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Friday December 14th, 2018 3:54AM

LEADING OFF: Trout sits, Taillon and Betts meet post-cancer

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

BLUE BIRTHDAY

Mike Trout is likely to sit out the Angels' game against Detroit because of a sore right wrist, depriving Los Angeles' fans of what's become an annual treat: Seeing Trout do incredible things on his birthday. Trout will turn 27 on Tuesday, and he has a history of throwing celebrations for himself. He has homered on his birthday four times in his first six full big-league seasons. He did it at the Big A last season, homering and also getting his 1,000th career hit. Trout received a cortisone injection on his wrist Monday, and the Angels are hopeful he can return to the lineup on the weekend. He missed his fifth straight game Monday.

PITCHING PALS

Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon and Colorado's Chad Bettis will pitch in a game featuring two starters bouncing back from testicular cancer. Bettis underwent surgery in November 2016 for testicular cancer and continued cancer treatments through that spring and into last season. So when Taillon had surgery to treat testicular cancer on May 8, 2017, he had an instant line of support. Taillon spoke a few times with Bettis during his treatment, calling their exchanges "comforting."

"I just felt like if I needed anything or had a question, I was very comfortable going to ask him about any part of the process," Taillon said.

DOUBLE UP

The Braves and Nationals open a four-game series with a doubleheader. Atlanta is right on Philadelphia's heals in the NL East race, while Washington is five games back of the Braves. Atlanta's Max Fried (1-4, 3.38 ERA) faces Jefry Rodriguez (0-1, 6.86) in the opener, and Nationals ace Max Scherzer (15-5, 2.33) opposes Sean Newcomb (10-5, 3.23) in the nightcap.

HAPP HEALING

The sputtering Yankees got some good news Monday when left-hander J.A. Happ moved a little closer to returning from hand, foot and mouth disease. Manager Aaron Boone said Happ is no longer contagious. Assuming everything goes well over the next couple of days, Happ is on track to start Thursday against Texas in the opener of an 11-game homestand. "He's out of the woods, virus-wise," Boone said.

FAR FROM CY YEARS

Struggling former AL Cy Young Award winners Bartolo Colon and Felix Hernandez will be on the mound when the Rangers host the Mariners in the middle game of their three-game series. The last victory for both hefty right-handers came on June 30. Colon (5-10, 5.18 ERA), the 45-year-old hurler who was the 2005 Cy Young winner while with the Angels, has lost five consecutive starts for Texas since his 246th career win that matched Dennis Martinez for the most by a player born in Latin America. The 32-year-old Hernandez (8-9, 5.49), who won the Cy Young with the Mariners in 2010, is 0-3 with a 7.64 ERA his last four starts.

ROBINSON GETTING READY

Robinson Cano has begun his minor league rehab assignment ahead of his return from an 80-game suspension for violating baseball's joint drug agreement. Cano played Monday for Triple-A Tacoma and is scheduled to play there again Tuesday. After that, he may play some games for Class A Everett later in the week. Cano is eligible to rejoin Seattle on Aug. 14. When he does, he's expected to play first, second and third base.

___

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

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Health, AP Health - Men's Health, AP Sports - Major League Baseball
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