From Comcast SportsNetPHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton vetoed a trade to the Seattle Mariners, a person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.The person asked to remain anonymous because Upton's decision had not been made public. Upton's contract gave him the power to turn down a trade to a short list of cities, Seattle included.The Diamondbacks have a glut of outfielders and Upton, a former All-Star, is by far the most marketable. He is coming off a subpar season in which he was bothered by a thumb injury.Upton's rejection of the trade first was reported by FoxSports.com, which said Seattle offered four players in the deal -- relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, infield prospect Nick Franklin, and one of three pitching prospects; James Paxton, Danny Hultzen or Taijuan Walker.Even though he is just 25 years old, Upton has played five full major league seasons, so his best years could well be ahead of him. Last season he hit .280 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs but did score a career-high 107 runs. In 2011, while helping Arizona to its surprising NL West crown, Upton hit .289, with 31 home runs and 88 RBIs, the latter two categories are career bests. Overall, he's a career .278 hitter with 108 home runs.The younger brother of major leaguer B.J. Upton, Justin was the first overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft. He has three years and 38.5 million left on his contract, making him highly affordable by today's salary standards.While Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has consistently downplayed the talk, there has been speculation about Upton's possible trade throughout the offseason. That talk will only increase with word that Arizona had a deal with Seattle.The chances that someone -- most likely Upton or left fielder Jason Kubel -- would be traded grew when the Diamondbacks signed free agent outfielder Cody Ross. That gave Arizona four veteran outfielders -- Upton, Ross, Kubel and Gerardo Parra, as well as two rookies the organization feels are ready for the big leagues -- Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock. Eaton, particularly, has drawn praise from Towers as the team's leadoff batter of the future. Trading Chris Young to Florida appeared at the time to clear the way for Eaton in center.Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Scottsdale on Feb. 11. Position players report three days later.Recent activity suggests Upton, for the first time in his career, could well be elsewhere.
Corey Crawford will start and Michal Rozsival will play in his first game of the season as the Blackhawks face the Calgary Flames at the United Center.
Rozsival looks to be in for fellow Czech Michal Kempny tonight.
“We want to get everyone in at some point. We don’t want to wait too long to get him into the season here,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Rozsival. “He can be useful, he gives us some experience, he can play minutes against top guys, be useful on both units if you need him. He’s been practicing well; looking forward to getting him in.”
The Flames, who have a few familiar faces in the lineup – former Blackhawks Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg and Michal Frolik, have struggled to start the season. They’re currently 1-4-1 in their first six games, allowing 4.3 goals per game.
“We have to lean on each other in this room, we have to trust each other in this room, know there’s good players, trust in the system. We know that our system is what’s going to be our rock to fall back on. If we get ourselves in trouble, make a mistake, everyone has to trust that everyone will do their jobs on the ice,” Brouwer said. “With that, too, we have to have confidence in ourselves. It’s been a bit of a rocky start and it’s not where we want to be and we’re playing some tough teams here. But we have to have confidence in ourselves and go out there and limit our mistakes, really.”
Calgary’s power play has been particularly rough (1 for 25). It’ll be facing a Blackhawks’ penalty kill that’s trying to reverse early problems (12 goals allowed on 21 opportunities).
“We’ve done some good things on the kill, we’ve been good at times. It just fell through at others,” Tyler Motte said. “We have to build off what we can, make sure our structure is there and continue to battle and we’ll get it going here.”
- Artem Anisimov was named the NHL’s second star of the week. Anisimov had four goals and three assists in three games last week.
- Vinnie Hinostroza is expected to be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.
BLACKHAWKS VS. CALGARY FLAMES
Tyler Motte-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Nick Schmaltz-Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Brian Campbell
Michal Rozsival-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Niklas Hjalmarsson
INJURIES: Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body), Andrew Desjardins (lower body)
Johnny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Alex Chiasson
Kris Versteeg-Sam Bennett-Troy Brouwer
Lance Bouma-Mikael Backlund-Michal Frolik
Micheal Ferland-Matt Stajan-Freddie Hamilton
Mark Giordano-Dennis Wideman
T.J. Brodie- Deryk Engelland
Jyrki Jokipakka-Dougie Hamilton
CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes and JJ Stankevitz saw plenty of the Cleveland Indians while covering the White Sox in 2016, and set their sights on what kind of a challenge the Tribe will provide the Cubs in the World Series.
The American League’s second-best offense has slowed down considerably in the postseason as its .635 OPS ranks seventh among 10 playoff teams in 2016. But the Indians have received enough clutch hitting from part-timer Coco Crisp and their star in the making, shortstop Francisco Lindor, to make the most of their stellar pitching in the playoffs.
In the regular season, the Indians finished second in the American League in runs scored (777) in part because of an aggressive approach on the base paths and even though the team’s best player, Michael Brantley, was limited to 43 plate appearances because of injury. The Indians ranked second in the majors in extra bases taken with 186, two ahead of the Cubs, according to baseball-reference.com. The team also finished second in the majors with an extra bases taken percentage of 45 and led the AL with 134 stolen bases in 165 tries (81 percent).
