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 Posted: Fri Sep 22nd, 2017 08:49 pm
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lobo316
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Jose Bautista's time with the Toronto Blue Jays will be remembered for many things. On Thursday, he reached a milestone that fans might prefer to forget.

The 36-year-old slugger struck out to end the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals. It was the 160th time this season that he's been sat down on strikes, which just so happens to be a new franchise record.

Dubious distinction for Joey Bats. pic.twitter.com/P34RGaO5ev

— Jays Journal (@JaysJournal) September 22, 2017
Bautista tied former Blue Jays Jose Canseco (1998) and Kelly Johnson (2012) when he struck out twice against the Royals on Tuesday.

The season has not been among Bautista's more memorable campaigns, and his strikeout rate has ballooned to heights it hasn't touched in his tenure north of the border - 24.7 percent. It's the first time since 2009 that his K rate has surpassed 20 percent.

He's been having a dreadful season since the All-Star break, batting .164/.257/.332 with only eight home runs. Over that period, he's struck out 26.4 percent of the time as his walk rate shrinks.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 22nd, 2017 08:50 pm
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lobo316
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Another two clubs are prioritizing fan safety at their ballparks in 2018.

Following Wednesday's incident at Yankee Stadium when a 2-year-old girl was hit in the face by a foul ball, the Cincinnati Reds announced they will extend the netting behind home plate to the ends of both dugouts in order to better protect fans.

Later Thursday, the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners followed suit, announcing plans to install additional safety netting for next season at Petco Park and Safeco Field, respectively.

Statement from the Padres regarding the installment of additional netting for 2018: pic.twitter.com/t0AFwYhYUD

— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 22, 2017
In an effort to better protect our fans, we will be extending the netting at @SafecoField.



— Mariners (@Mariners) September 21, 2017
The Colorado Rockies announced they have been in contact with vendors regarding extended netting, though the club did not confirm Coors Field would have the added safety precautions for 2018.

Following the incident in New York, commissioner Rob Manfred stated he planned to "redouble efforts" regarding additional safety netting in all 30 ballparks in Major League Baseball.

Last edited on Fri Sep 22nd, 2017 09:01 pm by lobo316

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 Posted: Fri Sep 22nd, 2017 09:01 pm
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lobo316
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The Cincinnati Reds locked up their starting catcher Friday, signing Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract with a club option for the 2022 season.

The deal, which includes a $1.75-million signing bonus and $500,000 buyout, is worth $16 million.

Barnhart will earn $4 million next year, $2.5 million in 2019, $3.5 million in 2020, and $3.75 million in 2021, with the club option being worth $7.5 million. A press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.

"Tucker has made us proud on the field with his play and off the field with his community involvement," general manager and president of baseball operations Dick Williams said in a statement.

"He worked his way up through our system, improving every step of the way, and has established himself as an elite defensive catcher and a productive offensive player. Switch-hitting catchers who can impact the game defensively are tough to find."

In 113 games this season, Barnhart has hit .272/.349/.399 and combined to a career-high 1.9 WAR. He's been one of baseball's best defensive catchers in 2017. Entering Friday, he has performed to 22 defensive runs saved and thrown out 31 would-be baserunners.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 22nd, 2017 09:03 pm
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lobo316
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In what could be the last home start of his career, Atlanta Braves veteran starter R.A. Dickey pitched eight strong innings Thursday against the division-leading Washington Nationals, pacing his team to victory.

After the game, the soon-to-be 43-year-old touched on his future, and while he didn't come out and say he's retiring, an emotional Dickey admitted it's weighed on his mind.

"I'd be lying to say I didn’t have some emotions about it. This could be my last start ever at a home venue. But we're going to make that decision at the end of the season and see how I feel and what goes on there," Dickey said, according to Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra.

"If I did not continue to play, it would be because our family decided it wasn’t the best thing. I’ve dragged my kids all over the world playing baseball for 21 years. You know, there comes a time they deserve their dad to be around."

Dickey has an $8-million team option for next year. If he decides to return for a 16th season, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Braves exercise it.

Despite his age, the knuckleballer has pitched well for the rebuilding squad in 2017. From mid-June to late August, the right-hander was by far the club's best starter, with a 2.58 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 13 starts.

On the year, he has a 4.32 ERA with 132 strikeouts, 1.39 WHIP, and 1.5 WAR in 30 starts.

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 Posted: Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 01:26 am
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Brad Ausmus' time in the Motor City is winding down.

The Detroit Tigers officially announced Friday that the club will not extend the 48-year-old's contract beyond 2017 following another disappointing campaign. A number of the team's best players were traded during the season, including Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, and Justin Upton.

Ausmus, who will finish the season with the Tigers, said he understood the team's decision.

