Joe Maddon on Angels' David Fletcher: 'It was love at first double'

Sports / Baseball /

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The first time Joe Maddon saw the Angels' emerging fan favorite play was 15 months ago in Chicago.

David Fletcher was making his Wrigley Field debut on a blustery afternoon. It was his only 93rd appearance in the majors, but he was already a star in the eyes of Angels followers.

Maddon, then manager of the Chicago Cubs, had ...Read more

Will Clayton Kershaw be ready for a ninth Dodgers season opener?

Sports / Baseball /

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts unceremoniously named his opening day starter this week. It will be Clayton Kershaw. The revelation didn't shock a soul.

Kershaw was named the starter in March for the team's original opening day before the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. He has started on opening day for the Dodgers eight ...Read more

Braves executives make team's position clear on name change questions

Sports / Baseball /

ATLANTA -- Announcements by the Washington NFL team and the Cleveland Indians that they will consider name changes have raised questions about whether the Atlanta Braves will do likewise.

The team's top executive, Terry McGuirk, has an unambiguous answer.

"We are so proud of our team's name, and our expectation is that we will always be the ...Read more

White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech opts out of the 2020 season for 'personal reasons'

Sports / Baseball /

CHICAGO -- Michael Kopech, the top pitching prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization, has decided not to play this season, the team announced Friday.

Kopech's decision is for "personal reasons," according to a team spokesman.

"We recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our ...Read more

Giants catcher Buster Posey opts out of 2020 season, cites newborn twins' health

Sports / Baseball /

SAN FRANCISCO -- The last time Buster Posey went a season without wearing a Giants jersey, there were questions regarding Bruce Bochy's job security, uncertainty over whether Brian Sabean was a competent executive and legitimate fears held by lifelong fans of the team in San Francisco they would never see the franchise win a World Series title. ...Read more

Drive-in baseball: Why not watch Dodgers or Angels games on a screen from a car?

Sports / Baseball /

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The cars rolled into the Angel Stadium parking lot last weekend, assembling beneath a giant pop-up screen. In the shadow of the Big A, and from the safety of their vehicles, folks enjoyed drive-in movies.

With the start of the 2020 season two weeks away, how about drive-in baseball?

With no fans allowed into major league ...Read more

J.T. Realmuto says Phillies' contract negotiations haven't 'gone anywhere' since March

Sports / Baseball /

PHILADELPHIA -- During the last four months, J.T. Realmuto has seen a global pandemic cancel spring training and a 162-game schedule shrink to just 60 games. He narrowly avoided a coronavirus outbreak at the Phillies' Clearwater, Fla., facility, forcing him to self-quarantine in South Jersey and pass a series of tests as a precaution before ...Read more

Can Dodgers' Cody Bellinger repeat last year's scorching 60-game start in 2020?

Sports / Baseball /

LOS ANGELES -- Cody Bellinger's first 60 games last season were near-historic: a .370 batting average, 20 home runs, 54 RBIs and a 1.177 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

All of which made his final 60 games somewhat head-scratching: a .257 batting average, 13 home runs, 38 RBIs and an .890 OPS.

The 24-year-old outfielder still won the ...Read more

Angels' Anthony Rendon offers succinct opinion of piped-in crowd noise: It's stupid

Sports / Baseball /

LOS ANGELES -- During a 2 1/2-hour intrasquad game this week, the Angels experimented with piping artificial crowd noise through the stadium's speaker system. Other teams around baseball have tried the same thing. They all wonder if piped-in ruckus can offset the absence of fans, who aren't expected to attend many games this season, if any.

...Read more

Indians outfielder Franmil Reyes apologizes for incident, swears it won't happen again

Sports / Baseball /

Indians outfielder Franmil Reyes was kept away from the team for a few days following the discovery that he was around some people during the Fourth of July weekend without a mask.

Manager Terry Francona stressed a few days ago that Reyes did nothing egregious, and that he wasn't being punished. The team was choosing to keep Reyes away from the...Read more

Javier Baez still waiting for big payday, but signs of normalcy must precede his new contract: 'I'm not in a rush'

Sports / Baseball /

CHICAGO -- The coronavirus pandemic placed baseball on a 3 1/2-month pause and created uncertainty in the financial world.

