Quote of the Day: Tim Keown on the Bryan Stow beating

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ESPN Los Angeles’ Tim Keowan says something that I’ve been thinking since Sunday when I watched the Giants-Cardinals game and heard the broadcasters talking about how baseball rivalries shouldn’t be taken so seriously. And last night when the Dodgers and Giants players implored fans to keep their animosity limited to the action on the field.  Here’s Keown:

I contend this is a sports story only because it occurred outside a ballpark. The two men who beat Stow are thugs first, baseball fans second. Their motivation had nothing to do with sports; Stow’s Giants jersey was merely the avenue they chose to display their subhuman tendencies. They went after him because he was there; his affiliation to the Giants was just the excuse.

This thing wasn’t about a rivalry. It was about criminals doing criminal things in a baseball setting.  Anyone who can understand the appeal to keep baseball rivalries civil aren’t in need of the message.  Likewise, the people who would beat up someone in a parking lot are immune to reason.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.

Phillies release veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday

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The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.

Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.