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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:38 am
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lobo316



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Even though the New York Yankees made a big splash in free agency by signing Aroldis Chapman in the offseason, the franchise has been quieter in recent years in terms of luring new players to the Bronx. Those days may be over, though, as soon next season.

"We do have a significant amount of money coming off this year," Hal Steinbrenner told reporters Wednesday, via the Wall Street Journal's Jared Diamond.

"As we always do, we'll put it back into the club. We will be active in the free-agent market I can assure you - to what degree and in what areas remains to be seen."

The biggest savings will come when pitchers CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda become free agents following the 2017 season, as they're earning $25 million and $7.4 million, respectively. An additional $22 million could come off the books if Masahiro Tanaka elects to opt out of his contract. Otherwise, Tanaka isn't a free agent until after 2020.

In addition to the team's current players, the Yankees are paying Alex Rodriguez $21 million in 2017, and not a cent after.

With Rodriguez off the books, combined with the free agents who are likely departing - including Matt Holliday's $13 million - the Yankees are set to clear up to $98 million if Tanaka does opt out. Some of that money will be distributed among arbitration-eligible players, but it's still a significant amount to be potentially freed up.

Not that the Yankees have ever lived lean. Even now, New York has the second-highest payroll in baseball. With three-fifths of the team's rotation potentially hitting free agency, however, the Yankees could be on the lookout for fresh talent.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:40 am
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lobo316



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Dave Dombrowski is no stranger to blockbuster deals and he wants to make it clear that this trade season will be no different, the Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations admitted to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

"I never speak about payroll," Dombrowski told Cafardo, "I will say we're not under any restrictions to improve the club if need be."

Dombrowski, who was affectionately dubbed "Dealin' Dave" during his tenure with the Detroit Tigers, famously brought in Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer, Jhonny Peralta, Doug Fister, and Ian Kinsler - among others - in huge deals that proved very fruitful for the franchise under his watch.

Since joining the Red Sox, Dombrowski has traded away top-tier prospects for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale.

Currently just one game above .500 with a 19-18 record, Boston entered the 2017 season as the favorite to win the AL East. However, if the team remains behind the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles in the standings, the need to bolster the roster via trade could present itself.

The report from Cafardo states that Dombrowski has been keeping an eye on Boston's minor-league system as opposed to following the major-league team on its last two road trips.

The Red Sox - who have shipped out top prospects Yoan Moncada, Anderson Espinoza, and Michael Kopech under Dombrowski's lead - still boast some good assets in their farm system, including Rafael Devers - who could end up earning a promotion by year's end - and Jay Groome.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:41 am
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Just over a week after Curt Schilling dismissed Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones' claims that he received racist taunts in Boston, calling them "bullshit," the former Red Sox pitcher maintained that position Tuesday.

Following an interview with Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Jones briefly responded to Schilling, saying "he's never experienced what I have," and added that Schilling has "never been black, and he’s never played the outfield in Boston."

It didn't take long for Schilling to chime in for the second time.

"If he wants to maintain the lie he made here, that’s fine. No one denies racism exists, but when people like him lie about an incident and others just take him at his word, it perpetuates a mythical level of racism," Schilling said through text, according to Alex Reimer of WEEI.

"And for some reason, it appears blacks believe only blacks can talk about racism and only whites can be racists. I promise you if some scumbag yelled the N-word at Adam Jones in Fenway, it would have been on Twitter, Facebook and every other social media site asap, like every other 'incident.' Not to mention the liberal Boston media would have broken its neck to identify the racist. But just taking him at his word means there are a bunch of white cowards and racists living here, because no one stood up to the guy.

"Adam has an agenda and one needs to only look at his past commentary on race and racism to see it. But see, when you question fake hate crimes in this day and age it somehow makes you a racist. If you use this use every word or none at all."

Since the controversial incident in Fenway Park, the Red Sox have acted accordingly, permanently banning the suspected fan from the ballpark.

Jones received a standing ovation in his first at-bat following the taunts and was offered support from Mookie Betts, Red Sox manager John Farrell, and team owner John Henry, who met with Jones afterward.

The Orioles will return to Fenway Park on Aug. 25.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:41 am
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lobo316



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Adam Jones is not shy when it comes to speaking his mind, and he's certainly not going to be meek when confronted with racist epithets.

