Ranger Suarez became the majors’ first 10-game winner and Bryce Harper celebrated his tying home run with a soccer slide as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the New York Mets, 7-2 in the opener of Major League Baseball’s third London Series on Saturday.

Harper’s homer sparked a six-run fourth that included Whit Merrifield’s three-run homer and the major league-best Phillies (45-19) won their fourth in a row and seventh in eight games.

Harper finished a triple shy of the cycle and did a soccer slide in front of the Phillies dugout and moments later yelled “I love soccer!” while high-fiving teammates.

Nick Castellanos went deep in the eighth inning as manager Rob Thomson earned his 200th regular season win (200-137).

Suarez gave up two runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings and Philadelphia’s bullpen worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Starling Marte had two hits and an RBI for the Mets, who had won three straight.


Streaking Reds edge Cubs

TJ Friedl homered and knocked in three runs and Jeimer Candelerio also went deep as the Cincinnati Reds held off the Chicago Cubs, 4-3, for their seventh straight win.

The Cubs threatened to tie in the ninth with runners at first and third with one out, but Justin Wilson got Ian Happ on a foul popup and retired Mike Tauchman on a groundout for his first save since 2019.

Andrew Abbott allowed five hits and walked four in five innings, but the only run he gave up was on Dansby Swanson’s first-inning RBI double. He struck out Patrick Wisdom three times and Christopher Morel twice.

Candelerio’s first-inning home run off Ben Brown lifted the Reds into a 1-1 tie, and Friedl’s two-run shot in the third was his third homer in the last seven games.


Hernandez goes deep twice as Dodgers rout Yankees

Teoscar Hernandez belted an eighth-inning grand slam for his second homer of the game and drove in six runs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 11-3 victory over the New York Yankees.

Hernandez opened the scoring in the second inning with a solo shot off Nestor Cortes and connected for his fifth career grand slam in the eighth to extend the lead to 8-2.  

The six RBIs matched a career high for Hernandez, who had done that twice previously. He has eight RBIs in the first two games of this series.

Kike Hernandez also went deep and Freddie Freeman added a two-run double for Los Angeles, which has taken the first two games of this marquee series in the Bronx.

Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 22nd and 23rd home runs as the Yankees lost their second straight following an eight-game winning streak.

New York’s star right fielder Juan Soto sat out his second consecutive game with left forearm inflammation.

New Boston Red Sox signing Justin Turner was taken to hospital to receive 16 stitches in his face after being nailed by a fastball during the first inning of Monday's spring training game against the Detroit Tigers.

Turner, 38, is a two-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he spent the previous nine seasons before signing with the Red Sox as a free agent in December.

Starting at first base on Monday, and batting third in the line-up, Turner stepped up to the plate in the first inning following a four-pitch walk to Rafael Devers.

Tigers starter Matt Manning was struggling with his control, and the first pitch he threw to Turner tailed up and in, missing his helmet and drilling him directly in the face.

Blood immediately started to flow and the medical staff raced to his aid, although he was able to walk off the field under his own strength with a blood-soaked towel over his face.

He was taken to a local medical facility in Florida where he received 16 stitches in his face, but Turner's wife, Kourtney, shared a positive update through social media.

"16 stitches and a lot of swelling but we are thanking God for no fractures and clear scans," she wrote. 

"Thank you to everyone that reached out about Justin and sent prayers. We're home now and he's resting (okay – maybe listening to the replay of the game)."

In a statement, the Red Sox said: "He's receiving treatment for soft tissue injuries, and is being monitored for a concussion. He will undergo further testing, and we'll update as we have more information. 

"Justin is stable, alert, and in good spirits given the circumstances."

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr will not play for the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic, withdrawing from the tournament due to inflammation in his right knee.

The 23-year-old slugger injured his knee Friday while running the bases in a spring training game and the team announced Saturday he would not participate in the WBC.

Blue Jays manager John Schneider said an MRI showed no structural damage, and he is not expected to be sidelined for long.

