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Benches clear twice in Indians vs. Royals game

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Indians right-hander Jeanmar Gomez, third baseman Jack Hannahan and skipper Manny Acta were all ejected from Saturday night’s game against the Royals after two different (but not unrelated) benches-clearing incidents in the third inning.

The Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, has all the details from Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium:

Kansas City starter Jonathan Sanchez plunked Cleveland outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in the top of the third, causing the benches and bullpens to clear the first time. No punches were thrown and order was restored, though the angst apparently simmered until the bottom half.

Gomez wasted no time plunking [Mike] Moustakas when he came to bat, and the Royals’ third baseman glared out to the mound as he headed for first. Gomez was immediately ejected by plate umpire Gary Darling as players again spilled onto the field.

Hannahan was again in the middle of the fracas, this time with Royals manager Ned Yost right in his face. Moustakas wound up with his jersey ripped loose before the teams were separated.

Sanchez threw the pitch that broke Choo’s left thumb last June, so the initial reaction was not unsurprising. What is a bit odd is that no Royals were punished. Perhaps some fines or suspensions are coming.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.