Yankees ace Tanaka sent home with general soreness (Yahoo Sports) - Injured Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka is being sent back to New York because of general soreness in his right arm, a setback in his bid to rejoin the rotation this season. ''There's obviously concern, but I think we play it out this week to see where we're at,'' manager Joe Girardi said before Friday night's game at Toronto. Palmer opens with a 63 to lead in Boston (Yahoo Sports) - NORTON, Mass. (AP) -- Ryan Palmer took only 21 putts Friday on the TPC Boston and made birdie on half of his holes. That gave him an 8-under 63 and a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. Murray to face Kuznetsov in US Open - Andy Murray will return to the Louis Armstrong Stadium for Saturday's match against Andrey Kuznetsov at the US Open. Van Gaal unhappy over Shaw comments - Louis van Gaal wants England boss Roy Hodgson to clarify comments made about left-back Luke Shaw's fitness. Tony Stewart back at the track, looking to heal (Yahoo Sports) - Tony Stewart took his seat on the podium - unshaven, his eyes glassy - and unfolded a sheet of paper. His voice quivered as he read, pausing to maintain his composure as he described the death of a driver he hit as ''one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with.'' This was a far cry from the brash driver known around the track as ''Smoke.'' Ninety minutes later, he climbed into his No. 14 car and sped toward the high-banked oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway, drawing a cheer from the crowd gathered around his garage. Heartbroken but eager to heal, Stewart rejoined the race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship surrounded by those he considers a second family - his team, his crew, his rivals. He missed the last three races, going into seclusion after the sprint car he was driving struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., who had stepped on the track to confront him during a race. Froome closes on Vuelta lead - Team Sky's Chris Froome moves to within 20 seconds of the lead after recovering from an early crash during stage seven at the Vuelta a Espana. Bengals release RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Yahoo Sports) - CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Bengals released running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on Friday, a move that was anticipated after they drafted LSU's Jeremy Hill in the second round. 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL (Yahoo Sports) - San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games by the NFL after a series of off-field legal issues. A statement Friday from the league said Smith had violated the NFL's substance abuse and personal conduct policies. Smith won't be eligible to return until Nov. 10, the day after the 49ers' game against the New Orleans Saints. ''Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for it as a team,'' 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. Second-seeded Halep loses to qualifier at US Open (Yahoo Sports) - NEW YORK (AP) -- Second-seeded Simona Halep's recent run of Grand Slam success ended with a third-round exit at the U.S. Open against a 32-year-old qualifier ranked 121st. Stambouli set for Tottenham medical - Benjamin Stambouli is set to have a medical at Tottenham after Montpellier announce a deal has been agreed for the midfielder.

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Astros downplay reported friction between GM Jeff Luhnow and manager Bo Porter [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 11:19 pm]
Though the Houston Astros have shown marked improvement on the field, having already surpassed their 2013 win total before entering the month of September, dysfunction and dissension have reportedly festered behind the scenes, most notably in the relationship between general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Bo Porter. According to a report from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Luhnow and Porter have been at odds over several issues this season, including what Rosenthal describes as "excessive second-guessing" of Porter's in-game management. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle later backed up Rosenthal's report, stating that a "heated battle" took place, which led to Porter speaking with Jim Crane directly about his concerns with the relationship going forward.   In wake of both reports, both Crane and Porter are not surprisingly attempting to downplay any possible bad blood.   When asked about the situation, Crane told the Chronicle via text message:  “You should direct this to Jeff (Luhnow). I have no comment.” For what it's worth. Jeff Luhnow has no comment. Said by phone he is out of town but will be back tomorrow.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) August 29, 2014 The owner also said “I have not discussed any of what was reported with Bo and told the reporter (Rosenthal) it was false.” Porter said he had not talked with Crane about Luhnow. “I think we function for the overall good of the Houston Astros organization,” Porter said. “I’m not going to talk about personal relationships. At no point have I sat down with Jim Crane about my relationship with Jeff.” Not exactly denials, but we'll take them at their word concerning the meeting itself Rosenthal's report indicated the Luhnow/Porter relationship was further strained by a lack of communication on certain issues, which was highlighted during Mark Appel's unexpected but much discussed bullpen session at Minute Maid Park.  Here's more on that from Rosenthal:  An unannounced visit by Ap

