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#pounditThursday, March 4, 2021

Baseball

Ex-MLB star Johnny Damon arrested for DUI, resisting arrest

Johnny Damon

Former MLB star Johnny Damon was arrested early Friday morning on multiple charges, one of which was driving while under the influence.

According to a TMZ, Damon was arrested in Windermere, Fla., during a traffic stop. Police pulled Damon over and suspected he was under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol content registered at “greater than or equal to .20,” which is more than twice the legal limit of .08.

It does not sound like Damon was all that cooperative with police. In addition to being charged with driving while under the influence, he has also been charged with resisting arrest without violence. He was taken to a local police station and spent time in a holding cell.

Damon, 47, played in the majors from 1995-2012. He won World Series titles with both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. The two-time All-Star had a lengthy and successful career that he says ended because of his refusal to cheat.

Zach Britton doesn’t back down from comments about Domingo German

Domingo German

Zach Britton made it clear this week that he is not thrilled about the New York Yankees welcoming back Domingo German after an 81-game suspension, and the veteran reliever stood by his remarks when a fan went after him on Twitter.

German did not play last season after he was suspended 81 games for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. The starting pitcher has since returned to the Yankees, and Britton was asked about that on Thursday. Britton said you “don’t get to control who your teammates are” and that he disagrees with what German did.

German allegedly slapped his girlfriend during an argument in a public setting back in September 2019. Someone on Twitter told Britton he should stop worrying about German, and the left-hander did not back down.

The return of German has put Yankees players in an awkward spot, but Britton chose to speak honestly about the topic. You can’t fault him for that, especially given that the suspension was for domestic violence.

German, 28, went 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 2019. He hinted at retirement in a social media post last year but quickly changed his mind.

Video: Endy Chavez hilariously recreates 2006 catch in the snow

Endy Chavez catch

Former MLB outfielder Endy Chavez went viral on Thursday night for a great video he posted on his Instagram account.

Chavez, who played 13 seasons in MLB, made a great catch in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS between his New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals. His catch helped keep the game tied 1-1.

The Mets eventually lost the game 3-1 on a Yadier Molina 2-run home run in the 9th, but that catch by Chavez was a great one.

Now 43 and out of baseball since after the 2014 season, Chavez decided to recreate his catch in the snow. He says he did so in response to a challenge from his kids.

Take a look:

That was tremendous.

The Cardinals went on to beat the Tigers in the World Series that year, though Chavez did his best to prevent St. Louis from advancing. And all these years later, he’s still having fun with the catch, even in the snow.

JT Realmuto out possibly a month with broken thumb

JT Realmuto

JT Realmuto’s 2021 season is not getting off to the best start.

Realmuto has a small fracture in his right thumb, Phillies manager Joe Girardi shared on Thursday. Realmuto’s thumb will be immobilized for two weeks, but Philadelphia hopes he will be ready by Opening Day.

Realmuto was the top free agent catcher on the market this offseason, but the Phillies re-signed him to a five-year, $115.5 million contract. Realmuto is deferring money this season to help the Phillies with cash flow.

The Phillies acquired the 29-year-old catcher in a trade with the Marlins before the 2019 season. He was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019 and has a career .783 OPS.

Athletic commission investigating Jose Canseco fight

Dave Portnoy

Jose Canseco has been accused of taking a dive in a pay-per-view fight that was hosted by Barstool Sports earlier this month, and West Virginia officials are looking into what exactly happened.

Canseco headlined the “Rough ‘N Rowdy” event with his fight against Bill Football, who is one of the characters on the popular “Pardon My Take” podcast. The bout lasted about 10 seconds, with Canseco going down for seemingly no reason. The former MLB star later saying he was trying to fight with a significant shoulder injury.

The chairman of the West Virginia state commission told PlayMichigan that the Canseco fight is being investigated. He also said the commission has not committed to sanctioning any future “Rough ‘N Rowdy” events.

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy publicly accused Canseco of taking a dive. Portnoy also shared the details of the pay structure for the fight and said he was furious with how Canseco handled it. Canseco fired back by calling Portnoy a “liar & greasy salesman.”

This could be the last time we see Canseco taking part in a sanctioned fight. He also once no-showed a fight event and sent his brother in his place, so most people weren’t surprised by what happened at “Rough ‘N Rowdy.”

Tim Tebow retires from baseball right in time for Urban Meyer Jaguars rumors

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow on Wednesday announced that he has retired from professional baseball. His announcement comes right before players are scheduled to report to training camp. But the announcement also syncs up nicely with something else of note.

Tebow has become available for other employment opportunities right as Urban Meyer begins his NFL coaching career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tebow played for Meyer at Florida, and the two won two national championships together. They have similar religious values and remain close. A few years ago, Meyer even watched Tebow in one of his baseball games.

