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Three-time All-Star Lee May dies at age 74

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Sad news: Lee May, the three-time All-Star who played for the Reds, Astros, Orioles and Royals, has died. He was 74.

May broke into the big leagues with the Reds in 1965. He’s spend seven seasons in Cincy, where he hit .274/.321/.490 and 147 of his 354 career homers. His peak years came in Cincy as well where, between 1968 and 1971, he hit .275/.324/.503 with 132 homers and 382 RBI in that four season span. His Reds won the pennant in 1970 and May hit .389/.450/.833 in a losing cause in the 1970 Fall Classic.

May was famously traded to the Astros before the 1972 season in a blockbuster deal: he, Tommy Helms and Jimmy Stewart went to Houston in exchange for Eddie Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke and future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. While this deal was certainly won by the Reds — Morgan would win two MVP awards in Cincinnati and he, Geronimo and Billingham would serve as key components of three-time pennant-winning and two-time World Series champion Big Red Machine — May continued his fine slugging in Houston, hitting 88 homers and driving in 288 runs in the next three seasons. He’d slug well for a solid decade, actually: between 1969 and 1978, only Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, and Willie Stargell out-homered him.

May was dealt to Baltimore before the 1975 season. While with the Orioles he completed the final four years of his 11-season streak in which he hit 20 homers or more. His Orioles would win 90 or more games in five of his six seasons and 88 games in the other. Twice his Orioles teams won 100 games. May would see action in the 1979 World Series, but not much. By then May had been supplanted at first base by a young Eddie Murray, with May serving mostly as as designated hitter. Back in those days the DH was only present in the World Series on an alternating year basis, no matter the home team, so May would only pinch hit.

Mat would play his final two seasons as a part timer with the Royals, retiring after the 1982 season. He’d stay with the Royals as their hitting coach, however, and finally got that elusive World Series ring in 1985.

Rest in Peace, Lee May.

 

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.