Astros owner says he’d welcome Roger Clemens back in the organization

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On the heels of Roger Clemens being acquitted on all charges in his perjury trial, new Astros owner Jim Crane told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com last night that he would welcome the seven-time Cy Young Award winner back into the organization in some capacity.

“I’m happy he got a good result, and we look forward to talking to him soon,” Crane said. “Any time you get a Roger Clemens in the mix, you’d have to welcome him back with open arms.”

“We want to see what he wants to do,” Crane said. “I’m sure he’ll need a little time. He’s been busy, but we definitely want to talk to him. He’s got a contract with us, and he could add a dimension we might need somewhere down the road or immediately. As soon as he’s ready to talk, we’ll be ready to talk to him.”

Clemens posted a 2.40 ERA in 84 starts with the Astros from 2004-2006. “The Rocket” won his seventh Cy Young in his first season with the club and played a major part in the team’s World Series run in 2005. He was signed to a personal services contract under former owner Drayton McLane, but hasn’t been involved with the team since 2007.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.