The Los Angeles Angels have cleared starting pitcher Griffin Canning to resume throwing as he continues his rehabilitation after an elbow injury.

The right-hander was diagnosed with "chronic changes" to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm in late February and has not pitched since.

He will begin by throwing from flat ground but Angels general manager Billy Eppler said on Wednesday he expects Canning to work from a mound by the end of April.

The hope is that the 23-year-old can avoid having surgery after an injury-marred debut campaign in 2019. Canning had two separate stints on the 10-day injured list last season with right elbow inflammation, with the latter period extending to a season-ending trip on the 60-day injured list.

One factor in Canning's course of rehabilitation may be that renowned surgeon James Andrews has indefinitely suspended all Tommy John surgeries while the United States' attention and medical supplies are being directed toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canning, a California native and UCLA product, made his major league debut on April 30 last season and was 5-6 in 17 starts, registering a 4.58 ERA over 90 1/3 innings of work.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly acquired former MVP Mookie Betts and David Price in a blockbuster MLB trade with the Boston Red Sox.

A free agent at the end of the 2020 season, the Red Sox have apparently dealt 2018 American League MVP and World Series champion Betts after failing to agree a long-term deal.

According to ESPN and The Athletic, the trade – also involving the Minnesota Twins – will see outfielder Alex Verdugo head to the Red Sox.

The Dodgers will send starter Kenta Maeda to the Twins, who will trade pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to Boston.

ESPN also reports the Dodgers have sent outfielder and soon-to-be free agent Joc Pederson to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo.

Betts – a four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award winner and three-time Silver Slugger – tallied 29 home runs, 135 runs and 176 hits after 597 at-bats with an 80 RBI last season.

World Series champion and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner Price, who has three years remaining on his current deal, posted 128 strikeouts and a 4.28 ERA for the Red Sox in 2019.

The Red Sox, who have endured a turbulent offseason following the departure of manager Alex Cora amid allegations of sign stealing – are looking to shed their wage bill and move below the $208million luxury-tax threshold.

Boston failed to defend their title in 2019 after missing out on the playoffs, while the Dodgers lost to eventual champions the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series (NLDS).

All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon has agreed a seven-year, $245million deal with the Los Angeles Angels, the MLB franchise confirmed on Friday.

Rendon, 29, became a free agent after leading the Washington Nationals to their first World Series title in October.

He hit a crucial home run off Zack Greinke in the decisive Game 7 victory against the Houston Astros and finished third in the voting for National League MVP honours.

Rendon joins forces with star center fielder Mike Trout after agreeing the largest free-agent contract in the team's history, having exceeded the 10-year, $240m deal Albert Pujols signed in December 2011.

The Angels, who missed out on New York Yankees-bound pitcher Gerrit Cole, failed to reach the postseason for a fifth successive year in 2019, finishing with a 72-90 record.

Rendon will be introduced at a news conference at Angel Stadium on Saturday.

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout won his third American League (AL) MVP award, while the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger was crowned the National League (NL) winner.

Trout, 28, added to his wins in 2014 and 2016 after enjoying another fine MLB season with the Angels.

The outfielder – an eight-time All-Star – finished 2019 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs and a .291 batting average.

Only MLB great Barry Bonds (seven) has won more than three MVP awards.

Los Angeles owned the 2019 MVPs, with Dodgers star Bellinger winning the NL prize.

Bellinger – who already won the 2019 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards to complete the trifecta – hit 47 home runs and 115 RBIs during the season, batting at an impressive .305.

"It's absolutely incredible," said the 24-year-old via MLB Network. "It's really cool that my family and friends are here. I'm a little emotional. It's really cool. It's what you dream of, man, for sure."

Despite Trout's heroics, the Angels missed the playoffs, while the Dodgers were eliminated in the NL Division Series.

Five months on from the Raptors' stunning NBA Finals triumph in Oakland, the city of Toronto will hope to be celebrating further success after the MLS Cup final.

The Raptors defeated two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors for their first title, and Toronto FC can add another championship by beating Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

Toronto and Seattle are facing one another in the season decider in MLS for the third time in four years, winning a title apiece at BMO Field before this showdown at CenturyLink Field.

