The batboy who provided an unwitting assist in the infamous Pine Tar Game

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The infamous Pine Tar Game — in which the umps overturned a George Brett home run against the Yankees which led to pandemonium — took place 30 years ago this month. Today the Wall Street Journal has a take on it that I’d never heard before: the batboy who kinda helped unleash the pandemonium.

The batboy’s name is Merritt Riley. He’s 47 now, but at the time he was a huge George Brett fanboy and, after the home run, rather than take the illegal bat back to the dugout where it would have blended in with all of the others, he waited at home plate in order to give Brett a high-five. Rick Cerone took the bat from him, Billy Martin pointed it out to the umps and the rest was history.

The story catches up with Riley and Brett, each of whom have a pretty good attitude about it now. Nice stuff.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.