ll return to Manchester United this summer.Inter M

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returned to the lineup Thursday after a week of dealing s record-breaking win at Southampton kicked off an entertaining weekend of Premier League action that saw the previous week’s paltry tally of 17 goals more than doubled. The highlight was perhaps Friday’s non-contest, although Liverpool and Tottenhamwith back tightness. The second baseman went 0 for 3.

But the big news for Solano was his placement in the lineup — second, directly in front of Giancarlo Stanton. If the Marlins use Thursday’s lineup during the regular season — a good chance, as these late-spring lineups usually reflect managers’ preferences — Solano looks a lot better as a second-base sleeper in deepern’s move for Roma striker Edin Dzeko.The former Italy star is a big fan of the Bosnian.He said, “I believe Dzeko is the most complete striker in Italy. He is strong physically, has technique Anro insists ex-Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is interested in a move to the club.Previous reports linking the 37-year-old LA Galaxy star with a switch to the Argentine giants had been denied by Ibrahimovic’s agent Mino Raiola, althou, good in the air, can shoot with both feet. He scores goals leagues because he should be scoring often if he can reach base in front of Stanton.

 

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tball Awards on Sunday night. Mbappe spoke of movi

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manager Ron Washington named left-handed pitcher as one of his two primary setup men to begin the yearth Crystal Palace.Now back with Malmo, the midfielder had a year away with Benfica, which sent him on-loan to Palace. However the Sw tenure with Burnley comes to an end.The 33-year-old only played 11 times this season. He had spent the past five seasons at the Turf Moor club.However, he will now move on to pastures new after his contract expires.Taylor, who took his place in the ede failed to make an impression in London.He told Fotbollskanalen: “It was an educational year. It’s not something I , according to the Dallas Morning News. Ross was in ty attacker Kevin de Bruyne says David Silva deserves his goal in victory over Aston Villa.The Belgian was awarded the goal, as his teasing cross seemed to evade everyone before bouncing into the back of the net – although there had been a suggestithe running for a rotation spot this spring before being shifted to the bullpen. Ross has allowed five earned runs in 18 1/3 innings of work, posting a 2.45 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.

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striker Olivier Giroud after Thursday’s victory o

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pitcher turned in a dominant performance in Friday’s game against the Rangers in Cactus League play.

Cain, who made his fifth start of the spring, tossed five scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in a 5-2 victory. He also struck out two and did not issue told Liverpool they’ll keep upld has become one the hottest properties in Europe over the past few months.The Sunclaims that Arsenal boss Unai Emery is a huge fan of Dembele and wants to add him to the squad.But it appears that he will have competition. PSG are interested, while the pressure as they target a third successive United.Anderson, who lives in Whitley Bay, agreed terms with the Magpies after turning 17 on Wednesday and has been involved in the under-23 squad this term. “I’m delighted to be signing a professional contract with Newcastle United,” the teenager e Premier league title.City earned a hard-fought 3-1 win away to Everton after league leaders Liverpool beat Sheffield United to keep up their 100% record.”We knew Liverpool a walk as he improved his ERA to 3.60.

“I felt good in the bullpen (warming up before the game),” Cain said. “I thought about where I wanted to throw. I was confident throwing whatever I wanted. The misses weren’t as big.”

Cain was 16-5 in 32 starts in 2012 and has been tabbed the opening day starter April 1 against the Dodgers.

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pions League.Khedira was asked about his side’s ch

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The Reds made their first big cuts of the 2013 spring training season on Tuesday and among those optioned to Triple-A Louisville were starting p into while playing the derby on Saturday night.The home burglary occurred with his wife and daughter inside, says El Chiringuito.The Brazilian is the latest in a string of players to be hit while with their teams. Casemiro lives in La Moraleja, one itcher candidates and . Pitcheds winger Steven Bergwijn has described Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk as an “absolute beast”.The young PSV star says he has learned a lot from playing alongside the imposing centre-back.”Van Dijk is an absolute beast,” Bergwijn told Goaland Voetbalzrs and were optioned to Double-A Pensacola. Pitcher and outfielder were sent to Class A Bakersfield, while pitcher was optioned to Class A Dayton. Several others were reassigned to minorr River Plate midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz.The Uruguayan youngster helped Marcelo Gallardo’s River Plate reach this year’s Copa Libertadores final, which was won by Flamengo last week.Marca says City chiefs are so impressed they’re willing to pay MO league camp and they are as follows: RHP , RHP , C , IF Kristopher Negron and OF .

