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The Nationals still aren’t close to extending Dusty Baker

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Entering Saturday’s contest against the Rangers, Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker has guided the club to a division-leading 38 wins. He’s sitting on a 1804-1592 career managerial record and hasn’t seen a losing record since 2011, when the Reds took third place in the NL Central with a 79-83 finish. Other than a World Series ring, the only thing he’s missing is a contract extension, which would give him a landing spot when his two-year, $4 million contract expires after this season. That, however, appears to be the one thing the Nationals are reluctant to give him.

The Nationals were open to an extension back in January, according to a report from Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, who also noted that the two sides had yet to open talks. No concrete show of faith has been made by the club yet, though, and it’s unlikely that a deal will be struck while the season is in full swing. Washington general manager Mike Rizzo addressed the issue prior to the series opener against the Rangers on Friday. Via MLB.com’s Jamal Collier:

It’s not going to be an issue, we’re not going to let it be an issue,” Rizzo said. “Dusty’s a true professional. Been through the rigors of the regular season a million times; I’ve been through it a million times. Suffice to say that there’s great communications, great respect between the front office and the managerial office.

Baker, meanwhile, has repeatedly affirmed his desire to continue his career in Washington. There doesn’t seem to be a lack of affection between the 67-year-old skipper and his general manager, and it’s clear that the players value his presence in the clubhouse. The Post’s Thomas Boswell instead chalks the problem up to some reluctance on the owners’ part, speculating that the Lerner family could be dragging their feet simply because that’s the way they’re used to dealing with past managers. If that’s the case, it might take Baker the rest of the season — and a World Series title — before his achievements are appropriately rewarded with an extended stay in Washington.

Bruce Maxwell is the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.