LEADING OFF: 14-loss Sanchez debuts for Astros, Hamels back


A look at what’s happening around the majors Saturday:


Aaron Sanchez (3-14, 6.07 ERA) makes his debut for the Astros, three days after they got him in a trade with Toronto. The 27-year-righty leads the majors in losses – in 2016, he was an All-Star and topped the AL in ERA.

Houston has a history of improving the performance of pitchers it acquires, and Sanchez is eager to get going.

“I’m sure there’s things that are on their mind and things that are on my mind. It’s an open line of communication here,” he said. “I’m thrilled to see what they’ve got for me. I’m thrilled to kind of share my thoughts with them and bounce ideas off of each other and see where it goes.”

Sanchez will start for the AL West leaders at home against Seattle.


Cubs lefty Cole Hamels (6-3, 2.98 ERA) is expected to come off the injured list and pitch against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. The 35-year-old four-time-All Star has been sidelined since suffering a left oblique strain at Cincinnati on June 28.

Milwaukee starter Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.48 ERA) exited his previous game because of tightness in his left shoulder.


Right-hander Scott Oberg has been moved into the closer role for the Rockies, replacing the slumping Wade Davis. Oberg has excelled as the team’s setup man, going 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 44 games this season.

Davis is coming off a tough outing in which he allowed five runs, including two homers, in a loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday. But he has struggled all season, in particular at Coors Field.

In 21 games at Colorado’s home park, Davis is 0-5 with an 11.29 ERA and 11 walks and 18 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings. On the road, Davis is 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA in 15 games and nine walks and 15 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.

“It’s a little bit perplexing,” manager Bud Black said. “It just might be one of those years, but I think the thing that stands out for me is the walk totals both home and road are a little high.”

Black says Davis is expected to see duty in the middle innings going forward.


Two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy has been designated for assignment by the Angels. They made the move two days after he returned from a concussion and broken nose in a home plate collision last month. The 33-year-old Lucroy batted .242 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 74 games this season. … The Pirates have cut infielder Jung Ho Kang. The 32-year-old was designated for assignment after hitting .169 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in 65 games this season.


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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez works during first-inning baseball game action against the Tampa Bay Rays in Toronto, Sunday, July 28, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)