LEADING OFF: Vlad Jr. in Texas, MLB-best Twins visit Yankees
By The Associated Press
A look at what's happening around the majors Friday:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays open a weekend series at Texas, where the touted rookie's Hall of Fame father was part of the 2010 Rangers team that won the AL championship and went to franchise's first World Series. During Guerrero's only season in Texas, the club's hitting coach was Clint Hurdle, now manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hurdle, whose Pirates swept a two-game series at Texas this week, said the elder Guerrero approached him one August night that season and told the coach to meet him in the batting cage the next day.
"I'm always wondering, am I ever going to get to work with this guy? Because I hadn't," Hurdle said, laughing while recalling the story. "He walks in with Junior and says, 'My son, here, please work with my son.' ... And he walked out." Hurdle conducted about a 30-minute session with the 11-year-old Guerrero, concluding he was "very advanced" and hit the ball "way too hard" for his age.
"That was my experience working with Vlad," Hurdle said.
HOUSE OF HORRORS
Minnesota (19-10) takes baseball's best record into the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium, where the Twins are 14-50 since 2002 - including the postseason. James Paxton (3-2, 3.38 ERA) pitches for New York against Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.88), who is 1-5 with a 6.86 ERA in eight starts against the Yankees.
NL CENTRAL SHOWDOWN
An old rivalry is renewed when the NL-leading Cardinals (20-11) and Cubs meet for the first time this season at Wrigley Field. Jack Flaherty (3-1) gets the ball for St. Louis, which had won five straight before a rain-delayed 2-1 loss at Washington on Thursday. Flaherty has not allowed a run in 12 innings this season during day games. Kyle Hendricks (1-4) starts for the second-place Cubs, who are riding a four-game winning streak.
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