Alex Rodriguez to meet with MLB about poker “in a few days” and “no chance he’ll be suspended”

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As promised, MLB soon will meet with Alex Rodriguez to discuss his involvement in high-stakes poker games, according to the New York Daily News.

The newspaper reports that the meeting will take place “in a few days” at MLB’s offices in New York, but commissioner Bud Selig likely won’t be there and the talks aren’t expected to lead to much of anything.

Here’s what an unnamed “source” told the Daily News:

This has been overblown. They just want to talk to him just to tell him to stop getting in these crazy situations. There is no chance he will be suspended. There is no chance a suspension would be upheld by an arbitrator, based on what we know about this. Everybody plays cards on team planes and in clubhouses. This is no different.

Exactly.

Obviously the Yankees and MLB would prefer that Rodriguez not play in high-stakes poker games, particularly given some of the other details about the people and places involved, but ultimately the “high-stakes” aspect is of little concern for a guy who earns $200,000 per day and MLB seems to be making it an issue largely because he’s continued to play after being warned not to.

In addition to reportedly playing with fellow stars like Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in exclusive Hollywood home games Rodriguez has also squared off against well-known poker pros in Las Vegas, drawing mixed reviews on his no-limit hold ’em skills from Mike Matusow and Jean-Robert Bellande.

Giancarlo Stanton dented the outfield wall in Marlins Park

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If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.

It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:

Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.

The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.