"We didn't win," Ausmus told Katie Strang of The Athletic. "I'm the manager. I'm the leader. I'll shoulder that."

Detroit sits fourth in the American League Central at 62-91.

"As we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it's best we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position," general manager Al Avila said in a press release. "Brad has done an admirable job under, at times, difficult circumstances, especially this season, and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the Tigers the past four years.

"Our search for a new manager is underway. We plan to keep an open mind in considering current members of the coaching staff for positions in 2018, but that will be in conjunction with the manager we hire."

Ausmus joined the Tigers as manager in 2014 and owns a 303-303 record during his time with the franchise.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 03:44 am
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Brad Ausmus was ready to move on.

The Detroit Tigers announced Friday they will not be bringing back the 48-year-old skipper for 2018, ending his managerial tenure with the club after four seasons. But even if Tigers general manager Al Avila decided to extend Ausmus' stay in Detroit, he admitted he likely would have still parted ways with the team.

"I fully understood. And I told (Avila) if he had walked in and offered me a contract, I probably wouldn't have come back," Ausmus said Friday, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. "This team, this organization is starting over and needed a new voice. And sometimes you have to be able to evaluate yourself."

Ausmus also revealed he is willing to take up another managerial job in the majors at some point, according to Beck.

Since taking over in Detroit, the look of the Tigers has changed drastically throughout Ausmus' tenure. However, no season has produced as much key turnover on the club's roster as 2017, where J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander, and Justin Upton were among the names shipped out, appearing to kick-start a rebuild in the Motor City.

First hired in November 2013, the Tigers are the only club Ausmus has ever managed in MLB, though he did also coach Israel's national side during the qualification stage for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Ausmus owns a 312-325 managerial record in his four years with Detroit.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 03:45 am
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Hurricane Maria has laid waste to many areas in Puerto Rico, causing floods and evacuations. Houston Astros designated hitter - and native Puerto Rican - Carlos Beltran, his wife Jessica, and his family are looking to lend a helping hand.

Through crowd-sourcing website Crowdrise, Beltran has pledged $1 million in relief help to a variety of charities.

"My family and I are with you not only in our prayers, but also in our effort to rebuild our beautiful country," he said. "Jessica and I will be donating a million dollars to different charities to rebuild homes, schools and help with the short and long term needs of our people."

The category 5 storm carved a path through many populated areas, and has been declared the fifth-strongest storm to strike the United States. Meteorologist Jeff Weber told Vox.com's Brian Resnick that the devastation has been incredible.

"It was as if a 50- to 60-mile-wide tornado raged across Puerto Rico, like a buzz saw," Weber said. "It’s almost as strong as a hurricane can get in a direct hit."

Beltran is asking for help in his quest to provide aid to his home. They are raising the funds for Fundacion Carlos Beltran, and want to personally make sure the money goes where it will help most, but will have to wait until the influx of water shrinks.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 03:46 am
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Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Steve Pearce will miss the remainder of the season because of lower back stiffness, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.

"I’ve just got to get this thing calmed down," Pearce said. "I’ve been dealing with it for a while and it flared up."

The 34-year-old will receive epidural injections in Florida on Monday to help him address the pain before resting for the remainder of the season.

"It’s a pretty easy procedure, but the hardest thing is you’ve got to rest," he explained. "You’ve got to let this thing heal and start with general exercises - nothing hard out of the gate. Even if you feel like you can, just stay simple for a while."

Pearce hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 8.

During his first season with the Blue Jays, the veteran fashioned a .252/.319/.438 slash line with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs across 348 plate appearances.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:12 am
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TORONTO (AP) A man was detained by stadium security after gaining entry to the New York Yankees clubhouse after Friday's game at Rogers Centre.

While pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was speaking to reporters following New York's 8-1 loss to Toronto, several clubhouse attendants, a Yankees security staffer and players Todd Frazier and Tyler Wade chased the fan out the rear doors of the clubhouse.

The man apparently attempted to steal some towels and a Yankees batting helmet used by the ball boys.

Frazier was upset by the security breach, saying he was concerned the intruder might have a weapon.

''It was real freaky to see somebody in here that you don't know,'' Frazier said. ''You don't know what he's carrying or anything. I'm glad security got him. Hopefully, that won't happen again.''

---

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:15 am
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October baseball is returning to the Bronx.

The New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre to officially clinch a spot in this year's postseason. They are now guaranteed at least a tie for the second American League wild card spot.

It's the Yankees' first playoff berth since 2015, when they dropped the AL wild-card game to Houston, and their 19th October appearance over the past 23 seasons.

New York is now six games up on the Minnesota Twins for the right to host this year's wild-card contest. It would be the second time the new Yankee Stadium has hosted a wild-card game in its brief lifespan.

