Strength and conditioning coach “surprised” by Red Sox firing

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Dave Page, the strength and conditioning coach let go by the Red Sox yesterday, told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he “was surprised” by the firing and “it caught me off guard that it happened now and not right after the season.”

In other words, once the constant headlines about beer, fried chicken, and video games in the clubhouse finally died down Page thought his job was safe. He’d been with the Red Sox for six seasons and was named strength and conditioning coach of the year in 2007.

Here’s more from Page:

We had a great program in my opinion and we added to it a little every year. But sometimes perception goes a long way whether it’s right or wrong.

“Sometimes perception goes a long way whether it’s right or wrong” could be the motto of the Red Sox’s offseason, at least so far.

Page told Abraham that at least a half-dozen players called him after news of the firing, adding that “Papelbon and Youkilis were less than pleased. I can tell you that.” Interestingly, none of the pitchers implicated in the beer/fried chicken/video games stuff were included on the list of callers.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.