Eric Thames weighs in on MLB’s ‘terrible’ summer training

Larry Brown Sports

Some MLB players are definitely struggling to adapt to the new rules and expectations that come with a mid-pandemic summer camp. Washington Nationals outfielder Eric Thames is one of them.

Thames said summer camp has been “terrible,” citing the various social distancing rules implemented by the league to reduce the likelihood of the virus being transmitted.

#baseball, #professional

The Giants Options For Replacing Buster Posey

MLB Trade Rumors

The San Francisco Giants are in true limbo behind the plate. Organizationally, they have one of the better catching situations in all of baseball. On the one hand, they have a tried-and-true franchise legend still under contract in Buster Posey. Not only was he the backbone of three, count ’em, three World Series titles, but he’s a class act and a fan favorite. In his prime, he was the platonic ideal of a franchise catcher. Admittedly, he is on the decline. Last season was the first since 2011 that the then-32-year-old didn’t make the All-Star team. He’s gone from a 130-start powerhouse behind the plate to more of a true timeshare 100-start guy. He also fell below 100 wRC+ for the first time in his career (save for his 7-game stint as a 22-year-old in 2009). And more to the point, he opted out of the 2020 season to care for his newly adopted twin baby girls. Again: class act.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Giants are blessed with two of the top catching prospects in all of baseball. Joey Bart, the #2 overall pick from the 2018 draft is ranked by Baseball America as the second best catching prospect in all of baseball. Then, with the 13th pick in this year’s draft, they snagged the top NCAA catcher available in Patrick Bailey.

So, yes, big picture, the Giants have an enviable catching corps. But they need to field the position for 2020, and that’s where things get a little sticky. Bailey, 21, has zero chance of jumping straight to the majors from college. He needs time in pro ball to develop.

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Marcus Stroman blasts Randal Grichuk: ‘Continue to underachieve and talk s— about teammates!’

Sporting News

Marcus Stroman tore into former Blue Jays teammate Randal Grichuk via Twitter on Saturday after Grichuk backed an accusation about Stroman's prior treatment of minor league players.

Grichuk said an allegation from Aubrey Huff that Stroman once kicked 30 younger teammates out of a weight room so he could skip rope by himself "was a known story around players in the Jays team/system."

Stroman then wrote a scathing response that touched on Grichuk's disappointing on-field play in 2019.

"You've done nothing but talk about me behind my back," Stroman wrote. "Consistently. I've always kept my mouth shut and let it slide. Ask YOUR teammates and Canada who they [would] rather have on their team… you or me. I already know the answer. Continue to under achieve and talk s— about teammates!"

#baseball, #professional

Lionel Messi Hits Incredible Record With Latest Assist

Heavy

Lionel Messi made more La Liga history on Saturday night by teeing up Arturo Vidal to open the scoring for Barcelona against Real Valladolid at the José Zorrilla Stadium.

The assist was Messi’s 20th of the season, to go with his 22 goals in Spain’s top flight, making him the first player ever to record such numbers.

Messi also becomes the first player to reach 20 assists in a La Liga season since Xavi achieved the same feat for Barcelona in 2008-09.

Meanwhile, Vidal’s goal was his eighth of the season and continues his lethal form in front of goal for Barcelona this season.

The Chilean’s first-half strike was the only goal of the game and was enough for all three points for Barcelona. The win sees the Catalan giants cut the gap to leaders Real Madrid to just one point.

Barcelona headed into the game needing a win to keep their faint title hopes alive after Los Blancos moved four points clear on Friday night with a win over Alaves.

#professional, #soccer

Sporting KC Transfer Botond Barath to Hungary

The Blue Statement

Sporting Kansas City announced on Saturday that they had sold center back Botond Barath to Hungarian club Budapest Honved FC. You may recall that Borath came from Hungary ahead of the 2019 season. He’ll return to his former club in this deal.

“Budapest Honved wanted me, and I wanted more playing time,” said Barath. “Also there is too much uncertainty around this MLS-season due to the COVID-19 situation in the US.”

What Does it Mean for KC?

Barath had not yet appeared in 2020 but he played significant minutes in 2019 logging 20 starts and 21 appearances for 1,749 minutes.

