LEADING OFF: Betts back in leadoff spot, Giolito streaking

Sports

Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts smiles as he rounds the bases after his home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the 12th inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

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

BACK ON TOP

The World Series champion Red Sox haven’t looked quite the same this season — not even on the lineup card. Manager Alex Cora is changing that, restoring 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts to the leadoff spot.

Cora informed Betts before Saturday night’s 5-3 loss to the AL East-leading Yankees that he would be batting first the rest of the season — just like he did last year. Cora opened the year experimenting with Andrew Benintendi atop the lineup, with Betts at No. 2.

The Red Sox play at Yankee Stadium in this week’s Sunday night game.

GEE, GIOLITO!

White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (7-1, 2.85 ERA) has excelled in his last eight starts, going 6-0 with a 2.20 ERA. The streak includes his first big league shutout, a four-hitter against Houston.

The 24-year-old Giolito will start in Cleveland vs. rookie righty Zach Plesac. The 24-year-old Plesac, nephew of longtime reliever Dan Plesac, made his major league debut on Tuesday and held Boston to one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings at Fenway Park.

GALLO GROUNDED

The Texas Rangers will see how slugger Joey Gallo is doing, a day after he exited early with tightness in his left oblique.

Gallo hit a grand slam Friday night against Kansas City and connected Saturday for his 17th home run.

Gallo was pulled while batting in the fifth inning. Manager Chris Woodward said the outfielder told him he felt the pain earlier in the game when throwing. Gallo had an MRI and passed some strength tests after the 6-2 win over the Royals.

SHIFTS FOR JAVY

Cubs shortstop Javier Baez has been dealing with a bruised right heel for almost two weeks, and was scratched for the lineup in Chicago’s most recent game at St. Louis.

Baez is hitting .303 with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs. Manager Joe Maddon said Baez could move to third base when he returns, which would cut down his lateral movement and the amount of times he has to hit the base. Baez has played 50 games at shortstop this season and one at third base.

MIGGY HOBBLING

Tigers star Miguel Cabrera is dealing with soreness in his right knee, a problem that has persisted since spring training. He’s had an MRI and manager Ron Gardenhire says the team will seek a second opinion on the images before deciding what’s next for the two-time AL MVP and 11-time All-Star.

The 36-year-old Cabrera is batting .284 with two home runs and 22 RBIs in 194 at-bats this season. He underwent season-ending left biceps surgery in June 2018.

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