San Jose is trying to sniff out Giants infiltration of an anti-A’s group

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Confused? You won’t be, after the next episode of Soap!

While San Jose’s hopes for bringing the A’s baseball team to a downtown ballpark remain in limbo, the city is toughening its stance toward opponents of the move from Oakland … Last week the city filed for a court order allowing it to examine the organizational structure — and any Giants ties — of Stand For San Jose, a community group whose lawsuit over the proposed ballpark has raised questions about the San Jose plan’s viability.

I’m generally pro-A’s-to-San Jose, but I’m struggling to think of why it’s at all relevant if the Giants are behind some community group which opposes the A’s move. They’re overtly hostile to the move already, to the point where they’ve threatened litigation. If they’re also covertly hostile, so what?

The answer is politics, of course, as I’m assuming there are politicians in San Jose who would find it in their best interests to paint opposition to their stadium plans as some corporate conspiracy. But why that justifies the use of pubic legal resources to sniff such associations out is beyond me.

Fine, there may be a legal standing argument to be made — the litigation against San Jose was allegedly initiated by San Jose residents —  but unless the Giants are absolutely stupid, even if they were secretly behind a push to stop the move, they’d do what every other litigant in history has done and get some bona fide local residents on the case to establish standing.

And my pro-A’s-to-San Jose leanings aside, I’m sure there are a LOT of people in San Jose who don’t want the A’s there, especially if it means the use of any kind of public money or land. So it’s not like any and all opposition to this stuff is a sham.

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.