Orioles going “all in” trying to sign A.J. Burnett

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Yesterday news broke that A.J. Burnett plans to pitch in 2014 and isn’t necessarily committed to re-signing with the Pirates, which opens the door for other contenders to make a last-minute run at the 37-year-old who was one of the NL’s best pitchers last season.

Baltimore was immediately mentioned as a potential landing spot because Burnett lives in Maryland and now Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports that the Orioles are “all in on Burnett.” (Presumably they won’t care so much about his nipple rings and tattoos this time around.)

Gammons also mentions the Rays as potential Burnett suitors, which is certainly interesting considering their general lack of spending. And the odds of Pittsburgh out-bidding teams for Burnett on the open market seem slimmer and slimmer.

The Red Sox will air anti-racism PSA before games beginning next week

Associated Press
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Adrian Walker of the Boston Globe reports that the Boston Red Sox will air an anti-racism public service announcement at Fenway Park before their game on September 28. This is part of a large campaign backed by the Sox, the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots and New England Revolution “featuring athletes calling on fans to take a stand against racism and hate speech at sports venues.”

This comes in the wake of a group of protesters hanging an anti-racism banner in Fenway Park last week which, in turn came a few months after Adam Jones, like many visiting players of color before him, claimed that racial epithets were hurled at him by fans in the Fenway bleachers.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy tells the globe that the Jones incident is what inspired the PSA campaign:

“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this,” he said. “We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”

Bryce Harper could return next week

Associated Press
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Bryce Harper, out with a bone bruise in his knee, was able to take batting practice again yesterday. He also sprinted and played catch and stuff and reported no problems. As such, the Washington Nationals are optimistic he’ll be able to return next week.

This is certainly good news for Washington. By coming back next week Harper should be able to shake off some rust before the playoffs start.

Harper, who has been out since mid-August, is hitting .326/.419/.614 with 29 homers and 87 RBI in 106 games on the year.