Family of Jackie Robinson Little Leaguer is homeless [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 7:52 pm]
Now that the Little League World Series is over for Jackie Robinson West, and the players have been welcomed home to Chicago with the city throwing them a parade and a rally, it's back to real life. The return to normalcy will be tougher for some players than others. The Chicago Sun-Times reports on Friday that the family of one Jackie Robinson Little Leaguer, 12-year-old Jaheim Benton, is homeless. Benton stays with his father, Frank Jackson, and they sleep in the "homes of friends and family, one step away from the shelters and the streets." His mother, Devona Benton, says she and Benton's father, a radiator tech who works part-time, could no longer afford their apartment after her hours were cut as a home-care provider for Catholic Charities. She's worked there for six years and sometimes it's been a struggle, but she says this is the first time her family had to split up to survive. She also is responsible for looking after her 16-year-old son, and for helping with the three grandchildren of her grown daughter. She's hoping and praying for more clients, but until that happens, he family will be fractured. Jaheim Benton scored five runs for Jackie Robinson West during the team's seven games in Williamsport, Pa., making him a key player in a dream run to the U.S. championship with an all-African American team from the inner city. Now he lives in something of a nightmare. Tina Sfondeles of the Sun-Times writes: Jaheim is shy. He doesn’t talk about his family’s troubles. All he can think about is baseball. He’s the player who scored the game-winning run in the team’s championship game. He talks about what his head coach, Darold Butler, said after the team’s loss to South Korea. “He said keep our heads up, ‘You did good,’ ” Jaheim said. Devona Benton says she’s doing her best to keep him centered on his goal: a career in baseball. “I told him to stay focused. That it’s going to be all right, and ‘Don’t let it bother you,’ ” s

Nuns high five each other after Adam Dunn's RBI single [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 6:50 pm]
The Chicago White Sox need more starting pitching, improved relief pitching and a better defense in order to get into a winning habit in 2015.  Do they also need more prayer, and perhaps even some divine intervention? Not necessarily. But it might not hurt to bring more nuns to U.S. Cellular Field. Take these nuns, for example. They were pulling for the White Sox to rally against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night, and Adam Dunn obliged by hitting an RBI single in the eighth inning. Most amusingly (because they're nuns!), the women high fived nearby fans — and each other — after Dunn's bloop brought the White Sox within a run. Dunn's nuns! Holy cow, you did it!   Sadly for the church ladies, the Indians stopped the rally from there and won 3-2. Though it's clear that one of the nuns shouts, "C'mon, Adam!" before his fateful swing, and the other has her hands clasped together in hope, it's not obvious they actually were praying for Dunn to get a hit. And it's OK if they weren't. After all, doing so potentially would circumvent anyone on the Indians who also believed in God. Perhaps right-hander Cody Allen does. That wouldn't be fair. Besides, for every two nuns rooting for the White Sox in Chicago, there's probably two rooting for the Tribe in Cleveland. They'd just be canceling each other out. Regardless, wishin' and hopin' ain't the same as prayin', which probably is best used for affecting something beyond the scope of the results of a 1-0 count in some random baseball game. These nuns know this. They're pros. They know what's up. Big BLS H/N: MLB Fan Cave 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 

Adam Jones gets flak for 'airport shtick' at Orioles social media event [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 2:28 pm]
.@SimplyAJ10 answers questions from our most loyal social followers at our #BirdlandSocial event. pic.twitter.com/NeXqHHFYz1— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 28, 2014   Baltimore Orioles star Adam Jones says he was joking when he told fans at the team's social media function Thursday that his favorite place in Baltimore was the "airport" so he could fly home. The Orioles advertised the event as "Social Media Night with @SIMPLYAJ10" — Jones's Twitter and Instagram handle — with a $50-$60 ticket including a Q&A with Jones, who frequently engages in an entertaining way on social media. The Baltimore Sun reports that some of the 250 fans attending the second-annual social were "irked" by Jones's short and/or snarky responses, particularly his line about the airport, to some of their questions. The Sun reports: After the game, Jones said he was joking, adding that he likes the airport because it’s where he picks up his friends and family who come to visit and support him. “I guess my shtick wasn’t appreciated at the time,” Jones said. “But I had a good time. I’ll do it again, and I probably should do it again.” Jones said his short answers were a result of the event’s timing; it leaked into the final hour before game time. Social Media Night is no place for snark, mister! Some were harder on Jones: Hey @Orioles, maybe u should pick a player that wants to come to #BirdlandSocial next year instead of dissing BMore @SimplyAJ10 #Birdland— Chris Grimsley (@grims127) August 28, 2014   I know you have a weird sense of humor sometimes @SimplyAJ10 but I'm taking this thing pretty seriously. No pies for you until you apologize— Alex (@VockLobster) August 29, 2014   Another fan (I can't find the tweet) reportedly compared Jones to former Orioles player Aubrey Huff, who infamously went on a radio show and spoke negatively about Baltimore fans.   “That’s probably absurd to compare it in that narrative,” Jones said.   Part of the prob

