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Rubin: How Wilmer Flores became a cult hero

Wilmer Flores wanted to stay a Met. He wanted it so bad he cried on the field when he thought he'd been traded. One month later, he's thrilled to still be a part of the team -- and fans adore him for it.

USA TODAY Sports
2hDavid Schoenfield

Showdown weekend: Five big series to watch

Examining five series and some key things to look for in Royals-Rays, Orioles-Rangers, Astros-Twins, Dodgers-Cubs and Cardinals-Giants

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8hJayson Stark

Stark: Why protecting fans is complicated

MLB is investigating how it might safeguard fans from flying balls and bats, but the solution is more difficult than just extending a net in every ballpark.

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Let's Do This: Mashing Mets (0:55)
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Best pitching duel in the NLCS? (0:52)
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Bumgarner hitting away competition (1:42)
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Torres' Messi-inspired flicker for the 1-3-1 putout (0:45)
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Adam Jones injured in Orioles' loss (1:02)
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Dodgers in trouble? (1:49)
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Bautista completely blows his assignment (0:36)

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yankees @yankees

Brian McCann greets his hometown Atlanta fans for his first return to Turner Field after 9 seasons with the Braves.

Eddie Matz ESPN Senior Writer 

With injuries to Denard Span and Michael A. Taylor, Bryce Harper makes just his 2nd start of the season in centerfield on Friday against the Marlins. He's not the only one in a new spot. Regular LF Jayson Werth moves to RF, middle infielder Danny Espinosa makes his 1st career start in LF, and recent callup Trea Turner is at 2B, where he makes his 1st big league start.

Cubs meet another California ace

Chicago is the first team to face the reigning World Series MVP (Madison Bumgarner) and league MVP (Clayton Kershaw) in back-to-back games since 1969. (via Elias)

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Mariners demote Zunino, call up Hicks

The Seattle Mariners optioned struggling catcher Mike Zunino to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday and called up catcher John Hicks from their top affiliate. Zunino's struggles

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Stark: Why protecting fans is complicated

Too often are fans at baseball games hit by a foul ball or broken bat. But increasing safety measures is more complicated than simply extending the nets, writes Jayson Stark. An engineering challenge

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Gordon Edes @GordonEdes

Dombrowski doesn't expect Buchholz will pitch again this season. Even ruled out instructional league

Carlos Correa out of lineup again

The Astros rookie shortstop will miss his second consecutive game with a sore left hamstring. Correa is hitting .278 with 15 homers this season.

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Nice catch, kid

A young Rangers fan can't help but jump around in celebration after snagging a foul ball.

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ICYMI: A Little League homer in the bigs

Not often do you see a single to right field turn into a trip around the bases, but Jose Bautista made it possible Thursday with a huge flub in right field.

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ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Max Scherzer will start for the Nationals tonight Scherzer thru June 30: 9-5, 1.79 ERA, .495 Opp OPS Since: 2-5, 4.60 ERA, .761 Opp OPS

Mitchell cleared off DL from concussion

Yankees Bryan Mitchell was reinstated from the seven-day DL. Mitchell suffered a concussion and broken nose after being struck by a line drive against Minnesota on Aug. 17 in his third major league start. He's 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 games this season.

Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

Mariners fire GM Jack Zduriencik

The Mariners are 59-69 this season, fourth in the AL West. Zduriencik had been the team's GM since 2008. Assistant GM Jeff Kingston will handle GM responsibilities for rest of the 2015 season. Story

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Mariners fell behind in AL West race

ESPN's Tim Kurkjian expands on why the Mariners fired GM Jack Zduriencik: "In the end they were supposed to contend and make the playoffs this year." Seattle is 10 games under .500 and 4th in the AL West.

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Nats lose Denard Span for rest of season

Span will undergo surgery on his left hip Tuesday. He was hitting .301 with 74 hits and 22 RBIs this season. (Via MLB's website)

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Zduriencik's poor draft legacy

Jack Zduriencik had 3 top-5 MLB draft picks during his tenure, but none has made a major impact. C Mike Zunino has a .174 BA and was reportedly demoted today. 2B Dustin Ackley, with a career OPS+ of 92, was traded to the Yankees last month, and P Danny Hultzen has yet to reach the majors.