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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 02:30 am
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lobo316
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It appears the Atlanta Braves aren't going to waste any time replacing the injured Freddie Freeman.

With the team in need of a replacement for Freeman after he fractured his left wrist Wednesday, the club has signed veteran James Loney, reports Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.

Loney, 33, entered spring camp with the Texas Rangers, but was released at the end of March after hitting just .174/.224/.261. He caught on with the Detroit Tigers on April 12, but was released May 7.

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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 02:30 am
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lobo316
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Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins announced Thursday that the team has suspended outfielder Kevin Pillar two games for uttering a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during Wednesday's game at SunTrust Park.

Atkins told reporters in Atlanta that the decision was made in consultation with the MLB Players' Association and commissioner Rob Manfred. Per Sportsnet's Hazel Mae, there will be no further discipline against Pillar from the commissioner's office.

Pillar's lost salary will be donated to LGBTQ causes, though details have yet to be worked out, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Pillar directed the slur at Motte in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game after believing he had been quick-pitched. The incident briefly caused the benches to clear.

The 28-year-old admitted to using the slur after the game, and issued an official apology to the Blue Jays, Braves, Motte, and the LGBTQ community Thursday afternoon, prior to the announcement of his suspension. He accepted his suspension and apologized again in a press conference Thursday afternoon.

"Hopefully people will learn from this ... there's no place for this language on field, at home, in (the) clubhouse, with your friends," Pillar said, according to Faizal Khamisa of Sportsnet.

"I have the ability to be made an example of, and I'm willing to accept that."


In their own statement released earlier Thursday, the Blue Jays said the organization was "extremely disappointed" in Pillar.

Toronto called up 24-year-old outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. to take Pillar's spot on the roster.

This isn't the first time the Blue Jays organization has suspended a player for on-field homophobic actions. In 2012, shortstop Yunel Escobar was handed a three-game ban by the club after he wrote a homophobic message on his eye black during a game.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 01:51 am
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lobo316
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The Los Angeles Angels reportedly added some much-needed rotation help Thursday, agreeing to terms with veteran right-hander Doug Fister on a major-league deal, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Though his salary and spot on the 40-man roster are guaranteed, Fister has agreed to be optioned to the minors to prepare.

Fister, who turned 33 in February, reportedly drew interest from several clubs this winter, but didn't find any offers to his liking after stumbling to a career-worst 4.64 ERA (84 ERA+) over 32 starts for the Houston Astros in 2016. Last week, following an early-May showcase for four interested teams, Fister was said to be close to signing with a National League club, but he will instead provide help to an Angels rotation sorely lacking in depth amid injuries to Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, and Nick Tropeano.

Beset by health problems, the Angels' rotation owns the fifth-worst ERA in the American League (4.04) six weeks into the 2017 campaign, having surrendering more home runs per nine innings (1.47) than all but two other clubs.

Fister enjoyed a resurgence in velocity last year after averaging just 86.89 mph with his four-seamer in 2015, but hasn't managed more than 1.1 WAR in a season since 2014, when he authored a career-best 2.41 ERA with a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate in 25 starts for the Washington Nationals.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 01:52 am
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lobo316
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NEW YORK - Under Armour will take over from Majestic Athletic as the supplier of Major League Baseball uniforms in 2019, a year earlier than previously scheduled.

Fanatics Inc. and MLB announced an agreement in December that gave the company licensing rights to manufacture and distribute merchandise starting in 2020. Fanatics signed a deal last month to buy VF Corp.'s Licensed Sports Group and with it the 600-worker Majestic Athletic plant in Easton, Pennsylvania, where team jerseys and fan apparel are manufactured.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that fan merchandise from Under Armour will be available next year and that Under Armour will be used for dugout clothing during the 2018 postseason. The full switch to Under Armour for on-field apparel will take place for the 2019 season.

Majestic has manufactured MLB batting practice jerseys since 1982 and has been the exclusive supplier of game uniforms since 2005. Before that, uniforms were manufactured by both Majestic and Russell.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 01:54 am
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lobo316
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Just your casual 5 home runs in 6 days from @MikeTrout. pic.twitter.com/KTrHhS895T

— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2017
Another day, another Mike Trout story demonstrating his greatness.

After his four-game home-run streak was snapped Tuesday, the 25-year-old star got right back at it, hitting his fifth long ball in six games in Wednesday's matchup with the Chicago White Sox.

It was his 13th home run on the year and pushed Trout's RBI total to 30. Last year on the same date, Trout had eight home runs (.308/.396/.541) and 27 RBIs. He would go on to win his second MVP award.

This season, he's hitting .344/.453/.748 in the same number of games.

Not bad, kid.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 01:57 am
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lobo316
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NEW YORK - The two groups bidding to buy the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria are relatively even in their price offers, according to Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads one group, which includes former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who would head the team's baseball operations. The other group is led by businessman Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and includes Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.

