LEADING OFF: Twins and Indians in AL Central battle
A look at what's happening all around the majors Friday:
Minnesota (34-29), atop the AL Central for the past five weeks, starts a four-game series against defending AL champion Cleveland (32-21), which trails by two games. ''We'd all be lying if we said we haven't been scoreboard watching since we got off to a 4-0 start,'' said Twins catcher Chris Gimenez, who played for the Indians last season. ''I think last year especially, Cleveland was kind of the bully on the block. We want to let people know that we're ready to kind of take the bully on and punch him in the mouth. This is a good opportunity to do that. Not that the season is over if it doesn't happen that way. But anytime you have the chance to play the guys right behind you and potentially create some separation there, it's a good thing.''
Texas Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels, on the disabled list since May 2 because of a strained right oblique, is to start Friday for Double-A Frisco in an injury rehabilitation assignment. Hamels was 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts before he got hurt.
LOOKING TO REBOUND
Chicago White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana was an All-Star last season and the subject of trade rumors all winter as his team retooled toward youth. Quintana is 2-8 with a 5.30 ERA, including 0-4 with a 6.51 ERA in his past seven starts, going into Friday's series opener at Toronto.
ALREADY BOUNCED BACK
Right-hander Luis Severino, 5-2 with a 2.75 ERA, starts for the New York Yankees in the second game of a four-game series at Oakland after an extra day of rest. Severino is 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA over his past seven starts, allowing only five earned runs over 33 1/3 innings during his past five outings. Last year, he was 3-8 and got demoted to the minor leagues.
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