Theo holds forth on steroids, Halladay, Youkilis and other stuff

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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was on WEEI’s “The Dale and Holley” show yesterday and talked about all kinds of things — the Sox’ recent troubles, Halladay, Ortiz’ situation and steroids in general, Youkilis’ suspension, etc.  All pretty straightforward stuff, though this bit about finding Ortiz’s statements on PEDs to be satisfying was interesting:

He said, ‘Look, this report is shocking to me. I haven’t taken
steroids and I want to find out what the heck I tested positive for. I
need to talk to the union, I need to find out what’s going on. As soon
as I do . . . I’m not going to hide from this, I’m going to answer
every single question.’ When a player says something like that, which
is refreshing given a normal response . . . hiding behind excuses or
some sort of technical legal situation to not address the question head
on . . . you want to stand behind him.

I guess Theo can feel satisfied about that if he wants, but to suggest that Ortiz’s statements weren’t accompanied by “technical legal” excuses is really stretching things.  You’ll recall that Union general counsel Michael Weiner spoke before Ortiz did, and what he offered — while totally valid in my mind — was about as long a legal disclaimer as anyone has offered in connection with steroids to date.

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.