By Ron Kaplan, contributor

First of all, welcome back Richard Bleier. The Baltimore Orioles promoted him on Sunday. According to CBS Sports, “Bleier will likely be in line for lower-leverage work in the middle innings. Bleier, 30, had given up one run over nine innings in five relief appearances at Norfolk this season.” Bleier did not appear in the Orioles’ 7-3, 11-inning win over the host NY Yankees. So if you include Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, that gives the MOTs a minyan.

Kevin Pillar went 4-for-4 in a 7-4 loss by the Toronto Blue Jays to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. The second four-hit night of his career included two singles, his second double, and fourth home run, coming up just a triple short of a cycle. IWith all that, he drove in just one run (he also walked). Pillar probably wishes he spread it around a bit: he went a collective 0-for-8 in the other two games, both wins for the Jays, who are now 12-14 following a very slow start. A Baseball Prospectus article lauds Pillar for “making good on his offseason promises.”

Ryan Braun hit his seventh home run of the year on Friday as the Milwaukee Brewers (13-13) saw the visiting Atlanta Braves break an 8- ties in the top of the ninth for a 10-8 win. Braun added two singles to the night’s performance. He made this nice throw to nab a runner on Saturday but was later ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Judging solely by the replay, it seemed like the call came a little late. Like Pillar, Braun failed to get a hit the rest of the weekend (0-for-6). He had to come out of the Sunday game with tightness in his upper back.

Alex Bregman was 2-6 with an RBI in the first two games for the Houston Astros (16-9) over the visiting Oakland. He was dropped to ninth in the lineup in Saturday’s game, which he couldn’t have been too happy about. He was given the day off on Sunday which saw the ‘Stros lose to miss the sweep. Although Bregman is hitting a modest .250, he is hitting .450 with runners in scoring position.

The Seattle Mariners (11-15) dropped two of three to the host Cleveland Indians. Danny Valencia did not appear in Friday’s game, was 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday, and appeared as a defensive replacement on Sunday.

Ian Kinsler continues to struggle. He was just 1-for-14 in a win and two losses by the Detroit Tigers (12-12) to the visiting Chicago White Sox. He scored twice, struck out twice, and walked once, lowering his batting average to .207.

Craig Breslow picked up his first win of the season on Friday, retiring the only batter he faced in a 6-4 Minnesota Twins (12-11) decision over the host Kansas City Royals. It was his only appearance over the weekend, the Twins taking two games, with the middle one postponed.

Scott Feldman did not appear for the Cincinnati Reds (11-13), who split their two games with the host St. Louis Cardinals, the Saturday contest postponed by rain. He gets the call on Tuesday against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

Joc Pederson may come off the DL next Friday for the LA Dodgers (14-12), who swept their series against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

Ron Kaplan (@RonKaplanNJ) hosts Kaplan’s Korner, a blog about Jews and sports. He is the author of three books, including The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games and the forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

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