Early lead fizzles as Twins drop fourth straight

Early lead fizzles as Twins drop fourth straight

MINNEAPOLIS -- Andrew McCutchen had three RBIs, including a two-run homer, to back left-hander Francisco Liriano against his former team in a 10-4 win for the Pirates over the Twins on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

McCutchen came up big for Pittsburgh, crushing a game-tying two-run blast in the fifth before coming through with another big hit as part of a five-run sixth. With two runners on, McCutchen smacked a liner to right that Eddie Rosario couldn't handle, and he ended up scoring on the play due to interference from third baseman Eduardo Nunez.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Petition started to put Killebrew on US stamp

Petition started to put Killebrew on US stamp

MINNEAPOLIS -- Harmon Killebrew has been honored with numerous accolades after his illustrious playing career -- including being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Minnesota Twins' Hall of Fame in 2000 -- but he could see his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp.

Killebrew, who died in 2011 after a battle with esophageal cancer, has been nominated to be featured on a commemorative postage stamp. Fans can sign the petition urging the United States Postal Service's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to select Killebrew. A Twitter account (@HarmonUSStamp) has also been created. The goal is to try to get 1,000 signatures on the petition.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miscues aplenty sting Twins in finale vs. Bucs

Miscues aplenty sting Twins in finale vs. Bucs

MINNEAPOLIS -- After smacking a hit to right field, Miguel Sano rounded second, overrunning the base by just a couple of steps. He was tagged out, ending a mistake-filled game in a fitting way as the Twins fell to the Pirates, 10-4, on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

Perhaps starter Ervin Santana summed it up best after the game.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor: Big move not 'necessity' before Deadline

Molitor: Big move not 'necessity' before Deadline

MINNEAPOLIS -- Written off before the season by many, the Twins have played themselves into a position to be buyers as Friday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

While the Twins, who hold the second American League Wild Card spot, hope to improve before the Deadline, manager Paul Molitor said he doesn't feel a big move is a "necessity."

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins recall Polanco with Plouffe on paternity list

Twins recall Polanco with Plouffe on paternity list

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortstop Jorge Polanco officially joined the Twins on Wednesday, as third baseman Trevor Plouffe was placed on the paternity list. Plouffe and his wife, Olivia, were expecting their first child on Wednesday.

Polanco, ranked as the No. 89 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, was called up from Triple-A Rochester and went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter in the Twins' 10-4 loss to the Pirates. Twins manager Paul Molitor said it's still too early to say when Plouffe will return -- he can be away from the team for a minimum of one day and a maximum of three days -- and that it's not set in stone that Polanco will be the one optioned once Plouffe returns.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners, Twins to begin four-game set in Minnesota

Mariners, Twins to begin four-game set in Minnesota

J.A. Happ and Phil Hughes will square off as the Mariners and Twins begin a four-game series on Thursday at Target Field. Happ lasted just 1 2/3 innings in his last start on Saturday before getting the early hook, which enabled manager Lloyd McClendon to use him in relief just two days later. The left-hander threw 15 pitches during a scoreless inning on Tuesday. 

Hughes, meanwhile, is unbeaten over his past eight starts, but he has allowed 21 home runs this season. He didn't allow one in his last outing for the first time since June 3. In late April, Hughes threw eight innings of two-run ball against Seattle but took the loss. In his career, he is 6-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 10 starts against the Mariners.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Players feel trade could boost playoff hopes

Dozier, Torii waiting to see if Twins make Deadline deal

Players feel trade could boost playoff hopes

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the clock ticking toward Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Twins have watched the first-place Royals add an ace in Johnny Cueto and a much-needed second baseman/outfielder in Ben Zobrist, but have yet to make a move of their own.

After Tuesday's 8-7 loss to Pittsburgh, Minnesota enters Wednesday eight games back of Kansas City in the American League Central, but with a two-game lead over Baltimore in the AL Wild Card race. The Blue Jays also made a big move, making a surprise trade for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins battle back, only to fall on late HR

Twins battle back, only to fall on late HR

MINNEAPOLIS -- After the Twins rallied to tie the game with four runs in the eighth inning, Jung Ho Kang delivered a go-ahead solo homer off closer Glen Perkins in the ninth to lift the Pirates to an 8-7 win Tuesday night at Target Field.

