They teach them young in Philly

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Francoeur Barajas.jpgHighlight of the night as far as I’m concerned: A Philadelphia father helps his baby daughter throw the ball back onto the field after a Rod Barajas home run in the Mets-Phillies game.  As someone who is raising a taunting young girl himself, he’s a man after my own heart.

People like to rip Phillies fans for their attitude, but you gotta give them credit for their passion.

And speaking of passion and/or attitude, you all may think I try to needle opposing fans, but check out what the New York Daily News’ Kevin Deutsch did yesterday:

Risking life and limb, I marched into Citizens Bank Park wearing Mets regalia Friday and loudly chanted the three words that drive every Phillies fan insane: “LET’S GO METS.”

I repeated the time-honored refrain all over the ballpark and at some of the city’s best-known landmarks, drawing boos, threats, curses and taunts wherever I turned.

But with the Amazins’ building upon their NL East lead with an 9-1 blowout victory, Mets fans have bragging rights here for the first time in years. Our old rivalry once again has some juice to it. I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to do a little gloating.

I’m sure some people will have a problem with a reporter gettin’ into it like that, but I think it’s great fun.  Call out the media if they get the facts wrong or distort things in dishonest way. But stirring things up can be great fun sometimes. It’s sports. It ain’t national defense policy. Why not get some kicks out of it?

And oh yeah: the Mets Rod Barajas homered twice, Jonathon Niese shut down the Phillies’ lineup and New York beat Philadelphia 9-1 for the Mets’ eighth straight victory.

The NL East is gonna be a hoot this year.

Billy Butler on altercation with Danny Valencia: “We had equal faults in this.”

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Billy Butler #16 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to regain the lead against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on July 24, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images)
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On Friday, Athletics teammates Billy Butler and Danny Valencia were involved in a clubhouse altercation that started when Butler told an equipment representative that Valencia was wearing off-brand spikes during games. Valencia didn’t like Butler’s interference, potentially costing him an endorsement deal, so he punched Butler in the temple, causing a concussion.

Neither player had said much to the media about the incident, but Butler finally addressed the issue on Wednesday. MLB.com’s Mark Chiarelli reported Butler’s comments:

“This was something that could’ve been prevented on both sides,” Butler said. “We had equal faults in this. I definitely said some things that you shouldn’t have. I definitely stepped in an area where it wasn’t my business.”

[…]

“By no means do I think his intentions were to give me a concussion,” Butler said. “This is me addressing my faults and what I took away from the team.”

[…]

“To say that we’re enemies is not right,” Butler said. “To blame this all on one side is not right either.”

Butler also apologized to his teammates. “I would like to apologize for putting [my teammates] through this because they didn’t deserve this. This was an issue between me and Danny. To be fair for them, they didn’t deserve this. The coaching staff didn’t deserve this. The organization didn’t deserve this,” he said.

Butler is making progress in his recovery from his concussion. He’ll travel with the team to St. Louis to open up a three-game series against the Cardinals starting on Friday. If he passes his concussion protocol test, the Athletics will put him back on the active roster from the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Report: Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehab

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehabilitation after undergoing shoulder surgery in early May. Weight has been the top subject of conversation regarding Sandoval ever since he showed up to spring training and an unflattering photograph was published by the Boston Globe.

Sandoval had a miserable spring training, batting .204 in 49 at-bats and lost out on the starting third base job to Travis Shaw. He went hitless in seven regular season plate appearances before landing on the disabled list with a sprained left shoulder, which ultimately required reconstructive surgery.

Sandoval is still under contract through at least 2019, earning $17 million next season, and $18 million in ’18 and ’19. His controlling club has a $17 million option with a $5 million buyout for 2020 as well. It’s hard to see Sandoval fitting into his current club’s future plans, but it will be tough for the Red Sox to get rid of him without eating a significant portion of his remaining contract.