What the heck is pine tar anyway?

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My entire life experience with pine tar is (a) watching George Brett go crazy after the famous pine tar game homer; and (b) seeing pitchers get in trouble for putting it on their hands. I really don’t know what pine tar is or what its non-baseball uses are.

Thank goodness for people who do. Like the folks at NBC News who explain here what the stuff actually is. Insert that old “The More You Know” graphic.

In other NBC News news, I will be on NBC Nightly News tonight talking about Michael Pineda and the pine tar junk. It’ll be the last segment, because The Man can’t handle me before 6:45. And I am wearing a tie, so you know it’s special. Anything for Brian Williams.

Athletics release Santiago Casilla

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics have released reliever Santiago Casilla. The club had designated him for assignment on Saturday.

Casilla, 37, posted a 3.16 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 20 walks in 31 1/3 innings of relief for the A’s in the first half. The ERA is certainly not bad, but the strikeout and walk rates are subpar and point to a pitcher who won’t be successful going forward without changing. Additionally, Casilla’s fastball velocity, at 92.9 MPH on average, is the lowest of his career.

Casilla is owed the remainder of his $5.5 million salary for the 2018 season. If he should sign elsewhere, the A’s would be on the hook for the remainder minus the prorated major league minimum salary.