Gunman opens fire on practice for annual Congressional baseball game

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U.S. Representative and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and several of his aides were shot while at baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia this morning. The practice was in anticipation of tomorrow’s annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Details are still sketchy, but witnesses have told reporters that a gunman opened fire on Scalise and others at around 7:15AM. The shooting lasted for approximately ten minutes. Five people were wounded. Scalise is in stable condition. One of the wounded was said to have been hit in the chest. There are few details about the gunman other than that he is a white, middle aged man who had a rifle. Capitol Police were on the scene as a security detail and reportedly returned fire, hitting the gunman, who is now in custody. Go to NBC News for continued updates on the details of all of this.

UPDATE: Federal law enforcement officials identified the suspected shooter to NBC News as James T. Hodgkinson, a man in his 60s from Belleville, Illinois. Here is a profile on him from the Beleville, Illinois newspaper.

UPDATE: President Trump just announced that Hodgkinson has died from wounds inflicted by police returning fire.

The Congressional Baseball Game, played between Democrats and Republicans, dates back to 1909. There have been 79 games in the series, with the Democrats winning 39 times, the Republicans winning 39 times and the teams tying once. These days it’s a charitable event, with ticket sales and other proceeds supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and the Washington Literacy Center. This year’s game is scheduled for tomorrow at Nationals Park. There is no word if it will still be played or if it will be postponed.

UPDATE:

The Congressional Baseball Game usually features some amusing and often comically bad baseball and the folks who play in it are, without question, some unpopular folks responsible for a lot of acrimony these days. But the existence of the game itself is a good thing for a good cause. It stands as one of the few remaining moments of bipartisanship that can be found in Washington these days. One of the few bits of grace in an otherwise ugly time. It’s a shame that it has been marred by violence.

Our thoughts go out to Representative Scalise and the other victims of this shooting. Here’s hoping everyone comes out OK.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.