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.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.