Toronto, though, obviously do not want to take any chances as they head into the 2023 season with high expectations after finishing with 92 wins and reaching the playoffs last year.

Guerrero was named to his second All-Star Game in 2022 after leading the Blue Jays with 32 home runs and 97 RBIs while batting .274 in 160 games.

He is the third Toronto player to withdraw from the WBC, along with catcher Alejandro Kirk and relief pitcher Jordan Romano.

The Dominican Republic begins their WBC schedule next Saturday against Venezuela.

Gavin Lux's season is over before it even began.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Tuesday the infielder will miss the entire 2023 season due to a torn ACL in his right knee.

Lux sustained the injury on Monday in a spring training game when running between second and third base.

Needing to adjust his stride to avoid being hit by a throw, Lux's leg buckled awkwardly when he stepped down on his right foot. He tumbled to the ground and needed to be carted off the field.

Roberts said Lux also suffered damage to his LCL and will have surgery next week.

It is a devastating scenario for Lux, who was expected to be the Dodgers' everyday shortstop this season after Trea Turner left in free agency over the offseason to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies.

A first-round pick by the Dodgers in 2016, the 25-year-old Lux played in a career-high 129 games last season for Los Angeles, batting .276 with six home runs, 20 doubles and a National League-high seven triples.

In 273 career games over the parts of four MLB seasons, Turner is batting .253 with 18 home runs, 38 doubles and 105 RBIs.

Veteran Miguel Rojas will likely take over at shortstop for the Dodgers while the versatile Chris Taylor can also fill in.

Less than two weeks after saying he planned to become a free agent next offseason, Manny Machado committed his future to the San Diego Padres.

On Sunday, ESPN reported that Machado and the Padres agreed to a new 11-year, $350million contract that will run through the 2033 season.

The new deal will begin this season and replaces the six years and $180m Machado had remaining on the 10-year, $300m contract he signed with the Padres in 2019. It also contains a full no-trade clause and no opt-out opportunities, according to MLB.com.

Machado would have been able to opt out of his previous contract at the end of this season, and announced on February 17 he intended to do so after he and the Padres were unable to agree to an extension prior to a deadline imposed by the six-time All-Star's representatives.

The Padres have yet to officially announce the agreement, which is pending a physical, though Machado alluded to a deal being reached as he passed reporters while preparing for Sunday’s spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"They believed in me since day one, and here we are," he said. "We’re going to, hopefully, make this our home. We're excited to be here for the rest of our careers and have this hat go into the Hall of Fame."

A career .282 hitter with 283 home runs over 11 major league seasons, Machado is coming off an excellent 2022 campaign where he finished second to St. Louis' Paul Goldchmidt for the National League’s Most Valuable Player award.

Machado finished the season fourth in the NL with a .298 batting average while producing 32 homers and 102 RBIs to help the Padres earn a playoff spot.

The 30-year-old homered four more times in 12 postseason games as San Diego ousted both the New York Mets and the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers to reach the NL Championship Series.

Machado previously won the NL's Silver Slugger Award for third basemen in 2020 and owns two Gold Glove awards. He broke into the majors as a 20-year-old with Baltimore in 2012 and spent six-plus seasons with the Orioles before being traded to the Dodgers in 2018. The Miami native signed with the Padres as a free agent the following offseason.

New York Yankees captain Aaron Judge declined to put a figure on the number of home runs he hopes to hit in 2023 but says "you never know" if he can better last season's historic return.

Judge last season broke Roger Maris Sr's long-standing American League and Yankees single-season record of 61 home runs from 1961, blasting 62 across the regular season.

When asked on Monday if he could hit 62 home runs again in the 2023 season, Judge replied "we'll see" with a wry grin.

"I don't like putting a number on it," Judge told reporters. "I just like going out there trying to control what I can control, but you never know what could happen. So, we'll see about 62."

Judge added: "I've got some goals written down but my individual stats always take care of themselves when I'm focused on the team. The game tells you what you need to do.

