Highly regarded pitching prospect Brendan McKay and first baseman Nate Lowe were among seven Tampa Bay Rays players optioned to the minor leagues on Thursday.

The Rays also optioned pitchers Trevor Richards and Anthony Banda, infielder Michael Brosseau and outfielders Randy Arozarena and Brian O'Grady. Tampa Bay's 40-man roster currently stands at 28 active players following the moves.

McKay, listed as the No. 15 overall prospect by MLB.com for the 2020 season, made 11 starts for Tampa Bay in 2019 and went 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 overall appearances for the Rays last season.

The No. 4 overall pick of the 2017 MLB draft also saw time as a designated hitter and had five home runs in 67 at-bats for Triple-A Durham in 2019.

Lowe hit .263 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 50 games with Tampa Bay last season and added 16 home runs in 93 games with Durham. Brosseau split time between the minors and majors in 2019, batting .273 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 51 games with the Rays and recording a .304 average with 16 homers and 60 RBIs in 73 games with Durham.

Richards started 20 games for Miami last season before coming to the Rays in a July 31 trade. The 26-year-old went 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in seven appearances, including three starts, following the trade.

Banda spent most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery performed in June 2018 and allowed three runs in four innings following a September call-up.

Arozarena, acquired from the Cardinals in January as part of the trade that also sent veteran first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez to Tampa Bay, batted .344 between St. Louis' Double and Triple-A affiliates in 2019.

O'Grady tied for fifth in the International League with 28 home runs while playing for Cincinnati's Triple-A team in Louisville last season. The 27-year-old was acquired from the Reds in November.

Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado and Boston Red Sox sensation Mookie Betts highlighted the 2019 Gold Glove Award winners.

MLB announced the winners on Sunday and there were several first-time winners, including Lorenzo Cain of the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger.

The list of winners features the St Louis Cardinals' Kolten Wong, Cleveland Indians star Francisco Lindor, JT Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo.

Cleveland and the Oakland Athletics lead the American League with two winners each, while the Arizona Diamondbacks boast three winners in the National League.

Houston Astros ace Zack Greinke and Arizona's Mike Leake each won the award at their respective positions despite being traded to the AL and NL at the deadline in July.

The awards are determined by a vote among managers and coaches, and since 2013, a 25 per cent calculation is based on defensive metrics. 

 

MLB 2019 Gold Glove Winners

American League

1B Matt Olson, Athletics
2B Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox
3B Matt Chapman, Athletics
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
LF Alex Gordon, Royals
CF Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
RF Mookie Bett, Red Sox
C Roberto Perez, Indians
P Mike Leake, Mariners/Diamondbacks

National League

1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Kolten Wong, Cardinals
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
SS Nick Ahmed, Diamondbacks
LF David Peralta, Diamondbacks
CF Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
RF Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
C JT Realmuto, Phillies
P Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks

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.

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