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Tuesday July 5th, 2022 2:27AM

LEADING OFF: Padres optimistic Machado won't need IL stint

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

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MACHADO UPDATE

Manny Machado was out of the lineup a day after spraining his left ankle, but Padres acting manager Ryan Flaherty is optimistic the All-Star third baseman won’t need to go on the injured list.

“He’s got some purple and blue in there but overall he’s moving around pretty good and feels good,” Flaherty said Monday.

Machado, who’s having an MVP-caliber season, was injured Sunday in Colorado while trying to beat out a grounder. His cleats slipped across the top of first base and he fell to the ground.

Machado is batting .328 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs. He has largely carried the Padres’ offense in the absence of All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who remains out while rehabbing his surgically repaired left wrist.

1998 YANKEES RETURN — IN NAME ONLY

Two 23-year-old shortstops named after stars on the 1990s New York Yankees championship teams came up to the major leagues this week.

Boston recalled Jeter Downs from Triple-A Worcester and his first name comes from Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter. Downs hit .180 with one homer and 11 RBIs at Triple-A this year.

Pittsburgh recalled Oneil Cruz from Indianapolis — he's named for Yankees right fielder Paul O’Neill. Cruz made his big league debut on the final weekend of last season, going 3 for 9 with a home run in two games against Cincinnati. He is batting .232 this season with nine homers, 35 RBIs and 11 steals at Triple-A.

Downs and Cruz were both born in 1998, the year the Yankees swept San Diego for the first of their three straight titles.

SUBSTITUTE ACE

With Walker Buehler likely sidelined until at least September with a flexor strain and also recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, Tony Gonsolin has been pitching like an ace for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gonsolin could take over the major league ERA lead when he starts at Cincinnati.

The 28-year-old right-hander is 8-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 12 starts covering 63 1/3 innings. It will be the Dodgers’ 66th game, meaning he needs 2 2/3 innings to qualify for the ERA lead.

Gonsolin has allowed one run over his last three starts, giving up six hits in 18 1/3 innings with 16 strikeouts and four walks.

Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahler is 0-1 despite a 3.08 ERA in six starts since winning at Pittsburgh on May 13.

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NASTY NESTOR

In his last start before the Yankees hold Nasty Nestor T-shirt night this weekend, Nestor Cortes starts at Tampa Bay.

The 27-year-old left-hander is 6-2 with a 1.94 ERA in 12 starts, striking out 75 and walking 17 in 69 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .190 average.

He already is 2-0 against the Rays this season, allowing one run over eight innings at the Trop on May 26 and giving up one run over 5 1/3 innings at Yankee Stadium last week.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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