Leo Mazzone retracts the John Smoltz pine tar allegation

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Yesterday Leo Mazzone kinda sounded like he admitted that John Smoltz used to put pine tar on baseballs.  Today he kinda sorta retracted it. His comments on WNNX radio in Atlanta today:

“We were trying to have some fun on the air and in trying to have some fun somebody took a story and ran with it and said that I said that Smoltzy cheated in the game,” he said.  When asked directly if Smoltz cheated he said “absolutely not” and “that’s a bunch of bologna.”  He also played the “my comments were taken out of context” card.

But he did say that pine tar was used at least a little bit:

“With something like pine tar, that’s not doctoring a baseball. That’s trying to get a grip when it’s cold. What’s wrong with that?”

I guess nothin’ if “everybody does it.”  Right Leo?

The Red Sox are calling up Rafael Devers

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Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are calling up third base prospect Rafael Devers. He’ll be in Seattle for the start of the three-game set between the Sox and Mariners.

Devers, 20, is the top prospect in the Boston system according to MLB Pipeline. He has spent most of his season with Double-A Portland, where he hit .300/.369/.575 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 320 plate appearances. He was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after the All-Star break. In eight games with Pawtucket, Devers hit .355/.412/.581 with two home runs and four RBI.

There is still just over a week until the non-waiver trade deadline, but perhaps the Red Sox seem confident Devers can be the answer to the third base problem.

Stephen Strasburg exited Sunday’s start with an apparent injury

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It’s not a good day if you’re a star starting pitcher. First Clayton Kershaw, now Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals’ right-hander lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks, leaving with an apparent injury. Strasburg held the D-Backs to a hit and three walks with two strikeouts without allowing a run. Matt Grace relieved him in the third inning.

Including Strasburg’s two innings on Sunday, he’s carrying a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings.

The Nationals should pass along word on Strasburg’s condition shortly.