Jason Kipnis

Jason Kipnis hopeful to return from sore elbow on Friday

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Jason Kipnis is out of the Indians’ lineup tonight for the fifth straight game due to a sore left elbow, but the hope is that his return isn’t far off.

According to Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Kipnis completed a full batting practice session this afternoon at Progressive Field. While he reported some “expected” soreness, he came out of it feeling good and is hopeful to return to the lineup tomorrow night when the Indians begin a three-game series against the Astros in Houston.

“Right now, at this moment, I feel like I’m good enough to play Friday,” Kipnis said after BP, which for him ended about 5:20. “But we’ll see how the elbow reacts to this activity. I won’t know my status for sure until the morning.”

The sore elbow provides some context for Kipnis’ slow start, as he’s hitting just .125 (4-for-32) with three doubles, two RBI and 11 strikeouts in eight games. The 26-year-old batted .257/.335/.379 with 14 home runs, 76 RBI, 31 stolen bases and a .714 OPS in 152 games with the Indians last season.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.