Latest NL Central News

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 7, 2020, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, right, listens to manager Derek Shelton during a team workout at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Shelton and other first-year managers are scrambling to make up for lost time. The rookie skippers are getting creative when it comes to getting a feel for their players during a season unlike any other.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Chemistry class: New managers test for right mix amid virus

Jul. 11, 2020 12:59 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Derek Shelton needs his freedom. Maybe now more than ever. Fortunately for the first-year Pittsburgh Pirates manager, bench coach Donnie Kelly made it a point to provide it. Each day Kelly puts together a meticulous schedule designed to find a way for separate groups of players to get...

Ryan, catcher on Boston's 'Impossible Dream' team, dies

Jul. 10, 2020 9:20 PM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — Mike Ryan, the backup catcher on the Boston Red Sox's 1967 “Impossible Dream” team during a 35-year career in professional baseball, has died. He was 78. The Red Sox said Ryan died in his sleep Tuesday in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. A native of Haverhill, Ryan appeared in 636...

Milwaukee Brewers' Corey Knebel walks to the dugout during a practice session Monday, July 6, 2020, at Miller Park in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Delayed start should help Brewers' Knebel play all season

Jul. 10, 2020 6:49 PM EDT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers reliever Corey Knebel believes the pandemic-imposed hiatus will enable him to be ready for the start of the season as he returns from Tommy John surgery. “I’m feeling very confident that I’ll be ready to go,” Knebel said after throwing an...

In this May 4, 2018, photo, Washington Nationals Bryce Harper is hugged and lifted off the ground by his manager Dave Martinez in the dugout prior to the start of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park in Washington. High fives and fist bumps are out. Hugs are a no-go. And just like crying, there's no spitting in baseball, at least for now. Things sure will be different when it's time to play ball in two weeks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

No high-fives? No spitting? MLBers adjust in COVID world

Jul. 10, 2020 3:26 PM EDT

CHICAGO (AP) — Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez wanted to hug, high-five and fist bump his players. After all, the defending World Series champions spent nearly four months apart before resuming workouts last week. Then, he remembered: Those are out. And just like crying, now there's no spitting...

Pittsburgh Pirates Gregory Polanco stands in the dugout during a simulated game at the baseball team's training in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Polanco's push; Pirates RF ready to shake injury bug in 2020

Jul. 10, 2020 8:03 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The tools are there. They always have been from the moment Gregory Polanco crashed into the big leagues six years ago as a raw jangly mix of power and potential. The looping swing that can occasionally send baseballs to the banks of the Allegheny River that flows beyond the right-field...

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2019, file photo, fans cheer as Milwaukee Brewers' Christian Yelich walks off the field after driving in the winning run with a double during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee. Major League Baseball will start each extra inning this season by putting a runner on second base. This rule has been used since 2018 in the minor leagues, where it created more action and settled games sooner. “I think it’s great,” Yelich said. “As a player, there’s nothing worse than extra innings.

New extra-inning format stirs debate as teams plot strategy

Jul. 9, 2020 8:36 PM EDT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Baseball has its answer to penalty kicks, overtimes and shootouts, and it figures to stir just as much debate as all those other tiebreakers. Major League Baseball will start each extra inning in this abbreviated, 60-game season by putting a runner on second base. The rule has been used...

FILE - This July 5, 2020, file photo shows Chicago Cubs players during baseball practice at Wrigley Fieldin Chicago. The wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. The tricky breeze in San Francisco. The heat in Los Angeles.
The weather is important business in baseball. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, File)

Winds of change? Company looks at weather's effect on ball

Jul. 9, 2020 2:20 AM EDT

CHICAGO (AP) — The wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. The tricky breeze in San Francisco. The heat in Los Angeles. The weather is important business in baseball. But what kind of business is still being decided. Weather Applied Metrics has a contract with Marquee Sports Network to develop graphics that...

FILE - In this July 31, 2019, file photo, Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel celebrates after striking out St. Louis Cardinals' Yairo Munoz for the final out of a baseball game in St. Louis. The 32-year-old Kimbrel is looking to bounce back from one of the worst stretches of his stellar career. The seven-time All-Star closer never looked right after he got a late start last year, going 0-4 with a career-high 6.53 ERA and three blown saves in 16 chances. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Kimbrel looking to bounce back after tough debut with Cubs

Jul. 8, 2020 6:56 PM EDT

CHICAGO (AP) — With just 60 games this season, the Chicago Cubs need Craig Kimbrel to be better than he was last year. Much, much better. The 32-year-old Kimbrel is looking to bounce back from one of the worst stretches of his stellar career. The seven-time All-Star closer never looked right after he got a...

Cincinnati Reds' Sonny Gray participates in baseball practice at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Sonny Gray moves to front of Reds' rotation, starts opener

Jul. 8, 2020 5:10 PM EDT

CINCINNATI (AP) — Sonny Gray knows what it's like to start a season opener in front of a crowd, having done it twice with Oakland. His third time will be the most different and memorable of all. Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell chose Gray to start the 60-game season and lead a rotation that he joined...

Northwestern moves Wisconsin game from Wrigley to Ryan Field

Jul. 8, 2020 2:40 PM EDT

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Northwestern's game against Wisconsin scheduled for Nov. 7 at Wrigley Field in Chicago is being moved to Ryan Field because of uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Northwestern announced the decision Wednesday after consulting with the Chicago Cubs, state and local authorities...