Pietersen signs for Melbourne Stars - Former England captain Kevin Pietersen agrees a two-year deal to play Twenty20 cricket for the Melbourne Stars. Pitch invaders take Balotelli selfie - AC Milan's ex-Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli poses for a selfie with fans during the English club's 5-1 friendly win. Thomas extends Team Sky contract - Britain's Geraint Thomas signs a new two-year contract with Team sky after considering deals with other teams. Parents' joy as 13-year-old wins bronze - Injured Rafael leaves Man Utd tour - Manchester United defender Rafael returns to England from the club's pre-season tour for treatment on a groin injury. Women's Team Sky possible - Brailsford - Mercedes will rethink orders - Wolff - Mercedes will rethink their race strategy after another Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle at the Hungarian Grand Prix. First-place Dodgers complete sweep of Giants (Yahoo Sports) - Carl Crawford hit an RBI triple to back Hyun-Jin Ryu's third straight victory, and the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers completed a sweep of the San Francisco Giants with a 4-3 victory Sunday night. Ryu (12-5) moved within two wins of his rookie total last year and improved to 4-1 in five outings at AT&T Park, where in one dominant weekend the Dodgers made quite a statement to take over the NL West's top spot. In his Giants debut, Jake Peavy threw a pair of wild pitches in the fifth as the Dodgers went ahead on Hanley Ramirez's RBI single ahead of Crawford's triple to the corner in deep right field. Matt Kemp singled twice and the Dodgers leave the Bay Area with a 1 1/2-game division lead after outscoring the Giants 17-4. Vikings give Kyle Rudolph 5-year extension (Yahoo Sports) - Kyle Rudolph hasn't put up the biggest numbers over the first three years of his career, which is due as much to the Minnesota Vikings' revolving door at quarterback as anything else. The Vikings have known all along what they have in Rudolph, a big, field-stretching tight end who can be a difference-maker in the right offense with the right quarterback. Rudolph signed a five-year contract extension with the Vikings on Sunday night, a sign that the team has big plans for Rudolph in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offense. ''I'm very excited to get this extension done with Kyle,'' Vikings GM Rick Spielman said. Atlanta's Paul Millsap added to Team USA roster (Yahoo Sports) - LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap was added to Team USA's roster for the training camp that opens Monday in Las Vegas.

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Greg Maddux jokes about lighting farts on fire during Hall of Fame speech [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 28, 2014, 4:01 am]
Your browser does not support iframes. Greg Maddux sometimes was referred to as "The Professor" on the mound because of the academic-looking way he went about shutting down lineups. He also tended to be dry when giving interviews. Conservative. There was a personality in there, he just didn't let it out frequently. So to speak. Lest the world continue to be ignorant of his complete nature, Maddux tried cracking a flatulence joke during his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday afternoon. It didn't go over great, as jokes go, but it's still funny because it's Greg Maddux trying to be mildly shocking to a relatively staid crowd of perhaps 48,000 at Cooperstown. Here it is: My brother, Mike, led by example. Everything I was about to do on and off the field, he had already done. I was very fortunate to have a brother that I could learn from. He even taught me a little bit about science. It has to do with a little methane and a lighter, and I still get a huge kick out of it today. (Laughter.) That's funny, huh? OK. What a gas! As you can tell from the video, Maddux botches a word or two in the delivery, the kind of mistake that can ruin even funny jokes. But he had earned too much goodwill from the audience to have former manager Bobby Cox give him the hook by the sixth paragraph of his speech. Overall, Maddux's speech was sound. Quick (10 minutes) and efficient, wasting little — just like his best complete games. More MLB coverage at Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter! Follow @AnswerDave  

