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Athletics still see Bruce Maxwell as the starting catcher


Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell has made a lot of headlines lately, both for good reasons and for bad reasons. The good: In September, he became the first Major League Baseball player to protest police violence against people of color by kneeling for the national anthem. The bad: Allegedly, Maxwell was inebriated and pulled a gun on a food delivery person last month.

The Athletics still see Maxwell as the club’s starting catcher, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported recently. Maxwell pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court on December 28 for a pretrial hearing.

GM David Forst said, “I don’t want to talk about the off-field stuff right now. We’ll let the criminal proceedings play out. But from a baseball standpoint, I expect Bruce to be our catcher next year.”

Maxwell, 26, hit .237/.329/.333 with three home runs, 22 RBI, and 21 runs scored in 253 plate appearances last season. He got the majority of starts behind the plate once the Brewers claimed Stephen Vogt off waivers from the A’s in late June.

Jason Vargas fractured his non-pitching hand

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Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.