Quick hits: Tigers avoid sweep

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– The Tigers avoided a three-game sweep
at the hands of the surging Twins with a 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon.
Nate Robertson allowed two runs over five innings, while Placido
Polanco went 2-for-3 with three RBI. The Tigers now sit three games in
front of the Twins with 13 games to go. They aren’t quite out of the
woods yet, as the clubs will meet for a three-game series Sept. 28-30.




– If the Twins are going to jump the Tigers in the standings, they are going to have to do it without the services of Joe Crede.
Battling pain in his lower back since August, Crede will undergo
surgery to clean up fluid from a herniated disk next week. It will be
the third surgery Crede has had on his back in the past three years.
Limited to just 90 games this
season, Crede batted .225/.289/.414 with 15 homers and 48 RBI in 333
at-bats. Though there have been whispers about retirement, the
31-year-old third baseman and impending free-agent has no plans to hang
it up.




– It looks like Michael Young may have jumped the gun when he unexpectedly returned to the lineup
against the Athletics last Tuesday. His season is now in jeopardy after
he re-aggravated his left hamstring during a second-inning at-bat.
It’s just the latest bad news for
the Rangers, who now sit 7 1/2 games out of first-place after dropping
two out of three to the Angels this weekend. With a
.322/.375/.523 line to go along with 22 homers and 67 RBI, Young has been the
Rangers’ most valuable player this season.




– Shocking news, as Giants prospect Angel Villalona has been detained in connection to a murder
in the Dominican Republic. Villalona, 19, is the prime suspect in the
shooting death of a 25-year-old man. According a report by the
Associated Press, he will appear in court on Monday and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. Villalona batted .267 with nine home runs
and 42 RBI in 74 games with Class A San Jose before being shut down
with a quad injury in July. Villalona, who was ranked as the No. 33
prospect in baseball by
Baseball America, was signed to a team record $2.1 million signing bonus in 2007.

– And finally, the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the rest of the season. Yeah, he doesn’t like Chicago very much. Got news for ya, the feeling is mutual.

The Marlins made an empty threat. Giancarlo Stanton made an empty promise.

Associated Press
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I covered the main press conference about Giancarlo Stanton earlier, but afterward he and his agents fanned out to various TV shows, radio shows and reporter scrums from which some new, fun things have spun out. Part of what they’ve talked about is silly and meaningless, part of it just meaningless.

Here’s the silly and meaningless, from a Marlins official, apparently, trying to bully Stanton into accepting either the Giants or the Cardinals trades despite the fact that he told them beforehand that he was not willing to go to either of those teams:

This is silly because it comes off like a threat. Like the worst possible thing that can happen to a guy is to stay with the very team that is making the threat. It’s like telling your wife that if she does not leave you, she’s stuck with you forever.

It’s meaningless too, in that Stanton has an opt-out clause after 2020. If the Marlins could not make a trade Stanton would approve, he’d simply collect close to $90 million and then leave at age 30. Oooh, don’t throw me into that briar patch, Mr. Jeter!

Not that Stanton’s people are offering statements of serious gravitas. His agent was asked about Stanton’s opt-out rights, which he retains even though he’s now with the Yankees:

That may very well be true! He just got here and everything is going great so far. It’s totally empty, of course, because anything can happen between now and the fall of 2020. If the big time free agents of the next two years sign for the sort of money that makes Stanton look underpaid, he’ll certainly opt-out, even if he wants to stay with the Yankees. Ask Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia how that works. The opt-out clause is pure, unadulterated leverage for a player and unless he totally craters over the next three seasons he’ll most certainly use it, regardless of present desires.

Which, hey, that’s how things work when a big trade or free agent signing happens. Everyone who has lost looks bad and everyone who won sounds happy. Then, later, the baseball happens.