Jeff Keppinger for $12 million is a bit of a reach

Jeff Keppinger for $12 million is a bit of a reach

Obviously, it’s a good idea not to give three-year contracts to part-time players unless you have to. Unfortunately, in this winter’s free agent market, the White Sox felt they had to. Jeff Keppinger probably had multiple teams interested in him at $8 million for two years, so the first team to go to $12 million…

Nats tap Gonzalez as they hope to rebound vs. Cardinals

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Nats tap Gonzalez as they hope to rebound vs. Cardinals

Nats (29-20) vs. Cardinals (25-24) at Nationals Park

The Nationals are looking to bounce back a day after dropping Friday night's game to the Cardinals —their first loss to the Red Birds all season. After Max Scherzer's uneven outing, Washington will send lefty Gio Gonzalez to the mound to face a St. Louis offense that has had trouble with southpaws. The Cards have a slashline of .240/.322/.390 against left-handed pitchers on the season, so it will be up to Gonzalez to keep that trend going against an otherwise hot-hitting lineup. It could help that he has his personal catcher in Jose Lobaton back in the lineup after Wilson Ramos held those duties in Monday's 7-1 loss to the New York Mets. 

Another wrinkle in Saturday's lineup is that Anthony Rendon will have the night off, a decision he made earlier in the week despite the third baseman's recent hot streak. In Rendon's absence, Stephen Drew will take over at the hot corner.

Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter will return to St.Louis' lineup after going on paternity leave for the first two games of this series. 

First pitch: 7:15 p.m.
TV: FOX
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, XM 183
Starting pitchers: Nats - Gio Gonzalez vs. Cardinals - Adam Wainwright

NATS

CF Ben Revere 

LF Jayson Werth 

RF Bryce Harper 

2B Daniel Murphy 

1B Ryan Zimmerman 

3B Stephen Drew 

SS Danny Espinosa 

C Jose Lobaton 

LHP Gio Gonzalez 

CARDINALS

1B Matt Carpenter 

SS Aledmys Diaz 

LF Matt Holiday 

RF Stephen Piscotty 

CF Randal Grichuk 

C Yadier Molina 

2B Jedd Gyroko 

3B Greg Garcia 

RHP Adam Wainwright

 

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Kim starts fourth straight game for Orioles

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Kim starts fourth straight game for Orioles

CLEVELAND—This week, Hyun Soo Kim reached a mini milestone. He played in consecutive games for the first time, and on Saturday started his fourth straight game. 

He entered Saturday’s game with a .410 average in 39 at-bats  before grounding out in the first inning. 

Though Kim’s English is improving, and he can understand some of what’s said, he still relies heavily on interpreter Danny Lee. 

“I was talking to Danny yesterday. I said, ‘How’s he doing?’ I always ask what’s going on. He said, ‘Oh, he’s playing with me, acting like he’s tired and doesn’t know if he can play again.’ I kid him,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

“I just think he kind of brings some things we kind of need, some selectivity and kind of slow things down here and there. First of all, the guy’s going to have to get below .400 before you take him out.”

NOTE: Longtime Orioles infielder Melvin Mora hit two home runs in the Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown, N.Y. 

RELATED: GALLARDO'S SIMULATED GAME GOES WELL, REHAB START SET

Gallardo's simulated game goes well, rehab start set

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Gallardo's simulated game goes well, rehab start set

CLEVELAND—A little more than two hours after Yovani Gallardo completed a simulated game, manager Buck Showalter announced that he would make a rehab start at Frederick against Potomac on Thursday night.

Showalter hopes that Gallardo, who threw 45 pitches on Saturday will be able to throw four innings or 60 pitches in the rehab start. Assuming Gallardo feels strong on Sunday and has a work day early next week, the rehab assignment is on. 

“It’s encouraging. We’re trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves. That’s about as far as I’m going to go, but we’ve got a plan if everything goes well,” Showalter said. 

Gallardo, who has been on the disabled list since Apr. 23 with tendinitis in his  was satisfied by the simulated game. He faced one major league hitter, Paul Janish, and two coaches, Einar Diaz and Wayne Kirby. 

“I felt pretty good. The curveball was coming out like the previous two bullpens. Offspeed pitches were sharp. I’m pretty excited about how it all went today,” Gallardo said. 

“I think it’s a matter of getting that pitch count up, to be honest. It’s one of those things. It’s going to be key and it’s all going to depend on how I’m able to recover each and every time that I throw.” 

Janish has hit against Gallardo in the past, and was happy to help out. 

“I think I stood in for four simulated at-bats, so I saw all of his pitches. He threw his changeup, his cutter, his curveball and his regular fastball. Everything was crisp and he seemed to have good control of everything, which I think is another indication that he’s not having any kind of tweaks or discomfort. I think control would be the first thing to go, so he looked good. Best way to say it is he looked good.”

Showalter was upbeat about Gallardo’s simulated game. 

“He got a little tired at the end, which you can expect. The arm swing was good. You can tell by the smile on his face that he felt good about it,” Showalter said.