Bad day? At least you didn't get hit in the head with Pablo Sandoval's cup

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Pablo Sandoval on base.jpgThis happened back on April 9th, but it’s just now coming to light. I’m assuming that, like all major news stories, it was held up out of an abundance of caution so that the critical details could be verified:

In the bottom of the 12th inning Friday, with Eli Whiteside at the
plate and Sandoval dancing off 3rd base with the possible winning run,
it hit me. Panda’s athletic cup.In the head.

In 25 years of photographing baseball, that was the first, and
please, last time that’s ever happened.

That’s the account from Karl Mondon, a photographer from the Bay Area News Group, who had been sitting next to the Giants’ dugout when Sandoval reached into his trousers, pulled out his cup — which had been bugging him — and tossed it towards the dugout.

Which is a total disgrace. Major League Baseball has been perfectly clear on this point: in order to foster a fun and memorable atmosphere for the fans, players should toss their athletic cups into the seats as souvenirs.

The Giants are not hurting for money. They could afford to get Sandoval a new cup. Those kids sitting alongside the third base line, however, were deprived of what would have almost certainly been a lasting memory.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.