Guess the naked baseball player from the cover of ESPN the Magazine

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ESPN the Magazine’s answer to the SI Swimsuit issue is its annual “Body Issue.”  Which is at least more honest than the Swimsuit Issue is in its intentions of giving you beef and/or cheesecake. I mean, it’s been a while since I read the Swimsuit Issue, but back in the day they had the prices of the swimsuits next to the pictures, as if anyone was reading it for the latest swimwear fashions.

Anyway, ESPN is also upfront about its desire to sell a bunch of magazines with this, so it makes multiple covers to appeal to multiple sport and/or softcore porn buying constituencies. There are covers with men, some with women, some with football players, some with basketball, etc.

The cropped pic I feature here is from the baseball player. Guess who it is.  When you give up, go here for the full monty, er, I mean the full picture and the answer.

Baseball comes back Friday, folks. Bear with us until then.

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.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.