Joe Torre regrets George Steinbrenner omission from Hall of Fame speech [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 28, 2014, 12:57 am]
"I might as well cut to the chase. I'm here because of the New York Yankees." That's one of the first things Joe Torre said Sunday afternoon during his induction speech at baseball's Hall of Fame. Torre spoke for roughly 28 minutes, yet he came away regretting not focusing more on George Steinbrenner and the opportunity the Yankees gave him to manage starting in 1996. Torre obviously talked about the Yankees in his speech, and he did mention Steinbrenner; he just didn't talk about him, he felt, enough. At NJ.com, Torre was quoted as saying he was "very upset" at himself for not mentioning Steinbrenner and his family more. After finishing, Torre stepped away from the podium and immediately realized he left out a part of his speech. “As soon as I turned around, I said, 'I forgot George.' Not only George, but Hal and the family and the whole thing." Torre also forgot to mention Gene Monahan, a Yankees trainer from 1973-2009. Not thanking Steinbrenner directly really bothers him. “You don't get accepted without George's acceptance, you know?” Torre said. “It was just so obvious for me (to talk about him) because I was so concerned about all my family to make sure I didn’t forget anybody.” Torre is being too hard on himself — as is anyone criticizing him. It's not Steinbrenner's moment, it's not the Yankees' moment — it's Torre's. This is a story Torre told of being hired by the Yankees before the 1996 season: I got a call from Gene Michael, who was stepping down as general manager ... and he offered me the job. [My wife] Ali was pregnant ... and I asked, "Is there vacation time?" They said, "No, not working for George." So, I said, "Thank you, but maybe next time." Then I got a call from a dear friend [and Steinbrenner advisor] Arthur Richman about a month or so later: "Do you want to go on a short list of managers to replace Buck Showalter?" I said, "You bet." Then the call comes from George Steinbrener, who says, "You're my man." Well, I k

Troy Tulowitzki takes in Yankees game in New York [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 8:14 pm]
Let the speculation begin. Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki — yes, he's still with the Rockies — is currently on the disabled list nursing a thigh injury. but he was still turning heads on Sunday afternoon. Not on the field, of course, but for making a rather curious appearance at Yankee Stadium to watch New York take on the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays. Troy Tulowitzki at the Yankees game today in an Arrested Development shirt (original was deleted) pic.twitter.com/lBwZNrCseb— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) July 27, 2014 On Saturday, the Denver Post reported that Tulowitzki was headed to Philadelphia to visit with Dr. William Meyers, a surgeon who specializes in sports injuries. That explains why he's on the east coast. But the fact that he made time to visit New York, and, more specifically, Yankee Stadium, is notable.  Naturally, just the sight of an active major league player attending another game while his current team plays in another city had people buzzing. It also had them fantasizing about what could soon be a reality — Troy Tulowitzki in Yankees' pinstripes. We already know of Tulowitzki's interest in playing in New York and being the man who follows his boyhood hero, Derek Jeter, Yankees shortstop. Could he be cementing that sentiment with his appearance at Yankee Stadium? Is a direct shot at the Rockies for flubbing his name on a giveaway jersey Saturday night? Or is it as simple as watching Jeter play one final time at Yankee Stadium? Here's what Tulowitzki told the Denver Post on Sunday: “It’s a short drive from Philly. I’m with my family. I wanted to see (Derek) Jeter play one more time.”  Simple enough.  Of course, Yahoo's Jeff Passan also has a theory.  Put it this way: Tulo showing up at a Yankees game the day after the Rockies gave out 15,000 shirts with his name misspelled is no accident.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2014 Rockies know Tulowitzki wants out. Club can't be happy he's on DL at another tea

Astros players upset about Mark Appel's promotion, special bullpen session [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 6:52 pm]
In one of the stranger baseball stories we've heard this season, several Houston Astros players have anonymously expressed displeasure to the media over the fact that Mark Appel, the No. 1 overeall pick in 2013 draft, was promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi on Saturday despite posting a 9.74 ERA and 1.92 WHIP in 44 1/3 innings at High-A Lancaster. Apparently, there's also some discontent over Appel being in the clubhouse on Sunday morning after he was invited to Minute Maid Park to throw a bullpen session in front of Astros coaches and front office personnel. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of Ultmate Astros provided more details on Twitter.  Mark Appel was brought into the clubhouse early, leaving long before most of the players arrived. A few saw him, though.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) July 27, 2014 "It's (expletive) unbelievable," an Astros player just said out of the blue about Mark Appel being allowed throw a bullpen.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) July 27, 2014 Let's just put it this way, folks, the fact that Appel was brought here has upset more than a few players.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) July 27, 2014 In a sport that prides itself on having guys pay dues, the Astros didn't help perception in clubhouse that Appel is being babied.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) July 27, 2014 Another player just approached me to complain about Appel's promotion and bullpen session. Multiple expletives were dropped. Not good.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) July 27, 2014 The first thought is: What's the big deal? The second thought is: No, really, what's the big deal? Though it may seem like the Astros are in some ways giving Appel preferntial treatment, it has to be understood that the circumstances surrounding Appel are unusual because it's rare that a top pick struggles this much, this soon. The Astros obviously want to do what's best for Appel's development. By letting him throw in front their coaches and front office personnel, perhaps they can

