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Saturday, July 4, 2020


Bryce Harper: Phillies losing JT Realmuto would be ‘terrible’

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper has some strong thoughts on teammate J.T. Realmuto.

Realmuto will be eligible for free agency after the season, and Harper doesn’t want to see the Philadelphia Phillies lose him.

“I think J.T. is a great player,” Harper told reporters on Friday, via the Phillies’ website. “If the Phillies don’t end up signing him back, which would be terrible and sad, I think there’s a lot of other teams out there that are going to want to sign the guy. He’s a Gold Glove-caliber catcher every year, he’s a great person, a great player. I mean, everybody in this organization from the top down wants to see him in red pinstripes for the rest of his career, and hopefully we can make that happen.”

The Phillies acquired Realmuto for three players in a trade last year, knowing that he would only have two seasons until free agency.

Realmuto rewarded the Phillies with a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger season. He batted .275/.328/.493 with an .820. His 25 home runs were a career-high.

Realmuto is a top player at a premium position, so it’s understandable why Harper — who signed a 13-year-deal with Philly — wants the catcher as his teammate long-term.

Dodgers to host 2022 All-Star Game as makeup for this year’s being canceled

Dodgers Dodger Stadium

The 2020 MLB All-Star Game has been canceled, but the league is making things up to the team that was set to host the festivities.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been awarded the 2022 All-Star Game as a makeup. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league wanted to give the Dodgers the next available game.

The 2021 All-Star Game is being hosted by the Atlanta Braves on July 13, 2021 at Truist Park, which is why the next one wasn’t available.

There was also a proposal from the MLB Players Association to hold an All-Star Game after the World Series this year, according to Bill Shaikin, but that did not go through.

Frank Vogel messes with Lakers reporters in funny video clip

Frank Vogel

Frank Vogel showed off a sense of humor in a funny video clip with Los Angeles Lakers reporters on Friday.

The Lakers had workouts on Friday as they prepare for the resumption of the NBA season in Orlando. Vogel, who is in his first season as the team’s head coach, spoke with reporters and had some fun with them. As you can see, he pretended to talk without making any noise, leading them to think there was an audio issue.

“I was just messing with you guys,” Vogel joked. “I was faking the mute. I was faking it.”

Who knew Vogel could have fun like that? Maybe having several months off and the lack of persistent pressure and questions about his team have reduced his stress level and revived the 47-year-old’s soul.

The Lakers were 49-14 when the season went on hiatus, which was the best record in the Western Conference. They are among the favorites to win the championship.

Byron Buxton has not yet reported to Twins camp after birth of second son

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton has not yet reported to Minnesota Twins camp yet, and it’s for a good reason.

The 26-year-old outfielder and his wife welcomed their second son into the world. Buxton shared the news via Instagram on Friday night.

Buxton was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and is entering his sixth season with the Twins.

Buxton only played in 87 games last season due to injuries, including a torn labrum in his shoulder suffered in September. He batted .262/.314/.513 with an .827 OPS last season, marking the best offensive numbers of his career, to go along with 14 stolen bases. An excellent defender known for making great catches, Buxton is slated to be Minnesota’s center fielder this season.

Dodgers’ Justin Turner seems to think MLB’s spitting rule is unrealistic

Justin Turner Dodgers

MLB and the MLB Players Association have agreed upon numerous rules for the 2020 season intended to emphasize player health and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Though well-intended, at least one player seems to think one of the rules is unrealistic.

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Turner shared his thoughts on the rule that players are not allowed to spit, comparing the instinct for a player to spit to blinking.

The new MLB rule says spitting “including but not limited to saliva, sunflower seeds or peanut shells, or tobacco,” is prohibited.

Other issues, like arguing and brawling, are also prohibited.

The intentions of the rules, including the spitting rules, are good, but whether players are able to follow them during games may be a different story.

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Cowboys reportedly pushing back on rumors of David Njoku interest

David Njoku

David Njoku wants out of Cleveland, but one prominent and somewhat tight end-needy team may not be too interested in swinging a move for him.

The 23-year-old requested for a trade from the Browns this week, and some rumors had linked him to the Dallas Cowboys. Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher reported on Friday however that Dallas team sources were pushing back on that suggestion.

Per Fisher:

But the Dallas Cowboys having expressed interest as a “potential suitor” for the 23-year-old Njoku? That much, according to two CowboysSI.com sources inside The Star, is fiction.

