National League first baseman Fielder of the Brewers watches three-run home run in fourth inning during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Phoenix

It’s cute watching Mike Rizzo pretend to play tough with Scott Boras over Prince Fielder

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Fact: Mike Rizzo and the Washington Nationals have been Scott Boras’ huckleberry for a few years now. Nothing wrong with that. They’ve signed some great guys by being willing to play ball with Boras in ways that some teams have chosen not to. But it is pretty obvious that if Boras has a big name, Rizzo is going to be interested.

Fact: Mike Rizzo and the Washington Nationals are rumored to be the front runners for Scott Boras client Prince Fielder.

Fact: Mike Rizzo is obligated to at least attempt to drive a hard bargain about it all, so he says stuff like this:

“We feel we have a good first baseman in Adam LaRoche. We feel he’s 100 percent healthy and when he’s 100 percent we’re going to get the 25 home runs, 85-100 RBI and great defense at first base. We’re committed to him. We also have a backup plan at first base with Mike Morse. We feel that we’re settled at that position.”

That’s well and good. What else can he say?  “Man, oh, man! Can’t wait to sign Prince! Hope Scotty lets us!!”  But it doesn’t really convince me. Does it convince you?

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.