Derek Jeter and the Angels have almost perfected the 'silent treatment' [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 5:28 pm]
Lost in the craziness that has been Major League Baseball this weekend was a monumental occurrence for New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Well, monumental relative to his recent production anyway. The 40-year-old veteran actually entered play on Friday homerless in his first 244 plate appearances this season and 324 overall. But that changed during his third inning at-bat against Toronto Blue Jays starter Mark Buerhle. On a 1-1 pitch, Ichiro got on the board, lining a three-run homer to the short porch in right field to give New York its first lead and decisive blow in a 6-4 victory. A big moment and meaningful hit that worked the Yankee Stadium crowd into frenzy. However, the best reaction in the house belonged to Derek Jeter, who feigned a stunned look and then gave Ichiro the silent treatment upon his entry the dugout, only to bust out a huge smile. So very well played, Mr. Jeter. It goes to show that the old guys don't just pick on the rookies, although that's always entertaining too. Just check out how Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and the other Los Angeles Angels greeted Efren Navarro following his first career home run on Saturday night. Off Justin Verlander no less. Your browser does not support iframes. That one looked planned out, although someone forgot to give Jered Weaver the memo. Either way, thumbs up to Hank Conger. He absolutely nailed the completely disinterested and unimpressed look. On the other side, Jeter's was obviously spontaneous, which makes it all the better. As does the fact he's targeting another future Hall of Famer. Of course, Jeter could get away with doing that to anyone anyway, but that was a rare moment where his lighter side shined through during a game. Very cool. Priceless even. As for the home run hitters, there once was a time when many contended that Ichiro could hit home runs any time he put his mind to it. Those days are long gone now, of course, but that looked like the swing we grew accustomed to watching. Perhaps t

Watch MLB Network's Hall of Fame introductory video [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 4:01 pm]
Your browser does not support iframes. The day has finally arrived. The star-studded class of 2014 is about to take its rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre comprise one of the most well-rounded and talented groups we've seen together in recent years. If you were to compare the class lineup to a boxing card, you'd be hard pressed to call any of them undercard fighters. They're all main eventers, and each speech should be meaningful and entertaining in its own way.  With that in mind, check out the awesome introductory video that welcomed MLB Network viewers to their on-going coverage of the ceremony and set the stage for what will be a memorable Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown. If you love baseball, it will give you chills.  Also, follow along with our own Kevin Kaduk as he documents his Cooperstown experience live on Big League Stew!   More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Dodgers and Diamondbacks Triple-A teams involved in wild brawl [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 7:57 am]
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks were involved in baseball's biggest bench-clearing brawl during the 2013 season. On Saturday, their Triple-A teams took things to a whole new level of crazy, engaging in a wild brawl that at one point spilled into the first row of seats behind home plate. It happened in the top of the second inning with Albuquerque Isotopes (Dodgers affiliate) shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena at the plate and Reno Aces (Diamondbacks affiliate) pitcher Mike Bolsinger on the hill. Arruebarrena, whom the Dodgers signed to a five-year, $25 million contract during spring training after he defected from Cuba, didn't take kindly to be being brushed back by Bolsinger and allowed the anger to stew a bit. The purpose pitch likely stemmed from Arruebarrena's home run on Friday, in which he took nearly 35 seconds to round the bases. Your browser does not support iframes. Saturday's at-bat finished with Bolsinger striking Arruebarrena out. Immediately afterward, Arruebarrena got in catcher Blake Lalli's face and then shoved him, which set off the craziness. Here's how it was described from the scene. Isotopes infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena not happy about being thrown at. A few pitches later he struck out, then shoved Aces' Blake Lalli— Ben Ross (@BenjaminARoss) July 27, 2014 Benches cleared, dozens of players involved right behind home plate. Brawl went into the net and pushed net right into first row of crowd— Ben Ross (@BenjaminARoss) July 27, 2014 Really awful sight to see. Arruebarrena is going to be suspended for a long time.— Ben Ross (@BenjaminARoss) July 27, 2014 And here's another look. In total, there were 10 ejections, including Arruebarrena, Lalli and former major leaguer Phil Nevin, who serves as Reno's manager. Here's a complete list. FITE pic.twitter.com/2Lzqcy0VE5— Jeff Aronson (@jamfan40) July 27, 2014 Obviously, a lot more were involved, and there should be some heavy duty suspensions to come from this brawl after the

