Nats, Braves are interested in Marlon Byrd

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Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Nationals and Braves have expressed interest in acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Cubs.

Makes sense on one level: each team could use an outfielder. The Nationals have been searching for a centerfielder forever, and Byrd could handle that probably as well as Jayson Werth could. The Braves have moved their starting left fielder Martin Prado to third base to cover for Chipper Jones, meaning that Eric Hinske and Matt Diaz will be covering left rather than serving as bench bats as God and Nature intended.

Of course, the fact that Byrd had an awful year at the plate last year means that he’s no panacea.   He’s 34, he’s owed $6.5 million and he hit 276/.324/.395 last season, so it’s hard to see how such a deal would look, what with neither the Nats nor the Braves likely wanting that salary or wanting to give up anything for him.

Angel Hernandez made a great call on a tough play

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Fans, and even some writers, tend to jump on umpires when they make bad calls, but rarely if ever point out when they make good calls on tough plays. Angel Hernandez is one of those umpires who gets a lot of flack — and I may suggest even deservedly so — but in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, he made a great call on a very tough play during Thursday afternoon’s game between the Phillies and Marlins.

With a runner on first base and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Phillies leading 2-1, first baseman Brock Stassi laced an Edison Volquez pitch down the first base line. Michael Saunders, who was on first base, came around third base and attempted to score. The relay throw from second baseman Dee Gordon beat Saunders, but Saunders slid expertly to the back of home plate, avoiding the tag from catcher J.T. Realmuto just long enough to slip his hand in and touch the plate. Hernandez ruled Stassi safe with no hesitation because he was in a great position to get a look at the play. In real time, it was a bang-bang play. The Marlins didn’t challenge the call.

The MLB.com video doesn’t have the best angle, but still shows what a close call it was in real time. This .gif from Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal provides the best angle:

Hernandez also made this nonchalant grab of Andrew Knapp‘s face mask when the catcher tossed it attempting to catch a foul pop-up:

Yoenis Cespedes leaves game with pulled hamstring

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The Mets and Braves are playing today and it’s not a great day for the Mets in the injury department.

First they scratched Noah Syndergaard with a “tired arm.” Now they’ve lost Yoenis Cespedes, who pulled up limping at second base following a double in the bottom of the fourth:

The team has announced that he has pulled his left hamstring.

Cespedes, of course, missed three games over the weekend due to hamstring issues. That was merely tightness, however, and following an off day and a rainout, Cespedes played last night without incident. But it now looks as though he’s going to miss some serious time.