Watch a Japanese baseball player try to hit a 186 mph fastball (Video) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 8:58 am]
It's tough to figure out exactly what's going on in the video above because it's in Japanese, but we know the important stuff: That's former Nippon Pro Baseball home-run king Takashi Yamasaki guesting on some sort of funny Japanese TV show. His goal is to try to hit a 186 mph fastball from a pitching machine. Yikes. You know how fast that is? It's so fast Yamasaki couldn't even swing before the ball passed him. It's so fast that all he could do was laugh. By all means, watch the video above, but check out this slow-motion GIF. Notice how everything is slow except the ball. After watching this, my life won't be complete until someone rounds up 20 of the best MLB hitters and makes them try. Mike Trout could do it, right? BLS H/N: /r/baseball More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Jesus Montero has altercation with Mariners scout over ice cream sandwich [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 8:42 am]
In a story that can only be described as embarrassing for everyone involved, Jesus Montero, the disappointing one-time Seattle Mariners catcher, went after a scout from his own team with a bat during a minor-league game Thursday. The reason? The scout had been heckling Montero during a rehab assignment with the Single-A Everett AquaSox, who were playing in Boise. The scout then sent an ice cream sandwich to the dugout for Montero. That's when Montero — who made headlines when he showed up at Mariners spring training 40 pounds overweight — snapped and had to be restrained. We'll let MILB.com's Tyler Maun unravel the tale in greater detail: Montero was coaching first base, and at the end of an inning, the unidentified cross-checker [a type of baseball scout] yelled at him to hustle off the field, according to Boise official scorer Liza Safford. Montero then headed to the AquaSox dugout on the third-base side. According to a game official, the cross-checker then ordered an ice cream sandwich and had it sent to Montero in the dugout, escalating the confrontation further. The official said Montero — who arrived at Mariners Spring Training 40 pounds overweight this season — approached the stands with a bat while screaming profanities and threw the sandwich at the cross-checker. Montero had to be pulled back from the stands by Everett pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera, Safford said. Obviously, it's never cool for a baseball player to go after someone with a bat. But what kind of scouts are the Mariners employing? It can't be within their code of conduct to actively troll players from the stands during a game, can it? Unless this was a test to see if Montero would keep his cool, and in that case, he very much failed. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told the Seattle Times:  “I am aware of the incident in Boise. We are currently in the process of gathering information, but until I have all the details, I cannot comment.” Montero, 24, has been nothing but a dis

The Grand Slam: Orioles win again, open up 7 game lead in AL East [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 7:50 am]
It's nearly September and to the surprise of a lot of people, the Baltimore Orioles have the biggest division lead of any team in baseball. The O's stretched their AL East lead to seven games on Thursday after a 5-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays. The surprise isn't so much because nobody thought the Orioles would be good, rather it's not easy to run away with the usually tight AL East. But after taking three of four from the Rays, the Orioles are now sitting pretty as the clock counts down toward the season's final month. It's the New York Yankees who are seven games back, while the Toronto Blue Jays are nine and a half behind. In Thursday's game, Baltimore got a seventh-inning, go-ahead single from J.J. Hardy to earn the win. The club also got a homer from Steve Pearce, while Adam Jones stole home as part of a double steal. Lots of people contributing there these days. The Orioles host the fourth-place Minnesota Twins next in what seems like a good chance to stretch their lead even further. Your browser does not support iframes. TIGERS WALK OFF YANKEESThe Orioles gained a full game in the AL East standings because the second-place New York Yankees lost in walk-off fashion against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. The Tigers claimed a 3-2 win thanks to Alex Avila's single in the ninth inning. Your browser does not support iframes. MIKE MINOR GOES MAJOR AGAINST THE METSFresh off almost throwing a no-hitter, Atlanta Braves starter Mike Minor was pitching and hitting well Thursday night against the New York Mets, as the Braves won 6-1. Minor was formidable on the mound, working seven innings and allowing only four hits and one run. But he also had two hits of his own at the plate, including an RBI single in the first inning to get the Braves on the board. PETIT GOES IN THE RECORD BOOKSIf you missed it: San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit set an MLB record Thursday against the Colorado Rockies by retiring his 46th straight batter. That surpasses Mark Buehrle's

