LEADING OFF: Stars slumping at plate; Gray's fresh haircut
A look at what's happening all around the majors Thursday:
Trevor Story, Jhonny Peralta, Jose Reyes and Russell Martin are among the big names looking lost at the plate early this season. Story is hitting .129 without a home run, a year after the Rockies' shortstop was the NL rookie of the month for April when he hit 10 homers. Peralta is 3 for 20 with eight strikeouts, and the Cardinals' infielder was benched in the team's latest game. Reyes has been dropped from leadoff to seventh in the Mets' lineup after a prolonged slump. Martin and fellow Blue Jays star Jose Bautista were both in a rut, going a combined 3 for 43 to begin the season.
Jon Gray makes his first start with short hair since the Rockies right-hander had 8 inches trimmed off for charity. He donated his flowing mane to Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. ''We'll find another way to be intimidating,'' said Gray, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft. On the mound for San Francisco will be bearded ace Madison Bumgarner, looking for his first win this season.
The Tigers have homered in their first eight games of a season for the first time in team history. The odd part? They've done it without big boppers Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Justin Upton connecting even once. Detroit will try to extend the home run streak when it hosts Minnesota. ''We're going to get the bulk of our RBIs from the heart of our lineup when it's all said and done,'' manager Brad Ausmus said. ''You need the contribution of players that aren't quote-unquote run producers to produce runs once in a while.''
THE DAY AFTER
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and Tampa Bay's Rickie Weeks are expected to sit out after both got banged up in a heavy-duty collision at first base Wednesday. Gardner passed the concussion protocol, but was diagnosed with a bruised jaw and strained neck. He was excused from the team's welcome home dinner. ''Two Mack Trucks collided,'' New York general manager Brian Cashman said. ''He's going to be sore.'' Weeks had a bone bruise by the shoulder joint and neck soreness. ''That's some pretty good whiplash,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said.