Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza Elected to the Hall of Fame

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The 2016 induction class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was announced Wednesday evening and we have two inductees: Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. Two of the greatest players of the 1990s and 2000s are on their way to Cooperstown.

Players must be named on 75% of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s ballots to get in. Griffey was named on 99.3% of the ballots, which is an all-time record, topping Tom Seaver’s 98.8% in 1992. Piazza was named on 83%. Non-inductees of note include Jeff Bagwell at 71.6% and Tim Raines at 69.8%, each of whom stand an excellent chance of being inducted next year. The full results can be seen here.

Others not making the cut include Trevor Hoffman (67.3%), Curt Schilling (52.3 %), Roger Clemens (45.2%), Barry Bonds (44.3%), Edgar Martinez (43.4 %), Mike Mussina ( 43%), Alan Trammell (40.9%) and Lee Smith (34.1  %). This was Trammell’s last year of eligibility. He will now be the business of the Veterans Committee.

Players who fell off the ballot due to not having the requisite 5% to stay on: Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Sweeney, David Eckstein, Jason Kendall, Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell and Randy Winn.

We’ll have continued updates on today’s Hall of Fame vote throughout the evening and in the coming days. In the meantime, congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza.

Dodgers place Joc Pederson on the DL with shoulder injury

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, injured crashing into the outfield wall making a game-saving catch at Miller Park in Milwaukee on Tuesday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right AC joint on Friday.

The Dodgers also officially placed three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.79) on the disabled list with mild disk herniation in his back. Kershaw was feeling “considerably better” after undergoing an epidural, according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Pederson injured his non-throwing shoulder in the Dodgers’ 6-5 victory Tuesday after crashing into the center field wall chasing down a drive off the bat of Brewers slugger Chris Carter. Pederson collapsed after making the catch, allowing Jonathan Lucroy to score from second base on the sacrifice fly. Pederson was escorted off the field.

The Dodgers activated right-hander Bud Norris, acquired on Thursday in a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves, to start in Kershaw’s place Friday night against the Colorado Rockies.

Los Angeles selected the contract of outfielder Max Venable from Triple-A Oklahoma City. To make room for Venable on the 40-man roster, Los Angeles designated right-hander Layne Somsen for assignment.

Indians win 14th straight, beat Blue Jays 2-1 in 19 innings

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TORONTO — A franchise-best 14th straight win sure didn’t come easy for the Cleveland Indians.

Carlos Santana homered in the 19th inning off infielder Darwin Barney and the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 on Friday.

“I guess if you’re going to set a record, you might as well do it the hard way,” Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer said.

Cleveland won 13 straight in 1942 and again in 1951.

It’s the longest winning streak since Atlanta won 14 straight in 2013, and the longest by an AL team since Oakland won 20 in a row in 2002.

Santana doubled and scored in the third as the surging Indians survived a marathon game and disappointed a sellout crowd that came for a Canada Day matinee that lasted 6 hours and 13 minutes, featured 19 pitchers and saw 34 left on base.

The 19 innings matched the longest game in Blue Jays history. Toronto played 19 against Detroit in August 2014.

Having used seven of their eight relievers, the Indians turned to Bauer, Saturday’s scheduled starter, in the 15th. Bauer (7-2) worked five innings for the win.

“I thought what Trevor did was above and beyond,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Only closer Cody Allen, who was unavailable after working the previous three games, did not pitch for Cleveland.

After seven Blue Jays relievers combined to pitch 10 1-3 scoreless innings, Toronto turned to infielder Ryan Goins in the 18th.

Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall began the inning with singles, but Ramirez was caught in a rundown on Michael Martinez‘s fielder’s choice grounder. After intentionally walking Tyler Naquin, Goins got out of the bases-loaded jam by getting Chris Gimenez to ground into a double play.

Barney, who started the game at second base, replaced Goins in the 19th. The infielders became the ninth and 10th position players to pitch for Toronto.

“That’s a weird game,” Francona said. “Shoot, they’re matching up with infielders.”

Santana greeted Barney (0-1) with a drive to right-center, his 17th.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs in the 14th but Joba Chamberlain got reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson to ground out.

Donaldson nearly tied it in the 19th but his drive to right was caught on the warning track.

“I thought he hit it out for sure,” Bauer said. “He hit it and I was like `You’ve got to be kidding me.”‘

Toronto’s only run came in the sixth when Justin Smoak snapped an 0-for-18 slump by homering off Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin. It was the eighth of the season for Smoak and the 100th of his career.

The Blue Jays lost major league RBI leader Edwin Encarnacion when he was ejected for arguing after being called out on strikes to end the first inning. Manager John Gibbons was also ejected.

All three Blue Jays batters were called out on strikes in the first, with Encarnacion livid after being rung up on a 3-2 pitch that looked outside.

Encarnacion made contact with home plate umpire Vic Carapazza’s left shoulder after being ejected. Gibbons rushed out to break up the argument and was also tossed.

Catcher Russell Martin was ejected by Carapazza after striking out to end the 13th. A fuming Martin had to be restrained by bench coach DeMarlo Hale and third base coach Luis Rivera as he screamed at Carapazza.

“He just wasn’t very good today,” Martin said of Carapazza. “All the things that everybody in the ballpark were thinking, I didn’t say that. I felt like he really didn’t have to throw me out.”

Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single off Marcus Stroman in the third.