Trade Talk Tracker: All quiet on Dodgers' front; Brewers getting aggressive [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 6:22 am]
The Stew's Trade Talk Tracker follows the juiciest rumors in MLB until the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. We'll give you the day's most important links about who may (or may not) be changing teams soon. MATT KEMP UPDATE: The Dodgers aren't close to any significant deal and might be wary of moving Matt Kemp's right-handed bat before Thursday's deadline. [@Ken_Rosenthal] FALSE ALARM: Dodgers prospect Corey Seager was removed from his Double-A game on Saturday but is not on the move. He's dealing with a stomach ailiment. [Jeff Passan] DONE DEAL: The Giants acquired Jake Peavy from the Red Sox. [Big League Stew] MORE MONEY: Despite the Peavy deal, the Giants still have money to add another piece. [@Alex Pavlovic]  NO DEAL: The Nationals expressed interest in Adrian Beltre but were turned away by the Rangers. [MLB.com] TRADE REQUEST: Mike Carp would like the Red Sox trade him before July 31. [@PeteAbe] BREW CREW MOVES?: Brewers GM Doug Melvin has been vey aggressive looking for upgrades. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]  OPTION: Marlon Byrd may ask the Phillies to pick up his $8 million team option before agreeing to a deal.  [Jon Heyman] MAXIMUM RELIEF: All seven Red Sox relievers are reportedly available. The Pirates had scouts watching them on Saturday. [ESPN Boston] TULO UPDATE: The Rockies shortstop was not likely to be dealt anyway, but now he's heading to see a surgeon in Philadelphia for his thigh injury. [Denver Post] More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

The Grand Slam: Blue Jays snap 17-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 5:31 am]
The Toronto Blue Jays losing at Yankee Stadium was nearing a death and taxes level inevitability until they finally snapped their 17-game losing streak in New York with a 6-4 victory over the Yankees on Saturday afternoon. Had they lost the final two games of the series, they would have tied a franchise record in futility. From 1978-81, they lost 19 straight to the Baltimore Orioles.  That's no longer a worry now thanks largely to Dan Johnson. Toronto's designated knocked in four runs, including a seventy-foot bloop hit that gave them the lead in the seventh and a three-run ninth inning homer off Jeff Francis that extended their lead to 6-2. A literal bloop and a blast, though rarely do they ever come from the same hitter. ''When you lose 17 in a row, you deserve something like that,'' Manager John Gibbons said. Johnson at first thought the ball might be caught or even called an infield fly. ''One of the softest hits I've ever got,'' he said. ''There was three guys converging on it, so I couldn't really figure out what was going on.'' No one in Toronto's dugout was arguing with the results, but it was Johnson's three-run blast that proved to be the difference after New York rallied in the ninth. Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer to make it interesting, but closer Casey Janssen retired Brian McCann and Chase Headley to escape victorious. HOME RUN BARRAGE: In a matter of six batters, the Oakland A's did all of their offense damage in their 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. With two outs in the sixth inning, John Jaso got the ball rolling with a two-run homer to right field. Two-time defending Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes quickly made it back-to-back jacks with a solo shot to almost the exact same spot. Brandon Moss followed with a fly out to end the inning, but Josh Donaldson started the seventh with a solo homer of his own. Two batters later, Josh Reddick also hit a solo homer to wrap up the quick but impressive fireworks show. Six batters. Fo

.215-batting Mike Carp requests trade from Red Sox [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 2:06 am]
Mike Carp asked to be traded, it was reported Saturday. Mike Carp. Not Mike Trout. He would be a whole other kettle of fish. Instead, it's Mike Carp, a reserve first baseman-outfielder on the Boston Red Sox who wants out. Yes, general manager Ben Cherington probably will get right on that. He might even make the front office start working in shifts in order to make a Carp trade happen before the non-waiver deadline comes Thursday afternoon. You know another Carp looking for help? The Hiroshima Carp. How would Mike Carp like to play in Japan? Carp is batting .215 with zero home runs in 79 at-bats. He has a .641 on-base plus slugging percentage, coming into Saturday. He has appeared in 298 games, total, in his major league career, and recently turned 28 years old. And yet, Carp has the gumption to ask for a trade. He didn't demand a trade (because, there's a line!) and he doesn't sound jerky about asking for it. He just wants one. In Carp's view, he's not playing enough and he needs to play more to make the most of his career. That part is simple. It's not an unreasonable thought. It might not even be an unreasonable request, if done quietly through channels. But now that the entire world knows about it, well, it's not going to help a deal happen. It takes some of the Red Sox's leverage away. "Oh, you want to trade us the guy everyone knows doesn't want to be there anymore? We'll send our top prospect over." Nobody is going out of their way to help the Red Sox anyway, and it also doesn't help that they're in last place and coming off a World Series title. Cherington's not in a position to put another team over a barrel for Mike Carp, when Cherington's already in the barrel, sort of. Making this request public also might make other teams think that Carp is a complainer, and unwilling to appreciate that while, yes, he has value and should play more in an ideal world, he also can be replaced by any number of players, some of whom aren't even in the majors right now. Ye

