Cards allow Pirates to gain in race with loss

Cards allow Pirates to gain in race with loss

ST. LOUIS -- Seeking to chip away at the Cardinals' division lead and assert themselves as still serious contenders in the National League Central, the Pirates opened a three-game series at Busch Stadium with a 9-3 statement win on Friday night behind another sensational start from J.A. Happ.

The win moves the Bucs to 5 1/2 games behind the Cardinals, who had won five of the previous six meetings between the divisional foes at Busch Stadium this year. Pittsburgh, which holds the top NL Wild Card spot, snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martinez not finding same results late in year

Martinez not finding same results late in year

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' decision to provide Carlos Martinez with three extra days of rest leading into Friday's start wasn't so much designed to make him sharper in the moment, but rather with an eye on October. What role Martinez fills once the Cardinals get there, though, could change depending upon how his next few weeks unfold.

Martinez threw 100 pitches over five innings while allowing the first four runs of the Cardinals' 9-3 loss to the Pirates. While a portion of the damage was done on a bloop hit and broken-bat single, the results, when placed in greater context, are trending in the wrong direction.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jay comes off DL, ready to contribute

Cardinals outfielder had been sidelined due to a wrist injury

Jay comes off DL, ready to contribute

ST. LOUIS -- After appearing in four rehab games with Triple-A Memphis, center fielder Jon Jay rejoined the Cardinals in advance of Friday's 9-3 loss to the Pirates. Jay missed 57 games while on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist stress reaction.

Jay began a rehab assignment with Memphis last Saturday and went 5-for-13 with a home run and two stolen bases. This marked the second DL stint of the season for Jay, whose wrist was slow to recover after offseason surgery. In the 57 games he has played with the Cardinals, Jay hit .223/.311/.265 with 10 RBIs.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Belisle (elbow) throws live BP session

Cardinals reliever pitches to Holliday, Adams and Kozma

Belisle (elbow) throws live BP session

ST. LOUIS -- In what represented another step forward in his recovery from a right elbow injury, Cardinals reliever Matt Belisle faced three teammates -- Matt Holliday, Matt Adams and Pete Kozma -- in a live batting-practice session prior to Friday's game.

The episode, which Belisle expects to repeat in a few days, allowed the right-hander to gauge the command and crispness of his pitches. The command is still coming along, he said, but nevertheless asserted: "We're close."

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards, Bucs stick with approach in big series

Cards, Bucs stick with approach in big series

Outsiders -- fans and media -- may be captivated by the consequential ongoing series between the dynastic Cardinals and the Pirates, who are 5 1/2 games back and trying to stage a National League Central rebellion. The teams' respective managers, however, almost resentfully read from the same script.

"So what, are we gonna play harder than we have all year, with more urgency?" mused Buccos skipper Clint Hurdle. "Take care of tonight's game -- I'm always reminding our guys of that."

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards chasing team, individual milestones

In season's final month, club eyeing record win total, most Rosenthal saves and more

Cards chasing team, individual milestones

ST. LOUIS -- With one month remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Cardinals sit comfortably ahead of the Pirates in the National League Central and are poised to advance to the postseason for the fifth straight season. Their sights are set on winning a third straight NL Central division title and wrapping up home-field advantage through the NL Championship Series, though there are some less obvious marks of which the club also remains in pursuit.

To set up the season's final weeks and what is at stake, here is a look at eight figures/records -- four related to the team and four on the individual side -- that the Cardinals seem poised to challenge.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tight battle vs. Nats ends in loss for Cards

Tight battle vs. Nats ends in loss for Cards

ST. LOUIS -- With a pair of solo homers and a go-ahead RBI double off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth, Ryan Zimmerman helped the Nationals salvage a win during their three-game visit to Busch Stadium. Washington's 4-3 victory halted the Cardinals' winning streak at four games.

Zimmerman, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, took fill-in starter Tyler Lyons deep with solo shots in the fourth and sixth. Jayson Werth preceded those blasts with one of his own, a solo homer in the third inning that erased the Cardinals' early lead.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lyons makes good impression in spot start

Lyons makes good impression in spot start

ST. LOUIS -- Tyler Lyons had been sitting in limbo since Sunday, scratched from his start with Triple-A Memphis that day but uncertain of what the Cardinals had planned for him.

He learned on Tuesday that he had been summoned to St. Louis, his role unknown. That assignment was then finalized on Wednesday morning with the Cardinals' decision to bypass Michael Wacha in the rotation and use Lyons in his place. With little advanced warning, Lyons responded with a six-inning no-decision in a 4-3 Cardinals loss to the Nationals that was eventually decided by the bullpens.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny explains pitch to Zimmerman

Matheny explains pitch to Zimmerman

ST. LOUIS -- Having watched Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman tee off against his pitchers for three straight days, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wanted little to do with him as he stepped to the plate with the potential go-ahead run in scoring position in the eighth inning on Wednesday. And yet the player the Cardinals had no intention of letting beat them still did just that.

