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Friday July 20th, 2018 4:59AM

LEADING OFF: Bryant returns to Cubs, Indians seek relief

By The Associated Press
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A look at what's happening around the majors on Wednesday:

BRYANT BACK WITH CUBBIES

Kris Bryant flew to the Bay Area on Tuesday night and is hoping to play in the Cubs' series finale against the Giants. Bryant has been out since June 23 with inflammation in his left shoulder. He played rehab games for Double-A Tennessee on Monday and Tuesday before making his way to AT&T Park. The 2016 NL MVP is hitting .280 with nine homers and 36 RBIs in 66 games this season. Johnny Cueto will try to bounce back for San Francisco after allowing 10 hits and five runs in his return from the DL last week.

POORLY 'PENNED

The Indians return to the park following an excruciating loss Tuesday, when relievers Cody Allen and Dan Otero combined to allow seven two-out runs in the ninth inning of a 7-4 loss to Cincinnati. Trevor Bauer opened the game with eight scoreless innings for Cleveland, but Allen allowed six runs in the ninth and Otero allowed another before the Reds finally made the last out on the basepaths. Cleveland's bullpen entered Tuesday with a 5.13 ERA, better only than the Rockies (5.28) and Royals (5.35). The Reds try to complete a surprising three-game sweep behind Tyler Mahle (7-6, 3.66).

ARMED AND READY

Mets ace Jacob deGrom makes his final scheduled start before heading to the All-Star Game when New York tries to split a four-game series with first-place Philadelphia. Despite leading the majors with a 1.79 ERA, deGrom (5-4) is 1-4 in his last nine starts and the Mets have won only two of those games. Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez (5-8, 4.69) is expected back from the 10-day disabled list after recovering from a bruised forearm. Velasquez was hit just below the right elbow by a line drive on June 30. He retrieved the ball and threw it left-handed to first base to get the out, falling to the ground in pain immediately afterward.

STRUGGLING SHELBY

Arizona Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller makes his fourth start since coming back from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander will face the Rockies at Coors Field and try to improve on his first three starts, during which he's allowed 20 hits and 14 earned runs in 14 innings. One positive note for the 27-year-old Miller has been his 18 strikeouts.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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