Rockies misspell Troy Tulowitzki's name on 15,000 giveaway jerseys [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 11:26 pm]
The Colorado Rockies attempted to do something nice for their fans on Saturday. Based on their recent history, we shouldn't be a bit surprised that they failed. OH NO RT @_Bwoss_: .@purplerow dear god the #rockies misspelled the giveway Tulo jerseys. photo credit: vanessa wos pic.twitter.com/WFeNTL5978— Purple Row (@PurpleRow) July 26, 2014 #Rockies give away Troy Tulowitzki jerseys, misspell Tulowitzki. #YouHadOneJob pic.twitter.com/g7KaUgj93c— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsRadio) July 26, 2014 Those are the jerseys the team was giving away to fans prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's supposed to be a Troy Tulowitzki No. 2 jersey. Instead, it says Tulowizki, which is pretty much the saddest thing we've seen all season in MLB.  T-U-L-O-W-I-Z-K-I. Seriously!? Maybe next time they should just stick to Tulo, since that's almost impossible to screw up. Or better yet, just get it right before printing out 15,000 shirts. He's only the biggest star on the team. An All-Star. A Gold Glove winner. An MVP candidate before his most recent injury.  He's Troy T-U-L-O-W-I-T-Z-K-I. A bonafide star in MLB.  Speaking of which, has anyone checked in the last half to see if he asked for that trade yet? If not, it might be coming soon.    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Slimmed down Dmitri Young makes appearance in Cincinnati [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 10:49 pm]
File this one under amazing transformations. Former major leaguer Dmitri Young made a rare appearance at The Great American Ballpark on Friday night to visit two of his former teams — the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals — and he had everyone talking about his slimmed down new look. During his playing days, Young was listed at 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, which according to MLB.com tied him for the third-heaviest player in MLB history. Only Walter Young (320) and Jumbo Diaz (315, now 278) weighed more. Current Reds Jonathan Broxton is listed at the same weight as Young. He's obviously nowhere near that weight now, as it's reported he's lost well over 100 pounds. And honestly, he looks both happy and healthy. Dmitri Young, former National (2007-08, '07 All-Star), is at GABP. He is literally half the man he used to be ... pic.twitter.com/RO9cc8mhPO— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 25, 2014 Amazing. To most of us who remember Young from his 13-year MLB career, day, the man affectionately known as "Da Meathook" was a fantastic hitter and an interesting character. He was a two-time All-Star. He was a .292/.351/.475 lifetime hitter with 171 home runs, which isn't bad at all. But most of all, he always seemed liked a fun-loving guy who truly enjoyed playing the game. Unfortunately, he never quite reached the potential many felt he had, mainly because of the weight issues he constantly battled. He had his best season in 2007 at age 33, hitting .320 with 38 doubles and 74 RBIs, but the injuries really started piling up. He dealt with wrist, back and quadriceps injuries and only appeared in 75 games during the 2008 season, In 2009, he was out unable to find an MLB opportunity in 2009. In 2010, he retired from baseball.  There's no doubt he could have remained productive if healthy. But at least he's happy now and doing well, even if few people recognize him.  When people didn't recognize the skinny Dmitri Young, he pointed to his hat. It was awesome. pic.t