A pitch that was supposed to lure Zimmerman out of his comfort zone was instead laced down the right-field line to cap his sensational series and send the Cardinals to a 4-3 loss. It also left Matheny to answer one burning question: Why pitch to Zimmerman at all?

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wacha replaced Wednesday to limit innings

Wacha replaced Wednesday to limit innings

ST. LOUIS -- Seeing an opportunity to rein in Michael Wacha's workload, the Cardinals pulled him from his scheduled start on Wednesday and will instead have him pitch next in the team's Sept. 7-9 series against the Cubs. Lefty Tyler Lyons was recalled from Triple-A to start against Washington in Wacha's place.

Though the swap wasn't announced until about four hours before Wednesday's first pitch, the Cardinals had been considering the move for some time. With Wacha coming off an injury-plagued 2014 season in which he threw just 107 regular-season innings, the Cardinals all along anticipated that they would need to harness him this season.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards make flurry of pitching moves

Cards make flurry of pitching moves

ST. LOUIS -- Taking advantage of the flexibility September roster expansion affords, the Cardinals summoned another three pitchers from Triple-A Memphis before Wednesday's game against the Nationals, which they lost, 4-3.

Lefty Tyler Lyons arrived to start in place of Michael Wacha in the series finale, fanning six in six innings in a no-decision, and right-hander Miguel Socolovich and left-hander Nick Greenwood joined the club to provide coverage in the bullpen. Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged that the need to use Carlos Villanueva and Mitch Harris for multiple innings on Tuesday led the club to bring three new pitchers up so soon.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Best Cardinals ever? 2015 team making a run

Best Cardinals ever? 2015 team making a run

The Cardinals are due back in the World Series this fall based on their remarkable pattern of alternating every other year with the Giants as National League representatives during this decade. That is a well-known fact proudly espoused by all of Redbird Nation.

But there is perhaps something more important at stake: The title of Best Cardinals Team Ever.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moss savors redemption after 2-out magic

Cards utility man delivers after fanning with RISP in first 2 at-bats; Stanley, Pham set stage

Moss savors redemption after 2-out magic

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss had a chance to rewrite the script Tuesday night, and he took full advantage of it.

Moss blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Nationals reliever Casey Janssen to lift the Cardinals to an 8-5 comeback win at Busch Stadium. Moss' fifth career walk-off homer erased what was a frustrating evening.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Villanueva gives Cards opportunity to rally

Righty delivers 3 1/3 scoreless innings after Gonzales' early departure

Villanueva gives Cards opportunity to rally

ST. LOUIS -- Being a long reliever is often a thankless, mentally grinding job. But Cardinals right-hander Carlos Villanueva is thriving in it.

Villanueva didn't factor into the decision Tuesday night, but he was a key reason the Cardinals came back for an 8-5 win over the Nationals at Busch Stadium.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moss' walk-off HR caps Cards' rally over Nats

Moss' walk-off HR caps Cards' rally over Nats

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss' three-run home run capped a two-out ninth-inning rally as the Cardinals prolonged their home dominance over the Nationals with an 8-5 win Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

The win extended the Cardinals' lead to six games over the Pirates in the National League Central, while the Nationals remained 6 1/2 behind the Mets in the NL East.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals call up Gonzales, Harris, Stanley

After lefty struggles in start, righty earns win after catcher sets up walk-off

Cardinals call up Gonzales, Harris, Stanley

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals called up left-hander Marco Gonzales, right-hander Mitch Harris and catcher Cody Stanley from Triple-A Memphis as rosters expanded Tuesday -- and all made their presence felt immediately in the Cardinals' 8-5 walk-off win over the Nationals later that night.

Gonzales, ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect, started for Carlos Martinez (back), but he lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After Cardinals tease Moss, slugger hits walk-off HR

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After Cardinals tease Moss, slugger hits walk-off HR

I remember Seth Rogen, on some late night talk show or other, once talking about how his co-star in "Neighbors," Zac Efron, would lift weights in between scenes to keep his muscles looking nice and "swole." Which, sure, that makes sense for "show" muscles. But I never thought they'd work for baseball where you need actual strength.

I guess I was wrong. 

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Cards introduce new scouting director Flores

Former St. Louis reliever, World Series champ, strikes perfect balance for club's vision

Cards introduce new scouting director Flores

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals formally introduced new scouting director Randy Flores to the media Tuesday. The club officially named Flores to the position Friday.

Flores takes over for Chris Correa, who was dismissed after he admitted to accessing the Astros' database without authorization. Flores becomes the fourth Cardinals scouting director in the past five years.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reyes among 8 Cardinals selected for AFL

Kiekhefer, Rowland, Weaver, Ohlman, Diaz, Wisdom and Tilson also to play for Surprise

Reyes among 8 Cardinals selected for AFL

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals assigned eight players, including top pitching prospect Alex Reyes, to the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday.

