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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Baseball

Mike Trout’s dugout drink has ‘Space Jam’ reference

Mike Trout secret stuff

The name of Mike Trout’s drink of choice in the dugout is a nod to a popular animated movie starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny.

During Saturday’s 4-3 win by the Los Angeles Angels over the San Francisco Giants, Trout hit his eighth home run of the season in the third inning. After getting back to the dugout, Trout was shown on the broadcast drinking from a bottle that had the words “Michael’s Secret Stuff” wrapped on the side.

Trout was also spotted with the “secret stuff” earlier this month.

Those who are familiar with the movie “Space Jam” will surely remember the locker room scene where Bugs Bunny drank from a blue water bottle that also had the words “Michael’s Secret Stuff” on it.

Trout is off to an excellent start to this season. He hit a 2-run home run on Sunday, giving him an MLB-best nine dingers on the season. Perhaps Shohei Ohtani has been sipping some of Trout’s drink because his exploits at the plate recently had him moved up to the cleanup spot on Mike Scioscia’s lineup card.

Kris Bryant leaves game after being hit in head by pitch

Kris Bryant exited Sunday’s game after a pitch struck his batting helmet.

During the first inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies, a pitch from German Marquez hit the head of the Cubs star.

Chicago manager Joe Maddon and members of the training staff immediately came out to check on Bryant, who was obviously shaken up. Bryant was removed from the game and replaced by David Bote.

Bryant has blossomed into one of baseball’s biggest stars. He is a two-time All-Star and won the National League MVP in 2016. In 18 games this season, Bryant is hitting .319 with two home runs and 11 RBI.

Shohei Ohtani will make next start despite blister issue

Shohei Ohtani

Los Angeles Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani will make his next start despite a blister issue that has been plaguing him.

The Angels announced Sunday that Ohtani will start Tuesday on schedule against the Houston Astros despite concern over a blister that severely hindered him in his last outing against the Boston Red Sox.

Ohtani was knocked around by the Red Sox in his last outing and left early, but he has said that things are coming along well since. Hopefully he’ll be back to full strength, because a matchup with a very talented Astros team is a very intriguing one.

Mark Teixeira has funny reaction to Yankees giving Gleyber Torres his number

Mark Teixeira closed out his illustrious career in 2016, his final season with the New York Yankees, but he still plays attention to the team.

When the Yankees opted to give top prospect Gleyber Torres Teixeira’s old No. 25, the former first baseman didn’t mind. In fact, if Torres plays well, he sees a huge benefit for himself personally.

That’s the great advantage of playing for the Yankees — their famous jerseys don’t feature names on the back, so Teixeira really will be able to pretend if Torres proves a huge success. It’s good to see the former first baseman has mellowed a bit in retirement.

Kenley Jansen declares ‘I’m good now’ after solid outing

Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen is working to regain the form that has made him one of the best closers in baseball for the past several seasons, and his performance on Saturday night indicated he may be on his way to doing just that.

Jansen came on in a non-save situation in the ninth inning of an eventual 4-0 win over the Washington Nationals, and he allowed no hits and one walk. More importantly, the right-hander hit 96 mph on the radar gun after previously hovering in the low 90s.

“I’m good now,” Jansen told reporters after the game, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “Maybe the season starts for me. Seriously, I just continue and focus and stay on it. This game teaches you, sometimes you can get in bad habits so quick. I never stop believing in myself, no matter the outcome.”

The solid inning lowered Jansen’s ERA to 7.04 on the season. He has already blown two saves after blowing just one all of last season, and it seems like the Dodgers’ plan to limit his reps in spring training to preserve him for the long haul may have backfired.

Despite the struggles early on, manager Dave Roberts has stuck with the 30-year-old. Roberts has been dismissive of Jansen’s velocity issues and touched on what he believed could be the issue, so perhaps the problem has been fixed. Another strong performance with fastballs in the mid to upper 90s would do wonders for Jansen’s confidence.

Andrew Benintendi thinks umpires blew call to help no-hitter

Sean Manaea Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi was not happy about the umpires overturning a call during Saturday night’s Boston Red Sox-Oakland A’s game that helped Sean Manaea achieve his no-hitter.

Benintendi was batting with two outs in the top of the sixth inning when he grounded a ball to first base. Oakland’s Matt Olson fielded it and tried to reach out to tag Benintendi but missed him, which put Benintendi on first for Boston’s first hit of the game. The A’s challenged the play because they thought Benintendi was out of the base path, and the umpires agreed upon review. They overturned the call from a hit and ruled that Benintendi was out of the base path.

After the game, Benintendi called it a “missed call” by the umpires. The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham adds that Benintendi felt the umpires were trying to help Manaea to keep the no-hitter intact.

Umpire crew chief Brian Gorman defended the call, noting the rule says that if a runner goes more than three feet out of the path, the runner should be out.

Though Benintendi was understandably steamed over the call, at least one of his teammates was more magnanimous. Hanley Ramirez tipped his cap to Manaea with a tweet.

On top of the Benintendi play, there was a ball in the fifth inning that was ruled an error that Manaea thought was a hit. He said after the game that he didn’t even know he had a no-hitter until the eighth as a result.

The controversial calls didn’t stop Twitter from reacting positively to Manaea’s outing. No matter how you slice it, shutting out the best team in MLB is impressive.

Sean Manaea benefits from controversial call during no-hitter

Sean Manaea Andrew Benintendi

Sean Manaea threw the first no-hitter of the 2018 MLB season, and he got some help from the umpires on a controversial call in order to achieve the milestone.

With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi hit a slow grounder to first. Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson fielded it and reached out to tag Benintendi, who veered away from the base line in order to avoid the tag.

Benintendi avoided the tag and was initially given a hit, but the A’s challenged the call. The umpires overturned the initial call and ruled that Benintendi was out of the base path.

The rule states that if a runner goes more than three feet to avoid a tag, the runner is out.

Benintendi said after the game he thought the umpires missed the call.

With the help of the call, Manaea was through six hitless innings. He then recorded nine more outs to complete the no-hitter, finishing with just two walks allowed and 10 strikeouts in the 3-0 win. It was quite a feat by Manaea, even if he benefited from a call. And it didn’t stop folks on Twitter from gushing about it.

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