Quick hits: Phils sweep Mets out of town

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– The Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Mets on Sunday
as Joe Blanton outdueled Johan Santana with seven shutout innings. The
stumbling Mets are now four games back of the first-place Phils.

– After being snubbed for an All-Star selection, Mark Reynolds connected for his 24th home run against the Rockies. While he didn’t make the squad, he is one of the choices on the “Final Vote” ballot.

– Ricky Nolasco continued his resurgence,
fanning 12 while tossing eight shutout innings against the Pirates on
Sunday. Nolasco has lowered his ERA from 9.07 to 5.42 in six starts
since returning from the minor leagues on June 7.

– Hanley Ramirez sat out Sunday’s game due to a tight right hip flexor. However, he was named as the National League’s starting shortstop.

– The Yankees managed to defeat the Blue Jays 10-8 on Sunday despite the worst outing of Joba Chamberlain’s career.

– After having surgery on his right rotator cuff last month, Coco Crisp has a similar procedure planned for his left shoulder later this month. He hopes to be ready for Opening Day next season.

– Rehabbing a groin injury, Raul Ibanez is scheduled to play for Double-A Reading on Monday. Ibanez was chosen as a first-time All-Star by the fans on Sunday.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.