Rosenthal: MLB execs say openly gay player would be welcomed

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Amid the news of NFL draft prospect Michael Sam coming out, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal asked seven MLB executives whether they would welcome an openly gay player to their organization. In contrast to SI.com article where anonymous NFL executives said Sam’s admission would cause his draft stock to fall, all seven MLB executives went on the record and said that they wouldn’t have an issue signing an openly gay player.

Below is one example of the feedback, but make sure to read Rosenthal’s entire column for more reaction around MLB:

“If the reports about his football ability and character are accurate, we would sign the baseball Michael Sam in a second and be a better organization for it,” Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein said.

Teams are willing to sign the most talented players regardless of their sexual preference? What a concept. The first player to come out in MLB will obviously be a big deal and command plenty of attention, but here’s hoping that the issue becomes irrelevant before long. Sam’s announcement yesterday was an important step on the road to mass acceptance.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.