Rockies miss triple play by a toenail according to umpires review [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 8:38 pm]
Your browser does not support iframes. The Colorado Rockies came as close to turning their second triple play this season as humanly possible without actually completing the job on Friday night. In fact, upon further review, it looked like Colorado actually pulled off the unusual 5-6-3 around the horn triple-killing, but the call was ultimately upheld after a manager's challenge by Walt Weiss. It happened in the fifth inning of Colorado's 8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. After Neil Walker singled — Pittsburgh's first hit of the night off Brett Anderson — and Russell Martin drew a walk, Jordy Mercer, hit a chopper to third baseman Charlie Culberson, who had just entered the game for Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado, who was benched for not hustling. Culberson fielded it cleanly and raced to third for one out. He then fired a little high and wide to shortstop Josh Rutledge, who was covering second due to Colorado's defensive alignment.  Rutledge attempted to tap his toe like we see wide receivers do along the sideline in the NFL, but was determined to have missed the bag by second base umpire Tom Hallion. Impressively, Rutledge collected himself and still got Mercer at first base by a full step. Just that close to Colorado's second triple play this season and the fifth in MLB, which would have amazing considering there was only one all of last season and four over the past two seasons combined. Before Colorado turned a 5-4-3 triple play against the San Diego Padres on May 18 - which was aided by an interference call - their most recent happened in 2007 when Troy Tulowitzki turned an unassisted triple play. 2007 was also the last time one team (Philadelphia Philles) turned two triple plays in a single season.  All of the focus on this play goes to the call at second base, which may have been difficult to overturn regardless of how it was originally called. Of course, if this were last season when expanded replay didn't exist and the neighborhood call was

Hall of Fame announces first changes to voting process since 1991 [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 6:27 pm]
The National Baseball Hall of Fame kicked off Hall of Fame weekend by officially announcing their first changes to the voting process since 1991. It wasn't a complete overhaul of the system, but the changes are all noteworthy. The most notable change being that eligible players who are named on at least five-percent of BBWAA ballots in a given year will now remain on the ballot for a maximum of 10 years, which is down from 15 years. According to the Hall of Fame's press release, three currently eligible players - Don Mattingly (15th year in 2015), Alan Trammell (14th year in 2015) and Lee Smith (13th year in 2015) will be grandfathered in and remain eligible for the full 15 years. The change is effective immediately for all other eligible or soon-to-be eligible players. This is not an insignificant change by any stretch, because we've seen many occurrences where eligible players gained momentum and votes in those critical last five years. Elected to HOF in 11th-15th yr of eligibility: Bert Blyleven Jim Rice Bruce Sutter Duke Snider Bob Lemon Ralph Kiner— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 26, 2014 It also means players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire will have less time to remain eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot, which will force voters to decide sooner on their fate and the fate of other alleged PED users and could create a logjam at some point since the Hall of Fame will not expand its 10-player limit. If 2014 inductee Tony LaRussa had his say, he'd make it easy and let them all the alleged PED users in now, but he'd also be sure to put an asterisk by each name to ensure they're viewed in a different light. From the New York Daily News:  “It's my two cents, but I think you should let them in, but with an asterisk. You can't place these guys ahead of Hank (Aaron) and (Babe) Ruth. It was a bad period. But if a player has Hall of Fame credentials, I think they should be allowed in — a lot of them had Hall of Fame credenti

Zack Greinke strikes out four batters in an inning for second time in career [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 5:09 pm]
Your browser does not support iframes. The Los Angeles Dodgers were on the cusp of several historic feats on Friday night, but only right-hander Zack Greinke can lay claim to tying a major league record. A record he already partially owned, for those scoring at home. In the second inning of the Dodgers' 8-1 victory, Greinke became only the third pitcher in MLB history to notch multiple four-strikeout innings. You can watch it play out in the video beginning at the 20-second mark. Greinke got Hector Sanchez swinging and Tim Lincecum looking to begin the inning. Free-swinging Hunter Pence was next and predictably went down flailing at a pitch in the dirt that got past catcher A.J. Ellis. That allowed Pence to reach first base on what was scored a wild pitch. Greinke recovered to get Gregor Blanco swinging on a pitch in the dirt. Ellis had to throw him out at first, or we may have been looking at the first-ever five strikeout inning in MLB history. Oh, what could have been. Greinke also struck out four batters in one inning during his short stay with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. On Sept 25, he fanned John Jaso, Eric Thames, Trayvon Robinson and Brendan Ryan of the Seattle Mariners, but he also allowed one run on two hits in that frame. On Friday, he only faced the four batters, needing 23 pitches to finish the job. Perhaps it moved so smoothly he didn't even have a chance to realize what he was doing. "This time I didn't even notice," said Greinke. "I still wasn't pitching as well as I wanted. The strikeout pitch on Hunter wasn't where I wanted it to go and I was wrapped up in that and making sure it's not a big inning." Greinke joins A.J. Burnett and Chuck Finley as the only pitchers in history with multiple four-strikeout innings. Finley has actually done it three times, so that gives Greinke something to shoot for. He's also the fifth Dodgers to accomplish the feat. Pete Richert (1962), Don Drysdale (1965), Darren Dreifort (2003) and Brad Penny (2006) are the o

