Corey Seager Joins AL All-Stars

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Corey Seager was added to the American League roster for the 2022 All-Star game. Fitting that the festivities will take place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where Seager started his career and played from 2015-2021. He replaces George Springer, who has opted to sit out of the Midsummer Classic to rest his right elbow. It'll be the third All-Star appearance for Seager after he was selected in 2016 and 2017. Though he likely would have made it if there was an All-Star game held in 2020 after he mashed 15 homers with a .943 OPS over 52 games. This season, he's hitting .246/.322/.468 with 21 homers and 50 RBI across 376 plate appearances. While that may seem underwhelming, a .238 BABIP is to blame for the low average. The 28-year-old shortstop is striking out just 16 percent of the time while producing a 46.4 percent hard-hit rate. If he doesn't look like an All-Star now, those days will undoubtedly come.

Seager not only joins the All-Star team, but he'll also compete in the Home Run Derby for the second time in his career. The list of eight participants was finalized on Thursday. He'll join Ronald Acuña Jr., José Ramírez, Albert Pujols, Juan Soto, Julio Rodríguez, and Kyle Schwarber as they look to unseat back-to-back champion Pete Alonso on Monday. The first-round has already been set, with Schwarber taking on Pujols, Soto against Ramírez, Seager versus Rodríguez, and Acuńa taking on Alonso in a rematch of their 2019 second-round matchup.

Hitters with an EDGE

Luis Robert vs. Twins
3-for-5, HR, 2B, 5 RBI

Robert has been on a tear of late. He collected three hits for the third consecutive game Thursday against the Twins. After going hitless in his first two plate appearances, Robert launched a grand slam off Sonny Gray in the fourth inning. Two innings later, he knocked an RBI single, then doubled in the eighth. The 24-year-old outfielder ends the day hitting .301/.332/.464 with 12 homers, 54 RBI, and 11 steals across 322 plate appearances.

Sam Haggerty vs. Rangers
3-for-4, HR, 3 R

Haggerty got the start in right field against the Rangers and took advantage of the playing time, going 3-for-4 on the day. The speedster legged out an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning after a line drive to center field got under the glove of Leody Taveras. He later knocked base hits in the seventh and eighth innings and scored two more runs. The 28-year-old outfielder is hitting .283/.327/.478 with two homers and three steals across 49 plate appearances.

Brandon Nimmo
3-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB

Nimmo had a big day at the plate against the Cubs, reaching base in four of his five plate appearances. After hitting a single in the second inning, he doubled off of Keegan Thompson in the fourth. Leading off the sixth inning, he blasted a solo homer to center field off Mark Leiter Jr. A walk in the eighth would put him on base before Pete Alonso hit a two-run shot. The 29-year-old outfielder is hitting .275/.361/.447 with nine homers and 56 runs scored across 362 plate appearances.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Triston McKenzie vs. Tigers
8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 K
18 Swinging strikes, 33% CSW

Thursday's best performance has to go to McKenzie. He was spectacular, tossing eight shutout innings while setting a new career high with 12 strikeouts against the Tigers. The 24-year-old right-hander had complete control of the strike zone, throwing 78-of-109 pitches for strikes with no walks allowed. He scattered five hits, with only one runner reaching scoring position. McKenzie will carry a 3.20 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts across 101 1/3 innings into the second half following the All-Star break.

Braxton Garrett vs. Pirates
6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K
23 Swinging strikes, 40% CSW

Garrett was stellar Thursday against the Pirates. In his best start of the season, he held Pittsburgh scoreless over six innings with just two hits and two walks allowed. The 24-year-old left-hander induced 23 swinging strikes to collect a career-high 11 strikeouts. He had to settle for a no-decision as the bullpen surrendered the lead in the eighth inning. Garrett goes into the All-Star break with a 3.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 40 strikeouts over 41 1/3 innings.

Luis Castillo vs. Yankees
7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 8 K
11 Swinging strikes, 32% CSW

Castillo's strong run continued Thursday against the Yankees. He held them to one run on two hits and four walks over seven innings. The 29-year-old generated 11 whiffs to strike out eight batters. He couldn't come away with the win after the Cincinnati bullpen blew the lead in the eighth inning. Castillo will certainly be the subject of trade speculation leading up to the deadline. He carries a 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 82 strikeouts across 78 innings.

Priority Pickup

Esteury Ruiz, 2B, Padres -- Available in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues

Ruiz has started in all three games since he was promoted from Triple-A by the Padres on Tuesday, going 4-for-12 with a double, triple, and a stolen base. The 23-year-old has league-winning speed on the basepaths with an incredible 60 steals between Double-A and Triple-A this season. And he's not just a one-category producer. Ruiz hit 13 homers and carried a strikeout rate under 18 percent while hitting over .300 in the minors. He's started in the outfield in every game so far, giving reason to believe the team will let him run as an everyday player. Don't let him go un-rostered much longer if available.