''There are two bidders, at least, for the franchise. The bidders are in relatively the same place in terms of price, maybe minuscule differences, and they are in fact in the price range that Mr. Loria was looking for,'' Manfred said Thursday following a quarterly owners meeting.

Loria, 76, bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, who was part of the group that bought the Boston Red Sox.

The groups are bidding to buy the Marlins for approximately $1.3 billion, which would include the assumption of about $100 million in baseball-related debt. More than $200 million in other debt associated with the team would be paid by Loria as part of the closing.

''The process is moving forward. It's really between the Marlins and the bidders,'' Manfred said. ''At this point, two things need to happen. There needs to be a solidified financial structure presented to us so that we're sure that we actually have a transaction that can move ahead, and there are certain documents, the most important of which are a purchase and sale agreement that need to be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. And we'll be ready to process the transaction when those two things are completed.''

Under baseball's debt-service rule, a deal in the range being discussed would require about $800 million in equity. Groups have to show additional money has been raised to operate the team.

A sale requires approval of 75 percent of the teams.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 01:58 am
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lobo316
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Se lesionó hombro izquierdo pegando un jonrón #Ceciliani #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/ElDPfjGE0d

— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) May 19, 2017
Darrell Ceciliani's day was going so well until he hit that home run.

Thrust into the cleanup spot Thursday for the Toronto Blue Jays after Kevin Pillar landed a two-game suspension, Ceciliani - appearing in his third game of 2017 - wasted no time vindicating manager John Gibbons, stroking a first-inning, run-scoring double in the series finale against the Atlanta Braves.

Two innings later, the 26-year-old outdid himself, launching a two-run bomb off right-hander Julio Teheran, but - in fitting fashion, considering how things have gone for the Blue Jays this season - injured himself in the process, and lumbered around the bases favoring his left shoulder.

He didn't return to the game after his home run, getting replaced in the outfield in the bottom of third by Dwight Smith Jr. Ceciliani was later diagnosed with a possible left shoulder subluxation, the team announced, and he will be re-evaluated Friday in Baltimore.

Oof.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 01:59 am
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NEW YORK - Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred remains hopeful the sport can play regular-season games in Europe for the first time in 2019.

Major League Baseball had hoped to have European games in 2018, possibly between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at London's Olympic Stadium, but decided there was not enough time to get plans in place.

'It's something we'd really like to do in 2019,'' Manfred said Thursday following a quarterly owners' meeting. ''I can't tell you we are going to do it. I can't give you a percentage, but we do think it's time, whether it's 2019 or shortly thereafter, that we play in Europe.''

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 02:00 am
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lobo316
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The Toronto Blue Jays have hit some pretty unforgettable home runs in the past few seasons, from Jose Bautista's iconic blast in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to Edwin Encarnacion's walk-off moonshot in last year's wild-card game.

It's possible, however, that neither of those bombs will be bandied about in the Blue Jays' clubhouse as much as Marcus Stroman's legendary solo shot Thursday night in Cobb County.

Speaking with reporters following his club's 9-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park, Bautista suggested the diminutive right-hander won't soon let his teammates forget about his opposite-field home run off Julio Teheran in the fourth inning - the first homer of his big-league career.

"I'm sure we'll hear about it for a very long time," Bautista said, according to Sportsnet's Hazel Mae.

With his improbable blast, a 370-foot shot that came moments after a Luke Maile round-tripper, Stroman became just the second pitcher in Blue Jays history to go yard, joining left-hander Mark Hendrickson, who launched a solo shot off Sun-Woo Kim in an 8-5 loss to the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium on June 21, 2003. He is also the first Blue Jays pitcher ever to record multiple extra-base hits in a season.

"I've never hit an oppo homer in BP in my life," Stroman told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. "It's just something that I ran into and just out there competing."

Stroman, who stroked a pinch-hit double in a wild, extra-inning affair against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, went hitless in his other two plate appearances Thursday, but now owns a gaudy .500/.500/1.500 line (445 wRC+) through four plate appearances this year and boasts more home runs than six qualified hitters.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 02:01 am
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lobo316
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The Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox could hook up with the Chicago White Sox for another major deal before the non-waiver trade deadline hits at the end of July.

Both Washington and Boston reportedly had their top talent evaluators watching Jose Quintana and several other players recently, according to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is plenty familiar with both the Red Sox and Nationals, trading Chris Sale and Adam Eaton to the clubs, respectively, for a pair of packages that included top-level prospects Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech.

Washington is in desperate need for help at the back end of the bullpen and has been linked to White Sox closer David Robertson dating back to the winter. The right-hander owns a 3.21 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 13 appearances and has converted five of six save opportunities. He's owed $12 million this season and $13 million in 2018 before becoming a free agent.

The Red Sox need help in several areas, including third base and in the rotation, though they might not have the assets required to land Quintana. The White Sox's asking price is believed to be extremely high and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has traded most of the club's top prospects away in the last two years.

