Chicago Cubs

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel leaves start with tight left hamstring

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Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel threw only 12 pitches in a flawless top of the first inning Wednesday night against the rival Cardinals, but Clayton Richard was spotted warming up in the bottom half of the first and took the mound in the top of the second. Patrick Mooney of has the reason

Hammel’s next scheduled start isn’t until after the All-Star break, so he shouldn’t miss a rotation turn. But the Cubs need all the wins they can get against the division-leading Cardinals and Hammel obviously gave them a much better chance Wednesday than Richard, who allowed two runs in his first frame. Hammel boasts a 2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 105/18 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 total innings this season for third-place Chicago.

Your 2015 MLB Home Run Derby participants …

Great American Ball Park

The participants in the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park are being revealed live on Sportscenter at 6 p.m. ET. We’ll list all of the names here as they come out …


Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
Joc Pederson, CF, Dodgers


Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays
Prince Fielder, 1B, Rangers
Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles

The event is July 13 — next Monday night. For a rundown of the new format, head here.

A-Rod would not turn the All-Star Game into a circus. It already is one.


Fox’s Jon Morosi talks about A-Rod not making the All-Star team. He rightfully dismisses the idea that A-Rod should be kept out because of morals or PEDs or any of that stuff. And really, no one is arguing that he should be, even if he suffered some with fans because of that. But he still thinks it’s best that Rodriguez not be there.


1. The fans had their chance to vote him in. If they truly wanted him there, he would have finished higher than fifth among AL designated hitters — more than 7 million votes behind Cruz.

2. If A-Rod had been named to the All-Star team, he’d dominate much of the pregame discussion in Cincinnati. Would the debate draw greater attention to this year’s Midsummer Classic? Perhaps. But it would drain plenty of oxygen from what people who love the game should be discussing: the tremendous influx of young talent to the sport.

This seems really bizarre to me.

As for reason one, the All-Star Game has a bifurcated roster selection process for a reason. That reason is that the fans often don’t know what they’re doing. But more to the point, the fans pick eight or nine dudes. Each team has 34 guys on it. Why is it OK to say it’s good that A-Rod is not on the team because the fans didn’t want him there and not say the same thing about D.J. Lemahieu? They didn’t want him either. Or Brandon Crawford or A.J. Pollock? If a guy is worthy, he’s put on the team most of the time in spite of the fans not voting for him. That’s the whole design of the thing.

As for the second reason, isn’t Morosi here saying “we, the media, would be unable to do anything but talk about A-Rod if he were here and we need to be saved from ourselves?” Because last I checked, A-Rod — especially the bland, non-controversial version of him we’re seeing this year — isn’t doing much to force coverage other than the occasional “hey, he’s playing well” piece. Morosi himself talks about what people “should be discussing.” Why could he and everyone else discuss that and ignore the backup DH? Of course they could, but to admit that may force one to admit that all of the stuff said and written about A-Rod over the past couple of years is just as much media-driven as it is A-Rod driven.

More to the point, however, since when do we care if the All-Star Game is a circus? It’s already got military flyovers, celebrity softball tournaments, actual parades, an actual festival, gimmicky substitutions, multiple pop and country stars giving performances and Pete Freakin’ Rose.

Ultimately, I don’t care that A-Rod didn’t make it. Prince Fielder basically took his slot and Prince Fielder is having a really great year. And really, A-Rod could probably use a break anyway. If he were leading the league in five categories, fine, it’s a snub, but to be honest he’s having a good but not great season and a lot of guys who have seasons like this don’t make All-Star teams.

But in 2015, with a new commissioner and evolving sports preferences in the U.S., it is paramount that MLB leverage its All-Star Game into a stage for Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson, Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado. We need to learn more about their stories. By now, we’re familiar enough with the tale of Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez.

Dude, you’re the reporter and a TV personality for the network televising the entire thing. If you want us to learn about these stories, maybe tell us? Or does A-Rod run Fox too?