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Indians pull out stops for free agent Nick Swisher

Indians pull out stops for free agent Nick Swisher

CLEVELAND (AP) The Indians called upon a proven recruiter to land free agent outfielder Nick Swisher.

Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was among a group who had lunch on Tuesday at Progressive Field with Swisher, who is considering a multiyear contract offer from the Indians. Swisher would immediately fill a hole in right field for Cleveland, which traded Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati last week and has been trying to improve a team that collapsed in August and finished 68-94.

The 32-year-old Swisher, who spent the past four seasons with the New York Yankees, arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday night and went to dinner with new manager Terry Francona, team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti. Last week, Antonetti said he intended to add a ``corner'' outfielder and the Indians are pulling out all the stops to add Swisher.

He and his wife, actress JoAnna Garcia, who is expecting the couple's first child in May, arrived at Progressive Field at 10:15 a.m. and toured the club's family room. They were shown a suite and the team's clubhouse before the Indians tugged at Swisher's Ohio State connections to convince him Cleveland should be his next baseball home. Swisher played baseball for the Buckeyes.

The Indians played a video on their scoreboard that featured current Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and basketball coach Thad Matta, who encouraged Swisher to join the Indians. Swisher was moved by the gesture and didn't expect to see Tressel at lunch in the stadium's Terrace Club.

Tressel won a national title at Ohio State but was forced to resign amid a scandal. His new position is Akron's vice president of strategic engagement.

Following the lunch, which also included Francona, Swisher met with Shapiro and members of the club's marketing department. He left at 2:45 p.m. without giving the Indians an answer. Swisher is expected to visit with other teams before making a decision. Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco are among the teams who have shown interest in him.

``It was great to connect,'' Antonetti said. ``We had a chance to share our thoughts on the organization and where we are, and were able to answer any questions he may have had.''

A switch-hitter, Swisher batted .272 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs in 148 games last season, his fourth with the New York Yankees.

The Indians have been in the market for an outfielder throughout the offseason. They offered Shane Victorino a four-year contract worth a reported $44 million before he signed a three-year, $39 million deal with Boston.

Also, Cleveland officially signed free agent first baseman Mark Reynolds to a one-year, $6 million deal. He spent the past two seasons with Baltimore, batting .221 with 23 homers and 69 RBIs in 135 games last season.

``We feel Mark provides a great balance to our lineup, a right-handed hitter with some power, with the ability to get on base,'' Antonetti said. ``We feel he will help our offense.''

Reynolds passed a physical last week but his signing couldn't be announced until the Indians made a 40-man roster move. The club designated infielder Russ Canzler for assignment.

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Reeling Orioles must win to stay in first place

Reeling Orioles must win to stay in first place

Today's Game:

Baltimore Orioles (58-44) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (58-45), Rogers Centre, Toronto, 1:07 p.m.

Starting pitchers:

Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.37) vs. J.A. Happ (13-3, 3.27)

Keys to the Game:

The Orioles must win this game to maintain their AL East lead. They're ahead of Toronto by a half-game and Boston by 1 1/2 games. They've lost four straight. 

Can Gallardo get another win? He's started eight times since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for two months and won just twice--once against the Blue Jays

MORE ORIOLES: ORIOLES LOOK TO JAPAN FOR BULLPEN

News and Notes:

Jose Bautista is 1-for-14 (.071) against Gallardo. Edwin Encarnacion is 7-for-19 (.368) with three home runs and seven RBIs. Troy Tulowitzki is 11-for-31 (.355) with a home run. 

Gallardo is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA against Toronto. He allowed three hits in 8 1/3 scoreless innings in his only game at Rogers Centre on June 27, 2015.

Happ hasn't lost in his last eight starts. 

Happ is 3-3 with a 3.76 ERA in 10 games against the Orioles. 

Current Orioles are batting .225 against Happ. 

The Orioles have three four-game losing streaks and one five-game skid this season. 

Logan Ondrusek, who the Orioles signed before Friday night's game, did not pitch. 

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Gausman allows three first-inning home runs in 6-5 loss

Gausman allows three first-inning home runs in 6-5 loss

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5

Winner-Estrada (6-4)
Loser-Gausman (2-8)
Save-Osuna (21)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Orioles scored five runs, equaling their most since the All-Star break. They haven’t scored six or more since July 6.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Kevin Gausman allowed three home runs in the first inning to Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki. 

The Orioles (58-44) lost for the fourth straight time and have just a half-game lead over Toronto (58-45). 

HUSTLE RUN: Manny Machado scored all the way from first base on an infield out by Chris Davis in the third. Machado, who had taken second, decided to sprint for third, which wasn’t covered. He beat the throw, and Toronto catcher Russell Martin, who was near third, made an error, allowing Machado to score.

NOT KING OF THE ROAD: Not only is Gausman nearing the second anniversary of his last road win, but he had travel issues getting to Toronto. 

Gausman was left back in Baltimore on Wednesday night when the Orioles flew to Minnesota for a one-game makeup. His Thursday flight to Toronto was cancelled, so he flew to Detroit and drove from there. 

UNHAPPY WIETERS: Matt Wieters growled at home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez when he objected to a called strike in the eighth inning. Buck Showalter ran out to intercede. 

Wieters has been ejected twice in his major league career. Both have come in games against Toronto. 

VANIMAL HELPS: Vance Worley allowed just one hit in four scoreless innings following Gausman. 

BUNTING FOR KIM: Hyun Soo Kim bunted for a base hit in the first inning. 

UP NEXT: Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.37) faces J.A. Happ (13-3, 3.27) on Saturday at 1:07 p.m. 

The Orioles must win to maintain their AL East lead. 

RELATED: J.J. HARDY HAS BEEN SCORCHING THIS MONTH

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Like the July weather, J.J. Hardy's hitting has been very hot this month

Like the July weather, J.J. Hardy's hitting has been very hot this month

While other Orioles have had disappointing Julys, J.J. Hardy’s has been one to remember. 

Entering Friday’s game in Toronto, Hardy has an excellent .355 average that’s raised his 2016 average from .240 to .284. 

It’s his best month since June 2011 when he was new to the Orioles. He batted .362 with nine home runs and 18 RBIs. 

He’s had 11 two-hit games, and while he’s only hit two home runs this month, Hardy isn’t relying on power as he has in prior years. 

The Orioles are quite satisfied with the offense he brings the team as well as his steady defense. 

Hardy missed seven weeks with a fracture in his left foot, and so far has played only 55 of the Orioles’ 101 games. 

Last year, he suffered from several injuries that substantially cut into his playing time, and his average fell to .219. 

After a healthy offseason, Hardy said he felt terrific in spring training, and after he fouled a ball off his foot on May 1, he’s recovered nicely. 

NOTE: Aberdeen pitching coach Justin Lord has been named as one of the pitching coaches for the Arizona Fall League’s Mesa Solar Sox. The Orioles and four other teams contribute players and coaches to the Solar Sox. 

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