MLB draft rounds 4-5: Mariners add a hard-hitter in Kivlehan

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Notes from rounds four and five:

– Third baseman Patrick Kivlehan got picked 131st by the Mariners despite spending just one year on the diamond at Rutgers after four years as a reserve defensive back and special teams player on the football team. He was far and away the Scarlet Knights’ best hitter, coming in at .392/.480/.693 with 14 homers in 189 at-bats.

– The one remaining player from Baseball America’s pre-draft top 40, high school right-hander Ty Buttrey, went to the Red Sox at pick No. 151. Buttrey skyrocketed up draft boards when he was flashing a mid-90s fastball early on this season, but his velocity dipped some as the year went on and his stock went with it. He’s still a very intriguing prospect, and the Red Sox might be able to spare the money to sign him away from Arkansas after focusing primarily on college players with their early picks.

– The Royals took Stanford shortstop Kenny Diekroeger with the 133rd pick. He was the Rays’ second-rounder in 2009, but he passed on their offer then. He’s due for less money now. Diekroeger’s stock peaked after a strong freshman season in which he hit .356/.391/.491. In two seasons since, he’s come it at .293/.356/.364 and .269/.335/.370. Also, he’s likely to move to second base in the pros.

– Coastal Carolina right-hander Josh Conway was taken 134th overall by the Cubs even though he just underwent Tommy John surgery that figures to sideline him into the 2013 season. He was viewed as a likely second-rounder before getting hurt.

– The Angels picked an offensive-minded second baseman in Ole Miss product Alex Yarbrough 147th overall. He hit .380/.437/.508 with a 24/22 K/BB ratio in 250 at-bats this season. His future could be at third base if the Angels think he has the arm. Otherwise, he could end up in left field.

– I haven’t really mentioned the Mets yet, but they are having a nice draft. Their top two picks, shortstop Gavin Cecchini at No. 12 and catcher Kevin Plawecki at No. 35, are both very well-regarded. Reliever Matt Koch was a great get in round three, and fellow righty Brandon Welch looks like another smart pick in round five. A juco product with a strong fastball-slider combination, he’d also make for a pretty intriguing reliever if the Mets opt to go in that direction.

– The name is a lie: Nationals fifth-round pick Spencer Kieboom is a catcher who slugged .343 in three seasons at Clemson.

– The name is a lie — part two: Brewers fifth-rounder Damien Magnifico had a 4.01 ERA and a 27/20 K/BB ratio in 42 2/3 innings for the University of Oklahoma this year.

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.