John Rocker: pro gay-marriage, pro-choice

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Former Braves’ closer John Rocker was made infamous when he went on a xenophobic rant in Jeff Pearlman’s now-immortal SI profile way back when. And in recent years he’s popped up here and there to say something kinda crazy and reactionary.

Now he’s a political commentator for World Net Daily, where he offers columns about how immigrants should speak English and how big government is gonna get you.  But even if I don’t share his views there, I’ll give the guy credit for philosophical consistency. He doesn’t just believe that government should stay out of business and stuff. He believes it should stay out of the bedroom and the home as well.

Here he is talking to Politico on gay marriage:

“Am I someone that thinks that I have the right to sit back and judge someone that I don’t know, will never meet, on how they should live their life or what rights they can have to live their life the way they want to? I don’t think I deserve that responsibility.”

And on abortion:

“Obviously, conservatives would look at me cross-eyed and argue vehemently with me, but I just don’t think one man can tell another man how they can live their life within the confines of moral decisions.”

Like I said, I don’t think John Rocker and I would agree on almost anything if we sat down to discuss politics. But I’ll say that, after years of treating him like a punchline, he deserves a little more credit. Not because his views here on a couple of issues hew more closely to mine, but because, if he is writing these columns himself, there is actually some thought put to them and a form of intellectual consistency to them that I admire.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

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The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.