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erb start to the season.Sterling has gone from str

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MLB.com reports Mariners starter pitched in a minor-league intrasquad game on Monday. He allowed three runs on 1, Luiz has spent the past season away on-loan due to work permit problems.The Manchester Evening News says Luiz made 20 starts and seven substitute appearances in a season which saw him suffer with injuries, and also saw the club relegated.He has bee0 hits over five innings of work. Ramirez year-old starred under Lampard at Derby County last term, before returning to become a vital player for the Blues.But Mount says he wasn’t guaranteed a spot in Lampard’s side when he returned to Stamford Bridge this summer.He said: “I hadn’t had a fualso struck out seven with no walks while throwing 70 pitches. ready to bid for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.The Sun says Mignolet, 31, lost his place in Jurgen Klopp’s team this season following the arrival of Alisson Becker – but has attracted interest from Eddie Howe.Howe is ready to offer regular Prem

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in victory at FA Cup opponents West Ham.Townsend’

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After signing a two-year, $15 million contract in the offseason, made his dey a replacement for the wantaway Antoine Griezmann.Griezmann is expected to move to Barcelona this summer.Simeone said, “We will go and look for a Griezmann that w United Double winner Andrei Kanchelskis has questioned the quality of the current team’s young players.Kanchelskis was reacting to last week’s Europa League defeat at Astana, where United fielded a record young XI.He told Sports: “Manchester United ill be a Griezmann in the future, like Rodrigo or [Jan] Oblak. I’m still excited by allbut for the Angels in Sunday’s Cactus League game against the Cubs. He allowed one run on one hit over two innings of work. The right-hander surrendered a solo homer to for his lone damage. Blanton also struck out two with no walks while throwing 20 pitches. “I think for the first outing you couldn’t ask for anything more,” manager Mike Scioscia said. ” He pounded the zone, no doubt. Just pulled a couple of pitches middle in. … Joe likes to kheir two-goal Carabao Cup deficit if Manchester City repeat their first-leg performance.The Sky Blues blew United away with a explosive 45 minutes that put them 3-0 ahead at the half-time break.”I felt on the pitch we could have done even better – coeep that tempo, and when he’s going he wants to keep that ball and keep that feel.”

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Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is eyeing a

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According to MLB.com, left-hander has an offer to pitch for the SK Wyverns of the Korean League ins El Clasico at Barcelona is remembered for it’s football.Amid local unrest, security is tight ahead of the rearranged fixture, but Zidane is hoping that all the focus will be on events which take place on the pitch.”On the outside, this can be a wee 2013 and intends to accept it once he and the Angels fen so far this season ahead of their trip to Everton today, despite questions over their small squad being able to handle the packed schedule.They are in Europe for the first time since 1980, but Coady wants the squad to remain humble.He said: “Rememinalize an agreement to releas way clear for a potential deal with Nike.The club were being sued over its alleged refusal to honour the terms of its reported £40million-a-year deal with the company, which expires in May 2020, says the Mirror.Under the terms of the deal, New Balae him from his contract.

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s one of the most impressive performers during the

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MLB.com’s Greg Johns reported on Thursday that the Mariners have singed to a minor league deal and invited him to sper United and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan has been named new coach of Penarol.Forlan will replace head coach Diego Lopez, whose contract ends at the end of this month.The Montevideo-based club announced the move on Twitter. The 40-year-old Fring tship inside the current squad.While manager Ole f buying a portion of the pay-TV network’s Uefa Champions League rights, according to a report by the Sunday Times newspaper, reports, /.Last November, BT Sport retained its exclusive rights contract for European soccer’s premier club competition untGunnar Solskjaer’s side are under arguably even more strain ahead of Sunday’s game against leaders Liverpool, ex-England star Anderson is struggling to see where the spark will come from.He told The Sunraining. Jacobs played in 13 games with Arizona last season, hitting .211 and driving in two runs. His best season came in 2008, when he hit 32 home runs for the Marlins.

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Who’s the greatest designated hitter of all-time?

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(Getty Images)

The occasion of our evaluating Edgar Martinez’s Hall-of-Fame case raises a relevant question: Who’s the greatest DH of them all?

The designated hitter is a rather recent artifact (born in 1973), but you nevertheless find a number of good-to-great hitters who spent most of their time fulfilling those duties.

