Rafael Soriano slammed for being a no-show for the media after his blown save

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Rafael Soriano has had a fantastic season overall. Really, if back in April you told the Yankees Universe that Mariano Rivera was gonna miss almost all of the season because of a torn ACL, people would have assumed disaster. Instead, Soriano has nailed down most saves — he’s 33 for 36 where even Mariano River blew five saves last year — and has kept the bullpen humming.

But he got lit up last night and then he bolted the clubhouse before the press got there. John Harper says that’s bad news. Of course, because this is Harper, the notion is put forth with enough sanctimony and drama to choke a horse:

One thing for sure: Soriano doesn’t handle himself in defeat the way his predecessor did. Nobody was more accountable or classier when he did blow one than Rivera … He was gone before the Yankees’ PR people could even find him to ask if he would answer questions from the media. And don’t get this wrong: it’s not a media issue, it’s an accountability issue. It’s about being a professional in a clubhouse that has oozed professionalism since the day Derek Jeter showed up some 16 years ago.

Overwrought phrasing aside, he’s not wrong. I personally think that to a lot of reporters it is a media thing, but Harper correctly notes that players hate it when the guy everyone wants to talk to because of his screw up leaves and they have to give the quotes for the next day’s unhappy stories.

Harper wants to make it into some harbinger of doom and by the constant comparison to Rivera he wants to make it much larger than it is, which is kinda silly.  But it’s not nothing. Soriano probably annoyed his teammates with that.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.