Selig on the Galea investigation: nothin' to worry about

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Bud Selig was just on the Mike & Mike show, and covered a couple of topics:

  • Greenberg asked him if he had any advice for Roger Goodell and the NFL as they wade into labor hell. Selig dodged the question with some talk about how all leagues and businesses have to deal with this stuff from time to time. I may be imagining the suppressed schadenfreude-inspired chortle. He did add, however — referring to the 1994-95 strike — that “I don’t think any of us at the time understood just how much the work stoppage hurt the sport.”  Which is the closest he’s ever going to come to an apology, I presume;
  • Asked about the Dr. Galea investigation that has led to Jose Reyes and now Alex Rodriguez being questioned by the feds, Selig said “I don’t think there’s a great deal to worry about.” Given that the man is incapable of ordering a sandwich without three qualifiers and four dependent clauses, I take that as pretty strong evidence that there’s really nothing there as far as baseball is concerned;
  • Jayson Stark asked Mike & Mike to ask Selig whether, in light of the success of Olympic hockey, baseball would reconsider its stance on stopping the season to send major leaguers to the Summer Olympics in the event baseball is reinstated as an event, Selig gave an unequivocal no, citing that length of the season is already a problem, and saying that “telling our fans we’re going away for two weeks in not pragmatically possible.”

Good on Bud for that last answer.  Between the winter leagues, the WBC and the increasingly diverse pool of players in Major League Baseball, the sport is pretty damn international already. The game isn’t appreciated in countries that don’t already play it, and Olympic exposure does virtually nothing to enhance the sport.  If I were commissioner I’d put baseball back in Olympic Stadium before I’d put it back in the Olympics.

Oh, one final note: Selig said that he had heard Stark ask that question earlier in the show “while I was working out.”  Mental picture of the day: Bud Selig in some tight Under Armor, sweating and pumping iron while a highly paid personal trainer says “PUSH IT BUD!!!”

You’re welcome.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.