LEADING OFF: Guerrero to majors; Gonzalez back to Brewers
A look at what’s happening around the majors today.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is set to make his much-anticipated major league debut. The Toronto Blue Jays will promote their promising slugger before Friday’s game against the Oakland Athletics, manager Charlie Montoyo said Wednesday. Guerrero, 20-year-old son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, was the consensus top-ranked prospect in baseball entering this season. He missed the start of the season after an oblique injury in spring training and played eight games for Triple-A Buffalo, batting .367 with three homers and eight RBIs. “Hopefully he becomes what everybody thinks he can become,” Montoyo said.
HELP IS ON THE WAY
With the Brewers‘ starters struggling, the defending NL Central champions have turned to a familiar face. Milwaukee has agreed to a one-year contract with left-hander Gio González, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person, who said the contract will guarantee González $2 million, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement had not been announced. The 33-year-old González was 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA last season for Washington and Milwaukee, which acquired him on Aug. 31. He was 3-0 in five starts for the Brewers down the stretch. Milwaukee starters have gone 8-7 with a 5.84 ERA this season, and it’s the only team in the NL whose starters average less than five innings per game. Zach Davies on April 13 was the last Brewers pitcher to turn in a quality start.
Cubs ace left-hander Jon Lester gets the start Thursday, returning to the lineup after being sidelined due to a strained left hamstring.
Chicago manager Joe Maddon says Lester will be limited to about 75-80 pitches in his first outing since April 8, when he was hurt running the bases in the home opener against Pittsburgh. Lester is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts.
Cleveland begins a four-game series at Houston on Thursday night, the Indians‘ first crack at the Astros since Houston’s three-game sweep in last year’s AL Division Series. Trevor Bauer (2-1, 2.20 ERA) starts for Cleveland in the opener. Gerrit Cole (1-3, 5.22), who got tagged for nine runs, eight earned, in 4 1/3 innings in his previous start, takes the mound for Houston. The Astros won 10 consecutive games earlier this month to get back near the top of the AL West, and Cleveland ended a three-game losing streak — and got four RBIs from slumping leadoff man Jose Ramirez — with a victory over Miami on Wednesday.
Shohei Ohtani won’t be a two-way player this year, but he’s on track to get back in the Angels‘ lineup soon. Last year’s AL Rookie of the Year, who’s coming off Tommy John surgery and won’t pitch again until 2020, made four plate appearances Wednesday in a simulated game. Ohtani is expected to face about a week of live pitching before he rejoins the Angels, who have long projected that he would return as their designated hitter in early May.