Daily Dose: When celebrations go wrong

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Ryan Dempster was put on the disabled list Tuesday with a broken toe suffered while celebrating Sunday’s victory. Seriously.
Dempster was attempting to jump over the dugout fence and onto the
field after the final out when he stumbled and slammed into the ground.
His teammates laughed at the time, but X-rays showed a non-displaced
fracture and he’ll also soon be missing a toenail.

Dempster has pitched very well since a poor April, posting a 3.57
ERA and 64/30 K/BB ratio in 75.2 innings spread over a dozen starts
since May 1, but he’ll likely miss at least three weeks and could be
sidelined for more than a month. For now at least Kevin Hart has been
tabbed to replace him in the rotation, but giving Jeff Samardzija a
chance to start in the majors for the first time is also an option.

While the Cubs add to this season’s extensive list of woes, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Picking up Mark DeRosa two weeks ago looked like a solid deal for
St. Louis at the time, but he went hitless in nine at-bats before
suffering a wrist injury that put him on the disabled list Tuesday.
General manager John Mozeliak called the DL stint a “precautionary
move,” but there are reports that DeRosa may be out for a long time
after being diagnosed with a torn tendon sheath.

While admitting Tuesday that he doesn’t “know all the jargon” DeRosa
explained: “There’s definitely something wrong with it. There’s
definitely a partial tear of the sheath. It’s one of those things where
you hope time allows it to heal itself.” Now it’s back to Joe Thurston
and Brian Barden at third base for the Cardinals, who’re in the same
spot as two weeks ago except without Chris Perez in the bullpen.

* Despite being out for six weeks with a shoulder injury Erik Bedard
didn’t miss a beat returning from the disabled list Tuesday, striking
out eight and giving up just two hits in an abbreviated four-inning
start. Despite multiple injuries Bedard has yet to stop being a
dominant pitcher in between DL stints and the impending free agent is
now 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 73/23 K/BB ratio in 69.2 innings this year.

* Adam Wainwright was two outs short of a shutout Tuesday and Colby
Rasmus backed him by going 3-for-5 with a homer as the Cardinals
extended their lead in the NL Central with a 5-0 win against the
Brewers. Rasmus’ overall numbers are plenty strong, but the 22-year-old
rookie has been fantastic since a slow first two months and is now
39-for-106 (.368) with 17 extra-base hits since June 1.

AL Quick Hits: General manager J.P. Ricciardi said Tuesday that the Blue Jays are willing to listen to offers for Roy Halladay, but was vague about the likelihood of a trade … Chicago has reportedly acquired
reliever Tony Pena from Arizona for first-base prospect Brandon Allen …
Scott Rolen extended his hitting streak to 24 games with an
eighth-inning single Tuesday … Alfredo Aceves has joined the rotation
in place of the Chien-Ming Wang and has AL-only upside … Shaun Marcum
is said to be on track for an August comeback from Tommy John elbow
surgery … Scott Hairston started in center field Tuesday and blasted
his first A’s homer … Justin Verlander allowed five runs Tuesday, but
picked up his ninth win and struck out 11 … Grady Sizemore went deep
twice Tuesday and has 15 RBIs since coming off the disabled list on
June 23 … Jeremy Bonderman played catch from 60 feet Tuesday and said
afterward that his shoulder “feels pretty good.”

NL Quick Hits: Carlos Beltran (knee) has yet to begin
high-impact workouts and likely isn’t close to coming off the disabled
list … ESPN reports that the Phillies are “more interested” in Pedro
Martinez “than they’re letting on” … Jose Reyes (hamstring) received a
cortisone shot Tuesday, pushing his return timetable back even further
… Kyle Lohse (forearm) gave up two hits over six innings in a rehab
start Tuesday at Triple-A … Chipper Jones was scratched from Tuesday’s
lineup with a sore groin … Hanley Ramirez missed his third straight
game Tuesday with a hip strain … Clayton Kershaw tossed six scoreless
innings Tuesday, allowing two runs or fewer in his fifth straight start
… Manny Ramirez was ejected from Tuesday’s game for arguing a called
third strike, but drove in three runs before leaving … Javier Vazquez
tossed seven innings of one-run ball Tuesday, cutting his ERA to 2.95 …
Freddy Sanchez (back) missed a fifth straight game Tuesday.

Dexter Fowler: “I didn’t say anything wrong.”

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Dexter Fowler #81 poses for a portrait during St Louis Cardinals Photo Day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2017 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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New Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler was recently asked by ESPN’s Mark Saxon how President Trump’s efforts to institute a travel ban affected him and his family. Fowler’s wife is from Iran and Fowler said that he had reconsidered traveling with his daughter to Iran to visit her family. His wife’s sister also delayed her return from a business trip to Qatar as a result of Trump’s executive order. “It’s huge,” Fowler said. “Especially anytime you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate.”

Fowler’s statement was pretty bland as far as athletes wading into political waters go. He didn’t criticize Trump or conservatives, nor did he espouse support for liberals or Democrats. It was a simple statement that his life had been adversely impacted by an executive order.

The responses to Fowler’s comment were mostly awful. The @BestFansStLouis Twitter account highlighted this, as did Jeff Passan for Yahoo Sports and Will Leitch for Sports on Earth. Fans suggested that Fowler “shut up and play” because “nobody cares” and that Fowler is “property” of the Cardinals. The responses were so negative that Fowler tweeted about it:

Fowler, however, isn’t backing down. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:

“I didn’t say anything wrong,” Fowler said. “I think it was taken out of context [by other outlets]. I don’t think people read the article. I think people made their own [headlines]. The question was asked out of empathy to my family, and I appreciate that. If anybody is asking about my family, then I’m going to let them know that, ‘Yeah, obviously it affected my family. My wife is Iranian.’ … I think it’s kind of ignorant of people to just come at me like that and not read the article.”

[…]

“I’m always going to care for my family,” Fowler said. “And if a question is asked out of concern, I’m going to answer the question. And I’m going to answer it truthfully. It’s not to hurt anybody. It’s unfortunate that people think of things that way. I believe they’re sensitive. I’m not the sensitive one. I appreciate the ones that understood.”

Manager Mike Matheny has Fowler’s back. He said, “I think he handled it correctly. He was very clear that he was trying to make a statement about his family [and it] ended up becoming a political statement.”

Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, also expressed support for Fowler:

“Baseball players are a microcosm of society, and I was a grown man before I was a baseball player,” Clark said. “If I have a view, I should be willing to share it, while understanding what I’m a part of and what my responsibilities are. Any player understands that when they take a particular position, it may not be a popular one.

“There may be pushback. That shouldn’t be a reason not to have an opinion. In this instance, it’s a very personal one to Dex. I respect the commentators that responded. I respect their freedom to respond to it.”

Indeed, Fowler had every right to say what he said and it’s good to see that both his manager and the head of the MLBPA support him fully. It would have been easy and politically safe to allow Fowler to hang out to dry.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants 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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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.