Cole Hamels voted for Bryce Harper for the All-Star Game

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I love a good rivalry, but sadly almost any decent rivalry these days transitions from actual bad blood to respect to a downright love-fest so damn quickly. I guess that’s human and grounded and everything, but there is some weird feeling of loss when “death to my enemy” is replaced by “a worthy effin’ adversary.”

Such is the case with Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper. Hamels is no longer interested in teaching him what is and what is not old school and is on to venerating the young lad:

 

Players get to vote on the All-Star bench, and due to both performance and star-power, Harper is more than worthy of the vote. Still, I’m hoping part of this is about some secret agenda on the part of Hamels to attack Harper with a folding chair in the NL Clubhouse in Kansas City next month.

Why yes, I did watch a lot of pro wrestling as a kid. Why do you ask?

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.