Dodgers vendor asks bankruptcy court for protection

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The big foam fingers at Dodger Stadium might have a different digit raised next season.

With attendence well down at Chavez Ravine, Facility Merchandising Inc. isn’t feeling so good about the eight-year deal it signed with the Dodgers prior to the 2010 season.  It’s asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to intervene on its behalf as the Dodgers continue their bankruptcy proceedings.

FMI’s deal with the Dodgers guarantees it a minimum of $4.5 million per year through 2017, but the company claims it will lose about $2.5 million over the first two seasons of the agreement.  Now the company is worried that the potential for future gains could be wiped out by the Dodgers walking away from the contract, something that could happen through bankruptcy law.  According to the Los Angeles Times, FMI wants the Dodgers to decide whether to honor or reject the contract by the end of the season, before the company has to make this year’s payments to the Dodgers and buy next year’s merchandise.

The Dodgers argued in a court filing that FMI in leveraging the bankruptcy to try to redo the contract, with included no attendence benchmarks.  Dodger Stadium merchandise revenue is down 25 percent this year, but there’s nothing in the agreement to protect FMI against such a decline.

A hearing is set for Aug. 16.

Cameron Rupp, who criticized Odubel Herrera for bat-flipping, flipped his bat on a home run

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Earlier, Craig wrote about the negative reaction within the Phillies’ clubhouse after outfielder Odubel Herrera A) flipped his bat on a fly out, and B) failing to run out a dropped third strike. Manager Pete Mackanin was one of Herrera’s critics, unsurprisingly, but so was catcher Cameron Rupp.

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, Rupp said that the Phillies’ frustration with Herrera is “not a secret.” He said, “Pete is the manager and what he asks us to do, we’re supposed to do. It’s a team thing and one guy can’t just not follow the rules. It’s not the first time. It has happened before and that’s something we don’t want to see. We want him in the game. He’s a good player. It’s hard for us. He’s a grown man. He has to learn on his own. We can only say so much.”

Though Rupp didn’t directly say his criticism of Herrera pertained to bat flips, we can logically deduce it as such. Herrera doesn’t commonly fail to run out dropped third strikes, but he does commonly flip his bat, particularly on non-homers.

Rupp had a good game against the Astros on Wednesday night, blasting a pair of two-run home runs. The problem? Rupp flipped his bat. In a 9-0 game.

The MLB.com video doesn’t really give a chance to see the full extent of Rupp’s flip, so here’s a .gif from Chris Jones:

And just in case anyone feels I’m interpreting the situation through a biased lens, Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence of The Philly Voice also saw it the same way.

We should probably expect Mackanin to bench Rupp for the next two games like he did Herrera, right? What’s that, you say? Certain players were more likely to be criticized for expressing emotion and perceived lack of hustle? Really makes you think.

Nationals to promote top pitching prospect Erick Fedde

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Nationals will call up top pitching prospect Erick Fedde to start in place of Stephen Strasburg on Saturday. Strasburg left Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks due to “some nerve impingement.”

Fedde, 24, was the Nationals’ first-round selection (18th overall) in the 2014 draft. The right-hander is the No. 3 prospect in the Nationals’ system, according to MLB Pipeline. Between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, Fedde has a 3.72 ERA with a 69/21 K/BB ratio in 77 1/3 innings.

The Nationals still seem hopeful that Strasburg won’t need a stint on the disabled list. Saturday, of course, will mark five games since his last start which happens to be half of the minimum disabled list stint. The Nationals could always DL him retroactive to Monday. (Update: The Nationals will indeed place Strasburg on the DL, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier.)