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Most star pitchers missing from US WBC roster

Most star pitchers missing from US WBC roster

NEW YORK (AP) Toronto's R.A. Dickey heads a starting pitching staff missing David Price, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain on the preliminary U.S. roster for the World Baseball Classic.

Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees' Mark Teixeira and the Mets' David Wright are among 27 players on the roster announced Thursday. The roster also includes Joe Mauer and Jimmy Rollins, and the bullpen is headed by Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel.

Final 28-man rosters are due Feb. 20 and must include at least 13 pitchers and two catchers. The U.S., managed by Joe Torre, opens against Mexico on March 8, then plays Italy and Canada to complete its first-round group.

Venezuela's roster includes AL Triple Crown winner MVP Miguel Cabrera, World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval and pitcher Felix Hernandez. The Dominican Republic has Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes, Adrian Beltre and Hanley Ramirez, and Puerto Rico has Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina.

Chien-Ming Wang is on Taiwan, and Bruce Chen is the first major leaguer on China's team. Cuba's roster does not include any defectors in the major leagues. Japan also does not have any major leaguers.

Italy's roster includes Francisco Cervelli (born in Venezuela), Jason Grilli (born in Oak Hill, Mich.) and Nick Punto (born in San Diego).

The U.S. roster:

Pitchers: Jeremy Affeldt (San Francisco), Heath Bell (Arizona), Mitchell Boggs (St. Louis), Steve Cishek (Miami), Tim Collins (Kansas City), R.A. Dickey (Toronto), Luke Gregerson (San Diego), Derek Holland (Texas), Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta), Kris Medlen (Atlanta), Chris Perez (Cleveland), Glen Perkins (Minnesota), Vinnie Pestano (Cleveland), Ryan Vogelsong (San Francisco)

Catchers: J.P. Arencibia (Toronto), Jonathan Lucroy (Milwaukee), Joe Mauer (Minnesota)

Infielders: Willie Bloomquist (Arizona), Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati), Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia), Mark Teixeira (N.Y. Yankees), David Wright (N.Y. Mets)

Outfielders: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee), Adam Jones (Baltimore), Giancarlo Stanton (Miami), Shane Victorino (Boston), Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay).

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Orioles strengthen playoff position with win over Arizona

Orioles strengthen playoff position with win over Arizona

BALTIMORE—The Orioles ended their home season with 50 wins, equaling the most in Oriole Park history. That came in 2014, and if the Orioles wish to reach the American League Championship Series, they’ll have to have success on the road. 

For much of 2016, the Orioles played wonderfully at home, but in August and September they’ve been just 13-15. Their road record of 35-40 isn’t good, but in the last two months, they’re 13-11. 

They ended their home regular season with a 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks before 31,229 on Sunday. 

They’ll have lots of work to do if they want to play here again. 

Sunday’s win completed their first three-game sweep since July 22-24. It followed the four straight losses to Boston that finished their American League East hopes. 

Dylan Bundy allowed one run on three hits in five innings for the win. Hyun Soo Kim hit a two-run home run in the second inning while Mychal Givens, Brad Brach and Zach Britton combined for four scoreless one-hit innings. 

Manager Buck Showalter says the Orioles sweep of Arizona (64-91) won’t erase the Boston hurt.

“It doesn’t take it away because that’s come and gone. It really has. It left. You have to do that and our guys do it. Just like, do the Red Sox fold the tent when we were beating them early in the season, sometime during the season?” Showalter said. 

“That’s the fortitude you’ve got to have. Our guys are warriors. They grind through a lot of things. Working on short sleep, game 150-whatever. That’s a hard game to win today. It really is. And our bullpen and our starting pitcher made Kim’s home run stand up. Of course, the defense was unbelievable.”

The Orioles (85-71) begin a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday night trailing the Blue Jays by 1 ½ games in the wild card chase, but they hold a 1 ½ game advantage over Detroit for the second wild-card spot. 

The Orioles split four games with Tampa Bay, lost four to Boston and swept three against Arizona to end their longest and final homestand 5-6.

“Initially, I thought about this homestand, how much we wanted to play well and win the games in front of that type of crowd. End of the regular season, obviously, kind of it is for the fans. You want to repay their support more than anything. Their support has a lot to do with us having a good record. It’s always been, what’s a good word? Refuge or safe haven for us. A lot goes into making that atmosphere such from the clubhouse to the players to the fans to the organization as a whole, and most of all, the city. It played to our advantage,” Showalter said.

Bundy (10-6) retired the first nine Arizona hitters before Jean Segura doubled starting the fourth. Segura scored on Paul Goldschmidt’s single. 

His 109 2/3 innings this season are a professional high, and his 10 wins a surprise.

“Definitely didn’t expect it. I was expecting to throw 70 innings out of the pen. I’ll take it. I’m not going to complain about it or anything, but were just trying to get team wins right now. That’s all that matters right now,” Bundy said. 

Showalter joked about Bundy’s accomplishment.

“I knew that all along,” Showalter said. “The team allowed him to win 10 games and the doctors allowed him to win 10, and most of all he did. But where we hope to end up this year, five would have not surprised me, but 10 would have been a little bit of a stretch.”

Kim hit his fifth home run of the year, a two-run shot against Braden Shipley (4-5) in the second to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. 

Britton polished off the Diamondbacks in the ninth for his 46th consecutive save. 

“It’s nice but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if we don't get to the postseason. That’s where my focus is right now,” Britton said.

Showalter said he didn’t want to use Tommy Hunter or Darren O’Day, saving them for Toronto, and he used his platform to campaign for Britton’s candidacy for the American League Cy Young award.

I’m biased about the type of recognition he should get when this season is over. It’s a historical…Take a good look at it because it won’t pass your way again,” Showalter said. 

NOTES: Orioles pitchers struck out 13 batters. … Davis struck out twice. He has a career-high 210 strikeouts this season, the fifth highest total in major league history. … The Orioles drew 2,172,344 this season, down about 150,000 from last year. The average crowd was 26,819. … The Orioles finished interleague play with 14 wins, most in team history. 

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Who plays where in the AL wild-card race?

Who plays where in the AL wild-card race?

BALTIMORE – What’s left for the Orioles? After an off day on Monday, they go to Toronto for three games and end the regular season at Yankee Stadium beginning Friday. 

They’ll start Tuesday’s series at the Rogers Centre trailing the Blue Jays by 1 ½ games in the wild card race. Toronto leads 9-7 in the season series, and the Orioles must sweep the three games in order to secure home field advantage if the two teams tie for the wild card.

With Detroit losing to Kansas City 12-9 on Sunday, the Orioles have a 1 ½ game lead over Detroit. Seattle remains 2 ½ games back and Houston is three out. 

While the Orioles are playing in Toronto, the Tigers play four at Cleveland beginning Monday, and conclude the season with three games at Atlanta. 

Toronto concludes its regular season with three games at Boston. 

If the Orioles and Tigers finish for the second wild card, they would play one game here on Oct. 3.

The wild card game is Oct. 4, and the American League Division Series begins Oct. 6.