Leading Off: Rays See What's In The Cards With Blue Jays

New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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A look at what's happening around the majors on Wednesday:

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FINDERS KEEPERS

Kevin Kiermaier is playing for keeps -- and the Toronto Blue Jays may not be too keen on what he’s keeping.

The veteran Rays outfielder scooped up a data card that fell out of Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk’s wristband during Tampa Bay’s 6-4 victory Monday night and has refused to give it back to the playoff-contending Blue Jays.

Kiermaier was called out sliding into home during the sixth inning and saw a strip of paper lying next to him after the play. He casually picked it up and took it back to Tampa Bay’s dugout, where he discreetly handed it Paul Hoover, the club’s field coordinator.

“I never even looked at it, I’ll say that,” Kiermaier told Sportnet before Tuesday night’s game. “But at the same time, I’m not going to drop it or hand it back.”

Sportsnet reported Toronto sent a bat boy to the Rays dugout to ask for the card’s return. AL East-leading Tampa Bay did not send back the card, which likely included information about the Blue Jays’ plans to pitch to the Rays’ hitters.

There were no incidents when Kiermaier batted for the first time Tuesday, when he hit into a first-pitch double play.

CHICAGO HOPE

The AL Central-leading White Sox will keep evaluating lefty Carlos Rodón after exited his latest start with soreness in his pitching arm.

Rodón was pulled after three innings Monday in a loss to Detroit. An All-Star this year, he is 12-5 with a 2.47 ERA in 23 starts, including a no-hitter in April against Cleveland.

“He was sore this morning,” manager Tony La Russa said a day later. “Hopefully it’s normal soreness. We’ll do a bunch of stuff to get him ready and keep our fingers crossed that Wednesday he’s good to go.”

The White Sox are on the verge of clinching the division. They’ve been trying to give Rodón extra in the second half -- he was scratched from his scheduled start from the “Field of Dreams” game in August and went on the injured list with shoulder fatigue.

Rodón has pitched 127 2/3 innings this year -- he threw a combined 42 1/3 innings in the previous two seasons because of arm trouble.

La Russa said the White Sox would see if Rodón would be OK for the playoffs.

“I think that’s why he needs to go on the mound, to evaluate that,” La Russa said. “We’re assuming he can make one of those (playoff) starts. Yesterday was not a good day so he has another shot next Wednesday. Hopefully it’s a better result so we can be more optimistic.”

DODGER DOWN

Stuck in a season-long slump, Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger is back on the injured list with a fractured left rib.

Bellinger was injured in a collision with teammate Gavin Lux last week. Los Angeles, already assured a playoff spot and trying to overtake the Giants in the NL West, made the move retroactive to Saturday.

Bellinger missed 46 games this year because of a calf injury and seven more with hamstring tightness.

The 2019 NL MVP is batting .159 with nine homers and 34 RBIs.

“It’s not ideal,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of going on the injured list this late in the season. “But neither is being in too much pain to feel you can perform at a certain level. If that’s the case and that’s where we get to, we’ll have to figure out how to make the most of it.”

TEXAS TWO-STEP

Yankees right-hander Corey Kluber (5-3, 3.68 ERA) faces the rookie-laden Rangers for the first time since pitching a no-hitter against them May 19 in Texas.

The only baserunner Kluber allowed in that game came on a four-pitch walk to Charlie Culberson in the third inning. It was the sixth of a record nine no-hitters in the majors this season -- and the first for New York since David Cone’s perfect game against Montreal in July 1999.

The 35-year-old Kluber left his next start after three innings, however, and was sidelined until Aug. 30 with a right shoulder strain. This will be his second consecutive outing against a former team, after going six innings last Friday in an 8-0 win over the Cleveland Indians, with whom he won a pair of Cy Young Awards.

Kluber pitched one inning last year in his only season with Texas and tore a muscle in his shoulder. After earning $18.5 million with the Rangers, he signed a one-year contract with the Yankees for $11 million.

With 10 games remaining, New York is locked in a tight race with Boston, Toronto, Oakland and Seattle for two AL wild cards.

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