Reyes, a 21-year-old righty, is No. 18 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects List. Reyes has a 4-7 record with a 2.53 ERA bouncing between Rookie-level, Class A Advanced and Double-A ball, but he was limited to 96 innings due to shoulder soreness midway through the season.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chemistry fueling Cardinals' big innings

Four straight games scoring more than 3 runs in an inning

Chemistry fueling Cardinals' big innings

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have been scoring runs in bunches lately, and that was no more apparent than in the seventh inning of Monday night's 8-5 win over the Nationals at Busch Stadium.

Trailing, 5-3, Mark Reynolds and Brandon Moss started the seventh with singles, but Moss was erased on a double play by Greg Garcia. While a double play would kill most rallies, the Cardinals were just getting started.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards rally past Nats with 5-run seventh

Cards rally past Nats with 5-run seventh

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Heyward smashed a two-run double off of the left-field wall to highlight a five-run seventh as the Cardinals beat the Nationals, 8-5, on Monday night at Busch Stadium. With the win, the Cards extended their lead in the National League Central to 5 games, while Nats fell to 6 1/2 back in the NL East.

Heyward's double was the only extra-base hit of the night for the Cardinals. All eight position players reached base, and Heyward, Kolten Wong, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta each had a pair of hits.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Returning leg strength gives Moss confidence

Power coming back after offseason hip surgery

Returning leg strength gives Moss confidence

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss is finally feeling stronger after hip surgery derailed his offseason preparation, and the results are starting to show.

Moss belted his first two home runs as a Cardinal last week in Arizona and San Francisco. He also hit several balls hard right to opposing defenders.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards muscle their way to win over Giants

Cards muscle their way to win over Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cardinals' 10-game road trip came to an end Sunday in San Francisco, where they capped it with a 7-5 victory over the Giants that featured the team's sixth three-homer game of the year.

St. Louis ambushed opposing starter Chris Heston, who allowed three runs before retiring his first batter. Matt Carpenter's leadoff homer preceded later solo shots from Brandon Moss and Mark Reynolds as the Cardinals padded their lead. The Cardinals scored in five innings to keep the Giants from pecking away at the deficit.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals surge to end road trip strong

Cardinals surge to end road trip strong

SAN FRANCISCO -- In reeling off seven wins in their last eight games, capped by a 7-5 victory over the Giants on Sunday, the Cardinals rebounded from an ominous start to a 10-game road trip and ensured they headed home in the exact same position they were when the lengthy stay on the West Coast began.

With a 7-3 record on the trip, the Cardinals negated a strong week by the pursuant Pirates. The 4 1/2-game lead the Cardinals held in the National League Central upon opening a series in San Diego on Aug. 21 is the same cushion they'll enjoy when beginning a nine-game homestand Monday. In between, the Cardinals, who are seeking a third straight division title, shaved 10 games off their magic number.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter reaches 'fun' homer milestone

Cardinals third baseman slugs 20th long ball, earns prize from Wainwright

Carpenter reaches 'fun' homer milestone

SAN FRANCISCO -- Adam Wainwright thought Matt Carpenter was getting a little carried away this spring when the Cardinals third baseman started proclaiming his ability to produce a 20-homer season. So Wainwright offered him a bet: Hit 20, Wainwright told Carpenter, and he would buy him a golf cart.

On the second pitch Carpenter saw in the team's 130th game, Carpenter secured himself his first 20-homer campaign and a new mode of transportation to use around his Texas home. His solo shot sparked a three-run first that the Cardinals rode to a 7-5 victory over the Giants on Sunday and left Wainwright, who was watching from the AT&T Park visitor's dugout, to research where he'd buy a purple golf cart for the Texas Christian University graduate.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Bader on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Astros prospect homers thrice, on list for record-tying fourth time in 2015

Bader on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

A.J. Reed is at it again. The Astros first-base prospect homered three more times and drove in seven more runs last week at Double-A Corpus Christi, earning Prospect Team of the Week honors for the fourth time in 2015. That ties Reed with Kyle Schwarber for the most recognition this year.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lynn shrugs off ankle injury, plans on next start

Lynn shrugs off ankle injury, plans on next start

SAN FRANCISCO -- A day after being forced out of his start due to a mild right ankle sprain, Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, while walking around the AT&T Park visiting clubhouse without issue Sunday, reaffirmed his intentions to make his next scheduled start. That would come Friday, when the Cardinals open a critical three-game home series against the Pirates.

"Everything feels good," Lynn said before Sunday's series finale. "Everything should be fine. John Lackey says it's a long way from your heart, so I should be fine. I'll be good to go on Friday."

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards support strong Lynn in win over Giants

Cards support strong Lynn in win over Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yadier Molina hit a two-run single in the fifth inning and Lance Lynn cruised through seven shutout innings as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6-0, on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.

The outcome helped St. Louis keep its division lead to 3 1/2 games, and in the process, San Francisco fell 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.