Alex Cobb, Jose Molina had to be separated in Rays dugout

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In the middle of last night’s loss to the Red Sox, starter Alex Cobb and catcher Jose Molina had to be separated in the Rays dugout after an altercation that manager Joe Maddon called simply “boys being boys.”

However, according to Greg Zeck of MLB.com Molina refused to speak to the media afterward and Cobb insisted to reporters that he wasn’t the one who started the fight:

That’s the one thing I want to be clear, is that I wouldn’t approach a teammate like that. That was not instigated by me. … I got some texts from people [who] think it was me, but that wasn’t instigated by me at all.

Based on the MLB.com video it looks like Cobb is right about Molina doing the instigating or at least being the far more vocal of the two at the beginning of the incident. Cobb also said that he didn’t speak to Molina after the game, which suggests it wasn’t exactly squashed immediately.

Certainly the Rays can’t be blamed for being frustrated as their playoff hopes slip away, but if Molina was the one instigating the dugout altercation it’s interesting considering the light-hitting veteran catcher was signed specifically for his ability to handle a pitching staff and help young pitchers like the 24-year-old Cobb.

Also: I’m setting the hypothetical betting line at Molina -350 over Cobb.

Jon Lester exits Thursday’s start with an apparent injury

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Jon Lester has had better innings. The Cubs’ starter had a nightmarish second frame on Thursday against the Reds that started with giving up four consecutive singles. The Reds would go on to score eight runs before Lester walked off the field with a trainer with what was later described as left lat tightness. Mike Montgomery relieved him and gave up an inherited run. Officially, Lester pitched 1 2/3 innings, yielding nine runs (seven earned) on seven hits and a walk with no strikeouts.

Lester entered the afternoon with a 3.99 ERA. He exited with a 4.37 ERA.

The Cubs should pass along more information on Lester’s status after Thursday’s game.

Tampa teams dedicate funds for Confederate monument removal

Tampa Bay Rays
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The three major professional sports teams based in the Tampa Bay area say they have “dedicated funds” to help remove a Confederate monument from the city.

The NFL’s Buccaneers, NHL’s Lightning and Rays of Major League Baseball issued a joint statement Thursday saying they’re working with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce because they’re “recognizing that this monument does not reflect the values of our community.”

The teams did not disclose how much money they would dedicate.

Former Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy tweeted that he would donate $5,000 to help move the statue from its spot in downtown Tampa.

The teams’ announcement came a day after commissioners, in a divisive 4-2 vote, gave fundraisers 30 days to collect $140,000, about half of what’s needed to relocate the monument.