LEADING OFF: Mets host Yankees on 20th anniversary of 9/11

MLB

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

SPECIAL SUBWAY SERIES

The Yankees and Mets are set for an emotional game in Queens on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the first time the Subway Series will overlap with Sept. 11.

Both teams will wear hats representing New York’s first responders, two years after Mets slugger Pete Alonso said the league rejected his proposal for specially designed hats doing the same. Alonso instead had custom cleats made for each of his teammates – without asking MLB for permission – and later donated his shoes to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Then-Mets manager Bobby Valentine will throw out the first pitch to then-Yankees manager Joe Torre, and Hall of Famer Mike Piazza will be among the alumni in attendance. Piazza memorably hit a go-ahead homer for the Mets on Sept. 21, 2001 against the Braves in the team’s first game back at Shea Stadium.

WRIGLEY RETURN

All eyes will still be on Kris Bryant as San Francisco continues a series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Bryant drew a pair of standing ovations in his return Friday, a 6-1 win for the Giants’ fifth straight victory.

Bryant was traded to the Giants for two prospects at the July 30 deadline as the rebuilding Cubs unloaded marquee stars who were set to become free agents after this season. The 29-year-old got a standing ovation from the crowd of 29,439 during a pregame video tribute and again before his first inning at-bat.

The slugger was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2015, then the NL MVP in 2016 when the Cubs won the World Series to end a 108-year championship drought. On Friday, Bryant went 0 for 3 with a walk, run and struck out swinging twice.

”There was a lot going on in terms of emotions,” Bryant said. ”It was pretty hard to contain it all.”

”It kind of got the best of me and it was kind of hard to play baseball after that,” he said.

BOSTON OUTBREAK

Red Sox ace Chris Sale tested positive for COVID-19 again, sidelining the left-hander while Boston fights for positioning in the crowded AL playoff picture.

Sale had been scheduled to start Sunday in Chicago against the AL Central-leading White Sox. The seven-time All-Star also had a mild bout with COVID-19 in January that required him to quarantine for two weeks.

”At this point, nothing shocks me, to be honest with you,” manager Alex Cora said Friday. ”On a daily basis we just go through a process and we just hope for good news. This is where we’re at.”

The Red Sox have placed 17 players on the COVID-19-related injury list since Aug. 3, including infielders Xander Bogaerts and Christian Arroyo and pitchers Nick Pivetta, Matt Barnes and Martin Perez. Bogaerts returned Friday.

FRANCO HURT

Rays rookie Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 39 games, then exited in the first inning with an apparent leg injury against Detroit on Friday night.

Franco lined a single but limped into third on a double by Nelson Cruz. After being examined by team trainers, the 20-year-old shortstop left.

Franco’s on-base streak is the second longest in major league history by a player under 21. Frank Robinson set the record with a 43-game string in 1956.

SWATTING NATS

The Washington Nationals are minus pitcher Sean Nolin after he was suspended five games by Major League Baseball for hitting Atlanta star Freddie Freeman with a fastball this week.

Nolin initially planned to appeal the suspension before agreeing to start serving it Friday night. Nats manager Dave Martinez was penalized one game and missed the opener of a series at Pittsburgh. Nolin and Martinez also were fined.

Nolin was ejected in the first inning on Wednesday after throwing behind Freeman and then hitting him with the next pitch. The plunking came a day after a Braves pitcher nailed Nats star Juan Soto in their lingering feud.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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