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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Stories by Larry Brown:

Braves rip ‘gutless’ Jose Ureña for hitting Acuña

Jose Urena

Members of the Atlanta Braves were furious with Jose Ureña for hitting phenom Ronald Acuña with his first pitch of the game on Wednesday.

Acuña entered the game between Miami and Atlanta having homered in five straight games, including three in a row to lead off the game. Ureña decided a fourth straight homer wasn’t going to happen on his watch, so he drilled Acuña with a fastball in the elbow.

After the game, which the Braves won 5-2, Atlanta had some words for Ureña. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman called Ureña “gutless.”

Braves manager Brian Snitker said it was “totally uncalled for.”

Ureña and Snitker were ejected from the game.

The Braves did share some positive news after the game, saying that X-rays on Acuna’s elbow were negative.

The hope is that the 20-year-old, who has a .922 OPS on the season, will not have to miss much time. Another positive is that his home run streak is still alive.

X-rays on Matt Carpenter’s hand negative after HBP

St. Louis Cardinals fans are breathing a sigh of relief.

Matt Carpenter left Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. Though seeing your hottest hitter get nailed is never good, the positive is that the X-rays came back negative.

Carpenter was 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored. He’s been on fire lately and nearly raised his season OPS to 1.000. He hit eight homers during a six-game stretch last month. He also has seven homers since Aug. 3.

The Cardinals entered play on Wednesday on a seven-game winning streak. They are 11-2 so far in August.

Merril Hoge’s son distances himself from father’s criticism of BYU coaches

Merril Hoge

Merril Hoge’s son is distancing himself from his father’s criticism of the BYU coaching staff.

Hoge, a former NFL running back and ESPN analyst, joined BYU Sports Nation for an interview Wednesday in which he talked about his son’s role on the Cougars. Beau Hoge is a junior at BYU and made a big position switch this year from quarterback to running back.

In the interview, Merril called the position change “dumb” and said his son told him he wasn’t a fan of the change either.

Merril said that when his son called him about the change, his reaction was, “Well that’s stupid. I thought [Beau] was messing with me.

“When he called me up he said, ‘I didn’t come here to play running back; I want to play quarterback.’ He went and talked to them and that fell on deaf ears. It’s kind of disturbing. They put him off for so long, they wouldn’t even talk to him. I just think it’s weird that you’d do that,” Merril told BYU Sports Nation.

Merril thinks that the move is a “waste of talent.”

“They’ll claim that they’re maximizing talent but I’ll claim it’s a waste of talent. I don’t think it’s a smart move. And I don’t even know why the linebackers coach is even a part of the evaluation.”

Merril was upset that Ed Lamb, the linebackers coach and an assistant coach, seems to be behind the move. Hoge suspects that Lamb was trying to help out quarterback recruit Joe Critchlow by having Beau move positions.

“This is as bizarre and smelly as anything I’ve ever seen,” said Hoge. “They’ve said a lot of things and lived up to nothing.”

Merril also says that BYU didn’t give his son the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback position this year.

After Merril’s comments made headlines, Beau decided to address things by distancing himself from his dad in a statement on Twitter:

Beau said he was “at peace” with the position move and wants to help the team. He also says he didn’t share all his feelings with his dad, which suggests he’s now fine with the move.

Beau has completed 29 of 56 passes for 394 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in six career games. He was 3-for-10 for 51 yards in a game at Fresno State last year.

Here is Merril’s interview:

TCU loses star DT Ross Blacklock for the season

TCU logo

TCU has already lost one of its top defensive players for the season.

Defensive tackle Ross Blacklock is out for the season after suffering an injury on Tuesday. 247 Sports first reported the news and says the injury happened on a non-contact play. Bruce Feldman says Blacklock suffered an Achilles injury.

Blacklock has 6.5 tackles for a loss as a freshman last season and two sacks. The 6-foot-4, 326-pounder was expected to be a big part of the team’s defense this year.

TCU opens up the season against Southern on Sept. 1.

Watch: Marlins pitcher ejected after hitting Ronald Acuna with first pitch

Marlins Braves fight

Well, the Miami Marlins figured out one way to make sure Ronald Acuna doesn’t hit a leadoff home run against them.

Pitcher Jose Urena hit Acuna with his first of the game, leading to benches clearing between the Marlins and Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

The umpires convened to discuss matters and decided to eject both Urena and Braves manager Brian Snitker.

That was the right move since it was so obvious the Marlins intentionally hit Acuna. Acuna had homered in five straight games, seven of eight, and was looking to lead off a game with a homer for the fourth straight game. The Marlins made sure that didn’t happen again.

Report: Kobe Bryant’s stake in BodyArmor drink now worth $200 million

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant continues to rack up the wins even in retirement.

Bryant is a minority owner of the sports drink company BodyArmor. According to ESPN, Kobe bought about a 10 percent stake in the company in March, 2014. He reportedly has invested about $6 million in the company overall.

His investment reaped huge benefits after Coca-Cola on Tuesday announced that it had purchased a minority stake in the company. Based on the company’s new valuation, Bryant’s ownership stake in BodyArmor is said to be around $200 million, ESPN reports.

Based on those figures, Bryant saw an astronomical 3,300 percent return on investment.

Basketball-Reference estimates Bryant’s career earnings as an NBA player at just under $330 million. He obviously made a ton more in endorsement deals as well, but his fruitful investment in BodyArmor has lifted his wealth to another level. Oh, and let’s also not forget that Kobe has won an Oscar since retiring, too.

He’s doing quite well since hanging up the shoes.

Alabama has plans to renovate Bryant-Denny Stadium

Alabama field logo

The University of Alabama has plans to renovate some of its athletic facilities, including the football team’s home, Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The Tuscaloosa News says the athletic department will announce the longterm facilities plan on Thursday, with the plans subject to approval from the board of trustees.

Improvements to Bryant-Denny Stadium will include a new video board and extra luxury boxes. The plan would reduce the stadium seating capacity by what they say is a small percentage.

The campus basketball and softball homes, Coleman Coliseum and Rhoads Stadium, are also expected to be impacted by the plan.

Bama reducing the capacity at Bryant-Denny Stadium would follow a recent trend of college football stadium renovations that have done the same.

Yankees GM: Aaron Judge may take longer than 3 weeks to return

Aaron Judge

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman says that the initial 3-week timetable for Aaron Judge’s return was optimistic and that the outfielder may need longer than that.

Cashman was on New York Radio station WFAN Wednesday and said that Judge had a cortisone shot in his wrist. That led Yankees reporter Marc Carig to term the 3-week timetable as “wildly optimistic.”

Judge has been able to do outfield drills and run, but he is unsure when he will be able to swing a bat again.

The 26-year-old was injured after being hit by a pitch on July 26. Judge is batting .285 with a .947 OPS. Neil Walker and Shane Robinson have been seeing most of the time in the outfield with Judge out.

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