"After everything that transpired last season, I'll try do what I did last year, I'll try to take it one at-bat at a time."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone backed Judge for another "MVP-caliber season" irrespective of how many home runs he hits.

"The biggest thing for him is making sure he's going to the post and keeping him healthy," Boone said. "If that's the case, greatness will find its way.

"Whether it's not 60 homers again or 62 homers again, whatever it is, if he's healthy he's going to go out there and have an MVP-caliber season. There's no doubt in my mind about that. I don't worry about a hangover."

Judge was confirmed as the Yankees' 16th captain in December having signed a nine-year, $360million contract to stay in the Bronx.

The 30-year-old was excited by that "incredible title" but determined to lead the Yankees to World Series glory, which has eluded them during Judge's time with the franchise and since 2009.

"That sound in the clubhouse after a [season-ending] loss is probably the worst feeling a ballplayer can have," Judge said.

"You don't know what to say. You don't know what to do. All of a sudden you're going from, every day preparing for this game, and this is the most important game of your life, and all of a sudden you're done and the offseason begins.

"Every year that we don't finish what we started, it wears on us in different ways. Each season is a little different: If it’s getting kicked out at the Wild Card game, to the ALCS game, to the ALDS, they all sting, but they sting in different ways.

"As the years go on, and you make improvements from what you did last year and it's, 'We weren't able to do this, let's improve on that' – and you fail again and fail again. But I think every failure kind of pushes you towards that ultimate goal."

The agent of Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani believes the baseball unicorn has "earned the right" to explore free agency.

Ohtani, 28, is the only player in Major League Baseball who excels as both a pitcher and a hitter, earning an All-Star selection in both categories last season.

He struck out 219 batters in 2022 – the sixth-most in the majors – while also tying for 11th on the home run leaderboard with 34 dingers. His 80 combined home runs over the past two seasons trails only Aaron Judge (101).

The six-foot-four Japanese sensation led all players in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2021, and it took Judge breaking the American League home run record in 2022 to unseat him as number one.

Ohtani will play for a $30million salary this season ahead of what will almost certainly be a record-breaking contract, but agent Nez Balelo gave no indication that his client is leaning towards staying in Anaheim.

When asked if he would be open to negotiating a long-term extension during spring training, Balelo said he is open to anything, but will not make a commitment.

"I've always been open to it," he said. "But there's several layers to this one, and Shohei's earned the right to play through the year, explore free agency, and we'll see where it shakes out."

Asked if that meant a spring training deal was actually unlikely, Balelo was again not willing to go one way or the other.

"I've said it before, I'll say it again – we're taking it one day at a time," he said. "I'm not putting the cart before the horse on this one."

Ohtani has been weighed down by poor Angels teams and has never made the playoffs – something he may be growing tired of.

"He's so competitive, like all great players are, so of course they want to experience the postseason, of course they'd love to be in the World Series," Balelo said. "But is that the deciding factor? I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see.

"Shohei's been here five years, now this is his final year, and now we have free agency, so of course there's gonna be a lot of questions.

"What does he wanna do? Where's he gonna go? All of it. And I've said this so many times and Shohei has said it as well – we really take it day by day, one day at a time.

"I've always wanted him to enjoy this ride that he's on. I've wanted him to embrace it. That's what he's done. We're gonna continue that."

Whoever eventually secures Ohtani long-term will almost certainly have to eclipse the nine-year, $360m benchmark set by Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees this offseason.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw revealed on Friday that he will no longer be able to take part in March's World Baseball Classic.

Kershaw was announced as part of Team USA's star-studded squad during the initial team reveal on February 9, but according to reporting from ESPN, he ran into a roadblock when it came to getting his MLB contract insured.

Teams require players on their 40-man rosters to have their contracts insured before taking part in the World Baseball Classic, but with 35-year-old Kershaw having missed time with back injuries in five of the past seven seasons, it was far from straightforward.

Speaking to reporters, Kershaw confirmed he is fully healthy and has the Dodgers' blessing, but ultimately could not make it work.

