MLB suspends Roger McDowell two weeks for slurs, threats

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Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Major League Baseball has suspended Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell for two weeks without pay following his actions toward a group of fans last weekend in San Francisco.

He has also been fined an undisclosed — but probably quite hefty — sum of money.

According to reports, McDowell made homophobic slurs, crude gestures and even threatened to knock out a fan’s teeth with a baseball bat. No matter what sparked those reactions, the longtime player and coach was completely in the wrong and is now facing one of the biggest punishments baseball has levied on a coach in a long while.

Dave Wallace has been filling in at McDowell’s post for the Braves on an interim basis. The two-week suspension is retroactive to April 29, when the Braves initially put McDowell on administrative leave.

McDowell will also be required by Major League Baseball to take part in a sensitivity training program.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.