Your first blank Hall of Fame protest ballot of the year

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for this self-righteous, grandstanding attention whore:

My ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 election is in the mail. It’s dutifully signed, has my Baseball Writers’ Association of America badge number recorded, all official. What it does not have is a vote for a single player … I am choosing to speak loudly by using silence … …I don’t know what I’ll do next year, but I’m fairly sure I won’t send in a blank ballot. This one-year protest should make my point.

That’s Mark Faller of the Arizona Republic, by the way. The headline on his column is “Nobody deserves my Hall vote this year.”

But at least it’s “dutifully signed.”

Oy.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.