Antonio Villariagosa, Charlie Beck

LAPD finds Andre Ethier jersey carrying blood of Bryan Stow

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From Patrick Healy of NBC Los Angeles comes a major update in the still unsolved Opening Day beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow:

A blood-stained jersey dropped off at a cleaning establishment may be linked to the severe beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow, NBC LA has learned.

The jersey triggered suspicion at the cleaners, which notified law enforcement.  Los Angeles Police took possession of the jersey and submitted it for DNA analysis.  The results came back a match to Stow, NBC LA has learned.

The LAPD arrested a suspect, Giovanni Ramirez, on May 22 and have kept him in custody for the past three weeks on an unrelated parole violation. He has not yet been charged in the beating, but sources informed NBC Los Angeles this weekend that police believe Ramirez was the one who dropped the bloodied Andre Ethier jersey off at the cleaners and that it may have been worn on Opening Day by a woman driver in a getaway car.

Ramirez claims that he was with his daughter in East Hollywood on Opening Day and not in the vicinity of Dodger Stadium. He’s gone before a suspect lineup and taken two polygraphs, the results of which have not yet been released nor discussed publicly by the LAPD. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck expressed confidence recently that the police have the right man in custody and that the case is moving along.

Stow remains in a coma and is believed to have suffered significant brain damage as a result of the attack.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.

The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.