Kang's game-winning blast came on a 1-2 slider from Perkins, who left the pitch up in the zone. It was another rough outing for Minnesota's All-Star closer, who has blown two saves with a 14.73 ERA since the All-Star break.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen hitting bump in the road

Twins may add reinforcements at Deadline

Bullpen hitting bump in the road

MINNEAPOLIS -- Just a few days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, likely the biggest item on the Twins' wish list revealed itself once more: Minnesota needs bullpen reinforcements.

In a tie game tied in the eighth, the Pirates broke through off relievers Casey Fien and Brian Duensing, scoring four runs. The Twins stormed right back with four runs before Jung Ho Kang got to closer Glen Perkins with a homer in the ninth in the Twins' 8-7 loss.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

GM Ryan not ruling out upgrade at short

Twins haven't received much production from trio in '15

GM Ryan not ruling out upgrade at short

MINNEAPOLIS -- Monday night's blockbuster trade featured two shortstops on the move while the Twins stood by. Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes found themselves on the move, and while neither seemed like logical options for Minnesota given their contracts, the club hasn't gotten much production from the position all season.

After a solid rookie campaign, Danny Santana headed into this season as the Twins' No. 1 shortstop. Santana hit .319 in 101 games last season, but he has underperformed and he found himself out of the lineup for the second straight game in Tuesday night's 8-7 loss to the Pirates. Sunday, Eduardo Nunez got the nod at shortstop and Tuesday, it was Eduardo Escobar.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dozier named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

Dozier named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

The active Major League players and Hall of Famers nominated for the 2015 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award were revealed Tuesday.

The award, now in its third year, honors the legacy of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who became the first professional athlete to enlist in the U.S. military after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. A current MLB player, a Hall of Famer and a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer are recognized each Veterans Day in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

May brings high hopes to Twins' bullpen

May brings high hopes to Twins' bullpen

MINNEAPOLIS -- Perhaps the Twins' biggest need as the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches on Friday is a reliever or two who can help bridge the gap to closer Glen Perkins. Minnesota might have found part of its solution in-house.

Rookie Trevor May started the season in the rotation, but he was the odd man out when Ervin Santana returned from his 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in early July. May has yet to throw a 1-2-3 inning from the bullpen in six appearances, though slowly but surely, he's been adapting, making four scoreless outings.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strong outing unravels for Gibson in a flash

Strong outing unravels for Gibson in a flash

MINNEAPOLIS -- With All-Star closer Glen Perkins coming in to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning Saturday and the Twins' most consistent starter, Kyle Gibson, pitching Sunday, a series win over the Yankees looked inevitable. After all, the Twins had beaten up on New York the night before in a 10-1 rout, breaking out of the offensive slumber that had plagued them in their previous series.

But Perkins struggled with his location, blowing the save en route to a loss on Saturday and Gibson, who mostly cruised through the first five innings Sunday, had command problems in a six-run sixth as the Twins fell to the Yankees, 7-2, at Target Field.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Six-run sixth sinks Gibson, Twins vs. Yanks

Six-run sixth sinks Gibson, Twins vs. Yanks

MINNEAPOLIS -- Nathan Eovaldi pitched into the ninth inning, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew each homered and the Yankees improved to a season-high 13 games over .500 with a 7-2 victory over the Twins on Sunday at Target Field.

Drew hit a two-run homer and Headley lined a two-run single as part of a six-run sixth inning that knocked out Twins starter Kyle Gibson. That provided a large cushion for Eovaldi, who has received strong run support all season long and picked up his team-leading 10th victory.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor not sweating Perkins' recent hiccups

Reliever Pressly progressing; GM Ryan focused on Twins' needs with Deadline nearing

Molitor not sweating Perkins' recent hiccups

MINNEAPOLIS -- Sometimes the best thing for a closer coming off a blown save is to get right back in there. At least that's how Twins manager Paul Molitor views it, so when a save situation arises, Glen Perkins will be right back in the middle of it for the Twins.

