Umpire ejected Russell Martin for making a joke last night

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Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber tossed Russell Martin from last night’s game in the fifth inning because he made a joke following back-to-back walks by Phil Hughes.

Or at least Martin claims his comments were a joke, telling reporters afterward that he asked “did you stretch before the game tonight?” and then added “I feel like you’re kind of tight tonight.”

Given the situation it’s not hard to see how Schrieber may have missed the humor, especially since Martin admitted afterward that he was being critical of the strike zone, but throwing him from the game seems like overkill.

Or as Martin put it afterward:

What, we can’t talk anymore? It’s a game, man, we’re supposed to be having fun. I was just trying to get him to laugh. I didn’t say he sucked. I didn’t say he was the worst umpire in the league. I didn’t cuss at him. I didn’t say any of that stuff. And I got thrown out. That’s tough to do.

Schrieber declined to comment because umpires rarely speak to the media, so we may never know his version of the story.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.