Victory would cap a sensational 2019 for sports in Toronto, but other cities have similarly been able to hail two or more major championships in the same year previously. We take a look at the seven most recent examples.
 

1998: CHICAGO - Bulls (NBA), Fire (MLS)

Michael Jordan's NBA dominance with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s gave the city's other sports teams plenty of opportunities to complete a double. In 1998, two years after the introduction of MLS, early force Chicago Fire were able to deliver.

Jordan ended his final season in Chicago a champion once again, the MVP and Finals MVP as the Utah Jazz were beaten 4-2 in June. Fire then defeated DC United 2-0 at the Rose Bowl in October, capping a fine year for the Windy City.
 

2000: NEW JERSEY/NEW YORK - Devils (NHL), Yankees (MLB)

The sports teams in the greater New York area brought in the millennium in real style as both the New Jersey Devils and the New York Yankees were able to clinch championships.

The second of the Devils' three Stanley Cup successes to date came against the Dallas Stars in June's Game 6, before a New York victory at the World Series was guaranteed as the Yankees faced the Mets four months later. The Yankees won inside five games for a third straight title.
 

2002: LOS ANGELES - Lakers (NBA), Galaxy (MLS), Angels (MLB)

Few cities have enjoyed a year as dominant as Los Angeles did in 2002, with the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Anaheim Angels all triumphing.

The Lakers won the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year in June, crushing the New Jersey Nets 4-0, before October brought double delight for the city's sports fans, with Galaxy beating New England Revolution 1-0 as the Angels began their World Series campaign, ultimately edging out the San Francisco Giants in seven games.
 

2004: NEW ENGLAND/BOSTON - Patriots (NFL), Red Sox (MLB)

It should have surprised no one to see the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, their second of three in four years, but it was a far bigger deal to see the Boston Red Sox come out on top in the World Series.

Tom Brady earned his second ring as the Carolina Panthers were edged out in a dramatic fourth quarter in February, before neighbours the Red Sox ended the 'Curse of the Bambino' and an 86-year wait for a championship by thrashing the St Louis Cardinals in October, having earlier come from 3-0 down against the Yankees.

2009: PITTSBURGH - Steelers (NFL), Penguins (NHL)

Pittsburgh sports fans have had plenty to celebrate since the turn of the century. The Pirates have largely toiled in MLB, but the NFL Steelers and NHL Penguins have each seen success - and did so in the same year in 2009.

The Steelers became the first franchise to win six Super Bowls when they held off a fourth-quarter fightback from the Arizona Cardinals in February, while the Penguins avenged their 2008 Stanley Cup defeat to the Detroit Red Wings against the same team in Game 7 in June.
 

2012: LOS ANGELES - Kings (NHL), Galaxy (MLS)

If Toronto can win a second MLS Cup in three years, they will then hope to kick on and pursue Galaxy's record of five titles - the fourth of which came in December 2012, six months after the Los Angeles Kings broke their Stanley Cup duck.

Playing just the second Finals in their history, the Kings dealt established winners the Devils a six-game defeat. Galaxy, far more accustomed with success, then defeated Houston Dynamo for the second year running in the MLS Cup final.


2014: LOS ANGELES - Kings (NHL), Galaxy (MLS)

Having waited so long for a first triumph, the Kings wasted little time at all to double their tally - much like Toronto FC, the Reds will hope.

Another New York outfit, the New York Rangers, were dispatched 4-1 in June, setting up another magnificent double with Galaxy when Bruce Arena's men beat New England thanks to an extra-time Robbie Keane strike in December.

Joe Maddon and the Los Angeles Angels have seemed destined for a reunion for weeks and it all became official Wednesday. 

The Angels announced they have hired Maddon to replace Brad Ausmus as manager. ESPN reported Maddon, who turns 66 in February, will receive a three-year deal worth between $4-5 million a year. 

The reunion is no surprise, as Maddon spent his entire professional life in the Angels organisation before moving on to manage Tampa Bay in 2006. 

