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Indians deal for All-Star reliever Hand

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

SAN DIEGO (AP) With an eye on October and beyond, the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians scooped up All-Star closer Brad Hand and fellow reliever Adam Cimber from the rebuilding San Diego Padres in exchange for switch-hitting catching prospect Francisco Mejia.

The Indians need Hand, a lefty, and Cimber, a rookie right-handed sidearmer, to shore up a bullpen that has been without left-hander Andrew Miller since late May and has a 5.28 ERA, second-worst in the majors. The trade was announced Thursday, well ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline.

"We tried to have a really honest assessment, what are our strengths and what are the areas we can improve to help better position us to secure a postseason berth and advance once we get there," Indians President Chris Antonetti said in a conference call. "This not only impacts 2018, but it also reinforces our bullpen options for future years. Both of these guys, Brad and Adam, can do that for us."

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Ohtani cleared for throwing program

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels say two-way star Shohei Ohtani's elbow ligament is continuing to heal and he has been medically cleared to begin a throwing progression.

The team said Ohtani was given a six-week evaluation Thursday by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The Angels said they would release specifics about his progress and rehabilitation schedule at another time.

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Cubs closer Morrow on DL due to biceps

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs have placed closer Brandon Morrow on the 10-day disabled list with right biceps inflammation.

Morrow has 22 saves and a 1.47 ERA in 35 games in his first season with the Cubs. The DL stint is retroactive to Monday.

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Cubs, Cardinals set to begin second half

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs used a strong push to enter the All-Star break leading the National League Central Division. The St. Louis Cardinals, meanwhile, finished the first half on a skid that cost manager Mike Matheny his job.

So as the longtime rivals open a five-game series on Thursday at Wrigley Field, the Cubs -- who have won six of their last eight games -- hope to create some distance between themselves and the rest of the division while the Cardinals look to improve on what has been a disappointing season thus far.

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A's release veteran RHP Casilla

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Athletics have released veteran reliever Santiago Casilla, five days after he was designated for assignment.

The A's made the move Thursday.

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Mariners poised to end playoff drought

SEATTLE (AP) At some point it's going to end. The feeling of imminent failure among some Seattle fans is going to manifest on the field and this unexpected season is going to start crumbling until it's just like each of the previous seasons since the Mariners last made the playoffs in 2001. It has to, right?

That feeling is what nearly two decades without postseason baseball has created in the Pacific Northwest. While there is genuine excitement for what Seattle accomplished in the first 3+ months of the season there's also a sense of dread among the most fatalistic fans who have seen promising seasons go south before, and it won't go away until the Mariners officially end the longest current postseason drought in any of the four major pro sports.

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Story, Rockies rolling into second half

DENVER (AP) The Colorado Rockies are finding their stride behind a shortstop who's cutting down on his strikeouts, a converted first baseman who's rediscovering his swing and a rotation that's turning in quality start after quality start.

On top of that, third baseman Nolan Arenado's turning in an MVP-caliber season yet again.

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Twins surging but still far behind in AL

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins took nine wins from an 11-game home stand into the All-Star break, a midsummer surge that can boost a middling team into the postseason race.

This might not be that kind of year in the American League.

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PBS to air Ted Williams documentary

ALBQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Ted Williams is the last major league baseball player to hit over .400. The Boston Red Sox slugger captivated millions with his dazzling swing and towering homers throughout the 1940s and 1950s in competition with New York Yankees hero Joe DiMaggio.

But beneath the smiles and happy trots around the bases sat a man consumed with rage. For years, the baseball legend would shun his ethnic heritage and kept his family's past a secret. Only when he'd begin to speak out on behalf of black players would he begin to slowly reveal his connections to his Mexican-American Southern California family and the experiences that shaped him.

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