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ARLINGTON, Texas — Victor Caratini is a no-no catcher.

When hometown pitcher Joe Musgrove threw the first no-hitter for the San Diego Padres in their franchise history, Caratini became the first MLB catcher to be behind the plate for consecutive no-hitters in the league for different teams.

“He was the first one to embrace me,” Musgrove said of Caratini. “And it just felt good. I know he wanted that as bad as I did.”

While Musgrove had never thrown a no-hitter at any level, Caratini was on the receiving end last Sept. 13 when Alec Mills threw one for the Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee. The offseason acquisitions by the Padres got one together Friday night in a 3-0 win against the Rangers in Texas.

“Just super happy. I think it’s pretty rare to find yourself in those situations,” Caratini said Saturday through a translator. “Joe had everything working, had all of his pitches working. It’s really awesome. Really happy to be a part of it, really happy for him, and really happy for the team to have been able to experience that with him.”

It was only the second start with the Padres for the 28-year-old Musgrove, the only player they got back as part of a three-team, seven-player trade in January after he pitched for Pittsburgh the past three seasons.

Caratini also got to San Diego as part of a seven-player deal. The 27-year-old catcher came with right-hander Yu Darvish from the Cubs last December for right-hander Zach Davies and four minor leaguers.

Musgrove described Caratini as “a scientist” who was calculating between innings what they were about to face in the Rangers lineup, and figuring out when to be aggressive and when to try to save a few pitches. Padres manager Jayce Tingler gave Caratini credit for coaxing the big right-hander through a historic performance while certainly benefiting from the recent experience of catching another no-hitter.

“When you start to connect the dots a little bit, to have two of them now, and as quickly as he’s had them,” Tingler said Saturday. “He obviously receives well, calls a great game. … Just being able to be on the same page, and you can’t really do that without getting in a flow. And so there’s got to be a ton of trust with both sides there. And I think Victor has won over the trust of a lot of those pitchers.”

There have been 10 other times when a starting catcher caught consecutive MLB no-hitters, but all of those were for the same team, according to Elias Sports. The last was Cincinnati’s Ryan Hanigan when Homer Bailey held the San Francisco Giants without a hit July 2, 2013, after doing the same to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 28, 2012.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the last MLB team responsible for consecutive no-hitters. That was in 2014, but A.J. Ellis was behind the plate for Clayton Kershaw‘s against Colorado less than a month after Drew Butera caught Josh Beckett’s no-no against Philadelphia.

Caratini was already one of eight catchers from Puerto Rico to be part of a no-hitter, but now has joined Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez as the only ones to catch two of them.

“Super proud to be on that same list, to be in that company as Ivan. He is one of my idols,” Caratini said.

Rodriguez caught the perfect game thrown by Texas Rangers lefty Kenny Rogers in July 28, 1994, which had been the last no-hitter pitched in Arlington. That came in the inaugural season of the Rangers’ old ballpark that is just across the street from Globe Life Field, the stadium they are now in for a second season. Pudge also was on the receiving end of a Justin Verlander no-hitter in 2007 when with Detroit at Toronto.

Caratini was a second-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2013, and went to the Cubs as part of a deadline trade the next summer. He made his big-league debut with Chicago in 2017, where he played in 246 games while catching in 130 in the past four seasons. He started five of the first eight games behind the plate for the Padres this season but wasn’t in the lineup for Saturday night’s game at Texas.

“Just hope I can keep doing a good job,” Caratini said, “and go out there and giving good performances with the team to help us win.”

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper exits game vs. Toronto Blue Jays with shoulder soreness



Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper left Saturday’s 4-0 road loss to the Toronto Blue Jays with right shoulder soreness and is listed as day-to-day.

Harper left the game before the bottom of the fourth inning, when Scott Kingery took over in right field. He last batted in the third inning, striking out for the second time.

“[The soreness] came on tonight,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “He came to us, smart. You don’t want to make it worse. Got him out. Hopefully it’s just day to day.”

Harper wasn’t the only Philadelphia player to depart early.