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Blue Jays shift Vladimir Guerrero Jr. across diamond to first base

Fox Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays are shifting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. across the diamond, moving the slugger to first base from third.

Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo said Guerrero feels comfortable at first and the team has Travis Shaw ready to play third. Montoyo also said Guerrero will see time as a designated hitter. He didn’t rule out that he will play some third in the future.

“This is more about Vladdy and giving him a chance to succeed in a short season,” Montoyo said.

Guerrero hit .272 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in 123 games as a rookie, delivering a series of big swings en route to the finals of the All-Star Home Run Derby. 

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Chicago White Sox Pitcher Michael Kopech Opts Out of 2020 Season

NBC Chicago

Michael Kopech, one of baseball's top pitching prospects, has decided to "not participate in the 2020 season," White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn said Friday in a statement.

“Michael Kopech has informed us of his decision to not participate in the 2020 season," Hahn said. "We recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech was excused from team activities last Friday, and Hahn said at the time he didn't have a timeline for the pitcher's return.

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Theo Epstein admits minor leaguers are underpaid after prospect’s wage complaint

The Score

Chicago Cubs prospect Adbert Alzolay recently complained via Twitter about the payment for members of the taxi squad during MLB's shortened season, and while the tweets have been deleted, team president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Friday that he agrees with the pitcher.

"The fact still remains that minor-league players are underpaid," Epstein told reporters, according to 670 The Score's Chris Emma. "It's not an ideal situation for them. But on top of what's being provided from the meal money and the salaries, two meals a day at the ballpark, and the housing, there's also a full staff of people that are putting themselves in harm's way to really make sure the players are well taken care of – their health, their safety, and also their comfort. And that staff has really done a phenomenal job of taking care of the players."

#baseball, #professional

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW: It’s a nightmare for Man City

Daily Mail

Manchester City will face either Juventus or Lyon, should they progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, while Chelsea will face either Napoli or Barcelona if they stage an almighty comeback against Bayern Munich.

City look set to reach the quarter-finals after a brilliant 2-1 last-16 first-leg win at Real Madrid on February 26. The two teams will meet again at the Etihad Stadium on August 7 to conclude that tie.

Meanwhile, Chelsea face an uphill battle to reach the last eight after losing 3-0 at home to Bayern Munich on February 25. The return leg in Bavaria also takes place on August 7. 

Elsewhere RB Leipzig, conquerors of Tottenham in the last 16, will face Atletico Madrid – with the latter disposing of defending champions Liverpool at the same stage too.

The other tie that is fixed sees Italian outfit Atalanta face French giants Paris Saint-Germain. All of the quarter-finals will take place across August 12-15.

Should City progress through their last-16 and quarter-final ties, Pep Guardiola's men would face Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Napoli in the semi-finals.

#professional, #soccer

Mourinho unhappy with Tottenham’s Amazon documentary

ESPN

Jose Mourinho has said he will not watch the new Amazon documentary of Tottenham's 2019-20 season and admitted his frustration at the intrusion from cameras during filming.

The 22-second trailer for "All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur" was released on Friday, focusing on Mourinho's arrival at the club last November to succeed Mauricio Pochettino as head coach.

The series is set to be released later this year and will chart a turbulent campaign which also featured Spurs struggling to reproduce the form that got them to last season's Champions League final, the coronavirus pandemic and a half-time fight between Spurs players Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-Min in Monday's win over Everton.

Amazon producers have had unprecedented access at the club's training facility in addition to matchdays and although Mourinho had previously kept his feeling quiet over the interference, the 57-year-old chose to speak out ahead of Sunday's north London derby against Arsenal.

"I try to forget them during the time," he said. "If you ask me [is it] something that I enjoy, no. I don't like the feeling of being in 'Big Brother,' I tried to forget them and I think I managed to do that for the majority of the time.

"I have no idea what is there. I have no concerns, it is just… nothing is fake, everything is real. For them, it must be great because they have the day by day, 24 hours of what a football club is, a dressing room is. They have everything so, so, so, so real. Nobody acted for it. It is just the way it is.

"Am I going to watch it? No, no I'm not. It is not something I want to do. Also because I know better than anyone what is our day by day here but I think it will be very, very interesting for the people that loves football, loves sport and I think it is going to be great for them."

 

#professional, #soccer

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