At the beginning of May, the Orioles outfielder was the target of racist taunts and peanuts being hurled from the stands at Fenway Park in Boston. It sparked a number of takes and talking points, including one where former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he thought Jones made the whole thing up.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, Jones spoke about Schilling and how the former pitcher can't accurately speak for Jones or other black players, or their experiences.

"Schilling is over there with his rants. He just wants an outlet. Somebody will take his call, take his rants. He can keep them for himself," Jones said. "Because he’s never experienced anything like I have. I’ll stick with what (Mark) McLemore said about it: Schilling, hell of a career. But he’s never been black, and he’s never played the outfield in Boston."


Jones spends much of the interview contextualizing his experiences both as a baseball player and as a young man growing up in California. One thing he had to slowly get used to was the fact that his experience out West wasn't necessarily mirrored throughout the rest of the country.

And he's not going to back down from speaking his mind.

"I’m not afraid of the backlash, because it’s the truth. It’s my truth through my eyes. We all have our own truths. How we were raised – that’s our truth. Growing up in San Diego, or California in general, it’s a very liberal state. I grew up with blacks, whites, Mexicans, Filipinos. Everything was diverse. My class wasn’t predominately anything. Playing sports, it was diverse. My neighborhood was diverse.

"The worst thing is when people say, 'I don’t see color.' I think that’s the dumbest thing. Unless you’re colorblind, you see color. You may choose not to think of the other things that come with color, but you see color. At the ballpark in San Diego, you see the diversity. LA, Arizona, San Francisco, both Texas teams. You just see so much diversity. Growing up like that, I always assumed the rest of the United States, the rest of the world, was like that."

Jones adds that singling out Boston for racist attitudes and actions is a cop-out and ignores the struggles everywhere else.

The whole interview is a wide-ranging, nuanced discussion about Jones and his perspectives, and the things he's learned playing the game and traveling coast to coast for 14 years.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:43 am
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As any competitor would be, R.A. Dickey wasn't happy with how his tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays ended - ultimately being left off the postseason roster after the team acquired Francisco Liriano at the trade deadline.

The disappointing end to his fourth season in Toronto fueled Dickey's desire to put off retirement and sign a one-year, $8-million deal with the Atlanta Braves. He said that while he wasn't thrilled with the final few months of his Blue Jays tenure, Dickey maintained an impressive level of professionalism.

"I would probably have responded differently earlier in my career, I probably would have been more externally upset," Dickey said, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi. "But I’ve grown from that place into a place where in the twilight of my career the only singular focus I have is how can I win a championship. When that’s what you care for, it’s easy to lay down ego and embrace what’s best for the team.

"Now, if I thought I was better than the guys they picked, then I probably would have went into John Gibbons’ office or Mark Shapiro’s or Ross Aktins’ and said as much. But those (other pitchers) deserved to be there – that’s who I wanted out there. When it’s like that, it’s easy to not emote as much as you might otherwise."

While the 42-year-old did ponder retirement, he didn't want his career to end on a sour note.

"From a personal standpoint, I was a competitor and I wanted to play and I felt like if I were to leave the game at that point, it wouldn’t really be on my terms. This is another opportunity to do what I know I’m capable of when someone gives me the ball every fifth day and gets out of the way."

In seven starts with the Braves this year, Dickey has posted a 4.22 ERA with 18 walks and 22 strikeouts.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:44 am
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Joe Maddon celebrates his 1,000 managerial win with a glass of red wine at his post game press conference. #Cubs pic.twitter.com/bJ4lsmUxxP

— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) May 17, 2017
It took Joe Maddon 1,871 games to reach his 1,000th win as a major-league manager and you better believe the Chicago Cubs skipper celebrated with a glass of wine.

"It is actually something called the Big Smooth," Maddon said when asked what he was drinking. "Coach Lester Strode gave us a bottle for the plane ride, brought it in, and it's actually really good. It is the big smooth. It's got this velvet label on it and I guess they can't keep it on the shelves."

Maddon became the eighth active manager to accumulate 1,000 victories when his side beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-5 on Tuesday, joining Bruce Bochy, Dusty Baker, Mike Scioscia, Terry Francona, Clint Hurdle, Ned Yost, and Buck Showalter.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:45 am
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The surging Houston Astros, owners of baseball's best record through the first six-plus weeks of 2017, already appear to have set their sights on potentially critical midsummer upgrades.

