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Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs to host Stoneman Douglas High School families, survivors

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The Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins are honoring the victims of last month’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a number of tributes during their season-opening four-game series.

Both teams are wearing patches with the initials “MSD” and 17 stars to honor the number of lives lost in the shooting.

The Cubs will host victims’ families and survivors from Stoneman Douglas for Friday’s game.

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a Stoneman Douglas alumnus, said Friday would be an emotional day, as four families of victims or survivors are scheduled to throw out the first pitch.

“[Friday] will be a tough one to see for everyone who has a pulse,” Rizzo said before Thursday’s season opener.

Rizzo and the Cubs showed their support for Stoneman Douglas by wearing T-shirts made by manager Joe Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation.

“I want to show our support for the kids,” Maddon said. “The entire activist movement by the youth of America. We love it. I love it. I think a lot of the players do also.”

Rizzo echoed that message after watching the Stoneman Douglas baseball team win a game 15-0 on Tuesday night. He will host the team at Friday’s game as well.

“These kids are standing up for what they believe in,” Rizzo said. “They’re motivating everyone to go out there to register to vote, which is amazing. … They’re holding the throttle down on these politicians and making them accountable.”

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Minor league baseball contraction process begins with Appalachian League

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NEW YORK — Major League Baseball started the process of contracting minor league affiliates Tuesday, with the Appalachian League converted to a college summer circuit for rising freshmen and sophomores.

The agreement between MLB and the minor leagues expires Wednesday. MLB has proposed cutting the minimum guaranteed minor league affiliates from 160 to 120 next year, or to four per major league organization plus teams at their spring training complexes.

Many teams from the Pioneer League and the New York-Penn League also are likely to become part of college summer leagues.

MLB and USA Baseball said the Appalachian League will become part of its Prospect Development Pipeline and that 320 players will be invited to play next year. The Appalachian League had been an affiliated minor league with professional players since 1911.

MLB and USA Baseball said they are communicating with the NCAA to ensure participation does not detract from college eligibility, which presumably means players in the league no longer will be paid.

Each team will be scheduled for a 54-game regular season with wood bats, and the two organizations will support staffing and administration. Former major leagues will provide instruction.

The 10 teams in the league will change their names and logos to “incorporate symbols and images important to their respective local communities,” according to MLB and USA Baseball.

The 10 teams that were scheduled to be in the Appalachian League at the Rookie Advanced level in 2020 were the Bluefield (West Virginia) Blue Jays, Bristol (Virginia and Tennessee) Pirates, Burlington (North Carolina) Royals, Danville (Virginia) Braves, Elizabethton (Tennessee) Twins, Greeneville (Tennessee) Reds, Johnson City (Tennessee) Cardinals, Kingsport (Tennessee) Mets, Princeton (West Virginia) Rays, and the Pulaski (Virginia) Yankees.

A large number of teams in the Rookie Advanced Pioneer League and the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League also were on an early list of those targeted to lose their affiliations but it is not clear whether those targeted by MLB have changed.

The early list included four Double-A teams from the Eastern League and Southern League and several from the Class A Advanced Florida State League, Midwest League and South Atlantic League, and the Class A Short Season Northwest League.

MLB has proposed eliminating the office of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues in St. Petersburg, Florida, and moving administration of the minors to MLB’s ofice in New York. Pat Conner, president of the National Association since December 2007, said on Sept. 8 that he will retire on Dec. 31.

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Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks gets Game 1 start against Miami Marlins

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CHICAGO — Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks will start Game 1 of their NL Wild Card Series against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, manager David Ross announced. The decision was between Hendricks and Cy Young contender Yu Darvish. Darvish will take the ball in Game 2.

“I [feel] like I have two aces,” Ross said. “I trust both those guys.”

Can you please drop this in as the third graph.

“It’s a huge honor for me to get the nod from Rossy for Game 1 but at the end of the day we all know what Yu has done this year,” Hendricks said. “He’s our ace. He’s been the guy dominant all year long. If this was a one game playoff kind of thing, he would be the guy, obviously.”

Hendricks started on Opening Day and has taken the mound in big games for the Cubs over the past half-decade. He’s 2-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 11 career postseason games, including 10 starts. This season, he led all qualified pitchers with an 8-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, giving up a free pass to less than one batter per nine innings pitched.

“It’s really comforting from my seat when he takes the ball,” Ross said. “I know he’s excited. I’m excited. We have to win two of them. I’m glad we’ve got those horses.”

Hendricks last pitched on Sept. 23 so he’ll be off a full week, while the move gives Darvish an extra day of rest after his last outing on Friday.

If the best-of-three series advances to a Game 3 on Friday, the Cubs will start left-hander Jon Lester. Sandy Alcantara will start Game 1 for the Marlins.

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Rowdy Tellez on Toronto Blue Jays’ roster against Tampa Bay Rays and Tanner Roark left off

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — First baseman Rowdy Tellez is on the Toronto Blue Jays‘ roster for their first-round playoff series against Tampa Bay after recovering from a strained right knee that had sidelined him since Sept. 8.

Tellez could be a designated hitter option for the No. 8 Blue Jays in the best-of-three series against the top-seeded Rays.

Right-hander Jordan Romano was not included on the 28-man roster Tuesday. He has not pitched in a game since Aug. 28 because of a finger injury but threw batting practice Sunday in hopes of earning a spot.

Toronto also left off right-hander Tanner Roark, who had a 6.80 ERA in 11 starts.

Toronto’s roster features 13 pitchers, three catchers, eight infielders and four outfielders.

The pitchers are Chase Anderson, Anthony Bass, Ryan Borucki, A.J. Cole, Rafael Dolis, Thomas Hatch, Anthony Kay, Nate Pearson, Robbie Ray, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Matt Shoemaker, Ross Stripling and Taijuan Walker.

Position players include catchers Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Reese McGuire, infielders Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Joe Panik, Travis Shaw, Tellez and Jonathan Villar, and outfielders Jonathan Davis, Randal Grichuk, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez.

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