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Pudge Rodriguez recruited for a Puerto Rico statehood delegation


Puerto Rico is the largest and most populous U.S. territory. It’s about the size of Connecticut, in fact, population-wise. It’s had a unique status since being ceded to the United States after the Spanish-American War and since a series of laws which were enacted to govern its relationship to the U.S. in the ensuing years.

In recent decades there has been considerable debate about Puerto Rico becoming a state. Given the many pros and many cons of statehood, there is nothing close to an actual consensus on the matter, with the old saying going “if you ask two Puerto Ricans about statehood, you’ll get three opinions.” There have been numerous referenda on the matter. In one, “none of the above” beat “statehood,” “status quo” and “independence.” So you see how that goes.

The most recent referendum took place last month. It went 97% in favor of statehood. The catch: there was a 23% turnout due to the pro-status quo party boycotting the thing. So you see how that goes, part 2.

A win is a win, however, and the governor of Puerto Rico — a big pro-statehood guy — is forming a delegation to go to Washington to petition Congress to grant the island statehood. We all know someone on the delegation:

Puerto Rico’s governor has recruited retired baseball star Ivan Rodriguez to help argue for statehood for the United States territory. Ricardo Rossello on Monday appointed the Hall of Famer to a commission charged with going to the U.S. Congress to demand statehood.

As I noted above, the pros and cons of statehood are complicated. A lot of involves the federal benefits Puerto Ricans can receive if statehood is granted. A lot of it involves taxes which will leveled and business incentives which could disappear if it’s granted. There are considerations with debt that Puerto Rico has incurred from time to time. There are, obviously, civil rights and anti-colonialism arguments involved as well. The United States passed a law a few years back to create an oversight board to deal with Puerto Rico’s debt and that too has led to controversy and complication. It’s all heady stuff which could probably occupy a team of political science PhDs for several careers.

I have no idea how well-versed Pudge is on all of that, but if he isn’t yet up to speed I’m sure he can . . . catch on quickly.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam


Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins?’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.