Angels get walk-off win over A's, who protest game after odd obstruction call [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 7:05 am]
The Los Angeles Angels celebrated a walk-off win Thursday night in the first game of a big series against the rival Oakland Athletics. Albert Pujols scored in the 10th inning on a Howie Kendrick sac fly, giving the Angels a 4-3 win and making them the first team in MLB to 80 wins. The win, however, didn't come without controversy. In the ninth inning, with the score tied 3-3, Erick Aybar led off the inning and chopped a ball down the first-base line. A's pitcher Dan Otero and first baseman Brandon Moss both went to field it. Otero caught the ball and Aybar ran straight into him. Aybar fell to the ground and a few seconds later home-plate umpire Greg Gibson awarded him first base. The call? Obstruction. It was a bit baffling, definitely not the type of you play you see often. A's manager Bob Melvin fumed and immediately protested the game. His logic seemed to hold up. Otero had the ball and wasn't blocking the baseline. Aybar, actually, if you watch closely, changed directions and ran inside the baseline, into play — sort of like a basketball player flopping for a foul call.  After the game, the umpires clarified that the obstruction call was on Moss and not Otero, but said nothing else because of the protest. From the clubhouses, each team was sticking to its side. Aybar said the A's players were in his way and Moss said the Aybar ran out of the baseline. Here are the quotes, via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle: Aybar: "I was running, and both guys just got in my way. I was trying to, but I couldn't go anywhere."— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) August 29, 2014 More Aybar: "I'm running & when I pick my head up, I see the pitcher & 1B together. I want to move, & they're on top of me. I kept running."— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) August 29, 2014 Moss says protest should be upheld: The only person Moss ran into was Otero and neither of them was in baseline. And Aybar ran out of it.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusse

Royals catcher Salvador Perez wears perfume, says MLB umpires love it [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 29, 2014, 12:24 am]
You know how baseball players are about superstition and routine. Something works once and they stick with it. No matter how odd it is. We've seen MLB players adopt cowboy boots, a souvenir gnome and a horse mask as good-luck charms this season. But Salvador Perez, catcher for the Kansas City Royals — nay, make that the first-place Kansas City Royals — might have everybody beat. He wears women's perfume during games, usually Victoria's Secret, and he says MLB umpires love it. Perez, one of the better defensive catchers in the league, said in a sit-down interview with KSHB-TV in Kansas City that teammate Alcides Escobar also wears perfume during games and introduced Perez to it.  “I learned that from Alcides, because every time he plays, he uses Victoria’s Secret. So one day I said, ‘Alcides, let me try it.’ “In the first inning, the umpire says, ‘You smell good, Salvy.’ I said, ‘Thank you.’ And that game, I hit a ball and everything, so I started to use it every day. Now I use Victoria’s Secret every time.” Perez might actually stray from Victoria's Secret. He had reporter Christa Dubill smell his hand. When she asked if he was wearing Chanel, Perez said yes. So either he's not as loyal to Victoria's Secret as he says, or he totally misunderstood. Either way, here's a GIF of a TV reporter smelling a MLB catcher's hand. Maybe this is part of manager Ned Yost's masterplan to drum up attendance? Can't you see the ad slogans? "The Royals: We don't stink anymore. No, really, we're wearing perfume." The best takeaway from all this, though, is that MLB umpires love perfume. As Perez said:  “The umpires? They’re awesome. They’re all my friends. I use perfume ... all the umpires like that." Who knew the key to getting an umpire to like you was smelling good? Think about all those ejections Bobby Cox could have saved himself had he just spritzed up before heading to the ballpark.  BLS H/N: /r/baseball More MLB coverage from Yahoo Spor

