Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Latest American League All-Star voting returns are in

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The second update of All-Star Game balloting for the American League is in. The most notable news is Jackie Bradley Jr. moving into a starting position among outfielders, passing Mark Trumbo for third place and trailing Mike Trout and Lorenzo Cain.

Salvador Perez continues to be the leading overall vote-getter in the AL with 1,605,922 votes. Perez has the largest lead of anyone at any position in the AL, outpacing Matt Wieters by well over a million votes. The Super Delegates have yet to weigh in, but I think it’s fair to say he’s going to be the guy behind the plate. The next highest vote-getter is David Ortiz at DH with 1,460,339. He also has the second largest margin, with Kendrys Morals some 800,000 votes behind.

Here are the results:

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New Jersey high school lefty Groome could be No. 1 in draft

Associated Press
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DEPTFORD, N.J. (AP) One of the quickest ways to get to the major leagues is to be a big left-handed pitcher with some pop on your fastball.

Jason Groome has that and more.

The 17-year-old from Barnegat High School along the New Jersey Shore is 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, throws in the 90s and has a deuce that falls off the table.

It’s everything baseball scouts want to see, and it’s one of the reasons he’s considered an early pick in baseball’s draft on Thursday night.

For a long time, many experts predicted that the Philadelphia Phillies would take him with the first selection. While that seems a little less likely now, expect Groome to be drafted early in the round.

“It would be awesome if I was top 10, not even, just to get drafted in the first round,” Groome said. “It would mean a lot, all the hard work had paid off. I mean, I’m just looking forward to what my career has in store.”

Groome was a draw in New Jersey this season. More than 5,000 fans attended a recent charity game in which he pitched against Gloucester Catholic, the top-ranked team in New Jersey. He lost 1-0, giving up an unearned run.

The big crowds, the scouts in the stands and the never-ending media attention were only part of the wild ride Groome had in his final season in high school.

This was a homecoming for him. He played his first two seasons with Barnegat and then attended IMG Academy in Florida for his junior season. A little homesick, he returned to the Garden State to finish his career with his friends.

Groome threw a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts early in the year and appeared on his way to a great season. It came to a screeching halt when the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association suspended him for 30 days for violating its transfer rule. Barnegat also had to forfeit the game.

“The suspension held off a couple of my starts,” Groome said. “I mean, I don’t really like to talk about that. I think what we did was great.”

Barnegat made the state playoffs and Groome’s high school career ended with a 2-1 loss to West Deptford in late May. He allowed two hits, struck out 12 and walked three in six innings in his final start. The two runs scored on a two-out, opposite-field single that was misplayed into a triple, and a throwing error on the relay back to the infield. The two hits were the only balls out of the infield.

“He is, by far, the best pitcher I have ever hit against and I have no doubt that he might be the hardest pitcher that I will ever face,” said West Deptford catcher Ryan Baglivo, who had the first-inning, game-winning triple.

“He is so fluid with his motion,” Baglivo added. “I watched a little bit of film trying to pick up tendencies and with the hand, the arm and the leg. I mean, he would slow up and hard out. His stride has to be 6 or 7 feet, and when that ball comes out of his hand, it just flies.”

Groome finished the season with a 2-3 record with a save, which includes the no-hitter. He had 90 strikeouts and 14 walks in 39 2/3 innings. He allowed 15 hits and gave up 10 runs, only five earned, finishing with a 0.77 ERA.

In the time leading to the draft, Groome planned to meet with the Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians, the teams with the fourth, eighth and 14th picks overall, respectively. He has already spoken with the Phillies. He also plans to work out in the gym and throw a little.

Turning pro will be a family decision, he said, adding that he wants to go somewhere where he feels comfortable and where he will be protected.

“If it doesn’t work out, it’s a win-win,” Groome said. “I get to go to Vanderbilt for three years and hopefully win the College World Series. Overall, I am just excited for what my future holds.”

Barnegat coach Dan McCoy said Groome’s future is bright. His son, Mark, also a pitcher, was drafted a couple of years ago and now plays with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

“He is in a different class,” McCoy said of Groome. “Jay is the top of the pyramid.”

He also could be top of the draft.

The time Tom Glavine threw at Dale Murphy

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Yesterday Buster Olney had Hall of Famer Tom Glavine on his podcast. One of the things they talked about was when Glavine threw at former teammate Dale Murphy, who was by then playing for the Phillies. You can listen to it here. The game took place on Sunday June 19, 1991. If you can’t listen to a podcast, go read the contemporaneous story about it in the Philly Inquirer. Or, if you want to, watch the video of the incident, which I’ve embedded below.

As the article notes, Roger McDowell had been ejected from the game for hitting Otis Nixon in the shoulder with a pitch earlier (Glavine says on the podcast it was his first pitch, but he had been in for more than an inning by then). The hit on Nixon was retaliation for something that Nixon did a week prior (Glavine doesn’t elaborate and I can’t remember, but it probably involved sliding spikes up or trash talk). So plunk goes the ball off of Nixon.

From the podcast we learn, definitively, that manager Bobby Cox ordered Glavine to hit Murphy, despite the fact that hitting Nixon was itself retaliation. If things were even, why hit Murphy? Because this was the Sunday game of a three-game series, and the Braves had expected the Phillies to hit Nixon before then. “Because you should’ve handled that earlier,” Glavine says now, “now it’s a problem again.” So put that in your big book of unwritten rules: you get the right to retaliate, but you have to do it quickly. You might recall that the Blue Jays were a bit mad at that when Matt Bush hit Jose Bautista a couple of weeks ago too. Dumb unwritten rules never die, I guess.

From the story you learn that it wasn’t easy for Glavine to hit Murphy, given that Murphy was the Braves’ undisputed leader when Glavine came up and was a friend. Glavine asked Cox if he could hit the second guy as opposed to Murphy. “No, you gotta hit Murph,” Glavine says Cox told him. Watch the video below and you can see how softly and half-heartedly those purpose pitches, none of which ever hit their target, were thrown. Glavine was nonetheless ejected. Here he is talking about it in 1991:

“When I had some tough times in my first few seasons, Dale was always there with advice and some consolation,” Glavine said. “He’s a great guy, a consummate pro. He’s a positive force in any clubhouse, an upbeat guy.

“But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to protect your teammates.”

Tough talk, but Glavine’s actions spoke louder.

Glavine says now that he got hate mail about it from Murphy fans in Atlanta for a couple of months after that.

A pitcher obeyed his manager’s dumb order, made an at bat in a baseball game kind of a joke and put everyone in an uncomfortable position. But hey, stupid unwritten rules — hastily edited to suit the purposes of the moment and not really having anything to do with anyone protecting anyone — were served.