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Scenes from Spring Training: A photo tour of the Royals camp

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George:  “Kevin, you and I are pretty awesome, aren’t we?”

Kevin: “Yes, George. Yes we are. We could probably make this team if we tried, couldn’t we?”

George: “Yes, Kevin, we could.  Oh, Kevin: did I ever tell you about that night I had in Vegas?”

Kevin: “I swear, George, if you tell that story again I am going to have you barred from the facility.  I’m dead serious.”

My morning with Francoeur took a lot out of me so I decided to wander and snap photos rather than think anymore deep thoughts.

This place is pretty wander-worthy. Like the Reds and Indians, the Royals do their pregame warmups and BP on the practice fields, but unlike the Reds and Indians the practice fields are right behind the main park, not a mile down the road.  At the risk of giving that poor woman down in the office a heart attack, I walked it.

That, quite obviously, is Royals legend Frank White.  He is watching batting practice as it takes place on Frank White Field.  I find that to be great fun. I also found it great fun that coach Rusty Kuntz walked by right after this. I could not take a picture, though, because I was snickering.

That is grass painted with stripes like a football field.  I suppose it’s possible other teams have such fields out in the uncharted backwaters of the western spiral arms of their practice facilities, but I hadn’t seen one.  Just before I snapped this I saw a Royals trainer making a Royals player do one of those high-jump drills where the jumper tries to smack those pegs on the top of a pole around.  So basically, it’s like the NFL combine here.

Those are the parking spaces reserved for David and Dan Glass, owners of the Royals.  They are empty.  Those who follow the Royals closely and are aware of just how absent the Glass family tends to be will not be at all surprised by this.

I went back and watched BP after I took that. I stalked Francoeur a little more. Of the five BP pitches I saw him take, he hit three over the fence.  Then Kila Ka’aihue stepped in and murdered baseballs. I think they’re still flying as I type this. They have their own FAA call signs at this point. What I’m saying is that he hit the balls really, really hard and that they flew a long, long way.  For those still not getting what I’m saying: BOOM.

I’m going to eat something.  Ballgame in an hour.

Chris Sale doesn’t regret protesting wearing White Sox retro uniform

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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White Sox ace Chris Sale was scratched from Saturday night’s start against the Tigers due to a confrontation he had with White Sox coaches and front office staff over the 1976 retro uniforms the club was to wear. Sale used a knife to cut up his uniform as well as the uniforms of some other players, protesting the club’s decision to wear them. The White Sox suspended Sale five games “for violating team rules, for insubordination, and for destroying team equipment.”

Sale spoke about the incident for the first time, as MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports. The lefty apologized to fans who came to see him pitch and said he regrets “not being there for my guys,” referring to the bullpen, which had to cover for Sale on Saturday. Matt Albers got the spot start and went two innings.

Sale felt the uniform would have impacted his performance, saying, “[The ’76 uniforms] are uncomfortable and unorthodox. I didn’t want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn’t want anything to alter my mechanics. … There’s a lot of different things that went into it. Looking bad had absolutely zero to do with it. Nothing.”

Sale was firm that he doesn’t regret standing up for he believes in. “Absolutely not,” he said. He continued, “Do I regret saying business should not be first before winning? Absolutely not.”

With his five-game suspension to end after Wednesday’s game, Sale is on track to start Thursday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Dee Gordon will return from his 80-game suspension on Thursday

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10:  Dee Gordon #9 of the Miami Marlins runs the bases against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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At the end of April, Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon was handed an 80-game suspension by Major League Baseball after testing positive for exogenous testosterone and Clostebol, performance-enhancing drugs. Gordon says he took those substances unknowingly.

Gordon will return to the Marlins on Thursday, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. The club was 10-11 prior to Gordon’s suspension. Since then, the club has gone 43-35 and is now tied with the Mets for second place in the NL East, five games behind the Nationals. Impressively, the Marlins have collectively hit .272/.330/.408 in Gordon’s absence, which compares favorably to the league average .252/.320/.410 triple-slash line.

Gordon, who made the NL All-Star team in 2014 and ’15, was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances. Derek Dietrich has handled second base in the meantime and has done an admirable job, batting .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA. Nevertheless, Gordon is likely to return to full-time duty at second base.