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Fehr: Up to players to decide on probe

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Royals made one of the boldest trades in franchise history two years ago. The Oakland Athletics made a similarly aggressive move just a couple of months ago.

The results of both will be in the starting spotlight Tuesday night.

For the Royals, it's "Big Game James" - James Shields, the centerpiece of a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays that finally pushed the long-downtrodden franchise into the postseason for the first time in 29 years. For the A's, it's Jon Lester - the postseason star of the Red Sox last season who was acquired by Oakland at the trading deadline just for this moment.

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Twins fire Gardenhire after 13 seasons

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) He was the third base coach who gave Kirby Puckett a high-five to punctuate his winning homer in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series.

He was the trusting candidate who took Minnesota's managing job when many thought the Twins were about to be contracted in 2002.

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Astros hire Hinch as manager

HOUSTON (AP) A.J. Hinch was hired as the manager of the Astros on Monday, and general manager Jeff Luhnow is confident he'll be the man to return Houston to success.

"I think A.J. is going to be the manager that's going to be here when we win the World Series," Luhnow said.

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Girardi: A-Rod has to prove he can play

NEW YORK (AP) The Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to play third base next season but want the suspended star to prove during spring training he deserves to have his position back after a one-year absence.

Rodriguez hasn't played an injury-free season since 2007, turns 40 on July 27 and missed all of this year while serving his penalty for violating baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. He'll have to show his body is up to the rigors of a major league schedule.

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Angels' Shoemaker, Hamilton could return

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Rookie right-hander Matt Shoemaker and outfielder Josh Hamilton are both making progress toward a return from injuries for the Los Angeles Angels' playoff run.

Shoemaker played light catch at Angel Stadium on Monday, while Hamilton went through a full session of baseball activities, including hitting on the field, long toss and baserunning.

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Padres' new GM says he'll keep Black

SAN DIEGO (AP) Arguably the worst year in San Diego Padres history ended with an eighth straight season out of the playoffs and manager Bud Black still employed.

Now it's new general manager A.J. Preller's turn to start putting his stamp on a team that has good pitching, is in desperate need of impact bats and continues to struggle early in the season and then plays well when it's too late to matter.

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Ex-Twins manager Kelly suffers stroke

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins say former manager Tom Kelly is recovering after suffering what the team calls a minor stroke last week.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan says he spoke to Kelly on Monday. Kelly told Ryan that he was briefly hospitalized after the stroke, but doctors have told him that he should make a full recovery.

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Tigers after first Series win since 1984

DETROIT (AP) Max Scherzer stood in Detroit's soaked clubhouse amid another euphoric celebration and spoke for a team that was taking nothing for granted.

"Last December, all the way until now, we've been working as hard as we can to be in this position," Scherzer said after the Tigers wrapped up their fourth straight AL Central title on the regular season's final day. "We could have smoked everybody and it would have still been special, and we could have been struggling the whole time and limped in, and it's just as special."

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Pirates savoring another playoff push

PITTSBURGH (AP) Clint Hurdle greeted each member of the Pittsburgh Pirates as they walked off the field in Cincinnati on Sunday, telling them he "liked the fight" even after their chances of winning the NL Central evaporated in a loss to the Reds.

It was Hurdle's way of saying thanks to mish mashed roster of stars and role players who have produced another unlikely postseason run.

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Kansas City excited for playoff baseball

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Kansas City Royals fans, their team, and the city itself are getting a crash course on what playoff baseball is all about.

The wild card game on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics marks the return of postseason baseball to Kansas City for the first time since 1985, when the Royals won the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals.

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