Houston is reportedly intrigued by a pair of Pittsburgh Pirates hurlers, in right-handed starter Gerrit Cole and southpaw relief ace Tony Watson, sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Wednesday.

What's unknown is whether the Pirates will become sellers ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, but if their mediocre 16-23 start - hastened by a 3-7 drought over their last 10 contests - continues, it could very well push them into sell mode by midseason.

It's likely the Pirates would demand a high return for Cole, as he's under team control through the 2020 season. Houston owns an excellent farm system with multiple top prospects, which could potentially help the team form a winning offer when - and if - the time comes.

Still, the Pirates haven't appeared anxious to trade their 26-year-old ace, at least publicly. After a report suggesting Cole was drawing interest from the New York Yankees surfaced last week, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington insisted he has no plans to shop Cole this summer, even if he's forced to sell other pieces.

"Our expectation is that Gerrit is going to be a Pirate for a while," Huntington told DK Pittsburgh Sports on May 7.

The Astros have long been searching for an All-Star-caliber arm to pair with former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel at the top of their rotation, and Cole certainly appears to fit that bill on paper. Over his first eight starts of 2017, Cole owns a 3.06 ERA and a career-best 50.4 percent ground-ball rate, while striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings - a number that's much closer to his career norms following an injury-riddled 2016 campaign.

Watson, a free agent this winter, has been a valuable member of the Pirates' bullpen for the last seven seasons, and took over the closer's duties last year. The 31-year-old owns a 1.62 ERA, eight saves, and 13 strikeouts to seven walks in 16 2/3 innings so far this season.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:46 am
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A legend is coming home.

The San Francisco Giants announced Wednesday that Barry Bonds will be enshrined on the team's Wall of Fame at AT&T Park on July 8 before a game against the visiting Miami Marlins. Bonds spent 2016 as the Marlins' hitting coach.

While the Giants' have honored luminaries such as Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Bonds' father Bobby Bonds, and Bonds' teammate/nemesis Jeff Kent, they've also immortalized Shawn Estes and Marvin Bernard.

According to a Giants press release, to qualify for induction a player must spend at least nine seasons with the club, or five if they received an All-Star selection. For the record, Bonds made 12 All-Star games with the team.

Bonds is currently the most noticeable absence on the Wall, having played 15 of his 22 seasons with the Giants, while posting an incredible .312/.477/.666 slash line and walloping 586 of his 762 home runs. No one in MLB history has hit more homers.

It's not the Hall of Fame, but it's a start.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:48 am
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Jose Altuve is an extra-base machine.

The diminutive Houston Astros star had a historic afternoon at the plate Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park. Altuve couldn't be stopped by any Miami Marlins pitchers, as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two triples in the Astros' 3-0 matinee victory.

Altuve's performance is just the 14th two-double, two-triple game in the major leagues since 1913; the list of players to have pulled this feat off before Altuve includes four Hall of Famers, two of whom did it twice (Heinie Manush and Harry Hooper). Strangely, Altuve's only the fifth player to have managed the feat in a major-league game since 1961 - the first year of expansion in the major leagues - and the first in over a decade.

Altuve is also the only player in baseball history to record two doubles and two triples in a game without scoring a run.

The 27-year-old won his second career batting title in 2016 and is gunning for a fourth consecutive 200-hit season. He recorded 71 extra-base hits last year and now has 14 in 2017.

Wednesday's performance bumped Altuve's 2017 slash line to .311/.386/.510.

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 Posted: Thu May 18th, 2017 01:49 am
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PITTSBURGH - Tests on tissue removed from Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon last week confirmed he is dealing with testicular cancer.

Pirates trainer Todd Tomczyk said Wednesday that Taillon will be re-evaluated next week before deciding the next course of treatment.

The 25-year-old Taillon discovered an abnormality after going on the disabled list May 6. He had tissue surgically removed on May 8.

Taillon, who is 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in six starts for the Pirates, has been cleared to play catch and do light cardio but remains out indefinitely pending the outcome of further test results.

