J.P. Howell: Yasiel Puig was bullied in the Dodger clubhouse

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Bullying has been all over the sports landscape recently. The Incognito-Martin thing most obviously. Earlier this week the Tigers won MLB’s philanthropic award for the team’s anti-bullying initiative. And outside of sports bullying has become something that people are talking about and taking increasingly seriously as a threat to young people.

Against that backdrop, Dodgers pitcher J.P. Howell — whose wife Heather has written an anti-bullying book aimed at young kids — spoke to the L.A. Times about bullying. And in the course of his comments he let an interesting nugget drop:

Howell said he saw Yasiel Puig bullied in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, though he would not discuss who was involved, or what happened to Puig.

“The guy is such a champion,” Howell said. “He has such a big heart. Sometimes he acts like a jerk, but that is his defense mechanism. It’s not really him.

Howell said this after describing an incident that happened to him as a rookie that is usually described as hazing: he had his suit shredded by someone and not replaced. Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” and many other baseball anecdotes describe players’ shoes being nailed to the floor and other activities which, depending on who describes them, can be referred to as pranks or goofs or hazing or, yes, bullying.

Did Dodgers players prank or haze Puig like many other rookies have been pranked or hazed before? Did they treat him differently? Or, whether it was different or the same, did Puig take it as an acceptable rite-of-passage, or was it harmful?

My guess is we won’t know. That neither Puig nor other Dodgers will talk about it or will, at best, downplay it as nothing. And we may even see Howell backtrack some if this turns into a big story instead of remaining a mere anecdote.

But we haven’t really had this conversation in baseball before. If we do now, I suspect it will be pretty fascinating.

Orioles’ pitching crosses 100 homers allowed mark in 48th game

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The Orioles’ pitching staff is on pace to obliterate the Reds’ record of 258 homers allowed in the season. When O’s starter David Hess yielded a three-run home run to Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier in the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s game, that marked the 100th homer given up by a Baltimore pitcher this season. They have played 48 games so far, putting them on pace to allow 338.

The homer was Frazier’s second of the night. He had also gone yard with a runner on in the third inning. Gary Sánchez opened the scoring in the first inning with a three-run blast of his own. As of this writing, the Yankees are leading 11-3.

Not that it comes as any surprise, but the Yankees’ offense has the Orioles’ number so far this season. The club has hit 73 homers on the season with 26 of them — 36 percent — coming against the Orioles. The Yankees have played 10 of their 47 games — 21 percent — against the O’s. The Orioles have also allowed 23 home runs to the Twins in six games so far this season