Month: June 2017

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Mets are reportedly silencing Terry Collins to avoid injury criticism

The Mets and how they handle injuries has been a big topic of debate this season, but don’t expect manager Terry Collins to shed light on any player updates or timelines moving forward.

According to the New York Daily News, the usually candid Collins is furious with the Mets after the front office told him that he can no longer discuss routine injury news. At Collins’ press conference Wednesday, he was asked about Jay Bruce (back) and Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring), who are close to returning to the lineup for the 19-25 team.

I’m not at liberty to discuss the injury situation, Collins said.

But that’s it; nothing lower, aside from a handful of pinch-hitting or double-switch appearances off the bench.

Not that McCutchen has any room to complain at this point. He’s hitting .203 with a .634 OPS and has been in a dreadful slump lately, with a .163 average and .531 OPS in May.

The 30-year-old has been benched for the Pirates’ last two games, though he did come on in the 10th inning of the last-place Pirates’ wild 12-5 win over the Braves on Wednesday.

If McCutchen can somehow regain his form over the coming weeks, he would become a potentially intriguing addition for a contender at the trade deadline. The veteran outfielder is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and though it’s difficult to imagine the Pirates getting much in return, it seems a change of scenery would be in order after months of trade rumors and a position change.

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Double-A baseball game has perhaps the worst strikeout of all time

Binghamton reliever Cory Burns lost his footing while attempting to deliver a 1-2 pitch. As he came off the mound, Burns just spiked the ball into the ground about 10 feet in front of the hill. As the ball was rolling and Ponies catcher Colton Plaia went to retrieve the ball up the first base line, Fuentes decided to take a slow practice swing. Because it was still a live ball and he was in the box, he was called out.

Binghamton, the Double-A affiliate of the Mets, went on to a 5-4 victory and, after Saturday’s 1-0 win, will go for a three-game sweep on Sunday.

Things aren’t going the way they were supposed to go for the Cubs.

After winning their first World Series in 108 years last fall, the Cubs returned the core of their team and were among the favorites to win the World Series this year. Talk of a dynasty even permeated the Windy City.

But after getting swept by the Dodgers this weekend, the Cubs are just 25-24 and a game and a half back of the Brewers in the National League Central. To put Chicago’s 25 wins into perspective, the Cubs got to 25 wins last year in just 31 games.

Please, let them freak out, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, via ESPN.com, when asked Sunday about panicking Cubs fans. If you want to freak out, freak out.

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Dodgers’ Joc Pederson exits after ugly outfield collision with Yasiel Puig

For Sanchez, it’s injuries not injury. The right-hander, who led the AL in ERA in 2016, is on the DL for the third time already this season, all for issues with the middle finger on his pitching hand. The first time, he missed 15 days with a blister on the finger; the second time, he missed 13 days with a split fingernail on the finger; and now he’s on the DL with a laceration on that troublesome middle finger. He’s been productive when the finger cooperates — he has a 3.33 ERA in five starts — but the Jays have missed him.

Like the Mets and Mariners, the Blue Jays have been hit with a ton of injury issues. I’ll mention the other significant guys here — shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (hamstring) missed 35 days before returning, while starting pitchers J.A. Happ (elbow, 43 days and counting) and Francisco Liriano (shoulder, 20 days and counting) are still on the DL. Roberto Osuna, Russell Martin, Steve Pearce and J.P. Howell have all spent time on the DL this season, too. It hasn’t been fun for Jays fans.

Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson was forced to exit Tuesday night’s game with the Cardinals after a pair of collisions with his fellow outfielders.

In the top of the seventh, Pederson and left fielder Cody Bellinger ran into each other on the warning track of Dodger Stadium after failing to call each other off on a fly ball from Matt Carpenter.

Pederson’s second collision of the night also appeared to be the result of miscommunication as he and Yasiel Puig tracked down a line drive off the bat of Yadier Molina in the top of the 10th inning. Neither of the outfielders slowed their sprint to the ball and collided on the warning track.

Puig’s elbow appeared to hit Pederson’s head and the impact carried the center fielder head-first into the outfield wall padding, resulting in a laceration to Pederson’s forehead.

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Curt Schilling says more dumb things about Adam Jones and racism

Curt Schilling wasn’t there, but he’s sure acting like it.

The former Red Sox pitcher has more to say about why he thinks Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is lying about racist taunts at Fenway Park.

Jones said he was called the N-word several times by Red Sox fans.

The Red Sox believe Jones.

