Mark Buehrle hoped that Michael Vick would get injured, but MLB.com doesn’t want you to know that

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Weird stuff afoot over at MLB.com.

Yesterday afternoon a story by Scott Merkin appeared featuring Mark Buehrle and focusing on his passion for animal rights.  Not surprisingly, the subject of Michael Vick came up.  When the story first went up, the following quote was in it:

“He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt,” Mark Buehrle said. “Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”

I read it when it was published. And Merkin teased the story on Twitter with that exact quote.  But if you go there and read it now, the quote about hoping Vick gets hurt is gone.

I can think of three reasons why the quote might have been excised: (1) it was a total misquote by Merkin; (2) it was supposed to be an off-the-record quote that Merkin mistakenly put on-the-record; or (3) Mark Buehrle, the White Sox, Major League Baseball or someone else complained about it being in there because it made Buehrle look bad and asked that it be removed.*

The first two reasons are defensible (though I would hope for some note of the correction in the piece itself).  Unless I’m simply missing something — and since I am not a trained journalist I admit that I may be — the third reason is not acceptable. Rather, it would tend to put lie to the disclaimer that appears at the end of every MLB.com story: “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.”

When MLB.com launched I was initially skeptical and believed that we’d get a lot of propaganda pieces.  I have been so happy over the past few years to realize I was totally wrong about that.  The MLB.com folks do a great job for the most part, and I think their beat writers are on par — and often better — than their newspaper counterparts.

But this one troubles me a bit.  I hope there’s an innocuous explanation for it.  I’ll say this much, though:  Merkin is a good writer and reporter and I have a hard time featuring him misquoting a guy in a major fashion.

*It’s beyond the subject of this post, but I question whether the quote makes Buehrle look bad.  Sure, it’s bad form to ever wish injury on someone, but as an animal lover you have to believe that it’s Buehrle’s honest opinion. And I’m guessing he’s not alone in that opinion.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.