Former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, 85, a hall of fame pitcher who parlayed his sports fame into a political career as an uncompromising advocate for conservative causes, died in hospice care in Louisville, Ky.

Bunning, who won 224 games in a 17-year major-league career, mostly with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies, pitched the first perfect game in modern National League history and became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues.

He retired from baseball in 1971, and then entered politics.

Bunning served 12 years in the U.S. House, followed by two terms in the Senate. He was a fierce protector of state interests such as tobacco, coal and its military bases. Bunning decided not to seek re-election to the Senate in 2010. Republican Rand Paul rode a tea party wave that year to win the seat.

Bunning grew up in the northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati and started in minor-league baseball in 1950. He made it into the majors six years later. While spending most of his career with the Tigers and Phillies, he also had stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His career highlights included a no-hitter for the Tigers in 1958 and a perfect game for the Phillies in 1964. Bunning went 20-8 with Detroit in 1957, his only 20-win season, but won 19 games four times, showing his consistency.

He was inducted into the hall of fame in 1996.

Return to pitching

Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon is set to begin a minor-league injury rehabilitation assignment Sunday, less than three weeks after testicular cancer surgery.

Taillon will start for Double-A Altoona in an Eastern League game at Erie. He had surgery May 8, five days after a loss at Cincinnati in which he allowed six runs in five innings.

A 25-year-old right-hander, Taillon is 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in six starts. He was the second overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft behind Bryce Harper.

Around the bases

The Detroit Tigers placed Ian Kinsler (hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled outfielder JaCoby Jones from Triple A Toledo. ... The Texas Rangers claimed outfielder-first baseman Peter O’Brien from the Cincinnati Reds, optioned him to Double-A Frisco and moved right-hander Tyson Ross (shoulder) to the 60-day DL. ... The San Diego Padres placed Manuel Margot (calf strain) on the 10-day DL and recalled outfielder Franchy Cordero from Triple-A El Paso. ... The Oakland Athletics put right-hander Jesse Hahn (shoulder) on the 10-day DL and called up right-hander Jharel Cotton from Triple-A Nashville. ... The Chicago White Sox agreed to a minor-league deal with Cuban outfielder Luis Robert. ... Cuban outfielder-first baseman Ernesto Martinez Jr. agreed to a minor-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.