Reds pick up outfield help in Balentien

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I sort of called this one on the old twitter feed a couple of days ago. At least I was hoping that the reason the Reds weren’t calling up Chris Heisey was because they were getting ready to pick up an outfielder.
This actually looks like a Jim Bowden move for Cincinnati. Balentien isn’t a five-tools guy, but he does have 30-homer power and a terrific arm. His career line is sitting at .209/.260/.359 in 401 at-bats, but he’s going to a smaller ballpark now, which should help. He’ll probably never hit for average because he swings and misses so often, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn into an adequate regular anyway. How he performs over the rest of this year will determine whether the Reds keep him in their plans for 2010. Heisey, Drew Stubbs and Todd Frazier could all factor into the outfield mix next year, so Balentien may have only a small window to establish himself.
The Mariners did pretty well here in getting Manuel, a reliever who broke through with a 1.25 ERA and a 103/18 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings at three levels of the minors last season. The 26-year-old had a 2.70 ERA for Triple-A Louisville this season, and he pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings during his brief time in the majors. While he doesn’t impress scouts with his 88-92 mph fastball, he has a deceptive delivery and excellent command. He could prove pretty useful in the middle innings, and the Mariners will almost certainly give him an opportunity soon.

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.