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This year’s All-Star Game musical guests announced

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Remember when Major League Baseball had Bread sing “Make it with you” before the 1972 All-Star Game and Bob Gibson killed David Gates with his bare hands? Man, that was epic.

We live in a more genteel time now, however, and today’s baseball players don’t much mind it when the All-Star pregame is turned into a vehicle for promoting pop stars and things. Thus, last year, Pitbull performed before the game. This year, there are other acts at the various All-Star events:

Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel will sing the U.S. National Anthem . . . prior to the National Anthem, Menzel will perform the classic song “Forever Young” by 11-time Grammy-Award winner Bob Dylan, who is a Minnesota native . . .

First of all, she should do “Brownsville Girl” if she does any Dylan song because that’s a sweet, overlooked jam.

Second: while “Forever Young” is going to be part of a ceremony honoring “30 “All-Star Teachers” who have made an impact on their community, the part of me that hates you all and wants to see the world burn wants them to turn the song into a Jeter serenade. Picture him on a chair in front of home plate, all of the other All-Stars surrounding him with adoring looks on their faces as “may yoooou staaaayyy . . . . foreeeeeh-eh-ver youuuunnnggg” echoes through the ballpark.

Third: I bet you all just threw up.

Anyway, what else ya got, MLB?

The MLB All-Star Musical Performance presented by Budweiser will feature singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc on-field prior to the Gillette Home Run Derby on July 14th on ESPN.

Happy birthday to me, I guess.

the Canadian Anthem will be performed by the Minnesota Orchestra Brass Quintet and God Bless America will be sung by American country music artist Joe Nichols.

If Justin Morneau wins The Final Vote, however, he’ll be doing it with Russell Martin accompanying him on traditional Canadian musical instruments which, I presume, exist.

Also joining the roster of musical performances during MLB All-Star Week is Panic! At the Disco, who will perform on-field prior to the Taco Bell™ All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Target Field on July 13th

Maybe not the top gig of the weekend, but Panic! At the Disco may be the biggest stars at the “celebrity” softball game.

The ticketed All-Star Pre-Game Celebration taking place outside of Target Field prior to the All-Star Game on Tuesday will feature American rock band O.A.R. and Minnesota’s A Capella group, Home Free.

I’ll be inside by then, trying to get that whole Jeter ceremony idea off the ground.

Grammy Award winning artists Imagine Dragons will headline the 2014 Target All-Star Concert presented by Budweiser with musical guest, Minnesota-based Atmosphere, on Saturday, July 12th, as part of MLB All-Star Week

Fine I guess. My kids like the “Radioactive” song. All of this needs more Baseball Project, however. If you want that, go to Durham:

Cubs expected to host an All-Star Game in the near future

A general view of Wrigley Field and the newly renovated bleachers during the second inning of a baseball game between the the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds Thursday, June 11, 2015,  in Chicago. Chicago won 6-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The 2016-18 All-Star Games are spoken for, but the Cubs could play host not long thereafter according to commissioner Rob Manfred, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.

The Padres are hosting at Petco Park this year, the Marlins will host at Marlins Park next season, and the Nationals will host in 2018 at Nationals Park. That will make four consecutive National League hosts and five if the Cubs get it in 2019. In the past, the National and American Leagues have alternated hosting privileges.

The Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990 and have hosted a total of three times (1962 and 1947 being the other years) since its inception in 1933.

Wrigley Field has been undergoing renovations which are expected to be completed by the 2019 season. Manfred said that the Cubs hosting the All-Star Game “will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field.”

Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren will compete for No. 5 spot in Cubs’ rotation

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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Expect Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation this spring, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Clayton Richard could serve as a fallback option as well.

Hendricks, 26, pitched well in his first full season in 2015. He finished with a 3.95 ERA and a 167/43 K/BB ratio over 180 innings. That was a solid follow-up to his rookie campaign in 2014, when he posted a 2.46 ERA over 13 starts.

The Cubs acquired Warren, 28, from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. He contributed both out of the rotation and the bullpen in the Bronx this past season, pitching 131 1/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA and a 104/39 K/BB ratio.

One through four, the Cubs’ rotation is solid with defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to limit David Wright to 130 or fewer games

David Wright
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Mets third baseman David Wright missed four months of the 2015 season due to spinal stenosis. In other words, Wright dealt with a narrowing of his spinal column. Going forward, the Mets plan to be cautious with Wright so as not to overuse him.

As ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports, Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to have the 33-year-old Wright play in no more than 130 games. Alderson said, “We’re gonna make sure that he’s not overworked. So it’s important for us to find somebody who can play 30 games or so at third base when he’s not in there. But I think we have to be realistic, and not expect that he’s gonna be an absolute everyday [player] out there playing 150 or 155 games. That’s not gonna happen.”

Wilmer Flores played 26 games at third base in his rookie season in 2013, so he could back up Wright as needed. But Alderson mentioned that because Wright would mostly sit against right-handed pitchers, the switch-hitting Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera could get the call at the hot corner.

When he was on the field last season, Wright hit a productive .289/.379/.434 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

Marlins still searching for starting pitching depth

Aaron Harang
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The Marlins would like to add “another pitcher or two” before pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Among starting pitchers available, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang, and Alfredo Simon are candidates for the Marlins, but they may hold out for the possibility of inking a major league contract. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee are other potential candidates, per Frisaro.

This offseason, the Marlins signed Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal and Edwin Jackson for the major league minimum. The back of the rotation, though, is still a question mark as Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino will compete with Jackson for two spots. David Phelps is dealing with an elbow injury and may or not be ready by Opening Day, but he could function in a swingman capacity as well.