"If he gets back into the game, it means we're in a good position to win, so I would have no hesitation," Molitor said.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins set Buxton's timeline; 1 month 'a stretch'

Club believes rookie outfielder's rehab stint won't be brief

Twins set Buxton's timeline; 1 month 'a stretch'

MINNEAPOLIS -- Just shy of a month after placing Byron Buxton on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb, the Twins have developed a plan for the rookie outfielder's return. Twins manager Paul Molitor said the "preliminary foundation," for the return was a bit drawn out.

On Friday, Buxton, who entered this season as the No. 1 overall prospect on MLBPipeline.com's Top 200 list, fielded some balls in the outfield, both on the ground and in the air. He also took some swings underwater, a practice that general manager Terry Ryan indicated is not uncommon.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perkins' rare command lapse costs Twins

Closer struggles to locate in allowing pair of home runs during Yanks' comeback

Perkins' rare command lapse costs Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Not too many players swing at the first pitch they see from Glen Perkins in the ninth inning. But on Saturday night at Target Field, Alex Rodriguez did, and he watched the ball soar over the center-field wall to tie the game shortly before a second homer off the Twins' closer set the Yankees up for an 8-5 victory. After starting the season a perfect 28-for-28 in save opportunities, Perkins has blown two of his last three.

Perkins blew his first save of the season last weekend and his second on Saturday, getting tagged for four runs. After Rodriguez's home run, John Ryan Murphy piled on with a three-run drive. Before Saturday, Perkins had given up just two home runs all season.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor ejected for disputing strikeout call

Twins' manager tossed for second time in career after Hicks' strikeout

Molitor ejected for disputing strikeout call

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Paul Molitor was ejected for arguing with home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson after center fielder Aaron Hicks struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning of Saturday night's 8-5 loss to the Yankees.

The usually mild-mannered Molitor was animated with Nelson. Hicks tried to check his swing, and Nelson rung him up without appealing to third-base umpire Laz Diaz for help, at Molitor's request.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Unable to stop A-Rod, Twins stunned in ninth

Unable to stop A-Rod, Twins stunned in ninth

MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Rodriguez celebrated the fifth three-homer game of his career, including a game-tying drive in the ninth inning, and John Ryan Murphy crushed a go-ahead three-run shot as the Yankees rallied for an 8-5 victory over Glen Perkins and the Twins on Saturday night at Target Field. 

Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the fourth and a two-run drive in the seventh off Minnesota starter Tommy Milone before hitting a line drive over the center-field wall on the first pitch he saw from Perkins in the ninth, giving him 23 homers in this improbable comeback campaign.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes mixes up looks to baffle ex-club

Righty holds Yankees to 7 singles over 7 shutout innings

Hughes mixes up looks to baffle ex-club

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins starter Phil Hughes entered Friday leading the American League in home runs surrendered. And facing the Yankees, the team that sat third in the Majors with 123 home runs, Hughes giving up a home run or two probably wouldn't've been surprising.

Instead, Hughes locked down against his former team, giving up just seven scattered singles across seven innings in a 10-1 victory and making necessary adjustments after the Yankees came out hitting him hard. It was his first start since June 3 without giving up a home run and his first scoreless outing of the season.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins pop 4 HRs as Hughes stifles Yanks

Twins pop 4 HRs as Hughes stifles Yanks

MINNEAPOLIS -- Phil Hughes pitched seven strong innings to best his former club while Miguel Sano paced a four-homer barrage, helping the Twins defeat the Yankees, 10-1, on Friday evening in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.