With Matt Cain ailing, Giants acquire Jake Peavy from Red Sox [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 4:01 pm]
In a trade development that moved quickly on Saturday morning. the San Francisco Giants have acquired veteran right-hander Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox.  Jen Royle of the Boston Herald was the first to report a Peavy deal was coming into place with a National League team. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi reported that San Francisco was going to be the destination, and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman soon confirmed the deal was done. As for the return:   The Red Sox will get Giants prospects Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree in the deal, pending approval.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 26, 2014 San Francisco was likely to pursue starting pitcher depth even before Matt Cain developed some soreness in his pitching elbow and hit the DL on July 21. However, his loss made it a requirement, so GM Brian Sabean went out and got a veteran who's very familiar with manager Bruce Bochy from their days in San Diego, and who's coming off winning a World Series ring from 2013 with Boston in 2013. Peavy, 33, is 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA over 20 up and down starts this season after moving to Boston last August and helping them getting over the hump. He's yet to really find a groove in 2014, having completed seven or more innings in only four starts. In other words, the Giants haven't acquiring 2005 Jake Peavy here, but they're getting what they need, and that's a solid No. 4 type starter, just like the one who helped Boston. Peavy's also had a great success historically against the Los Angeles Dodgers over his career. He's 14-2 lifetime with a 2.21 ERA over 25 games. But of course, these aren't the same Dodgers he's used to facing, and he's not the same pitcher, so those numbers, while interesting, probably mean little going forward. We might actually get our first taste of the matchup on Sunday, as Peavy is expected to arrive in San Francisco on Saturday and potentially start the prime time game on Sunday night. Here's a little more from CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly:  Peavy

Toughest jobs in sports: Baseball card shop owner [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 2:33 pm]
This is the sixth of eight entries in a Yahoo Sports series on the toughest jobs in sports. Click here to check out previous stories and a schedule for what's to come. At the height of the popularity of collecting baseball cards in the early 1990s, Chuck Zweiback decided to leave his corporate job behind and turn his favorite hobby into a business. He opened a 1,500-square-foot baseball card store in a Columbus, Ohio, strip mall even though at the time he could hardly walk more than a few blocks without stumbling across a competitor. "There must have been almost 20 baseball card stores in Columbus alone back then," said Zweiback, who owned that shop for 21 years before he retired earlier this past spring. "Now there are only two shops remaining. Before we closed, people were coming in from all over the state because there weren't any shops left in their area." The phenomenon Zweiback described has unfolded similarly across the country as the baseball card craze of the late 1980s and early 1990s proved unsustainable. Many shop owners have closed their doors and others have had to get creative to stay afloat as sales of cards declined drastically from their peak of $1.2 billion in 1991 to maybe a quarter of that these days. The market for rare vintage cards remains as viable as ever today among serious collectors willing to invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but newer cards don't inspire the interest from either kids or casual baseball fans that they once did. Enticed by video games and other electronic gadgets and disillusioned by the 1994 baseball strike and the subsequent string of steroids scandals, kids who in previous generations might have devoted some of their allowance to trading cards instead spent their money other ways. Manufacturers responded by trying to drum up interest in new products by including swatches of game-worn jerseys or fragments of game-used bats in cards, an innovation that catered to deep-pocketed middle-aged collectors but furt

Yasiel Puig hits three of Dodgers' five triples, joins elite company [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 8:25 am]
Your browser does not support iframes. Yasiel Puig returned to the lineup with a bang-bang-bang on Friday night, becoming the first Los Angeles Dodgers player since Jimmy Sheckard in 1901 to hit three triples in a single game. Puig also added a double in what has to be considered the offensive performance of the season for a single player. He finished 4 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs as the Dodgers cruised to an 8-1 victory over the San Francisco GIants.  Here's how Puig's historic night played out. In the first inning, Puig was credited with a triple in somewhat controversial fashion. His long drive to left-center field off Tim Lincecum that appeared to hit the wall, which allowed him to race around to third for a sliding triple. However, first umpire Adam Hamari signaled home run, which created some confusion. Manager Don Mattingly quickly ran out looking for confirmation and a review soon followed. Replays clearly showed a fan in the first row touching the ball before it bounced back on the field, it was just difficult to tell whether or not it cleared the fence. The umpires said it didn't, which based on the evidence should have led to ground-rule double being the call. However, Puig was allowed to remain at third, which could indicate the umpires felt it was inconclusive. So that's one triple down, two more conventional and less confusing triples to go. Your browser does not support iframes. In the fifth, Puig visited right center field at AT&T Park, just a few feet left of the aptly named Triples Alley. That plated Dee Gordon, who tripled right before him. Your browser does not support iframes. The trio of triples was completed in the sixth inning when Puig visited right-center field again and tucked it into Triples Alley. Another run came around to score, and Puig probably could have done cartwheels the final 90 feet as he became the 49th player in MLB history with at least three triples in one game. Last MLB player before Puig with 3 triples in a game was

