Frank McCourt has paid back hundreds of thousands in questionable Dodgers charity salary expenditures

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If Frank McCourt only misses the June 30th payroll by only $122,000, we know why! Jim Peltz and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times report:

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt repaid more than $100,000 to a team charity after the state attorney general found the funds had been used primarily for the benefit of the club’s former chief executive, Jamie McCourt.

McCourt paid that back in March.  This payback is not to be confused with the money McCourt paid back in connection with the $400,000 the charity — the Dodger Dream Foundation — paid the Dodgers’ lobbyist Howard Sunkin in 2007. $400,000 from a charity whose total charitable assets were something less than $2 million at the time state authorities became aware of Sunkin’s payment. The Dodgers have another charity — a cancer charity — which has also seen excessive payments to executives, though it’s unclear what kind of scrutiny that has come under from state or federal officials.

And no, I would not be surprised if federal officials were paying attention to this on some level. When you’re dealing with charities, you’re dealing with tax deductible money.  And the IRS cares if tax deductible money is going to executives for decidedly non-charitable purposes.

But by all means, Frank, introduce some “acrimonious and extreme litigation” into all of this so that this stuff can be discovered and scrutinized more.

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.