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Indians deal for All-Star reliever Hand

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

SAN DIEGO (AP) With an eye on October and beyond, the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians scooped up All-Star closer Brad Hand and fellow reliever Adam Cimber from the rebuilding San Diego Padres in exchange for switch-hitting catching prospect Francisco Mejia.

The Indians need Hand, a lefty, and Cimber, a rookie right-handed sidearmer, to shore up a bullpen that has been without left-hander Andrew Miller since late May and has a 5.28 ERA, second-worst in the majors. The trade was announced Thursday, well ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline.

"Not just for this year, that's kind of obvious, but having two controllable relievers, I just think it makes our organization healthier," manager Terry Francona said Thursday night before a workout in Arlington, Texas, where the Indians start after the All-Star break. "We've got eight years' worth of relief. That's pretty exciting."

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Ohtani cleared for throwing program

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels say two-way star Shohei Ohtani's elbow ligament is continuing to heal and he has been medically cleared to begin a throwing progression.

The team said Ohtani was given a six-week evaluation Thursday by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The Angels said they would release specifics about his progress and rehabilitation schedule at another time.

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Cubs beat Cardinals to open second half

CHICAGO (AP) The All-Star break is over. It's right about now when the Chicago Cubs usually take off.

Jason Heyward had three hits and two RBIs, Ian Happ belted a two-run homer and the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-6 on Thursday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

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Cubs closer Morrow on DL due to biceps

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs have placed closer Brandon Morrow on the 10-day disabled list with right biceps inflammation.

Morrow has 22 saves and a 1.47 ERA in 35 games in his first season with the Cubs. The DL stint is retroactive to Monday.

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Hader expected to re-earn Brewers trust

MILWAUKEE (AP) Brewers general manager David Stearns wants reliever Josh Hader to "re-earn the trust" of his teammates when he rejoins the team Friday.

Milwaukee is set to resume its season following the All-Star break, the first time the club will assemble since Hader's years-old racist and homophobic tweets surfaced during the All-Star Game.

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A's release veteran RHP Casilla

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Athletics have released veteran reliever Santiago Casilla, five days after he was designated for assignment.

The A's made the move Thursday.

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Red Sox confident of maintaining pace

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Red Sox had the second-best start in franchise history, and still they are struggling to shake the New York Yankees in the AL East.

So manager Alex Cora doesn't have to fear that they will lose their focus when they return from the All-Star break.

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Mariners poised to end playoff drought

SEATTLE (AP) At some point it's going to end. The feeling of imminent failure among some Seattle fans is going to manifest on the field and this unexpected season is going to start crumbling until it's just like each of the previous seasons since the Mariners last made the playoffs in 2001. It has to, right?

That feeling is what nearly two decades without postseason baseball has created in the Pacific Northwest. While there is genuine excitement for what Seattle accomplished in the first 3+ months of the season there's also a sense of dread among the most fatalistic fans who have seen promising seasons go south before, and it won't go away until the Mariners officially end the longest current postseason drought in any of the four major pro sports.

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Story, Rockies rolling into second half

DENVER (AP) The Colorado Rockies are finding their stride behind a shortstop who's cutting down on his strikeouts, a converted first baseman who's rediscovering his swing and a rotation that's turning in quality start after quality start.

On top of that, third baseman Nolan Arenado's turning in an MVP-caliber season yet again.

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