Derek Jeter doubles again, just two hits away from 3,000

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The Yankees lost for a second straight day, falling 5-1 to the Rays, but shortstop and team captain Derek Jeter moved one step closer to history.

Jeter entered the game sitting on 2,997 career hits after a 1-for-3 performance Wednesday in Cleveland. He got to work right away Thursday, rapping a double into the left-center field gap to open the bottom of the first inning. It was his third extra-base hit since returning from the disabled list Monday.

Jeter grounded out to third base in his second at-bat and was retired on a gorgeous play by Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez his third time up. He grounded out again in his fourth plate appearance then ended the contest with another groundout to the hot corner in his fifth and final time at the dish. The 37-year-old future Hall of Famer finished 1-for-5 on the night.

Jeter will enter Friday’s game against Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson with 2,998 career hits. He’s 1-for-2 lifetime against Hellickson, 6-for-25 (.240) against Saturday’s starter David Price and 17-for-54 (.315) against Sunday’s starter James Shields. The milestone should easily be met before the All-Star break.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.