Major League Baseball hires the lead prosecutor from the Ollie North trial to fight San Jose

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Major League Baseball put out a press release a little while ago announcing that they’ve hired a lawyer to fight the San Jose antitrust lawsuit:

 Major League Baseball has hired John W. Keker, a partner in the San Francisco firm Keker & Van Nest LLP, to serve as its lead counsel in the lawsuit filed in federal court by the City of San Jose, California on June 18th, it was announced today.

Keker specializes in complex antitrust, commercial and intellectual property cases and securities cases.  Regarded as one of the country’s top trial lawyers, Keker was the lead counsel for the U.S. legal adviser to the group of Ecuadorian citizens who successfully won an $18 billion judgment against a corporation over environmental damage in their country, the largest single pollution judgment ever imposed.  Keker recently won a defense verdict for an employee who was targeted in a Securities & Exchange Commission enforcement action in New York.  In 1989, Keker was the chief prosecutor in the Iran-Contra trial involving Oliver North.  He has represented Google, Standard & Poor’s and many corporate executives throughout his four-decade career.

Big guns, as you would expect.

Still, kinda weird as I can’t recall baseball issuing press releases about legal matters before. Certainly not the hiring of counsel.  It makes me feel like they’re just matching San Jose’s obvious p.r.-first approach in the drafting and filing of the lawsuit and that this case will be every much a battle in the media as it will be in the courts. So:

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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.