Bill Lee: "Jim Rice was a pain in the a–"

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Bill Lee.jpgThis isn’t exactly news, but it’s a slow day and slow days are made for Bill Lee rambling about stuff. Here’s Lee comparing and contrasting Andre Dawson and Jim Rice:

“Hawk’s a leader. He led by example through pain and suffering, going
out there every day and laying it on the line. Character! I’d take him
over Rice any day of the week. Rice had one of the greatest years in
’78, but over the course of a career? Hawk could play the outfield.
Rice was a good outfielder there for a while, but then he got heavy. He
got sedentary. He really didn’t work as hard as Hawk had to work every
day. He was a pain in the [butt].”

And actually, I’m less interested in Lee’s opinion of Rice as I am in using this an excuse to talk about the show I saw on ESPN Classic this morning. It was some sports quiz show from the mid 70s that pitted Fred Lynn, Bill Lee and Red Sox manager Darrell Johnson against Bobby Bonds, Frank Tanana and Angels manager Dick Williams.  Great stuff. Lynn carried the Red Sox to victory.  The Angels team was mostly Bonds and a bit of Williams, though Dick was way too quick on the buzzer.  Tanana and Lee were close to non-entities, though it’s worth noting that Lee did appear to be completely lucid, which is frankly surprising.

OK, we probably need some real news to happen now.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.