"Super disappointing," he said. "We tried a lot of different things, all sides, we really tried to make it work. 

"Nothing's wrong with me, it just didn't work out. I really wanted to do it, I really wanted to be a part of that group.

"Probably my last chance to do it, so I really wanted to do it. Just didn't work out for a number of reasons. I'm frustrated. 

"They should make it easy for guys that want to play, to play. Obviously if the team doesn't want you to play that's one thing, but if you have the team's blessing, like I do, it should be easier. They should probably look into that."

He added: "There were some factors that were making it hard for me to play, and I tried to work it out on my own, tried to work it out with MLB, the union, the team. Everybody worked hard to try to make it work, and I wasn't able to."

Team USA general manager Tony Reagins also shared his disappointment in the outcome.

"It's unfortunate that Clayton won't be able to pitch for us," he said. "Clayton's desire to wear USA across his chest and represent his country was evident very early on in this process.

"We would have loved to have this future Hall of Famer on the mound for us, we respect all that he would bring to this clubhouse and this group of men. 

"We now have to pivot and turn our focus toward the next man up as we prepare to defend the WBC title. I'm confident in the roster that we've built and we look forward to getting everyone together in just a few weeks."

Manny Machado plans to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract following the upcoming season.

Machado is entering the fifth year of a 10-year, $300million deal he signed with the San Diego Padres in February 2019, which included the right to terminate the agreement after this season and enter the free-agent market.

"Obviously, the team knows where I stand, my situation with the opt-out coming," he said at the Padres' spring training camp in Peoria, Arizona. "I think I've expressed that I will be opting out after this year, but I think my focus is not about 2024. I think my focus is about 2023, what I can do to this ballclub, what I've done for the organisation and what we're going to continue to do here. I think we've got something special here growing and I don't think anything's going to change."

When Machado originally signed his deal, it was the second largest in the majors behind Giancarlo Stanton's $325m contract. Now he is tied for the 11th-highest deal with the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout topping the majors at $426.5m.

"Markets change," Machado said. "From where I signed five years ago, it's changed tremendously. Things change and evolve. As a player who's about to opt out, it's pretty good to see."

Machado is a six-time All-Star who finished second in the NL MVP voting last season after he batted .298 with 32 homers and 102 RBIs for a Padres team that reached the NL championship series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Padres have not been shy about handing out big-money deals. They signed Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280mi deal in the offseason, and recently gave pitcher Yu Darvish a six-year, $102m extension.

"That provision's in his contract," Padres manager Bob Melvin said. "It's in his right to opt out, but we've also shown a willingness to keep the important guys here."

Elite starting pitcher Corbin Burnes feels his relationship with the Milwaukee Brewers has been seriously damaged after his salary arbitration hearing.

Players with between three and six years of service time in the majors are eligible for salary arbitration, which is where both the individual and the team submit a salary figure to an independent arbitrator that they feel is fair.

Burnes, the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner as the National League's best pitcher, submitted a figure of $10.75million, while the Brewers offered $10.01m.

During such a process there is a hearing, where each side presents their case, and oftentimes the scenario whereby a team tries to diminish the value of a star player does not go down well.

That was again the case this time around, with Burnes acknowledging he was disappointed to hear the team disparage his efforts after emerging as one of the best young arms in the sport.

"Obviously, it's tough to hear," he said. "It's tough to take. They're trying to do what they can to win a hearing.

"There's no denying that the relationship is definitely hurt from what [transpired] over the last couple weeks. There's really no way of getting around that.

"You kind of find out your true value. You think you work hard for seven years in the organisation, and five years with the big-league team, and you get in there and basically they value you much different than what you thought you'd contributed to the organisation.

"They won it [the arbitration]. But when it came down to winning or losing the hearing, it was more than that for me.''

He felt the Brewers crossed a line by implying he was the reason the team did not reach the playoffs in 2022, despite leading the National League with a career-high 243 strikeouts.

