Mike Cameron announces retirement

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Mike Cameron signed a minor league contract with the Nationals in mid-December. But he won’t ever take the field wearing the curly W.

According to the Nationals’ official Twitter account, Cameron informed the team on Sunday morning that he is officially retiring from baseball.

The 39-year-old outfielder was a .249/.338/.444 career hitter over parts of 17 major league seasons. He collected 1,700 hits, 278 home runs and three Gold Gloves while playing for the White Sox, Reds, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Brewers, Red Sox and Marlins.

Cameron likely would have made the Nats’ Opening Day roster as a part-time center fielder. His absence will mean more playing time for Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina. Or Washington could put Jayson Werth in center to make room for an early arrival of top prospect Bryce Harper.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”