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Reds feel they were intentionally snubbed by National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa

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Tony La Russa, the honorary manager of this year’s National League All-Star team, got to hand-select only nine of the players for his roster. And he had to be sure that every organization was represented.

He went with left-hander Wade Miley (as the Diamondbacks’ only rep), outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (as the Marlins’ only rep), Huston Street (as the Padres’ only rep), then grabbed Jonathan Papelbon, Cole Hamels and Carlos Ruiz from the Phillies, Clayton Kershaw from the Dodgers, Ian Desmond from the Nationals and Jay Bruce from the Reds.

All fine choices (and zero Cardinals). But Cincy apparently believes the fix was in.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds manager Dusty Baker indicated Sunday that he thinks La Russa intentionally skipped over Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips because of their involvement in a number of altercations over the years with the team that Tony used to manage:

“I don’t understand that one,” said Baker. “A snub like that looks bad. Johnny and Brandon were at the center of skirmish between us and the Cardinals. Some of the Cardinals who aren’t there anymore are making some of the selections.”

Cueto, who ended Jason LaRue’s career with repeated kicks to the head during a benches-clearing incident between the Cards and Reds in August 2010, had his own interpretation of the All-Star snub. More from Fay:

“I see that I have great numbers,” said Cueto. “I thought the way I pitched this year, I’d have a chance to go to the All-Star Game. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if the manager of All-Star Game is pissed at me because I went out with one of his girlfriends.

I don’t know if they base their selection on the brawl. That’s not the way it should be. … They should pick and choose players by their numbers.”

Cueto has a 2.26 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 107 2/3 innings this year. Phillips declined to talk to the media.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.

Report: Tyson Ross not expected to pitch in April

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park September 29, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.

The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:

We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.

Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.