Trade Talk Tracker: Five teams showing interest in Matt Kemp [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 7:19 am]
The Stew's Trade Talk Tracker follows the juiciest rumors in MLB until the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. We'll give you the day's most important links about who may (or may not) be changing teams soon. WILLING TO MOVE: Matt Kemp is open to a trade and five teams have reportedly contacted the Dodgers. [CBS Sports] EATING MONEY: The Mets are willing to absorb $2 million of the roughly $14 million left Bartolo Colon's contract to trade him. He's due to make $11 million next season. [New York Daily News] PHILLES ALSO WILLING: Philadelphia will eat a portion of the $18 million still owed to Jonathan Papelbon. [CBS Sports] RYAN HOWARD UPDATE: General manager Ruben Amaro "fully expects" Ryan Howard to be the Phillies first baseman in 2015. [@ToddZolecki] VESTING OPTION: Jimmy Rollins' $11 million option for next season vested on Friday. It shouldn't affect his trade value since it was expected. [CBS Sports]  YANKEES EYE PITCHING: The Yankees have inquired on Ian Kennedy and Jorge De La Rosa. [Jim Bowden] ICYMI: The Cardinals are sigining veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski. [Big League Stew] STICK AROUND: An extension seems more likely than a trade for All-Star Kurt Suzuki, though nothing is imminent. The Cardinals were one team interested in Suzuki. [@Ken_Rosenthal]  ON THE LOOKOUT: The Indians are eyeing pitching and outfield help. [Plain Dealer] DAVID PRICE UPDATE: The Rays won their eighth straight, further lessening the odd of a David Price blockbuster deal [Jon Heyman] ON THE RADAR: Marlon Byrd is another Yankees trade target. [New York Daily News] DONE DEAL: The Oakland A's purchased right-hander Deck McGuire from the Blue Jays. [SB Nation] MOVING ROCKS: The Blue Jays have shown interest in Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes. [Denver Post] More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

The Grand Slam: Billy Butler's pinch-hit homer lifts Royals over Indians [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 26, 2014, 6:47 am]
Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler has been searching for his power swing all season. On Friday, he found it at a perfect time for manager Ned Yost. With the game tied in the eighth, BIlly Butler connected on a pinch-hit, two-out, two-run homer off Cleveland Indians reliever John Axford to provide the difference in Kansas City's 6-4 win.  Despite the power outage, Butler has been playing just about every day for Yost. Though that may change now with 42-year-old Raul Ibanez in the mix for at-bats. Butler came in hitting only .200 over his previous 20 games, which made Friday's decision easier. But his response to the benching could be the key to earning back his manager's trust. ''As of late, the production definitely is not there,'' said Butler. ''Over my career, it's there, but this game is about what you've done for me lately. If he (manager Ned Yost) thinks a guy matching up differently is better for the team, that's what he's got to do. He's got a job to do putting the lineup out there. ''It's just my job to prove I belong in there. I've been in the league a long time. If you give up and get put in a situation like that, you don't compete. I'm not going to give up.'' Message sent and received. On the other side of the ledger, Axford was on the losing end for the second straight night. He also allowed Norichika Aoki's walk-off single in the 14th inning on Thursday, and felt none too good about it afterward. ''It's obviously tough after the last two nights,'' Axford said. ''It was just a bad pitch. I let it stay out over the plate. It was supposed to be away and it ended up in the seats.'' One pitch allowed a struggling hitter to regain confidence, while a struggling pitcher took another punch to the gut. The beauty and anguish of baseball.  REDS GOING THE WRONG WAY: The Cincinnati Reds made a strong run to finish the first half 1 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. Since the break, they've gone in reverse, losing seven straight ga

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