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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Baseball

Kenta Maeda moving to bullpen for Dodgers

Kenta Maeda Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are moving starting pitcher Kenta Maeda to the bullpen.

Maeda started and pitched three innings in the Dodgers’ 5-4 win over the Phillies Thursday. After the game, the Dodgers made it official that Maeda will move to the bullpen.

Maeda has been solid this season. He is 12-6 with a 4.21 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. But he has been pushed down in the rotation ever since Yu Darvish was acquired.

LA is likely to use Clayton Kershaw, Darvish, Rich Hill and Alex Wood as their postseason starters. Moving Maeda to the pen where they can still get some use out of him makes the most sense.

Bryce Harper could return for Nationals next week

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper continues to get closer to a return to action for the Washington Nationals.

Harper began doing some light running last week and was seen taking batting practice over the weekend. He shagged some fly balls in the outfield during batting practice on Thursday, according to MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

Zuckerman also says Harper will travel with the team to New York and will hit on the field Saturday.

Based on what Zuckerman is saying, it sounds like Harper could be back early next week. The Nats have a three-game series with the Mets that begins on Friday night. After that they have three games in Philly.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo said last week that the team was optimistic about Harper being ready for the playoffs, which begin in around two weeks.

Harper has not played since injuring his knee on Aug. 12.

Report: Orioles not planning to shop Manny Machado this offseason

Manny Machado

The Baltimore Orioles are not panicking ahead of Manny Machado’s impending free agency in a little over a year.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported on Thursday that the Orioles do not plan to shop the All-Star third baseman this offseason. However, the team and owner Peter Angelos are undecided if they will make another big attempt to extend Machado and a trade at next year’s deadline may still be a possibility.

Machado, 25, is hitting .264 in 2017 with 32 homers, 92 RBIs, and his usual elite defense at the hot corner as he further solidifies himself as one of the MLB’s brightest young talents and easily the best asset on the Orioles roster.

Some already don’t believe the O’s can keep Machado, and with his presumed price tag (Heyman adds it could take at least $200 million for Baltimore to extend him), that may be a decent bet. We heard recently that ponying up that kind of money for the two-time Gold Glover could be a problem for the O’s, but at least they have some time to figure everything out.

Todd Frazier, Yankees embracing thumbs down symbol

The New York Yankees have adopted a new rallying cry for the stretch run of the regular season, and to say it came from an unexpected source would be an understatement.

During the Yankees’ Sept. 11 game against the Tampa Bay Rays, which was played at Citi Field due to scheduling changes caused by Hurricane Irma, a New York Mets fan who was attending the game went viral for holding up a prominent “thumbs down” gesture after Todd Frazier belted a three-run homer.

Since the fan — whom the New York Daily News identified as 54-year-old Gary Dunaier — flashed the thumbs down, the Yankees have gone 8-2. They must think Dunaier brought them good luck, because they’ve fully embraced the thumbs down movement.

The team even had custom thumbs down shirts made.

Frazier told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that the idea for him to adopt the thumbs down came from rookie Aaron Judge.

“Judge actually brought it up to me, saying, maybe I should do it during the game,” Frazier explained. “I said, ‘All right, I’m going to do it.’ I told the [Rays] first baseman [Logan] Morrison, ‘This is not directed towards you guys, tell your pitchers I’m not trying to show anybody up.'”

The best part about the entire story is that Dunaier despises the Yankees. He’s a Mets season ticket holder.

“I meant it as derision and they’re taking it as a positive thing,” Dunaier told the Daily News. “That’s funny. It’s hilarious. What else can you say, you know?”

If the Yankees end up winning the World Series, they should do everything they can to try and convert Dunaier to the dark side.

Raul Mondesi sentenced to prison for corruption as mayor in Dominican Republic

Raul Mondesi

Former Los Angeles Dodgers star Raul Mondesi has been sentenced to prison for corruption while serving as a mayor in the Dominican Republic.

Mondesi was elected mayor of his hometown, San Cristobal, in 2010 for a six-year term. He was placed under six months of house arrest in February for his role in an embezzlement scandal that saw 300 million pesos embezzled during his term.

Mondesi and others involved in the scandal received their sentence on Wednesday. Mondesi was sentenced to eight years in prison and was fined 60 million pesos.

Mondesi, 46, played in MLB from 1993-2005, most notably playing for the Dodgers from ’93-’99. During his time with the team he won NL Rookie of the Year, was named to an All-Star team, and won two Gold Gloves.

Young girl hit by Todd Frazier foul ball ‘doing okay’

Todd Frazier foul

A young girl who was hit by a Todd Frazier foul ball during Wednesday’s New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins game is said to be doing okay.

Frazier was batting in the bottom of the fifth inning and ripped a 94-mph fastball into foul territory along the third base line. The ball hit a young girl:

As seen in the video, multiple players were shaken by the incident and even began tearing up on the field. The good news is Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the game he was told the young girl is “doing okay.”

Many Yankees players had their thoughts with the girl after the game and wished her well.

John Farrell may use David Price as temporary closer

David Price

The Boston Red Sox are willing to trust David Price out of the bullpen in pretty big situations.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday that, with Craig Kimbrel and Addison Reed unavailable due to high usage, Price could serve as the team’s closer on a fill-in basis.

Recurring elbow issues have relegated Price to bullpen duty for the remainder of the season as well as the playoffs. He made his first relief appearance on Sunday, where he pitched two scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out two. Price obviously won’t be the regular closer, but Farrell’s willingness to use him in the role as needed may be an indication that Boston will not hesitate to put Price in high-leverage spots during their playoff run.

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