The Los Angeles Times caught up with Torii Hunter today and got his comments about his outrageous comments in this morning’s USA Today. Short version: Hunter is pissed off:
Hunter, who directs much of his charitable efforts to the
development of inner-city baseball, claimed his comments “were
distorted and taken out of context.”
“I’m not apologizing because I didn’t say anything like that,”
Hunter said before Wednesday’s exhibition game against Cincinnati. “I’m
[ticked] right now. I’m upset. And people wonder why athletes don’t
talk to the media that much. It’s stupid.
“That wasn’t even the main topic of the discussion. That was like a
piece of the conversation, .5% of 100%. The main topic was that there
are no scholarships for baseball. … It wasn’t a negative story. It
was a positive story. I try to get a lot of inner-city kids to play the
game. I’ve done the research. That’s why I have all the programs.”
I guess the real question is whether Hunter is mad because the quotes are not accurate or if the quotes are accurate but he is simply mad at how he was portrayed in the article. I get this feeling we’ll be hearing more about this soon enough.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.