Don't even try to censor Ozzie Guillen

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Baseball is investigating some comments made by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen over the weekend.

On Sunday, Guillen was upset after watching three of his players get hit by pitches in a victory over the Cleveland Indians. Guillen acknowledged that he believed the plunkings were accidental, but nonetheless spouted off after the game, saying this:

“I have Konerko bruised all over the place,” he said. “Around the league, be careful because we’re going to hit people. I don’t care if I get suspended because I need to protect my players.”

It was a warning. If you hit my players on purpose, I’ll hit yours. Simple as that. So what is there to investigate exactly?

This isn’t the airport, where mentioning about how you got “bombed” the night before can get you tossed from the premises.

No, this is baseball, where Leo Durocher once said he wanted some “scratching, diving, hungry ballplayers who come to kill you,” and didn’t have to worry about being locked up for recruiting murderers.

Guillen, not surprisingly, isn’t about to back down.

“I can say whatever I want to say – as long as I’m not saying it about them,” the outspoken manager said. “I know the integrity of this game better than anybody. I’m very professional. But meanwhile, enough was enough.

While the idea of Guillen espousing his own professionalism might send Chicago media members into uncontrolled bouts of giggling, his basic argument is sound. You can’t punish someone for something that hasn’t happened.

Guillen is as entertaining as most major league managers are dry. They spout clichés, while he takes the pulpit and acts as if he’s running a longshoremen’s meeting. He says what he thinks, often in colorful language. And sometimes, he says too much. Big deal.

So don’t try to censor Ozzie Guillen. It’s not going to work anyway.

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If you Twitter, and aren’t afraid of the occasional brushback pitch, you can follow me at @bharks.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.