MLB is looking into Ozzie’s comments? How intellectually inconsistent of them.

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According to Buster Olney, Major League Baseball is now “reviewing the Ozzie Guillen situation.”  Hurm.

While I disagree with it all, I at least understand where the local outrage in Miami is coming from. While I would hope that it all blows over, I get that whatever happens it will be the local dynamics — put in motion by the community, the local politicians and the Miami Marlins brass — that are going to determine how it all plays out.

But MLB’s official involvement is another thing altogether and should be viewed even more skeptically in this instance. No, not because it has no business in policing players’ and managers’ speech — it has done that in the past, most notably in the John Rocker case — but because it doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to being outraged at pro-Castro sentiment.

Remember when Peter Angelos did this?

source: AP

That was from back in 1999, when the Orioles went down to Havana and played the Cuban national team in an exhibition. A move which did far more to bolster and support Fidel Castro than anything Ozzie Guillen said. This is especially true when, later, Angelos went on record saying that he would never sign a Cuban refugee ballplayer. Rather than simply admire Castro’s ability to not be assassinated, Angelos took it upon himself to enforce a key part of Fidel Castro’s policy and propaganda apparatus on our very shores.

At the time — and to this day, I presume — the Cuban-American community was outraged at Angelos and MLB for making this trip. The “I won’t sign Cuban ballpayers” thing led to even more anger.  Yet Major League Baseball didn’t feel the need to “review the Peter Angelos situation.”  MLB was part of it.

All of which shows quite clearly that, to MLB, this is about public relations and damage control, not about the substance of what Ozzie Guillen said or the anger felt by people in Miami. If Guillen’s comments — or worse comments by anyone — were ignored, the league wouldn’t care.  If this continues to be a big deal, the league will throw Guillen aside with a quickness.

In response to which many would say “hey, MLB has to protect its brand.”  And in response to which I would say, hey, I wish our institutions — and I consider Major League Baseball an institution — actually stood for someone other than its bottom line an public image on occasion.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.