Link-O-Rama: Capps to remain Pirates' closer (probably)

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* Matt Capps has struggled this season, going 4-8 with a 5.91 ERA and .326 opponents’ batting average while blowing five saves in 31 opportunities, but general manager Neal Huntington said yesterday that he’ll remain the Pirates’ closer next year “barring some unforeseen circumstance.” Of course, if they get any decent offers for Capps this offseason my guess is that the Pirates would be happy to trade him.
* Craig noted this morning that the Brewers are thinking about hiring Rick Peterson as their new pitching coach, but it sounds like manager Ken Macha will stick around for 2010 despite a disappointing first year in Milwaukee. Peterson and Macha worked together for quite a few years in Oakland.
* Roger Clemens showed up at Minute Maid Park over the weekend because his son Koby Clemens was among eight players honored as the team MVPs of their respective minor-league affiliates. Koby, who’s a 22-year-old catcher and former eighth-round pick, batted .345 with 22 homers, 45 doubles, and 121 RBIs in 116 games at high Single-A Lancaster of the California League.
* Koby Clemens can look forward to one day being involved in the Astros’ annual hazing ritual, which this year consisted of forcing the rookies to dress up in 1980s workout clothes. In other words, basically a whole bunch of neon, spandex, headbands, and tanktops. Alyson Footer of MLB.com has all the embarrassing details.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.