In an interview with CNN’s Carol Costello today Justin Verlander made it clear he’d have no problem playing alongside a gay teammate, saying:
I wouldn’t mind it. … We got 25 guys, it’s a family, and our goal is to win a World Series. What your sexual orientation is, I don’t see how that affects the ultimate goal of our family.
Asked if there are gay players in MLB currently and whether they should feel comfortable coming out, Verlander said:
I’m sure there are. I think as with any sport, a gay player would be hesitant to come out, but the sheer number says there absolutely is. Yeah, I don’t see why not, given the right situation, and a team that’s a family atmosphere, and I feel like we have that atmosphere here. I don’t think one of our players would be scared to come out.
Verlander’s comments about the team’s “family atmosphere” potentially making a gay player comfortable is interesting because his new Tigers teammate, Torii Hunter, recently said that having a gay teammate would be “difficult and uncomfortable” due to his religious beliefs (and then said he was misquoted).
Whatever the case: Good on ya, Justin.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.