UNEXPECTED EFFORT

Expected to start Saturday, Bauer he threw what he called a “fairly intense” bullpen and lifted weights Thursday, then lifted again before Friday’s game. “Physically, I’m exhausted,” he said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: OF Jose Bautista (left big toe) is not expected to return before the All-Star break, Gibbons said. Bautista was injured June 16 at Philadelphia.

UP NEXT

Indians: Cleveland’s starter for Saturday is unknown after Bauer was used in relief. “We’re working through that right now,” Francona said afterward. “We’ve got some things we’ve got to talk through.”

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (5-3, 2.81) has allowed at least one home run in each of his past five starts.

AP source: Boston given 1-year ban on international amateurs

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NEW YORK (AP) The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing international amateur free agents for one year, a penalty assessed after Major League Baseball concluded the team broke rules on signing bonuses last summer.

MLB concluded the Red Sox and buscones – local trainer/representatives of the players – worked together to evade a $300,000 cap on signing bonuses to five Venezuelan prospects who were 16 at the time: right-hander Cesar Gonzalez, infielders Antonio Pinero and Eduardo Torrealba, and outfielders Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti.

A person familiar with the investigation said Friday the signing bonuses of those five were pooled with the bonuses of about 10 other players, and more than $300,000 was given to each of the five.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public comments were authorized.

Boston may not sign international amateur free agents – generally players under age 23 residing outside the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico – for the signing period that starts Saturday and runs through July 1, 2017. The five players were declared free agents and are allowed to keep their prior signing bonuses.

The investigation was first reported by Baseball America and details were first reported by Yahoo.

Boston was subject to the $300,000 signing bonus limit in 2015-16 because it exceeded its bonus pool in 2014-15, when the Red Sox agreed to a $31.5 signing bonus for Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. The Red Sox took responsibility for breaking the rules, but are not sure who exactly in the Red Sox organization was aware at the time, the person familiar with the investigation said. The violations occurred before Dave Dombrowski was hired last August as president of baseball operations, taking over from general manager Ben Cherington.

“We are not at liberty to comment on an MLB investigation,” Red Sox spokesman Kevin Gregg said.

MLB is investigating whether Venezuelan law allows it to ban the buscones from representing the five players in the signing period that starts Saturday.

Major League Baseball says minor league ball is “not a career but a short-term seasonal apprenticeship”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball issued a statement about the recent bill proposed in the House of Representatives known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act.” The legislation, H.R. 5580, aims to change the language in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which would allow the league continue paying minor leaguers a pittance.

One of the representatives, Cheri Bustos (D-IL), withdrew her support for H.R. 5580 earlier on Thursday after receiving feedback which was mostly critical of the bill.

J.J. Cooper of Baseball America shared MLB’s statement, which says that minor league baseball is “not a career but a short-term seasonal apprenticeship.”

Obviously, Major League Baseball is trying to justify paying its minor leaguers pennies on the dollar. The league, however, took in nearly $9.5 billion in revenues last year, according to Forbes. And Disney just bought a 33 percent stake in Major League Baseball Advanced Media in a deal valuing it at about $3.5 billion. This is not exactly a league that has to struggle to keep the lights on.

MLB already has it good with minor leaguers because they do not hit the open market until they hit free agency, six years after debuting in the majors. The players are drafted, essentially assigned a signing bonus based on their draft position, and then toil in the minor leagues for multiple seasons. Even a can’t-miss prospect like Bryce Harper spent parts of four seasons in the minors. Early in major leaguers’ careers, their salaries are dictated by their teams, paying them only a fraction more than the major league minimum salary, which is $507,500. This is the case for three seasons, typically, then the players reach arbitration eligibility. They finally receive a significant pay raise based on their skill, and players have three or four years of arbitration eligibility during which they rarely see their salaries slide backwards. Then, after exhausting their arbitration years, they can hit free agency and finally test the open market where they are more closely paid according to their skills.

During the time between being drafted and reaching arbitration eligibility, many things can happen to a player. He can plateau in skill, he can suffer a career- or life-altering injury, he can be blocked by another talented player at his position, he can have off-the-field issues. Despite devoting, let’s say, six years of his life to an organization that paid him below the minimum wage, the team will cut him without a second thought. Because minor league players aren’t protected by a union, they’re not guaranteed a safety net when they lose their jobs. No pension, no healthcare, no nothing. MLB’s stance on paying minor leaguers, which it calls “impractical,” is — as Craig put it — unconscionable.

Major League Baseball could easily afford to pay its players a living wage. Let’s say $50,000, which would allow the players to live comfortably, even if they’re supporting more than just themselves. Adam Dembowitz of Crashburn Alley did the math:

Putting aside the moral aspect of it, MLB dying on this hill is a bad idea for its future. Aaron Gleeman pointed out that Andrew Luck’s recent record contract with the Colts matches that of Giants mid-rotation starter Jeff Samardzija. “Play baseball,” Aaron said, which is what the families and friends of athletes are likely saying in increasing numbers, especially with the NFL’s recent battle over its responsibility for CTE. If you’re a kid choosing which sport to play, are you going to choose the league that treats you like a sweatshop worker or the league that can get you a nice early payday like the NFL and NBA? If Major League Baseball wants to continue contending with the other big sports leagues going forward, it has to provide a legitimate incentive for young people to play. It is already prohibitively expensive for kids in poorer communities to play, and now it’s advertising to them that playing baseball won’t get them out of poverty for at least a decade.

Don’t expect it to happen, but the MLB Players’ Union should go to bat for minor leaguers. They badly need union protection, and the MLBPA is one of the most powerful unions on the planet. It could immediately change thousands of lives for the better, and hundreds of thousands in the long term.