Prince Fielder was in the Baltimore-Washington area, but not to meet with the Orioles…

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You know how Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo keeps trying to downplay his team’s interest in Prince Fielder? How he keeps saying Adam LaRoche is going to be the team’s first baseman next season? Yeah, this story isn’t going to help his cause.

As you may have heard, Fielder and his agent Scott Boras went on a brief tour of some MLB cities earlier this month to meet with team owners. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun hears that while the Baltimore/Washington area was on the itinerary, they did not meet with Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos.

By some clever process of elimination, we can likely surmise that they did meet with someone from the Lerner family, who owns the Nationals. Of course, this might not mean a whole lot. I mean, shouldn’t Boras visit the team who gave big money to some of his clients, including Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper? These guys are old pals. But if Boras used his Jedi mind trick on the Rizzo and the Lerners again, look out.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

The Rays gave Seth Smith a little league homer last night

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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:

Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.

Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.

Watch:

 

I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.

Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.