Pedro to start Wednesday; Moyer to the pen

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Pedro Martinez is going to be activated before Wednesday’s game against the Cubs, and Jamie Moyer is going to the bullpen.  It’s a move that makes sense in that if anyone was going to lose their job in the rotation it had to be Moyer, who’s getting abused lately and currently has a 5.47 ERA.

I know everyone is going to be watching Pedro, but I’m actually more curious as to how Manuel is going to deploy Moyer.  The impulse — because he’s a veteran with a year left on his contract and no one wants to put him out to pasture yet — would be to use him as a lefty specialist or some other semi-prominent role.  If so, Manuel should avoid this impulse given that, over his career, lefties have actually hit Moyer better than righties (.765 OPS vs. .742 OPS), even though that’s not the case in 2009.

What I’d really like to see is Moyer used as an old-timey swingman, they type of which we just don’t see much anymore in this age of bullpen specialists. Lots of mopup. Lots of use as a longman. A spot start here or there if a particular matchup makes sense or if the Phillies build a bit more of a division lead.  If they do that right — and if Moyer doesn’t simply implode in his new role — Philadelphia could maybe reduce the number of guys in the pen and do some things with its bench that other teams can’t do such as have a pure speed guy hanging around or something.

We’ll see if that happens.  And we’ll see Wednesday if Pedro has anything left in the tank. 

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.