MTV and Major League Baseball are teaming up

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What’s more unexpected: that MTV is doing a show about Major League Baseball or that David Ortiz and Andrew McCutchen are getting creative credits?

MTV Networks and Major League Baseball said Monday they are collaborating on a weekly 30-episode series that melds pop culture and baseball. Ortiz and Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen are both executive producers of the series, set to begin next spring around the start of the new season.

It’ll air on MTV2 and will be filmed in the Fan Cave in New York. It’ll be a decidedly off-the-field thing, dealing with music, lifestyles and stuff like that. MLB’s Executive VP for Business — Tim Brosnan — describes it as something which can promote the game to MTV’s younger demographic.

Which makes sense. For whatever can be said about baseball’s television ratings and overall popularity, the game’s fan base does tend to skew older. And one of the bigger criticisms of Major League Baseball is that it doesn’t do much to promote its stars or the game itself outside of baseball’s traditional, between-the-lines methods. It’s possible that such outreach could come off as ham-handed if handled the wrong way, but MTV is a pretty solid brand as far as youthful outreach goes.

It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.