MLB:
August 19, 2013 3:00 PM

Tigers’ Hunter backs Fielder

CHICAGO (AP) — Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter hinted on a radio show that teammate Prince Fielder’s hitting slump might be caused by off-field issues.

Talking Tuesday with Detroit Sports station 105.1, Hunter suggested that critics back off.

He said “a lot of people don’t know what’s going on” in Fielder’s life.

A four-time All-Star, Fielder was hitting just .219 with five homers and 27 RBIs over his previous 50 games entering Tuesday night. Fielder talked briefly, but declined to go into any details.

Rangers’ release Manny Ramirez

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Manny Ramirez is a free agent again after the Texas Rangers released him from his minor league contract.

The Rangers released Ramirez just more than five weeks after he started playing for Triple-A Round Rock.

“Based on our evaluation, there was not a spot for Manny on the club at this time,” Rangers general Jon Daniels said. “We released him so he could pursue other opportunities if he so chooses.”

Twins’ Morneau placed on waivers

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins placed first baseman Justin Morneau on revocable waivers.

If Morneau is claimed before today’s deadline, the Twins can work out a trade with the claiming team, let that team take his contract or pull him back and keep him in Minnesota. If he is not claimed, the Twins are free to talk with any team.

Morneau was drafted by the Twins in 1999 and has been a cornerstone of the team for a decade. He is in the final year of his contract and declined to comment about being placed on waivers. Manager Ron Gardenhire said placing players on waivers is simply a procedural move.

Uggla to DL; will have eye surgery

ATLANTA (AP) — Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said he finally realized he could not wait any longer to have Lasik eye surgery and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.

Uggla, hitting only .186 with a National League-leading 146 strikeouts, has battled eye problems throughout the season and has experimented with contact lenses. Uggla said the eye surgery “was a mutual decision.”

Blue Jays put Johnson on DL

TORONTO (AP) — Blue Jays right-hander Josh Johnson has been put on the 15-day disabled list with a sore forearm.

Johnson’s scheduled start Monday had been pushed back to today because of the pain. The decision to put him on the DL came after he felt sore while playing catch during batting practice Tuesday.

“I finally felt comfortable on the mound,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.”

Johnson is 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in 16 starts.

Suspended Cruz headed home

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Suspended Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz is heading home to the Dominican Republic, where he will work out before returning to Texas later this month.

General manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday that Cruz will spend about 12 days in the Dominican. The All-Star right fielder has a home gym and will visit the team’s complex.

Cruz was suspended for the final 50 games of the regular season in Major League Baseball’s investigation of a Florida clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

The Rangers want Cruz to stay in as good of baseball shape as possible, but no decision has been made about Cruz playing in the postseason if Texas makes the playoffs.

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