MLB notes: Inaugural wild-card games set for Oct. 5

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:15 AM ET

Baseball's revamped playoff format will start Friday, Oct. 5 with the two inaugural wild-card games, MLB announced Thursday.

The wild-card games are a new feature, pitting the two best non-division winners in each league in a one-game matchup. The winning wild-card team in each league will advance to a best-of-five division series.

Two division champions in each league begin their opening series Oct. 6. The wild-card winners will face the other division champions in a series that starts Oct. 7.

The American League championship series will start Oct. 13, with the NLCS opening the following day.

Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Oct. 24 in the park of the NL champion.

BRAVES EYE SIX-PACK

With the Atlanta Braves on Friday starting a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, manager Fredi Gonzalez is mulling the possibility of using a six-man rotation. It depends on right-hander Tommy Hanson, who is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Aug. 15.

Hanson has a lower-back strain.

All Braves starters are working with some sort of limitation: Right-hander Ben Sheets hadn't pitched in two years until recently; right-hander Kris Medlen, a reliever, isn't fully stretched out; right-hander Tim Hudson has bone spurs in his left ankle; newcomer Paul Maholm already was getting an extra day of rest with the Cubs; rookie left-hander Mike Minor is in his first full season as a major-league starter; and Hanson has been bothered by back pain for two seasons.

HAFNER HURT, DAMON DROPPED

It was a tough day for Cleveland Indians veterans as outfielder Johnny Damon and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Accardo were released and designated hitter Travis Hafner was placed on the disabled list.

Damon hit .222 in 64 games with Cleveland after signing April 17. The 38-year-old is in his 17th big-league season and has a .284 career average with 2,769 hits.

Accardo, 30, went 0-0 with a 4.58 earned-run average in 26 relief appearances for the Indians this season. He has a 10-20 record and 4.27 ERA over eight seasons.

Hafner, who has a lower-back inflammation, is on the disabled list for the second time this season. He missed six weeks earlier with a right knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery. Hafner, 35, is hitting .239 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI.

Infielder Jason Donald was recalled from triple-A Columbus.

The Indians also have fired pitching coach Scott Radinsky. He has been replaced by triple-A pitching coach Ruben Niebla.

KONERKO CONCUSSED

Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko will be evaluated Friday after suffering a concussion Tuesday.

Manager Robin Ventura called it a mild concussion but left open the possibility of putting Konerko on the seven-day disabled list. Konerko was hurt when accidentally struck on the head by Kansas City Royals baserunner Jarrod Dyson.

McCARTHY BACK WITH A'S

Right-hander Brandon McCarthy will be activated to pitch Friday against the Chicago White Sox, after being sidelined since June 19 because of a sore shoulder.

The Oakland A's made the decision to take the 29-year-old off the disabled list when he made it through a 23-pitch bullpen session without discomfort, MLB.com reported.

McCarthy has a 6-3 record with a 2.54 ERA in 12 starts this season.

BRIEFLY

Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey on Thursday made his second consecutive minor-league appearance as he works his way back from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. The 28-year-old, who was expected to be Boston's closer, was injured in a collision during spring training. Red Sox management will meet Friday with Bailey to discuss the next move ... The Houston Astros have acquired infielder Tyler Greene, 28, from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for a player to be named or cash. Greene, a 2005 first-round pick, had a .218 average with four home runs and 19 RBI this season with St. Louis. To make roster room, the Astros designated infielder Brian Bixler for assignment. The Cardinals will announce an addition Friday to the 25-man roster.


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