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Closing Time

Carlos Estevez was called on to protect the Rockies' three-run lead over the Padres. He struck out one batter in a perfect inning for his first save of the season. Estevez stepped in with Daniel Bard unavailable after pitching in three of the last four games.

Protecting a two-run lead in the ninth inning against the Red Sox, Jalen Beeks got the save opportunity for the Rays. He gave up a run on two hits with no outs before settling in to close the game out and securing the win for Tampa Bay. It was the first save of the season for Beeks.

Scott Barlow locked down his 16th save as the Royals beat the Blue Jays on Thursday. He worked around a leadoff hit by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., getting Matt Chapman to strike out before Cavan Biggio hit into a double-play.

Kenley Jansen recorded his first save since returning from the injured list. Up by two against the Nationals, he gave up one run on a pair of hits but struck out two batters to hold on for his 21st save.

The Reds almost let Thursday's win against the Yankees get away from them. Three runs by New York in the eighth inning would tie the game for extra innings. With Cincinnati up by three in the bottom of the tenth, Reiver Sanmartin surrendered two runs. With the tying run on first base, Dauri Moreta took over and gave up a hit before recording the final out for his first save.

With the Mets comfortably ahead against the Cubs, Trevor Williams took the mound for the final three innings. He allowed three hits while striking out four batters for his first save.

After Paul Sewald needed 26 pitches for the save on Wednesday, Diego Castillo got the call in the ninth inning on Thursday against the Rangers. Protecting a one-run lead, he worked around a single to secure the win for the Mariners. It was the sixth save of the season for Castillo.

With Josh Hader off for the night after pitching in back-to-back games, Devin Williams was called on to close out the game in the tenth inning against the Giants. He struck out one batter in a perfect inning for his sixth save.

Matchup of the Day

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs. Patrick Sandoval (LAA)

The Dodgers visit the Angels for a two-game series on Friday before the All-Star break. Going for the Dodgers will be Kershaw, who's shown he isn't slowing down with a 2.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 69 strikeouts across 63 2/3 innings. In fact, his underlying 2.58 FIP is the lowest since 2016. He's coming off a ten-strikeout performance with one earned run allowed over 7 2/3 innings against the Cubs. Taking the mound for the cross-town rival Angels, Sandoval brings a 2.95 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 84 strikeouts over 76 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old flashed some breakout potential over 87 innings last season before a back injury cut his campaign short.

American League Quick Hits: Luis Severino was placed on the 15-day injured list with shoulder tightness. ... The Rays placed Shane Baz on the 15-day injured list with a right elbow sprain. ... Yankees acquired Tyler Wade from the Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations. ... The Yankees are unlikely to continue pursuing a trade for Andrew Benintendi. ... Rays recalled Luke Bard from Triple-A Durham. ... Guardians sent Oscar Mercado outright to Triple-A and claimed Kirk McCarty off waivers from the Orioles. ... Aaron Civale was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right wrist sprain. ... Royals placed 10 players on the restricted list, including MJ Melendez, Whit Merrifield, and Andrew Benintendi, and recalled Nick Pratto from Triple-A. ... Rangers optioned Steven Duggar to Triple-A and recalled Elier Hernandez. ... Domingo German made another rehab start in Triple-A on Thursday. ... Red Sox placed Josh Winckowski on the COVID-19 injured list and recalled Darwinzon Hernandez from Triple-A.

National League Quick Hits: The Marlins will promote Max Meyer to make his debut against the Phillies this weekend... Doctors "are not in total agreement" regarding the next steps for Fernando Tatis Jr. ... Rockies activated Kris Bryant from the paternity leave list and optioned Elehuris Montero to Triple-A. ... Tyler O'Neill was activated from the injured list. ... Jeff McNeil was activated from the paternity leave list. ... Garrett Cooper remained out of the Marlins lineup Thursday. ... Jesus Sanchez was scratched from the Marlins lineup on Thursday due to a personal matter. ... Jon Berti left Thursday's game with a mild left groin strain. ... Brusdar Graterol was placed on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. ... Giants claimed Aaron Fletcher off waivers from the Pirates and optioned him to Triple-A. ... Jake McGee was released by the Giants. ... Nationals activated Aníbal Sánchez from the 60-day injured list and optioned Mason Thompson to Triple-A. ... Stephen Strasburg was transferred to the 60-day injured list. ... Phillies sent Michael Kelly outright to Triple-A. ... Dodgers recalled Reyes Moronta from Triple-A. ... Cardinals optioned Lars Nootbaar to Triple-A. ... Cubs placed Andrelton Simmons on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain and activated Frank Schwindel. ... Reds placed Mike Moustakas on the injured list and recalled Max Schrock from Triple-A.