LEADING OFF: Brews minus pitchers Axford, Lauer; Rendon out

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A look at what's happening around the majors on Thursday:

MISSING IN MILWAUKEE

The NL Central-leading Brewers are again shuffling their pitching staff with reliever John Axford now out for the season because of elbow trouble and starter Eric Lauer joining the team’s growing COVID-19 injured list.

The 38-year-old Axford, who began this season on the Toronto Blue Jays’ broadcast crew, pitched in the majors Monday for the first time since 2018. But he sustained significant damage to his right elbow and is done for the year.

Lauer started Monday against Pittsburgh and threw five shutout innings. He’ll have to sit out at least 10 days due to his positive virus test.

Lauer joins All-Star closer Josh Hader, relievers Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Hunter Strickland, outfielder Christian Yelich and first baseman Keston Hiura on the Brewers’ COVID-19 injured list.

REN-DONE

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon will have season-ending surgery on his right hip, ending an injury-plagued year.

Rendon was limited to 58 games and had been out since July 6 with a strained left hamstring. The 31-year-old also missed time this year with knee and groin injuries.

The team hopes Rendon will be ready for spring training next year.

Rendon signed a $245 million, seven-year contract after helping Washington win the 2019 World Series. He hit a career-low .240 this year with six homers and 34 RBIs.

Rendon joins three-time AL MVP Mike Trout on the 60-day injured list. Trout went on the injured list May 18 with a right calf strain. He has been out longer than expected, but the Angels say the plan remains for the nine-time All-Star to play this season.

GETTING CLOSE

NL batting leader Nick Castellanos is nearing a return to the Reds lineup after being out since July 22 with an injured right wrist.

Castellanos took batting practice for almost a half-hour Wednesday and manager David Bell said he “might be a day away” from returning. The All-Star outfielder is hitting. 329.

The Reds open a four-game series in Cincinnati against Pittsburgh.

BACK IN TOWN

Former big league home run champion Khris Davis has rejoined the Athletics, signing a minor league contract.

The 33-year-old Davis spent five seasons with Oakland, hitting 158 home runs, before being traded to Texas Rangers last February. The designated hitter was designated for assignment in June after batting .157 with two homers and five RBIs in 22 games.

“We love having him back in the organization,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s giving an opportunity for him to get back to where he was in the past.”

Davis topped the 40-homer mark in three straight seasons from 2016-18, including an MLB-high 48 in ’18. Melvin is hopeful Davis can regain his form.

“It’s not like he’s 40 years old,” Melvin said. “We signed him back with the hope and intent that he starts hitting some longballs and maybe can help us out here at some point.”

Davis was assigned to the Athletics’ Arizona Complex League team.

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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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