Andrew Knapp pinch-hit for Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto in the eighth. Girardi said Realmuto had a sore left wrist.

Realmuto left Tuesday’s game against Washington after taking a foul ball off his left knee and felt ill with a fever Wednesday night. After not playing Thursday, he was the DH in Friday night’s series opener with the Blue Jays.

Harper, 28, is off to a red-hot start in his third season with the Phillies, slashing .318/.449/.582 with seven home runs and 11 RBIs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles Dodgers get Yoshitomo Tsutsugo in trade with Tampa Bay Rays



LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired infielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo from the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday for a player to be named or cash.

Tsutsugo, 29, has struggled in the majors since coming over from Japan. He has a .187 batting average in two seasons, including .167 in 27 games with Tampa Bay this season. Tsutsugo also has no home runs and 27 strikeouts in 87 plate appearances.

The defending World Series champions have been seeking veteran role players as they have struggled with injuries throughout the season. Tsutsugo can also play the outfield for the Dodgers, who also reportedly agreed to terms with Albert Pujols on Saturday.

To make room for Tsutsugo on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers transferred infielder Edwin Ríos to the 60-day injured list. Ríos will be undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery next week.

The Rays made another trade earlier, dealing right-hander Hunter Strickland to the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named or cash after activating first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the injured list.

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Admitting there will be ’emotions involved,’ Washington Nationals pitcher Jon Lester enthused to start in former home, Wrigley Field



Returning to Wrigley Field on Monday for the first time since departing the Chicago Cubs as a free agent, Washington Nationals starter Jon Lester is over any hard feelings he had upon leaving.

Lester, 37, was never offered much in the way of a new contract with the Cubs before signing a 1-year, $5 million deal with Washington.

“It’s natural,” Lester said. “I had to get over some stuff leaving Boston. Chicago was my home for six years. We have a house there. My kids grew up there. You invest in a city, you invest in that place that you’re working. Yeah, there’s emotions involved.”

Lester is often cited as arguably the best free-agent signing in franchise history, but nostalgia couldn’t keep him a Cub. After the team declined a $25 million team option for 2021, the 16-year veteran sat and waited for a new offer that never materialized. Worried about how late it was getting in the offseason, Lester signed with the Nationals.

“The hard part of this game is the business side and you have to separate your heart and business,” Lester said. “Sometimes that can be difficult. It’s only natural to go through a phase where you question certain things, but once you separate that and realize it’s a business … it is what it is.”

Lester is happy to be pitching on Monday, in the opener of a four-game series. He can get it over with and then relax and visit with friends with whom he won a World Series in 2016, breaking a 108-year championship drought for the franchise. But he’s most excited to see a fan base he never got to say goodbye to last season due to COVID-19 protocols.

“I look forward to it,” Lester said. “I’m glad fans are in the stands. It’ll be nice to see the faces in the stands and get back to normalcy there.”

As for facing his former teammates, the trash-talking began in spring training as Lester is most excited about staring down first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The two share a bond; both were drafted by the Boston Red Sox and both beat cancer while with that organization.

“That will probably be the matchup that will stand out the most to me,” Lester said. “I might have to invent something out there. I’m pretty much inventing stuff as I go as it is. Maybe throw a knuckleball or two or mix something in like that.”

Lester won 77 games for the Cubs, including Game 5 of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians, then came on in relief in Game 7, which the Cubs won in 10 innings. It cemented his legacy in Chicago.

He was asked what it means to be considered such a great free-agent signing.

“It’s a huge compliment,” Lester said. “I don’t know if it’s true. It’s flattering.”

Lester will see his former catcher in the Cubs’ dugout: David Ross is now the manager of his former team. The two are close friends.

“The guy is super special to me,” Ross said. “I hope the fans give him the welcome back he deserves. He means a lot to this organization. I think fans recognize that. Cubs nation that I know will be super appreciative and give him the love that he needs.”

Besides pitching against the Cubs, Lester’s biggest concern is finding where he needs to go when he gets to Wrigley Field.

“The biggest thing for me is making sure I walk into the right dugout,” he said.

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