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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 01:21 am
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The Detroit Tigers will be without their star slugger after he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 oblique strain, but it won't hold Miguel Cabrera out for long, as Brad Ausmus announced Wednesday that it would only sideline him for 2-3 days.

Cabrera was a late scratch from the Tiger's lineup card prior to the team's evening matchup against the Baltimore Orioles after suffering from a sore left side.

After undergoing tests though, Miggy's diagnosis is a relatively optimistic one, and means the Tigers will not be have to stash the 11-time All-Star on the disabled list.

Cabrera has been off to an uncharacteristically slow start to the 2017 campaign, slashing just .248/.342/.400 over his first 28 games. Playing through this injury may explain some of that - depending, of course, on when he originally sustained the injury.

Over Cabrera's 15 years in the majors, the future Hall of Famer has been named MVP of his league twice and posted an OPS+ of 154.

The Tigers wrap up a three-game set with the Orioles on Thursday before playing host to the Texas Rangers for a weekend series. At the latest, Cabrera should be expected to factor into the following series, when the Tigers visit the Houston Astros early next week.

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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 01:25 am
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Major League Baseball is investigating an exchange between Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar and Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game in which it's alleged Pillar used a homophobic slur, a league spokesperson told Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star.

Motte struck out Pillar on a quick pitch to end the seventh inning and began walking off the mound when the center fielder proceeded to yell at him from the plate. PiIlar appeared to be upset with the fact Motte had deployed the quick pitch.

Following the exchange - which resulted in the benches clearing - it was suggested on social media that Pillar used a homophobic slur.

So are we just going to pretend that @KPILLAR4 didn't initiate all this by yelling a gay slur? Better step up on this one, @MLB. pic.twitter.com/8bB3xijtCu

— Dr. B (@BlakeTheRxGuy) May 18, 2017
Pillar was not asked directly what he said, though he was apologetic for his actions postgame.

"It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for," Pillar told reporters. "It’s part of the game, it's just, I'm a competitive guy and heat of the moment. ... Obviously, something to learn from, something to move on from."

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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 01:26 am
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Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar issued an apology Thursday afternoon in response to directing a homophobic slur towards Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game.

"Last night, following my at-bat in the seventh inning, I used inappropriate language towards Braves pitcher Jason Motte," Pillar said in a statement. "By doing so I had just helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today. I'm completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the fans, my teammates and the Blue Jays organization in this position.

"I have apologized to Jason Motte, but also need to apologize to the Braves organization and their fans, and most importantly, to the LGBTQ community for the lack of respect I displayed last night. This is not who I am and will use this as opportunity to better myself."

Motte struck out Pillar on a quick pitch to end the seventh inning and began walking off the mound when the center fielder proceeded to yell at him from the plate. PiIlar appeared to be upset with the fact Motte had deployed the quick pitch.

Major League Baseball is currently investigating the incident and could issue a suspension to Pillar.

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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 01:27 am
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The Toronto Blue Jays issued a statement Thursday expressing their disappointment as an organization with outfielder Kevin Pillar after he directed a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game.

"The Toronto Blue Jays are extremely disappointed by the comments made by Kevin Pillar following his at-bat during the seventh inning of last night's game," the statement read. "In no way is this kind of behavior accepted or tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we strive to be. We would like to extend our own apologies to all fans, Major League Baseball, and especially the LGBTQ community.

"We know Kevin to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field."

Pillar used the slur after he became upset over what he thought was a quick pitch from Motte.

Shortly before the Blue Jays' statement was released, Pillar issued his own apology via his Twitter account, stating he is "utterly embarrassed" at having used the slur and that he plans to "use this as opportunity to better myself."

Pillar and Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins - who traveled to Atlanta earlier in the day - will speak on the matter later Thursday, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 01:29 am
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The Atlanta Braves will be without their most valuable player for at least the next two months.

Freddie Freeman suffered a non-displaced left wrist fracture after being hit by a 94-mph fastball from Toronto Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup during Wednesday's game and is expected to miss about 10 weeks, the team announced Thursday.

Freeman needs to wear a cast for four weeks, but is not expected to require surgery.

It's a major blow to the Braves, who have won five of their last six games. Freeman was hitting .341/.461/.748 with 14 home runs, 11 doubles, and 25 RBIs, and ranks third in the majors with 2.6 WAR behind Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.

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