So there are two ways to approach such an urgent matnt Mino Raiola has defended his management of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.Since his return to England from Juventus, the 26-year-old has been blighted by injuries and rumours of being a divisive figure in the dressing room.Speaking to Spoter. The first way is to answer the question: Who was the best hitter to spend a majority of his career at DH? If that’s the guiding query, then the discussion will be a brief one. It’s Frank Thomas (career OPS+ of 156), and it’s not a close call.

But if we frame the question in a different, perhaps more fitting way — Who was the most productive while occupying the DH spot? — then things get more interesting. That’s in large part because Thomas was far more productive as a first baseman than he was as a DH.

If we stipulate that contenders for “best ever while manning DH spot” must have logged at least 5,000 career plate appearances and have spent at least half of those PAs at DH, then our list of contenders is down to six: Thomas, Martinez, , Hal McRae, Harold Baines and Don Baylor.

Let’s compare some numbers, shall we? Below you’ll find a table — as lovely in execution as it is informative in conception — that places these six names athwart and astride one another.

You’ll see each designated hitter’s name, the number of plate appearances he logged at DH, his AVG/OBP/SLG and OPS compiled while deployed as a DH and — and then comes the long division. Actually, it’s pretty simple. Under the heading “OPS/Avg. DH OPS” you’ll find the hitter’s OPS as a DH divided by the league DH OPS over the span of his career. Ergo, the higher the number, the better he fared relative to the garden-variety DH of his era. This makes for a quick-and-dirty way to compare across run-scoring environments and according to positional standards.

To the digits …

Who is the greatest DH?PlayerPA as DHAVG/OBP/SLGOPS as DHOPS/Avg. DH OPSEdgar Martinez6,218.314/.428/.532.9591.21David Ortiz6,523.288/.384/.557.9411.16Frank Thomas5,698.275/.394/.505.8991.12Hal McRae5,917.294/.357/.463.8201.10Harold Baines6,618.291/.370/.467.8371.07Don Baylor5,391.259/.344/.449.7921.06Sorted by OPS/Avg. DH OPS

As you can see, Martinez, our candidate in question, distinguishes himself. He has the highest OPS and the highest era/position-adjusted OPS, and he ranks third out of six in DH plate appearances. It’s also worth remembering that OPS equates its two components, OBP and SLG, when OBP is the more valuable of the two. Given Martinez’s OBP-heavy breakdown, OPS actually undervalues him to an extent.

Park effects? Contrary to reputation, Seattle’s Kingdome played as a roughly neutral environment over Martinez’s time as a reTottenham have pinpointed Giovanni Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele as their primary transfer targets.Both players have impressed manager Mauricio Pochettino this season.The London Evening Standard says Pochettino’s obvious excitement for the summer won’t impact their new targets.Both clubs are widely touted as top talents.gular there, and he spent the back end of his career in run-suppressing Safeco. As for Ortiz — Martinez’s closest competition based on the above numbers — his home park of Fenway is a toan Rice has emerged as a 2020 priority target for Manchester United.Goal says United could even make a move for the West Ham star in January – if they can stump up £80million.United are already thought to be drawing up a shortlist of stars they wantugh yard for left-handed home runs, but it’s a very accommodating park for every other facet of the left-handed hitter’s game (i.e., singles, doubles and triples). In other words, there’s nothing in the playing environments that would push Ortiz ahead of Martinez. That’s to say nothing of the fact that Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs each rate Martinez as the better base-runner of the two.

Given all that, I’m comfortable saying that Martinez, in terms of value from the DH position, is the greatest designated hitter ever. How much that means when it comes to Martinez’s Cooperstown case is a matter for another EOB post.

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Your 2012 AL Rookie of the Year (Non-Mike Trout division)

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(US Presswire)

It hardly seems fair. Any number of restaurant-quality rookie campaigns in the AL are going to be overlooked because decided to foil the suspense by authoring perhaps the greatest debut season in history. So let us give the distant remainder its due.

We’re asking this: In a lesser universe in which Trout did not exist (perish this thought), who should have been AL Rookie of the Year?

More on Rookie of the Year awardsAnalysisRelated linksMore coverage | | |

put ‘s in second place and also found ‘ , ‘s and Oakland’s worthy of mention.

Elsewhere, of the and of the A’s merit a nod, but both lacked the playing time necessary for serious consideration. On the pitching side, down-ballot worthies included  of the A’s, of the , of the , of the Rays, of the and Kelvin Herrera of the . They, however, don’t stack up to Darvish or Parker (and neither does Chen, for that matter).

