Illegal Russian gangster-run A-list poker ring, formerly attended by Alex Rodriguez, gets busted

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In August 2011, Alex Rodriguez was called on the carpet by Major League Baseball for allegedly being involved in “an underground, illegal poker game where cocaine was openly used,” to quote the tabloid reports at the time. He met with the league and nothing happened apart from him promising not to hang out at underground, illegal poker games where cocaine is openly used anymore.  Which seems sorta reasonable.

Here’s hoping he kept his promise, because that underground, illegal poker ring got busted yesterday, according to the Daily News. And this one has Russian gangsters in it!

An ultraexclusive, high-stakes, illegal poker ring run by Russian gangsters for Wall Street multimillionaires and celebrities like Alex Rodriguez folded on Tuesday, authorities said.

Federal agents arrested about 30 people and brought charges against 34 in total, including underground poker den operators previously linked to the Yankees slugger and other A-listers.

Look, A-Rod said he quit doing that back in 2011, so to sully his name here is just unfair. It’s in the past! What next? Are people gonna say he never quit taking PEDs before 2009 when he said he did? Are we no longer to take him at his word?

Hmm. Um, wait. Let’s just forget I said that.

(hat tip to The Big Lead)

 

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.