonnie Chisenhall Jersey ," wrote Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.That's high praise for a backup catcher, though Hundley has seen more action than most second-string backstops during his time with the Giants:2017:101 G, 303 PA, .244/.272/.418, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 0.5 WAR2018:96 G, 305 PA, .241/.298/.408, 10 HR, 31 RBI, 0.0 WARBuster Posey underwent hip surgeryat the end of August, and while rookie Aramis Garcia showed some potential in September, it's a stretch to think he's ready for the starting gig with just 19 big league games under his belt.With that in mind, Pavlovic provided this sweeping overview of the team's catching situation:"The Giants hope their franchise catcher is 100 percent by Opening Day, but there are no guarantees , and the safe plan would be to have Hundley ready as the backup, with Garcia set to play every day in Triple-A, or serve as Hundley's backup early in the season. Long term, the Giants have Garcia ready and Joey Bart looking like he might be up as soon as next September, but for 2019, it seems a pretty good bet that Hundley is back on another one-year deal."It only cost a one-year, $2.5 million deal to bring him back last winter, and a similar contract should get the job done again this winter.Tampa Bay Rays now the favorite to sign Sandy Gaston?With the Miami Marlins officially signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. to a combined $6.25 million worth of bonus money, it appears they're now out on fellow Cuban standout Sandy Gaston.Gaston, 16, was the No. 16 international prospect in this year's class, according to, who wrote the following:"Gaston is an especially hard thrower. His fastball has been clocked as 97 mph and it's not uncommon for him to sit at 94-95. That type of velocity is rare in any market and not surprisingly, some scouts wonder if he will be able to command the high velocity on a consistent basis. But his skill is extraordinary, and Gaston is the type of pitcher any club would like to put it in its system"Who then has emerged as the favorite to sign the hard-throwing teenager?At least one MLB insider likes the Tampa Bay Rays.Joe Frisaro JoeFrisaroMy sense is Sandy Gaston will wind up with the #RaysThe Rays are said to have roughly $3.6 million in remaining bonus money, according to Jesse Sanchez of That was third to the Orioles ($6.7 million) and Marlins at the time Bob Feller Jersey , and the Rays have much stronger ties to the international pipelines than an Orioles team that is just starting to wade into those waters.Tampa Bay already has a stacked farm system鈥攔anked No. 5 in B/R's final update of the season鈥攁nd Gaston would be another excellent addition.Wade Miley a candidate to be re-signed by the Milwaukee Brewers?Pool/Getty ImagesWade Miley began last offseason by having his $12 million club option declined by the Baltimore Orioles, as he was instead bought out for $500,000 and sent into free agency.After struggling to a 5.61 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in 157.1 innings in 2017, he was forced to settle for a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, and that proved to be one of the best bargains of the year.While the 31-year-old was slowed by injury in the first half鈥攈e made just two starts over the first three months of the season鈥攈e returned full bore on July 12 and went 4-2 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 14 starts to close out the season.His success stemmed in part from the Brewers' unique pitching philosophy, as he was rarely asked to face opposing lineups for a third time and averaged just 5.1 innings per start during that span.Now, he looks like a candidate to be re-signed."[The]Brewers may seek to re-sign him, or he鈥檒l end up with a National League team," wrote Nick Cafardo of theBoston Globe.More than anything, he fits the Brewers roster well, so a bidding war on the open market seems unlikely. It may not cost much more than the $2.5 million he wound up making this season to bring him back, and he may welcome a chance to return to a comfortable situation where he's enjoyed success and has a chance to win.All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.

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