Despite earning at least a wild-card berth, the Yankees did not gain any ground on the rival Boston Red Sox Saturday afternoon. Boston defeated Cincinnati 5-0 to lower its magic number for clinching a second straight AL East title to five, while the Yankees are still sitting four games back of first place.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:17 am
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lobo316
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In the wake of President Donald Trump rescinding his already-rejected White House invitation to Stephen Curry, CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees echoed the sentiments of the Golden State Warriors point guard.

When prompted with the question of whether he'd visit the White House and Trump in the event of a World Series championship for the Yankees, Sabathia told Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News: "never."

"I just don't believe in anything that is Trump," the 37-year-old left-hander continued before Saturday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. "So there wouldn't be any reason for me to go at all."

Curry, who won his second championship with the Warriors in 2017, had his invitation to the White House taken back by the President over Twitter, due to alleged trepidation. In actuality, no such invitation had even been extended to the team by the administration, Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The two-time MVP expressed that he would vote against going to the White House when he and his team met to discuss the matter.

The Yankees can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday, and would likely sit 12 playoff wins away from a World Series - including the wild card game if the team falls short of usurping the Boston Red Sox for the division.

Whether other Yankees players would join Sabathia by sitting out a potential visit to the White House and Trump is largely conjecture, but counting the veteran pitcher out is a certainty.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:21 am
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The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to have put that early September losing streak well behind them, as the club defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-2 on Friday to clinch its fifth straight NL West division title.

It took a historic effort from Cody Bellinger, who hit his 39th home run of the season to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead and also break the record for most home runs by a rookie in the NL.

With only nine games remaining in the season, Los Angeles also confirmed it will have home-field advantage in the National League Division Series, which begins Oct. 6. The Washington Nationals, who clinched the NL East earlier this month, will own home-field advantage in the other NLDS.

Los Angeles' mark of consistency also places it with some elite company. The Dodgers are now just the sixth club in MLB history to win at least five consecutive division titles, joining the 1971-75 Oakland Athletics, the 1995-2005 Atlanta Braves, the 1995-99 Cleveland Indians, the 1998-2006 New York Yankees, and the 2007-11 Philadelphia Phillies, according to Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe.

The Giants were the last team other than the Dodgers to emerge as NL West champions, doing so in 2012 when they finished eight games ahead of Los Angeles. In 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks took home the title with a 94-68 record.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:23 am
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lobo316
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MIAMI (AP) Jeff Conine - who goes by the nickname Mr. Marlin - is part of the purge of Miami Marlins executives before the sale of the team to Derek Jeter's investment group.

Conine said Saturday he was told he won't be retained. He helped the Marlins win two World Series and has been a special assistant to the president since 2008.

Also being let go are Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, who had the same title as Conine, and former manager Jack McKeon, who has been special assistant to the owner since 2005.

Major League Baseball hopes to hold a special owners' meeting before November to vote on approving the sale of the franchise to the group that includes Jeter and is headed by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman.


Last edited on Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:23 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:24 am
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The Cleveland Indians have started to assemble their starting rotation for the postseason, as manager Terry Francona confirmed Saturday that right-hander Mike Clevinger will move to the bullpen for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.

The Indians are likely to use a 4-man rotation in the postseason, Francona said. It will consist of American League Cy Young contender Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer, with the last spot likely going to one of Josh Tomlin, Ryan Merritt, or Danny Salazar.

Francona added that the club intends to use Clevinger "as a weapon" out of the bullpen. During the Indians' World Series run last season, the 26-year-old pitched 5 2/3 innings as a reliever, combining to a 4.76 ERA with five walks and three strikeouts.

In Clevinger's first full season as a starter in Cleveland, he performed very well down the stretch. In 2017, he's combined to a 3.13 ERA with 58 walks and 133 strikeouts (10.1 K/9) across 24 games (21 starts).

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 Posted: Sun Sep 24th, 2017 04:25 am
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The Atlanta Braves and catcher Kurt Suzuki agreed to a one-year contract extension. While the team wouldn't release financial details, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the deal was worth $3.5 million.

The 33-year-old Suzuki has shared time behind the plate with the Braves, with Tyler Flowers taking the lion's share of the work. Thanks to Suzuki and Flowers, Atlanta has had the best offensive production from the catcher position of any team in baseball.

As a part-time player, Suzuki has enjoyed measurable success in his first season with the Braves, setting career highs in slugging percentage and wRC+. Amid the Braves' rebuild, he represents an inexpensive option behind the plate that could be leveraged into a trade asset.

Flowers has a $4-million team option the Braves are likely to pick up. The 31-year-old has also enjoyed success with the team, setting career highs in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, wRC+, and WAR - all while becoming an elite pitch framer.

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