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LEADING OFF: All-Star squads start to change, Álvarez out

Jul 10, 2022, 6:40 AM | Updated: 6:42 pm

Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez follows through on a three-run home run against the New York Yankees...

Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez follows through on a three-run home run against the New York Yankees during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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

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ALL-STAR SCRAMBLE

Now that the full All-Star squads have been announced, look for the rosters to start changing.

Astros slugger Yordan Álvarez, picked as a first-time All-Star, will miss the game July 19 at Dodger Stadium because of an injured right hand that’s gotten worse. He was put on the 10-day injured list Sunday and returned to Houston for treatment, according to manager Dusty Baker.

Álvarez originally hurt his hand June 18 against the White Sox and has been dealing with soreness and inflammation since then. The Astros expect him to miss the next two series and possibly return after the All-Star break.

“Yordan has been suffering with the injury for a couple weeks and it’s gotten worse,” Baker said. “We decided the only way to get this well is to try to use these (series) before the break coincide with the 10 that he has to be on the IL.”

Álvarez has 26 home runs this season and leads the American League with a .653 slugging percentage and a 1.058 OPS.

HEARING FOOTSTEPS

With their once-comfortable lead in the NL East down to 1 1/2 games, the Mets open a potentially pivotal three-game series at second-place Atlanta.

New York ace Max Scherzer (5-1, 2.26 ERA) makes his second start since returning from an oblique injury. He struck out a season-high 11 in six shutout innings of two-hit ball Tuesday at Cincinnati.

All-Star lefty Max Fried (9-2, 2.52) has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last nine starts for the Braves.

New York’s lead hasn’t been this slim since April 16. The Mets had a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1. They will be without injured catcher James McCann and All-Star second baseman Jeff McNeil, who is headed to the paternity list with his wife due to deliver their first child.

All-Star right fielder Starling Marte sat out Sunday and is day-to-day with left groin tightness.

Atlanta made an interesting move Sunday, acquiring veteran second baseman Robinson Canó for cash in a minor league deal with San Diego.

The 39-year-old Canó hit a combined .149 with one homer and four RBIs in 74 at-bats for the Mets and Padres this season. He has batted .333 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 96 at-bats for Triple-A El Paso since the Padres released him and re-signed him to a minor league contract last month.

It’s likely Canó will report to Gwinnett, the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate.

STREAK STOPPER?

Kansas City second baseman Whit Merrifield has played in 553 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.

But that string could be in jeopardy after Merrifield exited Sunday’s 5-1 win over Cleveland at the start of the fifth inning because of discomfort in his right toe.

The Royals host Detroit in a day-night doubleheader.

“I didn’t even see it, but I guess as he broke towards the line on a ball he pushed off and felt something and came back in,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “His X-ray came back negative, but he’s getting an MRI today.”

MUST WAKE UP BATS

Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas (5-7, 2.72 ERA) faces Kyle Schwarber and the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a four-game series.

Mikolas decided to burn some sage in the outfield before Sunday’s game in an effort to change his scuffling team’s luck. Mikolas says he deals in holistic medicinal healing and felt the move might help.

Maybe it worked. Albert Pujols hit his 684th homer to help St. Louis come back for a 4-3 victory over the Phillies, who had shut out the Cardinals in their previous three meetings.

The bottom five batters in the Cardinals’ order Sunday, including Pujols, all entered hitting under .200. Mikolas has received zero run support in seven of 17 starts this season.

Aaron Nola (5-6, 3.15) pitches for Philadelphia. He’s 5-2 with a 2.19 ERA in eight career starts against St. Louis.

Pujols has 1,377 extra-base hits, tied with Cardinals great Stan Musial for third place on the career list.

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LEADING OFF: All-Star squads start to change, Álvarez out