The offense is centered around designated hitter Carlos Santana, who blasted a career best 34 home runs and posted an .865 OPS. First baseman Mike Napoli and second baseman Jason Kipnis also established career highs in homers with 34 and 23, respectively. Kipnis finished with 68 extra-base hits, including 41 doubles.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez picked up much of the slack for a team that also was without projected outfielder Abraham Almonte for half the season because of a suspension for PEDs. Ramirez had 46 doubles among his 60 extra-base hits and produced an .825 OPS in an outstanding all-around campaign that could garner him a few MVP votes. Rookie Tyler Naquin also filled a big void in the outfield with 14 homers and 43 RBIs in 365 plate appearances.
So far, Indians manager Terry Francona has divided up the plate appearances among his outfielders in October. Only right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall has received consistent playing time as the Indians have platooned Crisp, Naquin, Rajai Davis, who stole 43 bases this season, and Brandon Guyer.
-- Dan Hayes
Andrew Miller may be having the best postseason a relief pitcher has ever had. The big-ticket trade deadline acquisition threw 11 2/3 innings in the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox and ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, striking out 21 while allowing only five singles and two walks (that’s good for a laughable .132/.171/.184 opponent slash line). Manager Terry Francona hasn’t been shy about using Miller early in games, too — he inserted the 6-foot-7 lefty in the fifth inning of Cleveland’s ALDS Game 1 win over the Red Sox, and half of his six playoff appearances this year began in the sixth inning or earlier. Miller’s ability to throw multiple innings will put pressure on the Cubs to score early and often against the Indians’ rotation.
Francona’s willingness to use Miller early has been critical toward helping maximize the success of a starting rotation without two of its three best arms in the postseason. Carlos Carrasco (fractured gone in right hand) won’t pitch in the World Series, though Francona hinted that fellow right-handed All-Star Danny Salazar (strained flexor muscle in right forearm) could return to start in the World Series. Right-hander Trevor Bauer, who sliced his right pinky open while repairing his drone and only managed to record two outs before his finger gushed blood in Game 3 of the ALCS, will start Game 2 or 3.
With or without Salazar and/or Bauer, though, Cleveland’s rotation has been effective. Corey Kluber is the unquestioned ace of the staff and allowed only two runs over 18 1/3 innings in three postseason starts, which stands as a continuation of his strong regular season numbers (18-9, 215 IP, 3.14 ERA, 3.26 FIP). Josh Tomlin has had a short rope, only throwing 10 2/3 innings in his two starts, but allowed three runs in that span with 10 strikeouts and three walks. Rookie left-hander Ryan Merrett threw 4 2/3 shutout innings in a clinching Game 5 win over the Blue Jays last week, too, showing no signs of “shaking in his boots” in his first postseason start.
The rest of Cleveland’s bullpen -- which tied for the second-best ERA in the American League (3.45) in the regular season -- has found success in addition to Miller in the playoffs. Hard-throwing closer Cody Allen has looked unflappable in five save opportunities, allowing five hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts. Right-handers Dan Otero (3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Bryan Shaw (5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) have been go-to options if Miller can’t bridge the gap between the starting pitcher and Allen, too.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Cleveland has found pitching success in the playoffs, even with so many injuries, given their 3.86 staff ERA ranked 7th in baseball.
-- JJ Stankevitz
Nobody has been as outstanding of a defensive team as the Cubs in 2016. But, the Indians are still near the top of the second tier team and have proven a remarkably improved squad over the past two seasons. Much of their improvement stems from the stellar play provided by Lindor, who ranked second in the majors in Ultimate Zone Rating (20.8) among shortstops and fourth in Defensive Runs Saved with 17, according to fangraphs.com. Combined with Kipnis, who ranked sixth in UZR (7.3) among second baseman, the Indians have a strong double play combo. Ramirez also proved to be a steady defender at third base after taking over as the full-timer following the release of Juan Uribe.
Though the club has missed the presence of starting catcher Yan Gomes, it has handled his absence extremely well. Not only does replacement Roberto Perez rate among the game’s best pitch framers, he also threw out 13 of 26 runners who attempted to steal a base with him behind the dish.
-- Dan Hayes
Francona won two World Series trophies with the Boston Red Sox, including the one in 2004 that ended that franchise’s 87-year title drought. He’s led Cleveland to two postseason berths since taking over in 2013, and the Tribe haven’t had a losing record in his four years at the helm.
The 57-year-old has been lauded for his aggressive use of Miller in the playoffs, deploying the lights-out lefty as a study bridge between a starting rotation beset by injuries and dominant closer Allen.
First baseman/catcher/designated hitter Santana is hardly a prototypical leadoff man, but he’s hit first in six of Cleveland’s eight games in the postseason after leading off 85 games in the regular season. And that’s the batting order position he’s been most effective from --- In the regular season, Santana hit .260/.385/.502 with more walks (67) than strikeouts (60) as a leadoff man. Francona’s willingness to eschew stolen bases and speed on the base paths has put early pressure on starting pitchers by having Santana on base so frequently.
Said Cubs starter Jon Lester, who pitched for Francona in the Red Sox 2007 championship run: “I know that manager on their side’s going to be prepared, I know their coaching staff’s going to be ready.”
-- JJ Stankevitz