LEADING OFF: Utley retirement tour, Gray back from minors

A look at what’s happening around the majors Saturday:


The Chase Utley retirement tour is underway. Utley announced Friday that he will retire at the end of the season, capping a 16-year career that included a World Series championship with Philadelphia and an elder statesman role with the Dodgers. The six-time All-Star said he’s leaving to spend more time with his wife and two young sons. Utley announced his decision at a jammed news conference at Dodger Stadium, with several of his teammates surprising him by crowding into the small room. Utley has 259 career homers with a .276 average and 1,880 hits, though he’ll likely get some Hall of Fame support from voters inclined toward advanced analytics.


Jon Gray is set to return from Triple-A and start for Colorado against Seattle. Gray was expected to be the Rockies’ ace, but he’s been hit hard this season, going 7-7 with a 5.77 ERA before being demoted to work on mechanics and clear his head at Albuquerque. Gray will face emerging left-hander Wade LeBlanc (5-0, 3.39), who is having a breakout season at 33 years old.


The NL Central-leading Brewers are hoping for good news on slugger Eric Thames a day after he left a game with a tight right hamstring. Thames was making a rare start in right field and was injured while playing a ball hit into the corner. Milwaukee has asked Thames recently to handle more outfield duties to make space for All-Star Jesus Aguilar at first base, but now the Brewers may be without their hulking leadoff hitter, who is batting .250 with 13 homers and a .344 on-base percentage. Milwaukee has a doubleheader scheduled against Pittsburgh.


CC Sabathia pitches at Progressive Field as the Yankees and Indians continue a four-game series. Sabathia is 51-41 in 123 career starts at the stadium, including during his run as Cleveland‘s ace from 2001-08. The Indians will counter with Mike Clevinger (7-4, 3.34) as they try to stretch their AL Central lead heading into the All-Star break.


By Associated Press