Who's not thrilled the A's traded Yoenis Cespedes? Hitler, that's who (Video) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 10:38 pm]
Despite Jon Lester going 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA since joining the Oakland Athletics, there are still those within the ranks of A's fandom that think the Yoenis Cespedes-for-Lester trade was a mistake. Obviously, the rent-a-star strategy isn't something they're used to in Oakland. Since Cespedes was a fan favorite and because the A's are having their worst month of the season in August, people are still second-guessing general manager Billy Beane.  "Who trades their cleanup hitter during a championship run?" That's the question being posed by Hitler. Yes, Hiter ... but no, not the real Adolf Hitler. He's dead. Rather, we're talking about long-standing video meme of Hitler reacting to unfavorable news. An A's fans made a Cespedes-centric version of the meme and it's pretty funny (though, fair warning, there's a curse word that will show up in the subtitles). YouTube user Meurs1215 created the video and says it includes inside jokes from the gang at AthleticsNation.com. It's surprising to think Hitler would be an A's fan, but when you're meme-making, sometimes you just have to suspend disbelief. Red Sox fans made their own "Hitler Reacts" video about parting with Jon Lester, which you can also see below. While you watch it, ponder how long both of these fanbases will be second guessing the Lester-for-Cespedes trade. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit sets MLB record by retiring 46 batters in a row [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 8:51 pm]
Your browser does not support iframes. Coming into the San Francisco Giants' game Thursday against the Colorado Rockies, starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit hadn't allowed a baserunner in more than a month. Petit — chosen by S.F. to replace the struggling Tim Lincecum in the starting rotation — entered the game needing to retire eight more batters in a row to make history. He did, with a strikeout of Charlie Culberson in the third inning, and surpassed Mark Buehrle for the most consecutive batters retired in MLB history. It was 46 in a row for Petit, a number that dates back to July 22 and includes eight games, two as a starter, the rest in relief. And right after his historic out, wouldn't you know it, Petit gave up consecutive hits to the Rockies. Nothing lasts forever. But the record is his for now. Buehrle set down 45 batters in a row in 2009. Part of his record, though, was a perfect game. He did it in two starts. Petit has had to be perfect in a number of situations — pitching two innings of relief against the Dodgers, Cubs and Pirates, then four innings of long relief Saturday when the Nationals clobbered Lincecum. Petit's July 22 start against the Phillies was the last time he gave up a hit before Thursday. Marlon Byrd was the batter. Giants fans know Petit well, but the rest of the county might not. He's been used as a starter and reliever the past two seasons by the Giants, who signed him in 2012 after he'd been out of MLB for two seasons. He played for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2007-2009 and the Marlins in 2006. Petit's other run-in with history was last September when he came within one out of a perfect game. In an interesting bookkeeping note: Petit brings this record back to San Francisco. Giants pitcher Jim Barr owned the record (41 in a row) from 1972 until 2007, when White Sox pitcher Bobby Jenks tied him. Buehrle, also playing for the White Sox, bested them both in 2009. So since 1972, this record has belonged only to Giants and White Sox p

Masahiro Tanaka sharp in simulated game, September return possible [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 6:06 pm]
The New York Yankees have won six of their last seven going into Thursday's game. They've adopted a horse mask as a good-luck charm and turned themselves into Wild Card contenders as the MLB season approaches its final month. The Yankees might also be getting something else for the stretch run, and it's better than a horse mask. It's their ace back. Masahiro Tanaka, sidelined since July 8 with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, looked sharp in a 49-pitch simulated game on Thursday morning. The Yankees were encouraged by what they saw from Tanaka and are hopeful he'll be able to return in September. Tanaka's debut season in the U.S. has been better than many expected. He showed no trouble adapting to the American game, putting together a 12-4 record with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts. The Yankees feared the worst when Tanaka had elbow pain, but so far he's been able to rehab his UCL tear without needing Tommy John surgery. In Thursday's simulated game, Tanaka pitched three innings and used all of his pitches. More now from MLB.com's Bryan Hoch: Tanaka said that he has been feeling only normal soreness, another good sign as he attempts to avoid Tommy John surgery. He expressed dissatisfaction with some of his pitches, having thrown his slider, splitter, curveball and both fastballs in the session. "I think some of the balls I am throwing, I'm still not able to hit my spots," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "The rust is still there, so I still have some work to do to get back to game-ready." The Yankees are bringing Tanaka along with the hopes of having him make starts in September, and manager Joe Girardi said that Tanaka will need at least two more sessions against hitters before that can happen. The Yankees want to build Tanaka to at least 75 pitches. "You have an idea that it's possible that he could come back at some point here," Girardi said. The Yankees have lost pitchers Ivan Nova and C.C. Sabathia for the season. Losing Ta

