LEADING OFF: Twins in Cleveland for 2, brawl bans announced
A look at what’s happening around baseball today:
Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson is serving his final days with Minnesota before leaving for the same job with LSU.
His departure, first reported Sunday night, blindsided Twins fans, and Johnson called it “the toughest thing I’ve ever done.” He’ll stay with the AL Central-leading Twins through the end of a series at Cleveland on Thursday, then return to his college roots — he previously worked at Arkansas, Mississippi State, Dallas Baptist and Central Arkansas
Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said the team is having ongoing discussions about how to replace Johnson for the remainder of this season — and beyond. Johnson joined the Twins in 2019 after coaching at Arkansas, and he is believed to be the first college pitching coach to jump directly to the major leagues.
“Knowing Wes and getting a chance to enjoy him and see him all these years, it’s not incredibly surprising to see him go back to the college game,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Am I incredibly happy to see it happen in the middle of the season? Of course not. No one is. There’s no way around that discussion.”
Minnesota plays a day-night doubleheader in Cleveland after winning the series opener 11-1 on Monday night behind Sonny Gray. After the Guardians had briefly moved atop the division last week, the Twins are now three games up on Cleveland, which has lost five straight.
It’s going to be a while before Phil Nevin manages the Los Angeles Angels again.
The team’s interim skipper was suspended for 10 games Monday by Major League Baseball after the Angels and Seattle Mariners got into a nasty brawl Sunday.
In all, a combined 12 members of the two teams — from players and coaches to an Angels interpreter — were suspended for their roles in the fight.
MLB said Nevin was banned because Angels opener Andrew Wantz intentionally threw at Jesse Winker while warnings were in place for both clubs. Nevin made the late decision to pitch Wantz instead of scheduled starter Jose Suarez.
Nevin began serving his penalty Monday night as the Angels won their series opener against the Chicago White Sox. Bench coach Ray Montgomery, who received a two-game suspension, ran the team in Nevin’s place. Montgomery and catching coach Bill Haselman (one game) will begin serving their suspensions after assistant pitching coach Dom Chiti returns from his five-game ban.
Winker (seven games), Seattle shortstop J.P. Crawford (five games) and outfielder Julio Rodriguez (two games) also received suspensions.
For the Angels, Wantz (three games), pitcher Ryan Tepera (three games), reliever Raisel Iglesias (two games) and major league interpreter Manny Del Campo (two games) were banned.
Los Angeles third baseman Anthony Rendon, sidelined for the rest of the season after undergoing wrist surgery, will be suspended five games when he returns from the injured list. For now, he is prohibited from sitting on the bench for the next seven games.
Wantz is the only player not appealing.
Winker was hit by the first pitch of the second inning from Wantz, who had also thrown behind Rodriguez’s head in the first inning.
Seattle catcher Luis Torrens went on the 10-day injured list Monday with a left shoulder injury suffered during the fight. Mariners manager Scott Servais also had bruises on his arm after ending up at the bottom of a pile during the skirmish.
Winker was still angry Monday. Asked if the brawl was a bad look for baseball, he responded, “I think it’s a bad look on Phil Nevin and could have been handled differently.”
Hot prospect Vinnie Pasquantino could get his first big league start at first base for the Kansas City Royals in a home game against Texas.
The Royals cleared space to promote Pasquantino from Triple-A on Monday by trading veteran first baseman Carlos Santana and nearly $4.3 million to Seattle for right-handers Wyatt Mills and William Fleming.
Pasquantino wasn’t in the starting lineup Monday night against the Rangers because of tight travel schedules, but Royals general manager J.J. Picollo and manager Mike Matheny expect his big bat to be in the lineup regularly.
The 24-year-old Pasquantino was hitting .280 with 18 homers this season at Omaha, and he was among the Triple-A leaders in extra-base hits, runs, homers and slugging percentage.
Frankie Montas, who is 3-7 despite a 3.21 ERA, will be in the spotlight when he starts for Oakland at Yankee Stadium.
The 29-year-old right-hander could be dealt by the salary-shedding A’s by the Aug. 2 trade deadline, joining Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea, who were jettisoned earlier this year in moves that cut payroll to a major league-low $48 million on opening day.
Montas has a $5,025,000 salary, is eligible for arbitration after this season and can become a free agent following the 2023 World Series. Oakland has been shut out three times and scored one run five times in his 15 starts. Rookie left-hander JP Sears will be brought up to start for the Yankees.
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