Meanwhile, beat writers are demanding that Braun’s attorneys waive privilege

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I assumed this morning that we’d see baseball writers playing lawyer today.  I didn’t expect we’d see a baseball writer playing malpracticing lawyer, but here we are with Tom Haudricourt, speaking to WTMJ in Milwaukee this morning:

“Ryan Braun’s explanation was that this was money (reportedly $20,000 to $30,000) owed Tony Bosch for consulting for his appeal of his positive drug test that he had overturned last winter.  This should be easily provable by Braun’s attorneys … They should have correspondence with Bosch, hiring him as a consultant, paying him as a consultant.  They should have their own records, so this is a good time for them to come forward and back their client…They should back it up with their proof and be done with it.”

If Bosch was a consultant — and one of Braun’s attorneys did admit that he spoke with Bosch, even if he said Bosch’s help was “negligible” — the communications between them are protected by the attorney-client privilege and by the work product privilege.  It would be an ethical violation and a grounds for discipline by the state bar for Braun’s attorneys to release such information. It would also give Braun the right to sue his own attorneys.

I’m pretty sure Tom Haudricourt would never demand that one of his colleagues in the press reveal his source or his reporter’s notes simply because the subject matter suddenly becomes interesting. In light of that I’m rather surprised that he’d so cavalierly demand that an attorney abandon his legal and ethical obligations like this.

Or it’s quite possible that Haudricourt has no idea what he’s talking about and his demand here is made out of ignorance of the legal system as opposed to his disregard for it.

Imagine that. From a baseball writer.

Yankees oust Aroldis Chapman from the closer’s role

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The writing was on the wall, but the Yankees made it official on Saturday: Aroldis Chapman is no longer closing games for the Bronx Bombers. Comments from manager Joe Girardi suggested that the move is a temporary one, however, and he told reporters that Chapman will be utilized at “different points” in the game as the Yankees try to pinpoint the source of the left-hander’s struggles.

There’s no question that the flame-throwing southpaw has been off his game for a while, and his season 4.29 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 12.6 SO/9 hints at some of the issues he’s been facing. He imploded in each of his last three appearances, issuing a cumulative five hits, six runs and five strikeouts over just 3 1/3 innings. It seems plausible that the left rotator cuff inflammation that sidelined him several months ago has resurfaced, but the veteran lefty said Friday that he doesn’t believe any physical issues have caused his decline.

While Chapman works out the kinks in his mechanics, the Yankees will look to some combination of Dellin Betances and David Robertson to cover the ninth inning. Girardi wouldn’t commit to either reliever in the closer’s spot, however, and said he’d take it on a case-by-case basis depending on the match-ups in any given game. The long-term plan is still to reinstate Chapman, whenever that might make sense for the team.

“He’s been scuffling over the past 10 days, two weeks,” Girardi said. “I just thought for us to get him back on track, maybe the best way would be to move him around a little bit until he gets going. When we get him going like I believe he’ll get going, there’s a good chance I’ll put him right back in that closer’s role.”

Nationals activate Stephen Strasburg off the disabled list

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The Nationals officially activated Stephen Strasburg off the 10-day disabled list, the team announced Saturday. They’ll pencil him into the starting lineup for their second set against the Padres on Saturday night. Strasburg is expected to assume Max Scherzer‘s roster spot after Scherzer landed on the disabled list with neck inflammation prior to Friday’s series opener. No other roster moves appear to be necessary for the time being.

Strasburg, 28, is finally looking stable after serving a 26-day stint on the DL with a right elbow nerve impingement. It’s the first serious injury he’s sustained since last August, when he missed 20 days with inflammation in his right elbow, and one the Nationals are taking seriously as they juggle multiple stints for their elite starters. He’ll enter Saturday’s competition with a 10-3 record in 20 starts, supplemented by a 3.25 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 through 121 2/3 innings.

Elbow issues are nothing to be played around with, but Strasburg’s performance in his lone rehab outing relieved any residual apprehension the Nats might have had about his activation this weekend. He tossed 66 pitches for High-A Potomac, hitting 95 MPH with his heater and logging three hits, one run, one walk and five strikeouts over five innings. Club manager Dusty Baker is hoping for a similarly dominant start against the Padres, and told reporters that he’ll hold Strasburg to a performance count as the righty works his way back to a full-time gig.