The Phillies get sued by a 12 year-old girl

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A 12 year-old girl caught Ryan Howard’s 200th home run ball back in July. Afterwards, she was escorted to the Phillies clubhouse and exchanged it for an autographed ball.  This being America, she sued (or, I should say, her parents sued) in order to get the ball back.  Two days after the suit was filed, the Phillies gave her the ball back.

Even though I haven’t seen the lawsuit, I see why the team gave it back: 12 year-olds aren’t legally competent to make contracts, and any implied agreement to exchange the home run ball for the autographed ball would almost certainly be nullified by a court.

Maybe the Phillies could win if they went scorched Earth in the case, took depositions of the girl’s parents and got them to admit that it was them rather than their daughter who made the deal, but the Phillies wisely concluded, it seems, that life is too short to get into stupid litigation with speculating fans.  At the same time, Howard strikes me as a more intellectual ballplayer than most, and I have this feeling that he wouldn’t ask the Phillies to go to the mat for him on what is ultimately a minor piece of sentimental memorabilia.

As for the girl — or, in all likelihood, her parents — the lawsuit seems like a dumb move.  200th home run balls from guys who are likely to hit 400+ home runs probably aren’t worth all that much in the grand scheme of things.  Probably less than the retainer they had to pay the lawyer, and probably not much more than the autographed ball anyway (though I assume that they’ll let her keep that too to avoid the trouble).  Even if I’m wrong about that, which story would you want to tell to your friends later in life:

(a) I once caught Ryan Howard’s 200th homer, I got to meet him, give him the ball, and he gave me an autographed one instead; or

(b) I once caught Ryan Howard’s 200th homer, I got to meet him, give him the ball, and he gave me an autographed one instead, and then three months later we sued his ass and got them both!

Maybe your answer is (b).  If so, congratulations, you’re kind of a jerk!

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.