Sosa likely to skate on any perjury charge

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Congress is going to investigate Sammy Sosa for perjury:

A congressional committee will look into former baseball slugger
Sammy Sosa’s denial that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs in
light of a report that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing
drug in 2003. The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee, Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York, says that the
committee takes seriously suggestions that a witness had been
misleading.

Towns said in a statement Wednesday that he will determine the appropriate steps following a review of the matter.

Given Tuesday’s news, there is no question that Sammy was, at the
very least, being cute with Congress during his 2005 testimony. That
said, I don’t think anything will come of this and don’t expect that
Sosa will ultimately be charged.

Why? Because Sammy never appeared to have actually said that he didn’t do steroids. He said “To be clear, I have never taken illegal
performance-enhancing drugs.” He said “I have not broken the laws of
the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been
tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.” Those statements — and
many others he made during his testimony — allow for the possibility
that he used substances that were legal in the Dominican Republic that
would have been illegal to use in the United States.

I know that such a distinction is going to make a lot of you mad, but
federal perjury law is really, really, clear in holding that responses
to questions made under oath that relay truthful information in and of
themselves, but that are intended to mislead or evade the examiner
cannot be prosecuted. Instead, the criminal-justice system requires
that the questioner — in this case Congress — diligently followup on
such answers and suss out the misleading nature of the response
themselves. A relatively non-technical summary of that law can be found here. And yes, it’s an unpopular law in some circles, but it is the law, and there are several good reasons for it being as it is.

I don’t know what Sammy Sosa took, when, and where. But neither does
Congress, and they didn’t try to obtain that information in 2005 even
though they were presented with an opportunity to do so. And believe
me, there were lawyers all over that hearing room, and you can bet that
many of them were aware of the implications of Sosa’s carefully-phrased
statements that day. If they wanted to nail him for perjury, they
should have nailed him down then.

But they didn’t, and because of that, I think he skates.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.