Link-O-Rama: A.J. Burnett likes to read, swear

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* From the “hey, it’s Friday and this amused me for some reason” department, the Boston Herald reports
that A.J. Burnett was thrown out of a Boston-area Barnes & Noble
the morning after his poor start against the Red Sox “for swearing on
his cell phone.”

A source told the newspaper that “he was swearing and stuff and the
security guard went over and told him to quiet down because there were
kids around.” And then when Burnett declined that request, the
“elderly” security guard on duty “told him to hit the road.”

* Bobby Valentine was told by the Chiba Lotte Marines that his contract will not be renewed, so 100,000 fans signed a petition to keep him as manager.

* Not since Rich Garces has someone looked this good throwing a baseball.

* Try as they might, Washington Post writers can’t escape Lastings Milledge and the Nationals.

* Jonathan Papelbon has been fined $1,000 for “violating pace-of-game guidelines” when entering games.

* Rob Dibble apparently isn’t a big fan of Rob Neyer or Keith Law. I’m sure they’re equally crushed.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.