March 3, 2020 / 3:09 AM / in 3 months

MLB notebook: Ex-Astro Giles would return World Series ring

Relief pitcher Ken Giles is prepared to return his World Series ring from the 2017 season with the Astros, saying he wasn’t aware of the sign-stealing plot while with Houston.

FILE PHOTO: Feb 29, 2020; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Ken Giles (51) pitching against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

“It crushed me to learn about the stuff that went on when I was there,” Giles, now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, told the Toronto Sun. “I had no idea. I had no clue whatsoever. I was blindsided by the commissioner’s report. Up until then, I honestly didn’t believe it. Just crazy.”

Giles is the latest member of the pitching staff to claim no knowledge of the cheating scandal. Giles, like most relievers, spent the entirety of most games in the outfield bullpen. He was traded to the Blue Jays in July 2018. Giles said the ring the team won in 2017 brings a lot of mixed emotions, but mostly hurt.

“Whatever they ask, I would oblige. Because what was going on at the time was not OK,” Giles said. “It just hurts. If they want it back, I’ll be true to whatever needs to be done.”

-Tampa Bay Rays minor league outfielder Garrett Whitley was struck in the face by a foul ball that flew into the dugout during the team’s spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Sarasota, Fla.

The Rays said Whitley sustained a right facial injury, and he was transported to a nearby hospital to undergo X-rays and other testing. Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters that Whitley never lost consciousness.

Whitley, 23, was seated inside the third base dugout in the fourth inning when right-handed-hitting Renato Nunez of the Orioles hit a scorcher toward Whitley. The ball cleared the grass and struck a dugout step, then slammed into Whitley’s face. Whitley was immediately taken from the dugout for treatment.

-Texas Rangers right-hander Corey Kluber returned to the mound for the first time since he sustained a broken arm in May 2019.

Kluber pitched three innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, his first start since he was hit by a line drive on the mound against the Miami Marlins. Then with the Cleveland Indians, Kluber was ready to return after a rehab assignment last season, but he sustained an oblique injury. He was traded to the Rangers in the offseason.

Kluber struck out four and allowed two runs in his spring debut. He is in the final season of his contract, but the Rangers have a $14 million option for 2021 on the 33-year-old.

-Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger is dealing with discomfort in his side.

While the injury prevented Bellinger from playing in the team’s spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he was not overly concerned. Roberts said Bellinger’s injury was not related to his participation in Albert Pujols’ charity golf event on Sunday.

Bellinger, 24, followed up winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2017 by capturing NL MVP honors in 2019.

-Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Steven Brault has a strained muscle in his throwing shoulder, and he will be evaluated in two weeks, the team announced.

Brault split last season between the rotation and the bullpen. He posted a 4-6 record with a 5.16 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 113 1/3 innings over 25 appearances (19 starts). The 27-year-old has allowed two runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings in two appearances this spring.

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