MLB Network host predicts Buster Posey's walk-off homer, goes nuts when it actually happens [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 4:30 pm]
We already told you about Buster Posey's walk-off homer from Wednesday night, as the San Francisco Giants sunk the Colorado Rockies. But do you know who told you about it before it even happened? MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, who predicted Posey would hit a walk-off during a live look-in on "MLB Tonight." Amsinger even mimicked Giants announcer Duane Kuiper's "It. Is. Outta Herrrrrrre" home-run call seconds before Posey's ninth-inning blast. Even better than predicting the homer, though, was Amsinger's reaction when the ball left the yard. At that point, MLB Network had gone live to the Giants broadcasters, so Aminger's told-you-so celebration happened off air. But MLB Network cameras captured it and we think it's worth your attention: Your browser does not support iframes. We feel compelled to remind you that Amsinger also told Mike Trout before the All-Star Game that he would triple in Derek Jeter, and that's exactly what happened. Mr. Amsinger, I'd appreciated it if you did me a solid and predicted "Mike Oz is going to win the Mega Millions." Thanks, pal.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Andrelton Simmons keys Braves win with remarkable run-saving play [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 7:07 am]
In what feels like a now weekly occurrence, Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons made a defensive play worthy of the highest possible praise on Wednesday night. Only this time, it doubled as a potential game saver, as Simmons' heroics prevented the game-tying run from crossing home in Atlanta's eventual 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.  It happened in the eighth inning with a runner on third, two outs and rookie Travis d'Arnaud at the plate. d'Arnaud hit a grounder deep into the hole at short, which forced Simmons to range about three steps into the outfield. That was not a problem for Simmons. However, the angle and his distance from first base made it seem like an impossible play for him to complete unless he pulled off some magic. As we should have learned by now, Simmons is absolutely capable of creating magic. In two fluid steps, Simmons snagged the ball and then launched into the air while twisting his body into an off-balance, mid-air throwing motion. Again, if you broke this play down frame-by-frame, you'd think there's no way that process could result in a strong enough or accurate enough throw to beat a major league baserunner. But the rules of physics don't apply to Simmons.  Sure, his throw took a single hop to Freddie Freeman's glove, but it had plenty of steam and was accurate enough that the skilled first baseman could pick it clean to complete an amazing out. By a good half-step mind you. There was no controversy at all over the call. d'Arnaud was out, and he was also admittedly impressed by Simmons' effort.  ''It looks like he has no chance, and then in the last second, he just reaches for it and throws it,'' d'Arnaud said. ''What a great play.'' Considering game-situation and Atlanta's place in the standings, this play definitely deserves a high spot on Simmons growing list of defensive gems. And perhaps even a free dinner.  ''Two out, man on third, not only does he make the play, but he makes an accurate throw to first base,'' Bra

The Grand Slam: Buster Posey stays hot, delivers walkoff homer for Giants [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 6:32 am]
The Colorado Rockies were thankful they didn't have to face Madison Bumgarner again 24 hours after he held them without a baserunner into the eighth inning. Unfortunately for them, Buster Posey, who homered twice in Tuesday's game, was in San Francisco's lineup, and it was his bat that made the difference.  After Colorado rallied to tie the score in the ninth on Justin Morneau's RBI double, Posey turned on and tomahawked a Juan Nicasio offering, keeping it just inside the left-field foul pole for a two-run walk-off homer, which gave the Giants a needed 4-2 victory and manager Bruce Bochy the 1,600th win of his career. The walk-off blast was the second of Posey's career. His first came last season against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 3.  Two innings earlier, Posey also broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single off Rockies reliever Brooks Brown. Basically, he's been the Giants offense during this low-scoring series, and the Giants couldn't happier than their former MVP is coming through when needed.  Starter Tim Hudson, who collected career strikeout 2,000, was sattled with the tough luck no-decision. He allowed one run over eight innings while striking out eight overall.  Your browser does not support iframes. YANKEES RAP OUT NINE STRAIGHT HITS AGAINST DAVID PRICE: Every time former AL Cy Young winner David Price takes the baseball, it feels like there's a chance he'll have no-hit stuff. Unfortunately for the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, it was just the opposite, as the New York Yankees did nothing but hit against their newly acquired stud.  During a remarkable third inning rally, the first nine Yankees batters (or one full turn though the lineup) collected a hit against Price, leading to eight runs. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that's the most consecutive hits ever recorded against a former Cy Young award winner, and it was three short of the major league record for most consecutive hits. Needless to say, it was also the worst inning of Price's career, and it w