"That's something that probably doesn't need to be said,'' explained Burnes. "We can go about a hearing without having to do that.

"There was no attacking of character or the person who I was, but just some of the stuff that was said, that definitely didn't need to be said, is something that I think kind of disappointed everyone."

In damage control, Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold put out a statement trying to reiterate the franchise's commitment to their top starter.

"The arbitration process always presents uncomfortable situations for both the club and player involved," he said. "It is never easy to present a case against a member of the Brewers family.

"I'd like to reiterate that we view Corbin as one of the leaders of our franchise and value him as an elite talent in the game. Corbin is a major contributor to the organisation both on and off the field, and we look forward to another outstanding season from him in 2023."

Burnes will be eligible for arbitration again next offseason if the two parties do not strike a long-term extension beforehand, while a trade is now also on the table if Burnes suggests he has no intention of remaining in Milwaukee.

Tim McCarver, a two-time All-Star catcher who won two World Series titles and later became a Hall of Fame broadcaster, has died at the age of 81.

The baseball Hall of Fame announced his death on Thursday, which was due to heart failure.

McCarver's playing career spanned four decades, beginning with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1959 as a 17-year-old, and ending in 1980 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Following his retirement, he moved into the broadcast booth – working for the Cardinals, Phillies, New York Mets, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants – and later became the top baseball analyst on American network TV, calling 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games.

In 2012, he was bestowed with the Ford C. Frick Award by the Hall of Fame for his excellence in broadcasting.

"Tim McCarver was an All-Star, a World Series Champion, a respected team-mate, and one of the most influential voices our game has known," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

"As a player, Tim was a key part of great Cardinals and Phillies teams in his 21-year career. In the booth, his analysis and attention to detail brought fans closer to our game and how it is played and managed. Tim's approach enhanced the fan experience on our biggest stages and on the broadcasts of the Mets, the Yankees and the Cardinals."

Though not a particularly dangerous hitter – granted not many catchers were during the 1960s – McCarver was a skilled baserunner and was known for the work he put in with his pitching staff and was well respected by team-mates.

Selected to All-Star Games in 1966 and 1967, McCarver's best hitting season came in 1967, when he batted .295 with career highs of 14 home runs, 26 doubles and 69 RBIs and finished second in NL MVP voting behind team-mate Orlando Cepeda as the Cardinals won their second World Series title in four years.

In a 21-year career, which also included brief stints with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox, McCarver hit .271 with 97 home runs and 645 RBIs.

"All of us at Major League Baseball are grateful for Tim's impact on sports broadcasting and his distinguished career in our National Pastime," Manfred added. "I extend my deepest condolences to Tim's family, friends and the generations of fans who learned about our great game from him."

Eight players who have won a Major League Baseball MVP award during their careers will take part in this year's World Baseball Classic as rosters for the 20 participating teams were revealed.

Five of those players will be competing for the defending champion United States squad, that will be captained by Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout. The three-time American League MVP will be part of a potentially fearsome lineup that also includes 2022 National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt and Los Angeles Dodgers standouts Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.

Another Dodger and former NL MVP, Clayton Kershaw, will help anchor a pitching staff as the U.S. attempts to duplicate its victory in the most recent WBC held in 2017.

Venezuela is the only other nation with multiple former MLB MVPs and will be captained by longtime Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who is expected to retire at the end of the 2023 season. The Venezuelan roster also includes 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros as well as Atlanta Braves sensation Ronald Acuna Jr.

Japan, the only nation with more than one WBC title, will be headlined by Trout’s Angels teammate and two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani. The 2021 AL MVP is joined by the reigning Nippon Baseball MVP Munetaki Murakami for the 2006 and 2009 champions.

Team USA and Japan would have to each advance to at least the semifinals for an unprecedented matchup between Ohtani and Trout to take place.

"I don’t even know what to tell 'em," Trout told MLB Network during the roster reveal show when asked if he would offer Team USA a scouting report on Ohtani. "I'm watching him from center field pitching – he's got the best stuff in the league, I think. I don't think I've talked to anybody in the league who wants to face that dude.

