Baseball

Gamecocks' hero will sign with Royals

Less brawn from Braun

Slumping All-Star Ryan Braun is out of the Milwaukee Brewers' lineup against the San Francisco Giants.

Braun is 0-for-11 in the series against San Francisco that wrapped up with Thursday's game. He's also hitless in his last 16 at-bats. The left fielder is hitting just .210 at home for the season and even worse at home during day games, when he's batting .145 with no homers and three RBI.

In previous years, he's said he's had trouble with the shadows that creep across the diamond at Miller Park during day games.

Beckett close to coming back

Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett will make a rehab start in Pawtucket this weekend.

Beckett, sidelined since May with a lower back strain, will start for Boston's Triple A affiliate on Sunday against Syracuse.

Beckett, a two-time All Star, is 1-1 in eight starts with the Red Sox this season.

Whit Merrifield's not sure anything will ever top his College World Series experience at South Carolina, so the Gamecocks national championship hero is ready to start his pro career.

The outfielder agreed to terms with the Kansas City Royals, who selected him in the ninth round of last month's Major League Baseball draft. He told The Associated Press on Thursday he'll sign the contract at his North Carolina home on Monday and then head to the Royals' Class A affiliate in the Midwest League in Burlington, Iowa.

Last week, Merrifield's 11th-inning single brought home Scott Wingo for a 2-1 victory over UCLA to take the national championship. South Carolina fans at a victory celebration last Wednesday filled Merrifield's ears with chants of "One more year! One more year!"

"It was definitely one of the toughest decisions I've had to make," Merrifield said Thursday. "But I came to win a championship and we did that."

Short hops

■ Giants reliever Dan Runzler dislocated his left knee and had to leave the game while batting in the seventh inning against the Brewers on Thursday. Runzler swung and missed on a 1-1 pitch from David Riske, falling backward onto the ground in his first major-league at-bat. He said the knee popped back into place on its own.

■ Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is day to day with a "mild concussion" after he was accidentally kneed in the head Wednesday, Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire said. Morneau is second in the AL with a .345 average, seventh in home runs with 18 and 10th in RBI with 56. He leads the AL in on base percentage (.437) and is second in slugging percentage (.618).

■ The Phillies activated reliever Ryan Madson from the 60-day disabled list and sent left-hander Mike Zagurski to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Madson was available to pitch Thursday night against the Cincinnati Reds. He broke his right big toe kicking a chair after blowing a save at San Francisco on April 28.

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