Derek Jeter's nephew steals show during farewell ceremony in Detroit [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 4:20 am]
Your browser does not support iframes. Of all of final stops on Derek Jeter's retirement tour, none will hit closer to home than his final regular season visit to Comerica Park in Detroit. Jeter, who moved to Michigan with his family at four years old and later attended Kalamazoo Central High School, was given the local hero treatment by the Tigers in a very well-planned pregame ceremony — arguably the best in his honor all season — prior to Wednesday night's game. Among those invited and present on the field with Jeter were his parents, sister and also the newest star in his family, his young nephew, Jalen. Not only was Jalen proudly decked out in his uncle's No. 2 uniform and Yankees cap, he was apparently there to be seen and remembered, and remembered he shall be. As the Jeter family was being introduced to the fans, Jalen provided the cutest moment of the night by tipping his cap to the crowd after he was announced, just like Uncle Derek has done hundreds of times during his Hall of Fame career. Hey, he's learned from one of the best. This early show of respect shouldn't be surprising at all. And really, his gesture, innocent as it was, gave the whole ceremony another layer of meaning as the Jeter family was allowed to come together and share in the moment.    But the good times didn't end there. Also in attendance were Jeter's his former high school coach at Kalamazoo Central, Don Zomer, and summer-league coach, Mike Hinga, along with Tigers legends Willie Horton and Al Kaline. The presence of all cemented how important the night was to Jeter on a personal level and to the Tigers on a professional level. They clearly wanted to do right by one of Michigan's greatest professional athletes, and believe us, they accomplished their goal with a touching video tribute and a series of gifts that were heartfelt and humbling. Jeter was first presented with a $5,000 check as a donation to his Turn 2 Foundation by former Yankees teammates Joba Chamberlain and Phil

Cubs prospect Jorge Soler homers in first major league at-bat [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 2:16 am]
Your browser does not support iframes. One-by-one, the Chicago Cubs are giving us a glimpse at their promising future. And one-by-one, we've seen flashes of future brilliance.  Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, who inked a nine-year, $30 million deal with Chicago in 2012, became the latest building block to get the call from Triple-A Iowa. On Wednesday, he made his major league debut at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, and his impact was immediate. After Luis Valbuena led off Chicago's second inning with a home run, Soler stepped in for his first career at-bat and hammered Mat Latos' 2-1 fastball 423-feet to center field, making it back-to-back jacks for the Cubs.  In doing so, Soler became the first Cubs player to homer in his first at-bat since Starlin Castro on May 7, 2010. Ironically, that also came at Great American Ball Park. Soler basically picked up where he left off at Triple A. In his final at-bat for Iowa, Soler connected for a three-run homer before being removed in the third inning and promoted essentially on the spot. It worked out so well that it felt like a spontaneous decision by Chicago's brass, but they are obviously putting far more thought than that into their future prospects.  From MLB.com:  "The key to the decision on Soler was the fact that he was going to be a September callup for us mainly because he needs the at-bats," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday. "He missed significant time because of the hamstring injury. He needs to play, he needs to get the at-bats. "We've been certain in our minds for a while now that he was going to be a September call up for us. It's the best place for him to continue to get at-bats, continue to learn, continue to make adjustments." The Cubs have applied the same philosophy to young stars Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez, both of whom have debuted this season and are currently going through their expected growing pains. Baez, in particular, is struggling ad

Answer Man: Darren O'Day talks middle relief, sidearming submariners, self-balancing unicycles, pretending to be Irish and plastic surgery [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 28, 2014, 1:07 am]
Informed baseball observers understand that sidearm or submarine pitchers are cooler than ones who throw overhand. Right-hander Darren O'Day of the Baltimore Orioles exemplifies this truth.  A profile written by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun in 2013 gets at the heart of what makes O'Day cool. O'Day is not Irish; His family name used to be Odachowski. His wife is a reporter for Fox News in D.C. O'Day honed his skills pitching in a beer league after enrolling at Florida for the academics and not baseball, but made the team after developing a sidearm delivery. And he loves gizmos, particularly the Solowheel, a self-balancing electric unicycle — like a Segway, but with no handles. In an Answer Man session staged at the visitor's dugout at Wrigley Field on Sunday, O'Day expands on his life and interests, his career as one of the top relievers in the game who doesn't get saves and what it's like to be a sidewinder in an overhand world. David Brown: If baseball never happened for you, you were going to be a plastic surgeon or, for a while, a veterinarian. Which teammate could best use a nose job? Darren O’Day: Ryan Flaherty. DB: What’s wrong with it? DO’D: That nose could sniff out a free meal, or free clothes, from a mile away. That might be a perk, though. DB: As a doctor of plastics, do you think it would be possible to transplant Brady Anderson’s sideburns onto another person’s face? DO’D: Oh! You know what? I don’t see why not. I mean, I think, a couple of years ago the Twins gave away Mauer sideburns. Maybe you could just get those stitched on, or something. You’d never have to trim ‘em, they’d just be beautiful forever. DB: Which animal mascot from around the majors would you not bother to attempt live-saving measures on? DO’D: Probably the A’s mascot — an elephant, right? DB: Poor Stomper! DO’D: Stomper, yeah. He’d be tough to attend to, man. You’d need a team and a ladder. Shoot, I don’t know what you’d do. Can you g