“That,” one source told us as the Friday news broke, “sounds like an agent creation.”

Added a second source: “Nope. No interest.”

Njoku, a Drew Rosenhaus client, was limited to just four games for the Browns in 2019 due to injury. While he is under contract for the next two seasons, Njoku may have been looking at a further reduced role in Cleveland, especially after the signing of fellow tight end Austin Hooper this offseason.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, saw Jason Witten sign with the Las Vegas Raiders in March, and their current tight end duo of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz is largely underwhelming in the passing game. Still, the team could be looking to make a trade upgrade on the other side of the ball instead of chasing Njoku.

Anthony Rizzo says he has lost 25 pounds this offseason

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo is one of the more intimidating sluggers in baseball, but he may be less physically so this season.

The Chicago Cubs first baseman told reporters on Friday that he has lost 25 pounds this offseason, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Rizzo had been working diligently on a training program with Cubs coach Mike Napoli.

Rizzo was listed last season at 240 pounds, putting him in the weight range of hefty fellow hitters like Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, and Pete Alonso. In any case, he still led the Cubs in batting average, OPS, and RBIs in 2019.

The former All-Star will have a new role for Chicago this year under rookie manager David Ross, and Rizzo is clearly prepping his body accordingly.

Gordon Hayward still having issues with his foot despite lengthy hiatus

Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward suffered his career-altering foot injury nearly three full years ago, but it still appears to be giving him problems after all this time.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, the Boston Celtics swingman said that the troublesome left foot was still bothering him despite the long layoff.

“I wish that I had an answer to why it is a little sore,” said Hayward, per Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com. “I think a lot of it relates to just the injury that I had. I’ve been training pretty much this whole time. Not full go obviously, since I haven’t had a court the whole time, but I have been trying to stay fit.

“I’ve been resting but at the same time not resting,” the former All-Star added. “Kind of like a maintenance type thing. Everything is definitely a lot better, there is no doubt about that. For sure, I’m feeling great, it’s just the foot still is a little sore. It is what it is.”

Hayward, 30, was having his best year since the injury, averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. But he missed 19 of Boston’s 64 games and managed soreness in the foot (plus other worrisome issues) all season.

While Hayward does have a $34.2 million player option for next season that he is widely expected to pick up, the Celtics may have to monitor his workload in Orlando closely, especially with the heightened risk of injury for all players.

Cleveland Indians giving consideration to changing team nickname

Cleveland Indians logo

The Cleveland Indians are joining the Washington Redskins in evaluating their team nickname.

The Indians announced on Friday that they are going to talk with their stakeholders and community about the possibility of changing their nickname.

The Indians originated in 1894 as the Grand Rapids Rustlers of the Western League. They became the “Naps” from 1903-1914 for one of their players, Nap Lajoie. Following Lajoie’s departure from the team, the team’s owner asked baseball writers to suggest a new nickname. They suggested the “Indians,” which, according to a history on the team’s website, “was a revival of the nickname that fans gave to the Cleveland Spiders while Louis Sockalexis, a Native American, was playing for the team.”

There have been some calls for the Indians (and Atlanta Braves) to change their nickname and logo over possible stereotypes over the last 20-plus years. The team announced in 2018 that they would no longer be using the “Chief Wahoo” logo. In 2014, they began using instead go with their block “C” on their primary uniforms.

Over the years, the franchise has had the following nicknames:
Grand Rapids Rustlers (1894–1899)
Cleveland Lake Shores (1900)
Cleveland Bluebirds (1901)
Cleveland Broncos (1902)
Cleveland Naps (1903–1914)
Cleveland Indians (1915–present)

Clayton Kershaw: Players cannot be ‘stupid’

Clayton Kershaw

MLB’s attempt to play a shortened season this year got off to an encouraging start based on the relatively small number of positive COVID-19 tests among its players and staff. Despite the encouraging numbers, Clayton Kershaw has a warning for his fellow players.

The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher said on Friday that players “can’t be stupid” when it comes to putting themselves in situations that would expose them to the virus.

MLB is attempting to play a 60-game regular season, followed by a postseason. They have changed rules and expanded rosters to account for the likely need to replace players who test positive for the virus as the season progresses.

The goal is to avoid any players/staff contracting the virus, and in the cases where some do get the virus, to avoid an outbreak. The Dodgers will be one of the teams with high expectations of being able to dominate the season. Their 106-56 record last season was the best in the NL.