Hughes limited New York to seven hits as he turned in his third start against the Bronx Bombers, with whom he spent the first seven years of his career. The scoreless effort marked the seventh quality start out of the last nine for Hughes, who walked none and struck out three.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins, Plouffe prepare for baby's arrival

Third baseman's wife expected to deliver during homestand

Twins, Plouffe prepare for baby's arrival

MINNEAPOLIS -- By the time the Twins' current homestand ends in early August, third baseman Trevor Plouffe expects to be a father. His wife, Olivia, is due Saturday, and Plouffe said the latest his firstborn, a son, is coming would be Wednesday.

"We're preparing as much as we can, but yeah, it is just a waiting game. It could be any moment, so it's a little nerve-wracking, but it's just exciting," Plouffe said before homering in Friday's game, a 10-1 Twins victory over the Yankees.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Hicks, Gose share ride from Compton to big leagues

Young talents played together at Urban Youth Academy

Hicks, Gose share ride from Compton to big leagues

LOS ANGELES -- Fulfilling their destinies as Major League center fielders as rivals in the American League Central, the Twins' Aaron Hicks and the Tigers' Anthony Gose go way, way back.

They got together in the summer of 2004 as teammates with the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal, a travel team in the greater L.A. sprawl that included a pitcher with a lively arm named Gerrit Cole.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana 'sterling' in gem against former team

Twins righty tosses 8 shutout innings in first Anaheim start since being traded in 2012

Santana 'sterling' in gem against former team

ANAHEIM -- After losing four straight games with the offense struggling to score runs, the Twins on Thursday were in desperate need of a strong start from right-hander Ervin Santana, whom they're counting on for a big second half.

Santana did just that in his first start at Angel Stadium since being traded by the Angels after the 2012 season, tossing eight brilliant innings to lift the Twins to a much-needed 3-0 win. He's now thrown 15 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings since the All-Star break to improve to 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts since returning from an 80-game suspension for use of a performance-enhancing drug.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Plouffe powering Twins through team slump

After hitting grand slam Friday, third baseman belts decisive three-run blast to halt slide

Plouffe powering Twins through team slump

ANAHEIM -- The Twins have had trouble scoring runs since the All-Star break, but Trevor Plouffe's power proved to be key for the second time on their West Coast road trip on Thursday against the Angels.

Plouffe, who hit a grand slam off A's ace Sonny Gray in Friday's 5-0 win, helped the Twins snap a four-game losing streak with a three-run blast off Angels right-hander Garrett Richards in a 3-0 victory at Angel Stadium. The Twins have scored 13 runs since the All-Star break, with seven coming on two swings of the bat from Plouffe. Both of his homers came in Minnesota's two wins on their six-game road trip through Oakland and Anaheim.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stellar Santana sets up shutout of Angels

Stellar Santana sets up shutout of Angels

ANAHEIM -- Ervin Santana dominated against his former team on Thursday afternoon, shutting out the red-hot Angels through eight innings and leading the Twins to a 3-0 victory in Southern California.

The win snapped the Twins' four-game losing streak and the Angels' season-best seven-game winning streak. The Angels entered leading the Majors with 6.7 runs per game in July, but Santana held them to just four hits in his fourth start since coming off a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rehabbing Buxton nearing baseball activities

Dozier gets a breather; Nolasco fitted for walking boot, return timetable unclear

Rehabbing Buxton nearing baseball activities

ANAHEIM -- Twins rookie center fielder Byron Buxton is making progress with his sprained left thumb and could start baseball activities within the next week.

Buxton, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 26, flew home to Georgia over the weekend because of a death in the family, but he returned to Target Field early this week to continue his rehab. He's still doing strengthening exercises, and he's getting close to being able to swing the bat and play catch.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Offense still trying to find groove after break

Twins' lineup notches 9 hits, but struggles with RISP continue

Offense still trying to find groove after break

ANAHEIM -- After getting just two hits in Tuesday's 7-0 loss to the Angels, the Twins at least showed some signs of life offensively on Wednesday with nine hits and five walks to get 14 runners on base.

But this time it was a lack of success with runners in scoring position that did them in, as the Twins went 1-for-9 in those situations to strand 12 runners in a 5-2 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium. It handed the Twins their fourth straight defeat, and they've scored a combined five runs over that span.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.