Marlins, A's among those tidying their rosters

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The mass exodus has yet to begin, but a handful of teams have cleared 40-man roster spots since the regular season ended. Here are the players lopped off so far:
Athletics – LHP Brad Kilby, RHP Ross Wolf, INF Akinori Iwamura
Kilby’s July shoulder surgery must have been anything but routine; he cleared waivers even though he’s allowed just three earned runs and posted a 28/4 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings as a major leaguer. I really liked his chances of turning into a strong lefty setup man before he got hurt, but his velocity was well down this year.
Blue Jays – RHP Dirk Hayhurst, INF Jarrett Hoffpauir
With baseball on the backburner following season-ending shoulder surgery in February, Hayhurst opted to write a book. The guess is that he’ll be re-signed to a minor league contract.
Hoffpauir, who hit .206/.250/.235 in 34 at-bats with the Jays this year, was claimed off waivers by the Padres. He’ll battle for a roster spot as a backup at second and third next spring.

Brewers – RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Alex Periard
The 23-year-old Periard has gotten hurt two years in a row, and he wasn’t exactly a spectacular prospect in the first place. He does have a decent sinker, but no one opted to take a shot.
Marlins – LHP Taylor Tankersley, RHP Ryan Tucker, RHP Tim Wood, C Mike Rivera, INF Hector Luna, OF Brett Carroll
Tankersley, a 2004 first-round pick, had a 2.85 ERA in 49 relief appearances as a 23-year-old rookie in 2006. It’s been downhill ever since. He missed 2009 following elbow surgery, and he gave up four homers in 12 innings as a major leaguer this year.
As previously mentioned, Tucker was picked up by the Rangers, resulting in Rich Harden getting designated for assignment. He is the one in this group with some promise left, but after being diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome this spring, he proved very ineffective in the minors. He had a 6.15 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A New Orleans.
Carroll got some notice a year ago for having incredible UZR defensive numbers in about 40 games worth of playing time in the Marlins’ outfield, and he rated well in very limited action again this year. Unfortunately, he’s 28 and he’s hit just .205/.284/.325 in 319 major league at-bats.

Padres – C Chris Stewart
Making room for Hoffpauir.
Red Sox – RHP Robert Manuel, C Dusty Brown, C Kevin Cash
Manuel is an outstanding Triple-A reliever, and he hardly embarrassed himself in 10 appearances for the Red Sox this year, amassing a 4.26 ERA in 12 2/3 innings. Boston will likely offer him a minor league deal to stick around, and given that no team plucked him off waivers, he could accept it.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.