He signed with the franchise as a minor league catcher in 1975 and held a variety of roles throughout the system before ascending to the major league coaching staff in 1994. Maddon served as interim manager of the Angels in 1996 and 1999 and was Mike Scioscia's right-hand man as the bench coach from 2000-05 before leaving to take over the downtrodden Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Maddon quickly became a star in Tampa Bay, leading the franchise that had never before had a winning record to the World Series in 2008 before eventually moving on to guide the Cubs to their first title in 108 years in 2016. 

He has a 1,252-1,068 career record (.540), and only Terry Francona (1,667) has more wins among active managers. 

"We are thrilled that Joe is coming back home and bringing an exciting brand of baseball to our fans," general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. 

"Every stop he has made throughout his managerial career he has built a culture that is focused on winning, while also allowing his players to thrive. We believe Joe will be a great asset for our club and look forward to him leading the team to another World Series championship."

The Angels fired Ausmus on September, 30 after just one season in which he went 72-90. USA Today reported Buck Showalter was the other finalist for the position. 

The Nationals now have a crucial advantage in the National League wild-card game following their 10-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Saturday's victory against the already-eliminated Indians, the Nationals will host the MLB playoff contest at the beginning of October.

Gerardo Parra hit a grand slam in a whopping nine-run second inning to highlight the triumph, which is Washington's seventh consecutive win.

"I don't have to go home and pack," manager Dave Martinez said after the game, via ESPN. "Nice to stay at home. The boys wanted to stay at home, so they came out and swung the bats."

Nationals star Parra finished two of four for the night, along with Ryan Zimmerman, while Daniel Hudson earned the win after pitching one hitless inning.

 

Mets rookie Alonso sets record

Pete Alonso hit his 53rd home run on Saturday, which is more than any rookie in MLB history – surpassing Aaron Judge's record set in 2017. The New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0.

Houston Astros star Justin Verlander struck out his 3,000th batter to become just the 18th pitcher to reach the milestone.

Hyun-jin Ryu pitched seven solid innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed their 105th win. He allowed five hits while striking out seven in the 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

 

Rays struggle against Jays

The Tampa Bay Rays recorded only three hits in a 4-1 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays had seven starters lay goose eggs, including Austin Meadows, Jesus Aguilar and Nate Lowe, who all went 0 for four.

Edwin Jackson gave up three runs on four hits in just three innings of work in the Detroit Tigers' 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Detroit split the doubleheader after a 4-3 victory.

 

Soler homers… again

What else do you expect from Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Soler? (P.S. This was his second home run of the game.)

Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar has power and speed.

 

Saturday's results

Baltimore Orioles 9-4 Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox 7-1 Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Washington Nationals 10-7 Cleveland Indians
Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies 9-3 Miami Marlins
New York Mets 3-0 Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs 8-6 St Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers 9-4 New York Yankees
Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Houston Astros 6-3 Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics 1-0 Seattle Mariners
Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Brewers at Rockies

Sunday marks the last day of the regular season and there is a lot at stake. One of the biggest games will be a must-win contest for the Brewers. They trail the Cardinals by one game after losing on Saturday. A Brewers win along with a Cardinals loss will put the two teams in a tie for first place in the NL Central, which would force Game 163. That is not all. The Rays are hoping for a win of their own, and an A's loss, to force a tie-breaker to decide who gets home-field advantage for the American League wild-card game.

Houston Astros star Justin Verlander became the 18th MLB pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts.

Verlander reached the feat when he struck out Kole Calhoun in the fourth inning of the Astros' clash with the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

A World Series champion, American League MVP and AL Cy Young award winner among others, Verlander became just the 33rd pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters.

The eight-time All-Star is still drift of Nolan Ryan, who is first with 5,714 strikeouts. It will take a few extra years for the 36-year-old to get there.

Now, Verlander will also try to join the 300-strikeout club. His 3,000th K was also his 294th of the season.

If Verlander is to get to 300 for the year, he and Gerrit Cole would be the first pair of team-mates to strike out 300 batters in a season since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2002) to accomplish that feat.

They would be just the second pair to do that ever.

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