Dombrowski could, however, make a play to land third baseman Todd Frazier. The 31-year-old is hitting .198/.289/.369 with four home runs and seven doubles this season and could be used alongside Pablo Sandoval when he returns from injury. While Frazier's numbers are down to start the year, he hit 75 homers the last two seasons and is a free agent at the end of the season. The Red Sox have used six different third basemen in 2017 and rank 29th in the majors with a .586 OPS at the position.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 02:02 am
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lobo316
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Tebow Time isn't over.

Though talk regarding Tim Tebow, perhaps America's most famous minor leaguer at the moment, may have seemed to die down, the former NFL quarterback is still drawing quite the crowd for the New York Mets' Single-A affiliate.

Compared to this time last season, the Columbia Fireflies' attendance has increased by more than 30 percent, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell. That impact is comparable to when NBA legend Michael Jordan played for the Double-A Birmingham Barons in 1994.

The Fireflies aren't the only minor-league side benefiting from Tebow's presence. The Lakewood BlueClaws, whom the Fireflies played in a four-game set this past weekend, saw nearly twice as many fans as usual show up to watch Tebow on Saturday - 8,180, as compared to their average attendance of 4,848.

Tebow's such a draw on the road that Columbia's opponents in the South Atlantic League stand to make an additional $3.1 million if he stays in the SAL for the whole season, Baseball America's J.J. Cooper calculated.

"He's a celebrity, and he's a brand," Jim McNamara, BlueClaws director of ticket sales, told Rovell. "People from all walks of life know who he is. He markets himself to sports fans, families, and has a religious following. Plus, the casual fan into pop culture is interested in him."

The 29-year-old is slashing .221/.307/.327 in 113 at-bats this season, good enough to get the Mets to reportedly discuss a minor-league promotion, though it apparently wouldn't happen until after the All-Star break.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 02:07 am
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The Toronto Blue Jays are reaching into their minor-league system for help, promoting No. 3 prospect Anthony Alford to the major-league roster.

He won't have to wait long for his first taste of the big leagues, either, as the outfielder will start in left field for Toronto on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles.

Alford starts in left. Ceciliani to DL #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/3FKcknQ2RB

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) May 19, 2017
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons initially didn't show his hand regarding a potential call-up for Alford, though he did tell MLB Network Radio earlier Friday that he would "love to see" the 22-year-old soon.

Alford, who's ranked No. 62 in the top 100 prospects league-wide, could provide a boost to a Blue Jays lineup ravaged by injuries. In 33 games for Double-A New Hampshire, he's slashing .325/.411/.455 with three home runs and nine stolen bases (10 attempts).

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 02:14 am
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lobo316
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Adam Jones wants his 3-year-old son to hear what happened from him.
The Baltimore Orioles center fielder, who was subjected to racist remarks at Fenway Park during a game on May 2 against the Boston Red Sox, penned a piece for The Players' Tribune published Friday describing the event as well as his previous encounters with racism.
Jones asks "How am I supposed to talk to my son about what happened?" as he anticipates his son looking up the incident in 10 years and finding the coverage confusing. Jones continues:
Maybe he’ll read about how some people didn’t even believe that it really happened.
Maybe he’ll read about how the fans at Fenway gave his dad a standing ovation the next night.
Maybe he’ll read about what happened right before that standing ovation, when a Red Sox fan was ejected for using a racial slur toward the Kenyan woman who sang the national anthem.
What is he going to make of all that? Deep down, are people good? Are they bad? How should he see the world?
Jones discussed the same topics in a video for the publication:






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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 02:15 am
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lobo316
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Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is defending his outfielder after the club suspended Kevin Pillar two games for directing a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte on Wednesday.

"Kevin felt terrible. That's not him at all, it really isn't," Gibbons said Friday on MLB Network Radio. "I sure hope that doesn't define who he is."

After striking out in the seventh inning Wednesday, Pillar addressed the slur to Motte, believing the reliever had quick-pitched him. Motte, who was on his way to the dugout after retiring the side, turned back toward Pillar, leading the Blue Jays' and Braves' benches to clear.

Pillar later issued a statement in which he apologized to the LGBTQ community for using the derogatory term before the suspension, then apologized again at a press conference Thursday.

"Hopefully people will learn from this ... there's no place for this language on field, at home, in (the) clubhouse, with your friends," Pillar told reporters Thursday, adding, "I have the ability to be made an example of, and I'm willing to accept that."

He will serve the second half of his two-game ban Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.

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 Posted: Sat May 20th, 2017 02:16 am
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If the Tampa Bay Rays intend to be sellers, Alex Cobb may be on the block.

The Rays, who currently sit 5 1/2 games back of first place in the AL East, are reportedly determining the pitcher's trade value by calling teams, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Cobb, who's set to become a free agent after this season, has been one of the most consistent pieces of Tampa Bay's rotation in 2017. In nine starts, the 29-year-old is pitching to a 3.67 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across 56 1/3 innings.

The 29-year-old was sidelined for the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and made his major-league return in September 2016, pitching five innings in a no-decision against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays went on to win that contest 8-3.

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