But Javier Baez doesn't seem worried about the lucrative payday that awaited him before the shutdown of spring training March 12.

Baez, the Chicago Cubs' prized shortstop, displayed the patience of a seasoned father in ...Read more

David Ross on Cubs' COVID-19 prevention plan: 'We're staying out of bars'

Sports / Baseball /

CHICAGO -- A day after left fielder Kyle Schwarber revealed he and his teammates discussed the do's and don'ts during the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross went one step further in discussing the limits.

"We're staying out of bars," Ross said during a conference call.

As of Thursday, the Cubs remained the only MLB team to ...Read more

Though he can afford to sit out coronavirus-delayed season, Mariners' Kyle Seager embraces chance to play

Sports / Baseball /

SEATTLE -- The decision couldn't be made in an instant or without some real thought and reflection. There needed to be discussion, even debate about what was best for his career and family.

Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager knew he could handle the financial hit if he opted to follow the lead of a handful of other established veteran players ...Read more

Joey Gallo's negative COVID-19 tests seem hopeful, but MLB can't make exceptions

Sports / Baseball /

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Fifty-six of the 58 players on the Texas Rangers' roster for summer camp have been cleared to participate after testing negative for COVID-19 in the pre-camp screening process.

One of the final stragglers, though for reasons unknown, was Ronald Guzman, who was in the lineup Wednesday in a simulated game at Globe Life Field. ...Read more

Slugger Kyle Schwarber is preparing for any role with Cubs — including DH: 'I'm going to be ready when I'm called on'

Sports / Baseball /

CHICAGO -- Kyle Schwarber will gladly accept any role manager David Ross presents him, including the designated-hitter duties that will be instituted in the National League for the shortened 60-game season.

Schwarber has developed into an adequate left fielder since making the transition from catcher after the Chicago Cubs selected him in the ...Read more

Giants suspend workouts at Oracle Park, hope to restart on Wednesday

Sports / Baseball /

The San Francisco Giants planned to hold their first modified scrimmage of the summer on Tuesday at Oracle Park, but the team announced it was temporarily suspending workouts pending coronavirus test results.

Manager Gabe Kapler said Giants players, coaches and staffers who were tested for COVID-19 on Saturday had not yet received results ...Read more

Eloy Jimenez is looking to build off the strong September he had with White Sox last season

Sports / Baseball /

CHICAGO -- Eloy Jimenez was locked in last September.

The Chicago White Sox left fielder had a .340/.383/.710 slash line with eight doubles, nine home runs and 25 RBIs in the month to finish his rookie season with a flourish.

"At the beginning (of the season) I was just worrying about (how) I needed to play hard and I needed to do this and I ...Read more

Is this the safest schedule MLB could put together? Experts are split

Sports / Baseball /

In a pandemic-shortened regular season dedicated to risk management, with bans on everything from fans to spitting, the Major League Baseball schedule unveiled Monday arguably forces each team to take five more trips than necessary.

"You want to minimize travel, absolutely," said Dr. Dena Grayson, a Florida-based pandemic expert. "That would ...Read more

Nick Markakis says 'eye opening' conversation with Freddie Freeman led to decision

Sports / Baseball /

ATLANTA -- Braves outfielder Nick Markakis has decided not to play in the 2020 season, manager Brian Snitker announced Monday.

Markakis, 36, made his decision a few days into camp. The Braves held their first workouts Friday, two days after players began filing into camps.

"I was excited to get back to playing just as much as everyone else," ...Read more

How a Marlins player helped save his alma mater's baseball program amid COVID-19 cuts

Sports / Baseball /

MIAMI -- The news came down in mid-May, about two months after sports around the country were put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Miami Marlins utility man Jon Berti wasn't sure how to react.

Bowling Green university, Berti's alma mater, was cutting its baseball program as part of an effort to slash $2 million from the athletic...Read more