Craig Kimbrel struggles in return from right shoulder issue, apologizes for reaction to being pulled

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Craig Kimbrel was called on Saturday for the first time since complaining of discomfort in his shoulder last Monday. The appearance did not go smoothly.

Kimbrel hit Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr. with a one-out pitch, yielded a single to Daniel Murphy, a double to David Wright, a two-out single to Chris Young, and then walked Lucas Duda. Atlanta’s ninth-inning lead had shrunk from 7-3 to 7-5, and after the free pass to Duda manager Fredi Gonzalez decided to pull his struggling closer, who had thrown 24 pitches.

Kimbrel was visibly upset as Gonzalez stepped out of the dugout and appeared to express that directly to the skipper as he moved toward the mound. Jordan Walden came on and neeedd just three pitches to pick up the save, which left Kimbrel feeling bad about the way he acted toward Gonzalez after the game.

MLB.com has a good video mashup of the pitching change and Kimbrel’s postgame interview:

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.