Joey Votto was saved by his minor league host family

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The Dayton Daily News has an interesting sidebar to the Joey Votto story: a profile of his former minor league host family
who provided him a lifeline when he was at his psychological nadir.
It’s interesting and poignant as it relates to Votto, but it’s plenty
entertaining too as a result of the background it provides about how
guys in the low bush leagues live. Here’s the father of the host
family, explaining part of the rationale for taking in ballplayers:

“Back then our daughters were maybe 12 and 16, and I didn’t want
them to grow up naive. People said, ‘How could you let three
ballplayers and the team trainer live with you?’ I said, ‘Well, the
girls are kind of ugly. I’m trying to help them out.’ ”

He’s not serious, of course, though the article’s next best quote may give anyone pause before taking one of these guys in:

Over the years, they’ve had about a dozen players live with them,
including Votto, who spent his entire 2004 season with the Dragons at
their home.

“Yeah, they had three rules,” he said with a laugh. “No drinking. No girls. Don’t mess with the daughters.”

Linda smiled when his recollection later was relayed to her: “He’s
exactly right, but let me tell you something. Over the course of years,
all of those rules have been broken, and one player broke all three at
once.”

This is why I (a) don’t let my daughter hang out with those t-ball hooligans; and (b) keep my shotgun loaded at all times.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.

The Dodgers are concerned about Julio Urias’ shoulder

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Things are going great for the Dodgers lately. They’ve won seven consecutive games and 13 of their last 14. They lead the National League in wins and are in first place in, arguably, the best division in baseball.

But there are a lot of moving parts on a baseball team, and even when some things are going great, other things can go not-so-great. Like this:

Urias has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and shut down indefinitely. An MRI last week showed no structural damage, but his shoulder is still bothering him. He has not pitched in the bigs since late May, when he allowed seven runs in less than three innings against the Miami Marlins. He was sent down after that and went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA, six walks and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched in three starts with Oklahoma City before being shelved.