LEADING OFF: Draft Day, Judge takes power show to Anaheim
A look at what's happening around the majors today:
The Major League Baseball draft begins at 7 p.m. EDT, and covers 40 rounds over three days. The AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins have the first pick because of their majors-worst 103 losses last year. The previous time the Twins had the overall No. 1 choice was 2001, when they took high school catcher Joe Mauer. This time, top prospects include California high school pitcher/shortstop Hunter Greene, Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright and Louisville first baseman/left-hander Brendan McKay. After the Twins, the following four picks belong to Cincinnati, San Diego, Tampa Bay and Atlanta.
Yankees rookie Aaron Judge next takes his longball act to Anaheim, where the 6-foot-7 slugger will try to build his already impressive numbers. Judge leads the majors with 21 home runs and tops the American League with 47 RBIs and a .344 batting average. He put on quite a power show Sunday in New York by hitting two more homers, including a drive estimated at 495 feet that was the longest in the big leagues this year. The AL East-leading Yankees have won five in a row.
Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon will make his first start since undergoing surgery to treat testicular cancer May 8 when he takes on the NL West-leading Rockies at PNC Park. Taillon is 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in six starts this year.
Beset by injuries the whole season but getting healthy in a hurry, the New York Mets begin a key stretch that could be make or break for their year. Now with slugger Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup and Steven Matz and Seth Lugo back in the rotation, the Mets play 14 straight games against teams that made the playoffs last year. At 28-33, they open with Jacob deGrom starting vs. the Cubs, then later play the Nationals, Dodgers and Giants.
Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado has missed four straight games - all losses - because of an injured left wrist. He was available to pinch hit Sunday, but didn't play. There's a chance he could start when Baltimore takes on the White Sox in Chicago. The O's need him to get going - he's hitting just .213, with 12 home runs and 27 RBIs.