SweetSpot

Rays focused on winning, not deadline
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ST. LOUIS -- Even with all the trade rumors surrounding David Price, Rays manager Joe Maddon hasn’t pulled Price aside to talk to him about how he should handle the approaching trade deadline.

Rays' long-odds comeback adds latest win
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On June 9, the Tampa Bay Rays entered play with a record of 24-40. Earlier that day the team's eccentric manager, Joe Maddon, unleashed Bobby Henry, a Seminole medicine man who throws turtles in the air hoping to anger the gods into making it rain, on Tropicana Field in an effort to chase away the bad vibes.

Hall of Very Good: Tiant, Oliva elected
Shawn Anderson runs a fun site called The Hall of Very Good -- a great way of honoring those who fall just short of Cooperstown status. This year's inductees are Luis Tiant, Tony Oliva and .

Sandoval is Giants' most valuable defender
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If the San Francisco Giants do emerge as the top team in the NL West this season, Pablo Sandoval's defense at third base may be a difference-maker.Some may find that odd, but if you disregard his girth, study the numbers and watch a little film, it makes sense.

Believe in both Lucroy and the Brewers
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The Brewers produced a fun video before the All-Star Game, a light-hearted “attack ad” encouraging fans to vote catcher Jonathan Lucroy into the National League starting lineup ahead of Yadier Molina.

Braves stress the importance of defense
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ST. LOUIS -- Andrelton Simmons' eyes tell him everything. He stands where the infield dirt meets the outfield grass. He prepares, knowing where each batter tends to hit the ball.

Angels' rotation may be their weak link
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The Angels are the second-best team in baseball. Win or lose going into Monday night’s game against the AL East-leading Orioles, they were going to be the second-best team in baseball after the fact.

Lee auditions for Phillies' trade partners
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PHILADELPHIA -- It’s been a while since the last Cliff Lee sighting on the Citizens Bank Park mound. He went on the disabled list with a strained left elbow on May 18, which means that he was rehabbing through Memorial Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day, the first day of summer solstice and Independence Day while any semblance of spring training optimism faded for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Don't doubt Sonny Gray as A's ace
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When the Oakland A's pulled off the blockbuster trade for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on July 4, most people assumed Billy Beane was looking to upgrade his rotation and didn't have faith that Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir could carry the team into the postseason as frontline starters.

McGehee's change at the plate working
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When Tim Lincecum hung a slider in the zone like it was a piņata, Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee didn’t just call it candy, he took it yard … for his second home run of the season, breaking a 58-game homerless streak.

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