The team apologized to him for his treatment and issued a lifetime ban to a heckler for using a racial slur toward another fan during a game.

One of our big goals was to pitch against each other one time (in the major leagues). So I’ll kind of treat (Wednesday) as that, McCullers said.

It’s part of a season, the Chronicle notes, in which McCullers (3-1), pays tribute to his late friend in multiple ways as a way of celebrating his life:

’ McCullers’ custom-made orange Wilson glove is the same model Fernandez used early in his career and has his name stitched in blue on it.

’ His spikes, special ordered from a Miami-based company that Fernandez also used, have his initials ’ JDF ’ and No. 16 on them.

’ Before his first-inning warm-up pitches for every start, McCullers uses his finger to draw a 16 in the dirt on the back of the mound. He sees Fernandez’s number every time he walks up the hill after receiving the ball back from third baseman Alex Bregman.

I do give a lot of credit to a lot of people in my life who helped me get here, McCullers told the Chronicle, but I think he was one that pushed me a lot and gave me a lot of advice along the way through training and just what it was going to take to get here.

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MLB Draft: Why the Twins should skip the two-way star at No. 1

While holding the first pick in the MLB Draft is a somewhat dubious honor, to quote Crash Davis from Bull Durham, it does provide a team ’ the Twins this year ’ the opportunity to help turn around their organization’s fortunes.

So far this spring, three names have been linked with the Twins’ top-pick: Hunter Greene, Kyle Wright, and Brendan McKay. The first two would be solid choices; the third would not. More on that in a bit.

He made seven All-Star teams with the Tigers before being traded to the Phillies following the 1963 season. He crafted a perfect game Father’s Day in 1964, the first perfect game for a National League pitcher in 84 years.

Or there’s the option for Harper to shine more brightly and end his career more spectacularly. Kevin Mitchell comes to mind, the bombastic star who won an MVP at 27 but played just 264 games in the majors after his 30th birthday. For peak value Hall of Fame candidates, Mitchell ranks among the best offensive ones in baseball history, though seemingly few people are making his case.

Similar things can be said about Fred Lynn, who had a .308 batting average through his age-28 season, but averaged 114 games thereafter. Every year where I (got) to 140 games, I had really good years, Lynn recently told Sporting News. I just needed to play more games. That’s all. I’ve never in my life done poorly if I played a lot, just never have.

Harper’s logged just 140 games in a season just twice so far, though he was an MVP one of those years.

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Blue Jays suspend Kevin Pillar two games for using homophobic slur

Pillar issued an apology for his actions after the game, although he didn’t say specifically what he said.

Despite the club suspension, Pillar could be facing more punishment from Major League Baseball, which saw enough to open an investigation, according to Sportsnet. The report says MLB’s look into the issue isn’t just for the fight, but specifically whether Pillar used a slur in his exchange with Motte.

Pillar’s suspension will force him to miss Thursday’s series finale with the Braves in Atlanta, a game which many expect fallout to occur from Wednesday in which Braves star Freddie Freeman broke his wrist on a HBP and Jose Bautista flipped his bat after a homer even though Atlanta was up five runs.

The Red Sox and David Price will huddle Thursday to determine the next step for the rehabbing left-hander, the day after a mixed-bag outing at Triple-A.

For the second straight start in his comeback from a forearm injury sustained in spring training, Price struggled with his control, although he did show a 92- to 96-mph fastball.

Price said he felt good after his outing. I would say [he] burnt through his pitch count, PawSox manager Kevin Boles said (via the Boston Globe). I thought the stuff was actually pretty good. It was just command and location, which is to be expected when he’s coming off an injury.

His line against Louisville: six runs (three earned) on seven hits, four strikeouts, a walk and a wild pitch through only 3 2/3 innings on 89 pitches.

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Giants activate closer Mark Melancon from DL

Wright, a 6-4, 220-pound right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt University, possesses some serious zip on his fastball as well, usually sitting in the 93-95 mph range, but showcases more refined secondary pitches than Greene. He is widely thought to be the safest pick near the top of the draft given his body of work. Either prospect would be a nice selection for the Twins, Greene for his age and enormous upside, or Wright for his track record and pedigree coming from an institution that has produced current MLB pitchers David Price, Sonny Gray and Mike Minor.

And then there’s McKay, the most intriguing prospect in the draft whose two-way stardom has situated him at the top of most analysts’ draft boards. The Darlington, Pa., native pairs a .333 career batting average and 25 home runs (15 this season and counting) with a 2.10 career-ERA in 291.1 innings pitched during his time at the University of Louisville.