So the merits of each serious contender not named Mike Trout:

Cespedes dgers is determined not to pay over the odds for Harry Maguire’s replacement.Manchester United are set to swell the Leicester boss’ transfer kitty by a cool £85million to sign the Enited hero Gary Neville for celebrating Liverpool blowing their unbeaten Premier League run.The Reds, who return to league action against Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime, saw their hopes of going the entirety of the 2019/20 Premier Leaguegland defender.Asked if he feared having to pay a premium now selli… He batted .292/.356/.505 and averaged an extra-base hit every 9.2 at-bats, and he did all that despite playing his home games in a pronounced pitcher’s park. On the bases, he swiped 16 bags in 20 attempts. His value in the field, though, is up for debate. The A’s liked him enough to allow him to log almost half his defensive innings in center, but the eye test suggests he’s not a plus glove at the position. He does, however, look much better in left, where he spent the narrow majority of his time. Ultimate Zone Rating doesn’t seem to think much of Cespedes’ defense, but those numbers are simply not to be trusted across single-year samples. While Cespedes’ reads off the bat leave a bit to be desired, he has more than enough speed to paper over that shortcoming. I’m comfortable calling him an asset in left.

Darvish … Like Cespedes, he toiled in a home yard that was hostile toward his interestsclosing on an agreement with Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes.The Benfica-star-Gedson-Fernandes-18-month-loan-deal.html” target=”_blank”>Daily Mail says Spurs are close to agreeing terms over an 18-month loan for Fernandes.The 21-year-old had been. In spite of that backdrop, Darvish posted a 116 ERA+ across 191 1/3 innings, ranked fifth in the AL in strikeouts and did a good job of keeping the ball in the park. Walks were an occasional problem, but he showed much better command after making some mechanical tweaks in early August. Darvish’s peripherals say his ERA should’ve been better than it was.

Parker … He notched a 114 ERA+ in 181 1/3 innings, so he falls just short of Darvish on those fronts. Parker’s K rate left a bit to be desired, but he made up for it by generally keeping the ball on the ground.

The call … Cespedes’ case would be air-tight if he hadn’t missed more than 30 games to various hand and leg injuries. Even so, Cespedes is the choice. The completeness of his game in tandem with the inherent advantage that position players have over pitchers when it comes to overall value makes Cespedes the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year.

Except for Mike Trout, of course.

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Report: Cardinals interested in Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera

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The have “real interest” in shortstop should the make him available, to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.

The Cardinals have signed for $7 million next season, but the 35-year-old’s health is in question while dealing with a bum elbow.

Cabrera hit .270/.338/.423 with 16 home runs and nine stolen bases in 616 platenjoying success with Leicester City and Chelsea over the past four years, the Frenchman said his personality had not changed y in the transfer market.Moore is an avid believer in integrating players from the youth setup into the first team.And he knows it is something that manager Jurgen Klopp wants to do as well.Moore thinks that unearthing gems in such a way can save hunmuch since his arrival in the Premier League.”I am not a superstar or an ego,” he told the New York Times. “I am just the sam apto leave this month.Manchester United and Chelsea are being linked with the young midfielder in both the French and English press.However, Soumare admits his ultimate goal is to play for Real Madrid and says he doesn’t plan to leave in January.He tolpearances in 2012, his sixth in the majors. His two-year, $16.5-million contract extension signed in April will begin in 2013.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow .

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Early start time a welcome break in work productivity for many Giants fans

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SAN FRANCISCO — With the usual World Series start time being 8:07 p.m. ET, fans out west have a sacrifice to make in order to see their beloved team play baseball. The first pitch for Game 1 was scheduled for 5:07 p.m. loon Greenwood hopes to end the season with silverware.With United still in both the FA Cup and Europa League, there is every possibility he could fire Ole Gunnar er their 2-2 draw with Chelsea.Blues fullback Marcos Alonso struck twice for the visitors.Asked how frustrating it was to see a defender score twice against his side, Billing replied: “Oh yeah. When I saw Alonso for the second I was like ‘ah man’. Solskjaer’s side to glory.Speaking to ManUtd.com about his dramatic rise, Greenwood said:cal time Wednesday, or seven minutes past when many fans get off work.

So how are there so many people here? Well, it’s obvious. It’s time to play hooky from work. In speaking with about 50 fans in the upper deck of AT&T Park, nearly all of them had to get out of work in some fashion. About half took half-days.

“I left at 11 [a.m.], but my boss was really cool because it’s the World Series,” said one female fan. She wasn’t alone. Over half the fans I surveyed took a half-day. Some waited until 2 or 3 p.m. local time before skating.

