LEADING OFF: A’s and Braves winless, Tatis on IL, Paxton out

Sports

Oakland Athletics watch from the dugout during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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SLOW STARTS

Both winless teams in the majors are defending division champions. After finishing first in the AL West last year, the Oakland Athletics (0-6) have matched the worst start in franchise history. The 1916 Philadelphia Athletics also began the season with six consecutive losses.

“It (stinks) to start this way but we know how good we are,” A’s starter Chris Bassitt said. “It’s just embarrassing right now.”

Over in the National League, the Atlanta Braves are 0-4 following a three-game sweep in Philadelphia and a 6-5 loss Tuesday to the virus-depleted Nationals in their delayed opener.

“I don’t think anybody is too worried,” new Braves pitcher Drew Smyly said.

Atlanta, coming off three straight NL East titles, gets two chances Wednesday to win for the first time in 2021. Max Fried is scheduled to start the first game of a doubleheader in Washington that will feature back-to-back seven-inning games.

Oakland tries to stop its early skid at home against NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer and the World Series champion Dodgers. Bauer struck out 10 and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his Los Angeles debut at Coors Field last week. Jesús Luzardo pitches for the A’s.

SHIPWRECK

James Paxton’s return to Seattle didn’t last long. Paxton exited the first start of his second stint with the Mariners because of a forearm strain Tuesday night after throwing just 24 pitches against the White Sox. He will have an MRI on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old lefty spent the last two seasons with the Yankees after playing his first six for Seattle. He rejoined the Mariners in February on a one-year deal worth $8.5 million, with the chance to earn an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses for games started.

Paxton had surgery in February 2020 to repair a herniated disk and remove a cyst from his back. He went 2-3 with a 6.64 ERA in five starts for New York last year before being shut down with a left forearm flexor strain. He said this problem was less painful, which has him optimistic.

“It’s just frustrating. I feel like for me it’s kind of been one thing after another,” Paxton said. “Hopefully I can catch a break and stay healthy.”

WAITING GAME

Now that Fernando Tatis Jr. has been placed on the injured list, the San Diego Padres hope their electrifying shortstop won’t be sidelined too long. Tatis should be able to avoid surgery on his left shoulder, the team said a day after he slightly dislocated it taking a hard swing.

An MRI on Tuesday showed a slight labral tear and the Padres put the 22-year-old Tatis on the 10-day IL. General manager A.J. Preller said the club wasn’t ruling out anything, including Tatis’ possible return when he’s eligible.

According to Preller, doctors said another partially dislocated shoulder could occur again but playing this season wouldn’t put him at long-term risk.

“Everybody was very confident that surgery wasn’t the answer at this point in time,” Preller said. “We can keep him on the field here this year and be able to put him in a spot where he can be successful and not be in pain and we’re not doing any kind of long-term damage.”

Tatis experienced left shoulder discomfort twice during spring training, once after sliding headfirst into home plate and again several days later after making a backhand play and throwing to first.

Tatis signed a 14-year, $340 million contract on Feb. 22, the longest deal in big league history.

WOO HOO FOR BADDOO!

Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo is off to a smashing start in the majors. The 22-year-old outfielder homered Sunday against Cleveland on the first pitch thrown to him in the big leagues and then hit a grand slam against Minnesota on Monday.

On Tuesday, the rookie entered as a pinch-runner, stayed in to play the outfield and delivered a game-ending single in the 10th to beat the Twins.

“That feeling right there is the best feeling. We won, so I want that feeling every time,” Baddoo said.

Baddoo was taken by Detroit from the Twins last December in the Rule 5 draft of players left off 40-man rosters. Drafted by Minnesota in 2016, he had never played above Class A until this year.

Baddoo is 4 for 8 so far with six RBIs.

“He’s impressive,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s been fun to watch — more fun if we weren’t playing him.”

Baddoo and the Tigers close out the series at Comerica Park as Matthew Boyd faces Kenta Maeda.

ROLLIN’ REDS

Tyler Naquin, Nick Castellanos and Cincinnati have scored a team-record 46 runs through the first five games of the season. That tops the 44 by Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine of 1976 and also the 1895 team.

Naquin homered twice and drove in seven runs from the leadoff spot in a 14-1 rout of the Pirates on Tuesday night.

The Reds will try to win their fifth in a row and complete a three-game sweep at Great American Ball Park when Luis Castillo starts against Chad Kuhl. Castillo was tagged for a career-worst 10 runs by St. Louis on opening day, the Reds’ only loss this season.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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