LEADING OFF: Ohtani returns to mound, Jays’ Berríos vs Twins

Sep 18, 2021, 6:12 AM | Updated: 6:14 pm
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios throws to a New York Yankees batter during the third inning ...

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios throws to a New York Yankees batter during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Sunday:

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GO-TANI

Shohei Ohtani is set to pitch for the Angels at home against Oakland a few days after manager Joe Maddon contemplated shutting down the two-way star with arm soreness.

Ohtani was scratched from a scheduled start Friday because of the discomfort but threw a 30-pitch bullpen instead and came out feeling encouraged.

Ohtani is 9-2 with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 21 pitching starts this season for the Angels. He has pitched 115 1/3 innings while also playing almost every day as the their designated hitter. He has slumped at the plate in the second half of the season, batting .201 with just seven homers in his previous 45 games before Saturday.

He also recently fell behind Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez in the major league homers race after holding a healthy lead for much of the summer.

OLD FRIENDS

Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos (11-8, 3.43) is slated to face his former Minnesota teammates for the first time since being traded to Toronto in June. Drafted by the Twins in 2012, Berríos was 55-43 over six seasons before the deal, including 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA this season.

He’s been just as good for the Jays, going 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA over nine starts since the trade. Toronto enters the day half a game ahead of the Yankees for the final AL wild card.

REDS NOT HOT

Cincinnati outfielder Jesse Winker is on the injured list again, an untimely setback for a team trying to stay in the NL wild-card race.

After missing a month with an intercostal strain, he returned to the lineup Friday night and aggravated the same injury on a swing. He was put back on the 10-day IL Saturday.

Winker is hitting .305 with 24 home runs and 71 RBIs, with a .394 on-base percentage and a .949 OPS.

The Reds have dropped seven straight series going into the rubber game against the Dodgers at Great American Ball Park. Wade Miley (12-6, 3.09 ERA) starts against Los Angeles lefty Clayton Kershaw (9-7, 3.33 ERA). The Dodgers have already clinched a playoff spot and are trying to overtake the Giants in the NL West.

GALLO AILING

The Yankees will see how slugger Joey Gallo is feeling, a day after he was pulled from a game because of neck tightness.

The left fielder exited after three innings Saturday in an 11-3 loss to Cleveland that dropped New York into the third spot in the AL wild-card race.

“Hopefully it’s just something where kind of the neck goes out on you or you sleep on it wrong,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I’ve been there before where it really affects your swing. Hopefully it’s something that they can kind of work their way out of there.”

Gallo is hitting .166 (25 for 151) with 12 homers and 20 RBIs in 46 games since the Yankees got him from Texas before the trade deadline in late July. Overall, he’s batting .204 with 37 homers and 75 RBIs, along with 106 walks and 196 strikeouts.

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LEADING OFF: Ohtani returns to mound, Jays’ Berríos vs Twins