Others just used up a few vacation days.

“I took two vacation days, one [Wednesday] and one [Thursday],” said a man in his 30s named Ryan. 

And finally, of course, there were those who didn’t exactly do things by the book (only five of the people I talked to). One married couple with a youe’s Atletico have bid £63million for the Denmark international.Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid have all been linked with the 27-year-old playmaker.But Atletico have delivered the first blow and could join Joao Felix at the Wanda Metropong daughter looked at each other and kind of sheepishly laughed when I asked if they both took a vacation day. The man just shook his head with a smile.

“I just called my boss and said something came up and I can’t make it to work,” said the wife, begging the question how naive or out-of-touch with the city the boss must be if he or she fell for the excuse.

Suffice it to say, though, losing a few days of full productivity due to celebrating a trip to the World Series is quite welcome across all of .

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Chris Carpenter to start Friday for Cards

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(Getty Images)

Following a pain-free bullpen session, right-hander is ready to return to the mound. The Cardinals have announced Carpenter’s return against the  at Wrigley Field. 

The start will mark Carpenter’s first appearance since Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. He has been sidelined since spring training and underwent surgery in July to correct . The surgery, which entailed the removal of one of Carpenter’s ribs, was supposed to be season-ending and, given his age (37), possibly career-ending.ish great Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits he’s a big fan of Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki.The Finn has just penned a new deal with the Canaries.And LA Galaxy forward Ibrahimovic told Mestarit: “I think everyone is impressed by him.”When you score many g

Instead, the Cardinals’ warhorse returns in time to make perhaps two stretch-drive starts and bouy a struggling rotation. He’s also eligible for the postseason roster, should the Cardinals earn a playoff spot. 

Last season, Carpenter posted a 3.45 ERA and led the NL with 237 1/3 innings pitched. He finishedameyang has backed Shkodran Mustafi’s move to AS Monaco.The German centre-back has been linkonio Conte was delighted with their Coppa Italia defeat of Cagliari.Inter won 4-1, with Romelu Lukaku scoring twice. Borja Valero and Andrea Ranocchia also struck for Inter.Conte said, “There was certainly an excellent response from all the guys. I’med with a move away from Arsenal for most of the summer, although his exit stalled following Laurent Koscielny going on strike.Monaco are keen on landing the second in the NL Cy Young balloting in 2009 and won the award in 2005. 

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put McNeil at the top of their wishlist to replac

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The Indians released pitcher onManchester United team of the Premier League era.The Red Devils lost 2-0 to West Ham United on Sunday, leaving theme with eight points from their first six matches in the Premier League.midfielder Pablo Fornals admits his first Premier League game was very hard.The summer signing from Villarreal made his first start for the club in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brighton.“This is all new for me,” he told West Ham TV. “It is a new leag”This is the worst group Manchester United have ever had since t Wlar contact with former teammate Neymar.The wantaway PSG star is desperate to return to Barca before the summer market shuts on September 2.Asked about the situation, Pique said: “Of course we have conversations with him, but they are private.”It’s aednesday.

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Jay Gibbons retires

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The announced on Monday that outfielder Jay Gibbons . Gibbons spent time with Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville this season, batting a combined .253/.345/.431.

Gibbons struggled with Nashville in the Pacific Coast League, hitting only .204/.275/.439 in 34 games and 98 at-bats. He nho could play as centre-half this season.City have John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas OAxel Tion fight.The Hornets have performed an impressive recovery in the past few weeks, under their third manager of the season.Pearson has pulled them out of the bottom spot in the league and into contention for survival.But he knows the work is not evenuanzebe.The youngster is wanted at Old Trafford by boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.The central defender, who was on loan at Aston Villa last season, will get a chance to stake his claim for a starting spot.The Sunclaims Tuanzebe will not go out on lotamendi as options, while Guardiola reckons Fernandinho, 34, could fill in if needed.Asked if he was looking to replace Vincent Kompany, the former Barcelonregistered his final hit on Sunday, a single. 

Gibbons spent parts of 2010 and 2011 with the , and while he retires as part of the Milwaukee organization, he’ll always be remembered as a Oriole, where he spent the majority of his big-league career.

Drafted in the 14th round of the 1998 draft by the , Gibbons accumulated 4.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over his nine-year career, according to , and leaves the game a .260/.315/.453 hitter. He hit 127 home runs and drove in 427 runs. 

Farewell, Mr. Gibbons. 

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