There are no rumors about Tebow joining the Jaguars, and Egotastic Sports joked to us on Twitter that the rumor needs to be started. We’re not starting a rumor, but we are looking at possibilities.

Would it surprise anyone if Meyer wanted the former quarterback involved in some capacity? Whether it’s doing some motivational work, prayer work, or even helping with coaching, we could easily envision Meyer finding a role for Tebow. That might even create some goodwill, which Meyer could use after his last hiring disaster.

Photo: Sports Spectrum/Wikimedia via CC-BY-SA 4.0

Fernando Tatis Jr. gets massive $340 million contract extension from Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr

Fernando Tatis Jr. is getting big-time money.

Tatis and the San Diego Padres have agreed to a long-term contract extension. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin, who first reported the news, says the contract is for 14 years and worth $340 million guaranteed.

Tatis is only 22 and just completed his second season in MLB, albeit a shortened one. Despite his youth and limited experience, he has already proven he is a star player.

As a rookie in 2019, Tatis batted .317/.379/.590 with a .969 OPS in 84 games. The young shortstop had a .937 OPS with 17 home runs in 59 games in 2020.

The Padres had the second-best record in the National League last year behind the Dodgers. They lost to the Dodgers in the NLDS as well.

San Diego is emerging as a contender. Tatis and Manny Machado anchor the left side of the infield and the middle of the offense. They are buttressed by veterans Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham.

The Padres long had interest in locking up Tatis for the long term and have executed on that desire. Being able to keep a franchise cornerstone like Tatis is a big deal.

Tim Tebow retires from professional baseball

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow’s professional baseball career has come to a close.

Tebow was invited to the New York Mets’ spring training this year, but he won’t be joining the team there. The Mets on Wednesday announced Tebow had retired.

“I want to thank the Mets, Mr. Alderson, the fans and all my teammates for the chance to be a part of such a great organization,” Tebow said in a statement shared by the team. “I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions. I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100 percent in on whatever I choose. Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time as a Met.”

Tebow, 33, began his pro baseball career in 2017 at the Single-A level. Despite not playing since high school, he batted .220/.311/.336 with a .647 OPS in his first season. He performed admirably in his second full season, batting .273/.336/.399 with a .735 OPS in his second season in pro ball, which was at Double-A.

Tebow was pushed up to Triple-A in 2019 and seemed to hit his ceiling, as he batted .163 in 77 games at that level. The pandemic railroaded his career, as there were no minor leagues last year, hurting his development.

Tebow is probably now ready to find a new pursuit for his life. He finishes his minor-league career with a .223 batting average, .637 OPS and 18 career home runs.

This news probably isn’t surprising for anyone who read his comments in November.

Photo: Sports Spectrum/Wikimedia via CC-BY-SA 4.0

Tony La Russa had one condition before accepting White Sox manager job

Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa surprised many by accepting the Chicago White Sox manager job during the offseason, but there was one major issue that had to be addressed before he did.

La Russa admitted that he likely would not have accepted the position if it had cost him his position as a Hall of Famer. He even reached out to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to confirm that his status as an inductee would not be revoked if he returned to managing.

“If this opportunity, as great as it is, cost me the Hall of Fame, I wouldn’t have taken it,” La Russa told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “The Hall of Fame is beyond everything else.”

Hall of Fame president Tim Mead confirmed to La Russa that no inductees were excluded from returning to the game, which helped prompt him to accept the job.

While the rules are what they are, La Russa’s return did not go over well with some of those who had elected him. Ultimately, there’s nothing they can do about it now — La Russa’s enshrinement is permanent, no matter how his Chicago tenure goes.

Shohei Ohtani will not have any limits as pitcher this season?

Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani might finally be able to show this season everything he can do as a two-way player.

Ohtani has been with the Los Angeles Angels since 2018, but he has only made 12 pitching starts in his career. That’s a surprise and disappointment considering he was projected to be a stronger pitcher than hitter in MLB.

The 26-year-old injured his arm in his first season, did not pitch at all in 2019 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and he hurt his elbow last season.

“Right now, I’m hearing full-go,” Maddon said of Ohtani when speaking with reporters on Tuesday. “The reports I’ve been getting are really good, honestly really good.”

Maddon, who is entering his second season as the Angels’ manager, says he doesn’t want to place any limits on Ohtani. The Japanese two-way player previously was limited to making one pitching start a week and DHing only 3-4 games per week.

Ohtani has been stunningly good as a hitter, batting .269/.340/.503 with an .843 OPS in his three seasons. He has often been the team’s best hitter after Mike Trout. If he can actually contribute on the mound the way he seems capable, he can be incredibly valuable to the Angels.