Mariners sign Kevin Millwood to minor league contract

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The Mariners have added a touch of gray to their otherwise-under-30 starting rotation depth chart.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Seattle agreed to a minor league contract on Sunday evening with veteran righty Kevin Millwood.

The deal comes with an invitation to spring training, where Millwood will get a legitimate chance at claiming a spot as the club’s third, fourth or fifth starter. (It gets kind of murky there beyond Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas).

Millwood, 37, posted a surprising 3.98 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in nine starts for the Rockies last season, issuing only eight walks in 54 1/3 innings. He’ll challenge Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and youngsters Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi and Charlie Furbush down in Mariners camp.

Phillies fan injured after being shot by the Phillie Phanatic’s hot dog cannon

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In between one inning during every home game at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillie Phanatic will drive around the edge of the playing field shooting hot dogs into the stands from a pneumatic gun — a hot dog cannon, if you will — mounted on an ATV. Until Monday night, a fan had never been injured during this event.

Sarah Bloomquist of 6 ABC reports that, unfortunately, a Phillies fan was injured on Monday night when the Phillies opened a three-game home series with the Cardinals. Kathy McVay of Plymouth Meeting, PA was hit in the face. McVay said, “I have a small hematoma in my eye. And mostly, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s going to go down the side of my face.” She also suffered cuts and bruises and had to be taken to the hospital to be tested for a concussion.

McVay doesn’t plan to take legal action against the Phillies and seems to be taking the injury with a good sense of humor. She said, “It gives people a good laugh, and if that makes somebody chuckle, then that’s fine.” McVay also advised fellow fans, “Just to be aware, because you never know. I understand a baseball, but not a hot dog.”

The Phillies reached out to apologize to McVay on Tuesday and offered her tickets to another game once she heals, assuming she would like to return to Citizens Bank Park.

One wonders if Monday’s incident might motivate the Phillies to do away with the hot dog cannon stunt. There’s really nothing gained by doing it, and there are plenty of other ways for the Phanatic to have fun with the fans around the ballpark.