Jose Offerman appeals jury decision to award bat-attack victim $940,000 [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 27, 2014, 11:23 pm]
Seven years after former minor league catcher Johnathan Nathans' career was ended during a vicious and senseless onfield attack by former major leaguer Jose Offerman, a Connecticut jury awarded him $940,000 in damages after finding Offerman culpable for his actions on July 29. Now comes word that Offerman's camp has officially filed an appeal of the federal court's order.  A jury last month awarded the money to former Bridgeport Bluefish catcher Johnathan Nathans, who says he suffered career-ending injuries when Offerman hit him in the head with a bat. Photos show a bat-wielding Offerman charging the mound after being hit by a pitch. But he denies swinging it at anybody. Offerman's lawyers argue in court papers filed Tuesday that the jury improperly found his client liable for assault because he charged the mound, after determining he was not guilty of battery on the catcher. Nathan's lawyers also are appealing, seeking damages from the Long Island Ducks, for whom Offerman was playing. The attack happened during an independent baseball game between Nathans' Bridgeport Bluefish and Offerman's Long Island Ducks. During his second-inning plate appearance, Offerman was hit in the leg by an off-speed pitch by Bluefish pitcher Matt Beech, which he took as retaliation for his first-inning home run. At that point Offerman went crazy and charged the mound and started  swinging his bat wildly. Beech ended up suffering a broken finger during the incident. Nathans, who was attempting to protect his pitcher, ended up being struck in the head and was later diagnosed with a concussion that would effectively end his career and unfortunately change his life. Nathans says he still deals with post-concussion symptoms. He's also been advised by doctors that he'll need to continue physical, vestibular and vision therapy, perhaps for the rest of his life. That's why he was aiming for nearly $5 million in damages originally. In July, he also expressed concern with Offerman trying

Jose Offerman's bat-attack victim awarded $940,000 in damages [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: August 27, 2014, 11:23 pm]
Seven years after former minor league catcher Johnathan Nathans' career was ended during a vicious and senseless onfield attack by former major leaguer Jose Offerman, a Connecticut jury has awarded him $940,000 in damages after finding Offerman culpable for his actions.  From The Connecticut Post:  The jury in the two-week-long bat-attack trial of Jose Offerman awarded the victim, former Bluefish catcher Johnathan Nathans $940,000 in damages. The verdict in the federal case was returned at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday; the seven-member jury deliberated for about 5 hours. Nathans was seeking $4.8 million for his injuries. He testified that the bat attack on Aug. 14, 2007, left him permanently disabled with vertigo, splitting headaches, nausea and other problems. The attack happened during an independent baseball game between Nathans' Bridgeport Bluefish and Offerman's Long Island Ducks. During his second-inning plate appearance, Offerman was hit in the leg by an off-speed pitch by Bluefish pitcher Matt Beech, which he took as retaliation for his first-inning home run. At that point Offerman went crazy and charged the mound and started  swinging his bat wildly. Beech ended up suffering a broken finger during the incident. Nathans, who was attempting to protect his pitcher, ended up being struck in the head and was later diagnosed with a concussion that would effectively end his career and unfortunately change his life. As noted, Nathans says he still deals with post-concussion symptoms. He's also been advised by doctors that he'll need to continue physical, vestibular and vision therapy, perhaps for the rest of his life. That's why he was aiming for nearly $5 million in damages originally, but now there's concern on Nathans' side that Offerman will try to avoid paying the damages as ordered by the jury all together.  From Fox Sports: "(People say) it kind of brings the story to a close, but really it does and it doesn't," Nathans said Wednesday in a phone inte

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