McKay was the 2015 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award winner and was a standout this past summer with Team USA and will likely receive unanimous All-America honors when those teams are announced. However, even though most scouts’ only question regarding McKay is whether to draft him as a first baseman or as a left-handed pitcher, the Twins would be wise to pass on him altogether when the draft begins June 12.

The Giants activated closer Mark Melancon from the 10-day disabled list Wednesday ahead of the team’s clash against the Dodgers.

San Francisco originally planned on holding Melancon out until Friday, but the 32-year-old fared well after a 22-pitch bullpen session on Monday.

Prior to today’s game the #SFGiants have activated RHP Mark Melancon off the 10-day DL’IF Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to triple-A Sac.

Melancon will immediately resume his role as closer, which will force Derek Law back into a setup position.

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Steven Souza attempts diving catch, but comes up about 30 feet short

You might not have noticed, but the Reds have had a pretty good start to the season, and it might have been even better if Finnegan had stayed healthy. The Reds were 8-4 when he hit the DL and are still only two games under .500, which puts them 2.5 out in the NL Central. The lefty tossed seven shutout innings in his season debut ’ striking out nine and allowing just one hit ’ but left each of his next two starts early. He had control issues in the second one, then came out with shoulder soreness after just one inning in his third start. The club originally hoped for a quick return, but that hope disappeared when he was shifted to the 60-day DL. He’s in the rehab process, and the best-case scenario is a late June return.

Unless Steven Souza is Michael Jordan in Space Jam, he had no shot getting to this ball on Friday.

In the fourth inning of the Rays’ showdown against the Twins at Target Field, Souza attempted a diving play that certainly would have been the greatest catch of all time ’ if he were to haul it in.

Only about five Steven Souzas too short, and from another zip code. A run scored on the play.

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I’m pretty sure this kind of catch worked in Angels in the Outfield, but this is real life, unfortunately. Still, it’s nice to see teammates Souza and Kevin Kiermaier shared a chuckle over the flub on the field.

No one laughed when Souza made up for it with a monster bomb in the eight inning to give the Rays an insurance run late.

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Astros’ Brian McCann goes on 7-day concussion DL

The Astros have placed catcher Brian McCann on the 7-day concussion disabled list, retroactive to May 20.

The team did not specify when McCann’s injury occured. He played Friday against the Indians, but sat out yesterday’s game.

Evan Gattis will help fill the catcher’s role in McCann’s absence, and the team called up catcher Juan Centeno from Triple-A Fresno.

McCann, a seven-time All Star, has six home runs, 25 RBIs and an OPS of .819 in 30 games during his first season with the Astros.

I’m not saying this only to be critical. Hunter Pence reminds us every day you don’t have to be smooth to be a major-league baseball player. It’s just to say Tebow is a work in progress, and I want to emphasize the trying extremely hard part of the equation.

He’s putting the work in, and you can see he’s getting comfortable in the outfield, Leger said after the game the first time I watched Tebow play, on May 2. It’s good to see him making plays, taking the right routes. Arm is getting stronger. His at-bats are getting better. You see consistency. Sometimes when he gets out of rhythm, we try and get him back in rhythm. He knows, and we know, it’s going to be a process. It’s going to take some time to get that rhythm at the plate. He’s already had it, it just goes on and off, just like every other player. Once he finds it, he’s got the right tools to be a good player.

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FBI director James Comey compares Patriots, Hillary Clinton in congressional testimony

FBI director James Comey has had his hands full after President Donald Trump claimed the Obama administration wire-tapped his phones during the election.

Comey has come out and said he he has no information or evidence on those allegations during a hearing in front of Congress Monday. He also provided some insight on why the Russians were so supportive of Trump during the election, by way of an odd Patriots metaphor.

Patterson, drafted 29th by Minnesota in 2013, hasn’t developed into the polished pass-catcher the Vikings hoped for when they traded four draft picks to the Patriots to move up to make the selection, but he’s carved out a niche as one of the NFL’s better return men.

The 25-year-old has averaged 30.4 yards per kickoff return in his career and was selected to his second Pro Bowl in 2016. He also turned in a career-high 52 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns to renew his stock as a receiver.

Patterson has led the NFL in kickoff return average in three of four seasons.

Oakland, which already boasts a pair of 1,000-yard wide receivers, has long struggled in that department, ranking 20th in the NFL in kick return average last season.

In fact, the last time the Raiders returned a kickoff return for a touchdown was 2011.

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