LEADING OFF: Braves' Albies out, Bogaerts tests positive

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

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OUCH!

The NL East-leading Braves will be minus All-Star second baseman Ozzie Albies for a bit after he fouled a ball off his left knee at Dodger Stadium.

Albies went down in the fifth inning and had to be carried off the field Tuesday night. He’s batting .260 and leads the National League with 63 extra-base hits.

The team said X-rays were negative. Albies will be re-evaluated in a couple days after the ball struck him on the kneecap.

“That could have been something really bad right there,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

RED SOX WOES

Boston's virus problems keep getting worse after star shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to leave a game because of a positive test for COVID-19.

Bogaerts hit an RBI single in the first inning, but was replaced defensively in the second during an 8-5 loss to AL East-leading Tampa Bay.

“Boggie is such a consistent presence,” Red Sox slugger Kyle Schwarber said. “It’s unfortunate. I think your biggest concern is just the health of the individuals. This is no joke.”

It was announced before the game that Boston reliever Hirokazu Sawamura tested positive. Pitchers Martín Pérez and Matt Barnes were added to the COVID-19 IL on Monday. Also, reliever Josh Taylor and first base coach Tom Goodwin were identified as close contacts, and quality control coach Ramón Vázquez tested positive.

Boston infielder-outfielder Kiké Hernández and infielder Christian Arroyo were placed on the COVID-19 IL last Friday.

The Red Sox, 20-23 since the All-Star break, have a one-game advantage over Oakland for the second AL wild-card spot. Tampa Bay has won nine in a row.

Chris Sale (3-0, 2.35 ERA) is set to make his fourth start since coming back from Tommy John surgery in a game. In his last outing, he joined Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers on record with three immaculate innings when he struck out the side on nine pitches in the third inning against Minnesota.

Boston has outscored its opponents 34-4 in Sale’s first three starts. Right-hander Drew Rasmussen (1-0, 3.09) is slated to pitch for Tampa Bay.

CHECK HIM

The AL Central-leading White Sox will see how pitcher Lucas Giolito is feeling, a day after he was pulled with one out in the fifth inning against Pittsburgh because of tightness in his left hamstring.

Giolito squatted awkwardly to field Ben Gamel’s infield hit and required medical attention. The 27-year-old righty then threw a wild pitch to score a run. Three pitches later, Giolito was in noticeable discomfort after throwing a ball and was taken out after throwing a warmup pitch. Giolito will be checked Wednesday.

“It reminded me of the feeling in 2019 when I pulled it,” said Giolito, who missed two weeks then. “This wasn’t as intense. It didn’t want to hold strong. I can’t see it being very long.”

Giolito is 9-9 with a 3.69 ERA.

Giolito’s injury will further test Chicago’s rotation depth, especially after Lance Lynn was placed on the 10-day IL, retroactive to Aug. 27, due to right knee inflammation.

CALL 'EM UP

Major League Baseball teams can now expand their rosters, but there's something different about September call-ups this season — clubs can add just two players.

Instead of swelling clubhouses and dugouts to 40 players, teams can only expand from 26 to 28.

“In previous years that number probably would’ve been a little bit higher in terms of guys we’d want to bring up in order to rest guys or even just provide some big league experience down the stretch for some young guys. So we’re going to have some decisions to make,” said Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, whose team has a big lead in the AL Central.

Even before COVID-19 altered and shortened the 2020 season to only 60 games, MLB had decided to reduce the September call-ups while adding a 26th player to the roster fulltime last year.

“I don’t think two is enough, and I think 15 is too much because some teams will call up all 15 and some teams will call up four or five. You’re either outmanned, or you’ll outman them,” said Dusty Baker, manager of the AL West-leading Houston Astros. “We’ve gone from one drastic measure to another one."

FAMILIAR FACE

It could be a family reunion in Cincinnati after the Reds acquired minor league outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. from Boston for cash.

DeShields' father is the first base coach for the Reds.

The 29-year-old DeShields was with Boston’s Triple-A team in Worcester and assigned to the Reds’ top minor league team in Louisville. He provides outfield depth for the Reds, who started Tuesday in the second NL wild-card spot.

DeShields has six years of big league experience. He was with Cleveland last year after spending the previous five seasons with Texas. He has a .246 batting average, a .326 on-base percentage and 109 stolen bases in 576 games.

AVAILABLE

The Blue Jays have cut struggling lefty reliever Brad Hand. The 31-year-old lefty went 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in 11 games with Toronto after being acquired from Washington on July 29 for rookie catcher Riley Adams.

Hand went 5-5 with a 3.79 ERA and 21 saves in 41 appearances for Washington before the trade. He’s 43-31 with 126 saves and a 3.70 ERA over 11 big league seasons.

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

The Associated Press

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