"At the plate, he’s got very little weaknesses. Nothing even comes to the top of my head."

Team USA will play their first-round games in Phoenix as part of the Group C bracket that also includes Mexico, Colombia, Canada and first-time participant Great Britain. Japan will be the host nation for Group B play, which will take place in Tokyo with South Korea, Australia, China and the Czech Republic also in the pool.

Venezuela will head to Miami to be part of a loaded Group D field that contains tournament betting favourite Dominican Republic as well as 2013 and 2017 runner-up Puerto Rico.

The Dominican team, which captured the title in 2013, features 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara atop its pitching staff and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez among a star-studded crop of position players that also includes sluggers Juan Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Manny Machado, Rafael Devers and Wander Franco.

First-round play is scheduled to run from March 8-15 with the top two teams from the four groups advancing to the quarterfinals, which will be held in Tokyo from March 15-16 and Miami from March 17-18.

Miami’s LoanDepot Park will also host the semifinals from March 19-20 as well as the championship game on March 21.

The Houston Astros locked up World Series hero Cristian Javier on a five-year contract extension on Friday worth $66million.

First reported by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, securing the long-term services of their 25-year-old budding ace was one of new Astros general manager Dana Brown's "foremost objectives during his first month on the job".

After primarily operating as a relief pitcher in 2021, with only nine starts among his 36 total appearances, Javier was promoted to a full-time starter in 2022.

He made 25 starts, and his 2.54 ERA was the second-best on the team among players to pitch at least 100 innings, trailing only AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (1.75 ERA).

The Dominican-born Javier made headlines in June when he struck out 13 batters in a combined no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, and his star went up another level in the postseason.

In Game 4 of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Javier threw six no-hit innings to set up only the second World Series no-hitter in MLB history.

From his two combined starts against the Yankees and the Phillies in the postseason, Javier pitched 11-and-a-third innings for 14 strikeouts, one hit, five walks and no runs.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the new deal will pay Javier – who has never made more than $749,100 in any of his three seasons so far – $3m plus a $2m signing bonus in 2023, $7m in 2024, $10m in 2025, and $21m in both 2026 and 2027 when he would have been eligible to enter free agency.

Atlanta Braves general manager Brian Snitker has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2025 season with the 2021 World Series champions.

Snitker, who has been in the role since 2016, has guided the Braves to five consecutive National League (NL) East titles, highlighted by their 2021 World Series.

The 67-year-old Braves boss led the side to a 101-61 regular-season record in 2022, before bowing out to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Division Series.

Snitker has a 542-451 managerial record, but is the first manager in franchise history to lead the Braves to five post seasons in his first six seasons. He won the 2018 NL Manager of the Year.

New York Yankees president Randy Levine has joined the board of Serie A football giants Milan, it was revealed on Saturday.

The move tightens the connection between the two sporting titans, with Yankee Global Enterprises, which owns the Major League Baseball team, having acquired a minority stake when investment firm RedBird Capital took ownership of Milan last August in a €1.2billion deal.

In a statement, Milan said: "AC Milan today announced that Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, has joined the club's board of directors.

"Mr Levine has been the president of the New York Yankees for over 20 years and is recognised globally as one of the most accomplished executives in the sports and entertainment industries."

Milan chairman Paolo Scaroni said of Levine: "His experience and expertise will integrate with ours, contributing to the growth path of the club and creating opportunities to expand its global appeal.

"The appointment of Randy will help us develop new synergies at a global level, in line with RedBird's strategic vision, opening new horizons for the club and its fans."

Forbes last year listed the Yankees, owned by the Steinbrenner family, as the fourth most valuable sports team in the world, with an estimated value of $6billion.

Seven-time European champions Milan won Italy's Serie A title in 2021-22, ending an 11-year wait. They entered this weekend sitting second in the 2022-23 championship, with Napoli the leaders.

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