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Looking for an offensive boost

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the Philadelphia Phillies  Yadier Molina Jersey added an All-Star who may not help them for a while.The NL East-leading Phillies acquired injured catcher Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday for a player to be named or cash. They also got left-hander Aaron Loup from the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack.Ramos is batting .297 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs but is on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. General manager Matt Klentak said the best-case scenario has Ramos returning in mid-to-late August, though it’s possible he may be sidelined until September.”We’re uniquely positioned to take on a risk like this,” Klentak said in a conference call. ”The fact he may not be active for a few more weeks is not the end of the world for us.”Ramos said he can do everything behind the plate but still feels pain when he runs.When healthy, Ramos should upgrade an offense that has struggled during a four-game losing streak. He’s also solid defensively.”Wilson Ramos is a proven commodity, both behind the plate and at the plate, and also as a teammate,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.Ramos, who turns 31 next month, has a $10.5 million salary, and the Phillies will be responsible for the remaining $3,443,548. He has 315 plate appearances and can earn $250,000 each for 450 http://www.stlouiscardinalsteamshop.com/...cil-jersey , 475 and 500.He is eligible for free agency after the World Series.Jorge Alfaro (.254, 7 homers, 23 RBIs) has been Philadelphia’s starting catcher with Andrew Knapp (.223, 4, 15) also seeing plenty of action. They’ve combined for 16 errors and 13 passed balls.”My first reaction was surprise,” Ramos said of the trade. ”I was reading a lot of news, but as soon as they told me I was traded to the Phillies, I was happy at the moment but sad at the same time. Happy because that team is in first place and I can do a lot of things to help that team win a lot of games. And sad because I’m very thankful with this team because they helped me a lot. They trust me, give me a contract (after knee surgery in 2016). Now, I’m going to Philadelphia and trying to help that team win the World Series.”The Phillies already added more pop when they acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from the New York Mets last Friday.Kapler said he’s happy the team got stronger ”without sacrificing our future to a large degree.”Loup has a 4.54 ERA in 50 relief appearances this season with 42 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings, and the Phillies will assume the $594,422 remaining of his $1,812 Adam Wainwright Jersey ,500 salary.Waguespack was 4-6 with a 4.68 ERA in 21 games, including 15 starts, at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.”Our bullpen has been among the best in baseball in July,” Klentak said. ”Loup is really good against left-handed hitters. What he can do against lefties to neutralize them is important and something we haven’t had this year.”Infielder Trevor Plouffe and lefty Zach Curtis were designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.—AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen in Boston and AP freelancer Mark Didtler in St. Petersburg, Florida, contributed to this report.— CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs realize if they are going to maintain their cushion in the National League Central that winning on a consistent basis will go a long way.And as the Cubs prepare to welcome the New York Mets to Wrigley Field for a three-game series starting Monday, they may have found the kind of rhythm they have been looking for all season — and precisely at the right time.The Cubs are riding a five-game winning streak after sweeping the Cincinnati Reds with a 9-0 victory on Sunday. Daniel Murphy continues to pace the offense from the leadoff spot and David Bote added another home run to keep the Cubs rolling.Article continues below ...The Cubs finished the four-game series by scoring 29 runs. They have scored at least seven runs in four of their past five games.But if the Cubs hope to continue to keep their streak intact, Monday starter and ace Jon Lester will have to deal with a Mets team that has found its stride as well.The Mets couldn’t finish off a sweep of the Washington Nationals in a 15-0 loss on Sunday, but New York has been finding success of late just the same.The Mets will enter the series having won four of their past six games and hope to bounce back from Sunday’s lopsided loss.Lester (14-5, 3.64 ERA) takes the mound on a bit of a roll after winning his last two starts. He hit a speed bump three starts ago when he was shelled for nine runs (eight earned) in 3 2/3 innings against the Nationals on Aug. 11, but since then has given up just one earned run in 11 2/3 innings in his past two outings and has found the groove he had settled into earlier this season.Now, Lester will look to continue moving in the right direction against the Mets, against whom he is 6-1 with a 3.26 ERA in eight career starts.Lester departed his last start against the Detroit Tigers earlier than he would have liked after he was pulled by manager Joe Maddon after 5 2/3 innings.“As a competitor Michael Wacha Jersey , I don’t have to like his decision,” Lester told reporters, according to the Cubs’ official website. “It doesn’t mean I don’t respect our manager and what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to win a baseball game and he feels if that’s the time to make the move, that’s the time to make the move.”Still, Lester likes the way he’s pitching of late.“The biggest thing is getting my fastball to the angle that it should be so you’re seeing the missed hits and foul balls and swings and misses on it,” Lester said. “I’ll keep working on that.”Lester will face Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 3.38), who has won three of his past four outings. Syndergaard surrendered two runs while scattering five hits and striking out six in six innings of his last start against the San Francisco Giants. He is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.Syndergaard has seemingly found his rhythm after missing nearly two months with a finger injury.“Obviously, he’s had a bit of a strange year in terms of injuries and sicknesses,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters earlier this month, according to mlb.com. “He’s going to be an elite pitcher if he can get his routine underway.”
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