Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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American League All-Star voting update: Mookie Betts moves into starting position


Mookie Betts of the Red Sox has moved up steadily in the All-Star voting and now is third among all outfielders. He was fifth last week, but he has jumped Mark Trumbo and Lorenzo Cain. He trails teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mike Trout of the Angels among outfielders.

Otherwise, the same starting players remain from the past few weeks: catcher and overall voting leader Salvador Perez of the Royals; first baseman Eric Hosmer of the Royals; second baseman Jose Altuve of the Astros; third baseman Manny Machado of the Orioles; shortstop Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox; and designated hitter David Ortiz of the Red Sox.

The totals this week:

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Tyler Holt: clubhouse clown

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has a story about Reds outfielder Tyler Holt. It’s not about his playing. It’s about his clubhouse and dugout demeanor and how it sort of flies in the ace of how a rookie who is, at best, a marginal performer is supposed to behave:

At 27, Holt is a bit old for a rookie. Perhaps that’s why he refuses to act like one. In a world where the biggest deference is paid to players with the most service time, Holt acts like he’s got 10-and-5 rights.

His nickname for Adam Duvall is “Rook,” despite the fact that Duvall has three more weeks in the big leagues than he does. He likes to ask fresh call-ups to carry his bags. While veterans usually sit at the back or front of the team bus on the way to the airport, Holt likes to take Jay Bruce’s seat in the third row.

There’s a lot in there about the give and take between Holt and his more veteran teammates and how, for the most part, everyone is cool with it despite it not being the norm in a major league clubhouse. Maybe young stars can get away with that stuff, but 27-year-old rookies with no guarantees usually can’t. And there are certainly a lot of nods to how unusual it is, with some of Holt’s teammates jokingly telling him that he’d never be able to get away with what he does if, say, Scott Rolen was still a Cincinnati Red.

I’m glad everyone is chill about him in Cincy. But I’m also reminded of just how stifling a major league clubhouse seems from the outside in the normal course. Seniority systems are so dreary.


Stephen Strasburg hopes to make his next start


Stephen Strasburg was scratched from last night’s matchup against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers due to a strained back, but he’s hopeful that he’ll make his next start, according to MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

Strasburg suffered the strain while lifting weights over the weekend. The injury is not considered serious, however and he says “it’s something that’s manageable” and that “it’s gotten better.”

Strasburg was plagued with back issues last season but he says this is not related to that and that the experience of that is causing him to exercise an abundance of caution.