D'Backs trade 2B Johnson to Blue Jays

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D'Backs trade 2B Johnson to Blue Jays

Aug. 23, 2011
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PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks tried everything to give second baseman Kelly Johnson a spark, from pep talks to days off.With Johnson eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season and the team in dire need of an offensive spark, the Diamondbacks decided to go in a different direction.Arizona traded the struggling Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, picking up second baseman Aaron Hill and infielder John McDonald in return."He's struggled to put together a year like he had last year," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said from Washington, D.C. "It wasn't from a lack of work. To be honest with you, it was very tough to tell him he got traded today. He has high expectations of himself, he's very professional. He worked harder - he probably worked too hard."Johnson, 29, has been Arizona's starting second baseman the past two seasons after playing his first four years in Atlanta. He hit .284 with 26 homers and 71 RBIs his first season in the desert, but has been mired in a season-long funk this year, hitting .209 with 132 strikeouts and 18 homers."He'd be the first one to tell you, I'm sure, he's not performing the way he expected to, especially off the year he came off last year," Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said. "It's a chance for us to get a look at him and see how he does here. A very talented player who's had a lot of success in the past. Maybe he comes here and plays well."The Diamondbacks have tried a variety of lineup changes to break out of a recent offensive funk, but nothing has worked as their lead in the NL West dwindled to a game over the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Arizona had scored seven runs during a six-game losing streak heading into Tuesday night's game against Washington.In trading Johnson, the Diamondbacks pick up another second baseman trying to find his stroke.Hill was an All-Star in 2009, when he hit .286 with 36 homers and 108 RBIs, but fell off the next season, hitting just .205. The 29-year-old continued to struggle at the plate for the Blue Jays this season, hitting .225 with six homers and 45 RBIs in 104 games."I know they've got a great squad and we're happy to be in a playoff race," Hill said. "We're looking forward to seeing what we can do there. This is a little tough - this is all I've known."McDonald is expected to help Willie Bloomquist at shortstop with Stephen Drew on the disabled list with a broken right ankle. The scrappy 36-year-old has played 13 seasons with three teams, hitting .250 in 65 games with Toronto this year."My opportunity to play for the Diamondbacks for the next five or six weeks, plus post-season, is a great opportunity, an opportunity that I wake up every morning thinking about," said McDonald, who had Gibson as his hitting coach during a 31-game stint with Detroit in 2005."It's kind of what every baseball player wants. You want to try and play in the postseason and I'm extremely excited about that opportunity."The Diamondbacks also placed right-hander Jason Marquis on the 60-day disabled list with a fractured right fibula.The Diamondbacks had hoped Marquis would provide a boost to the rotation after acquiring him for a minor leaguer from Washington. He made just three starts for Arizona, allowing 12 earned runs on 22 hits in 11 innings before breaking his shin on a ball hit by the Mets' Angel Pagan on Aug. 14.Freelance writers Ian Harrison in Toronto and Daimon Eklund in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.

TURNING POINT

The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.

INJURY UPDATE 

Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.