MLB announces All-Star celebrity softball game participants

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Every year during the All-Star break there’s a “Legends and Celebrities Softball Game” and MLB just announced the participants for this year’s event at Target Field in Minnesota.

The list of “legends” is an impressive one: Rickey Henderson, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Mike Piazza, Jack Morris, Fred Lynn, Ozzie Smith, John Smoltz, and Jim Thome.

And then there’s a solid group of local star athletes from other Minnesota teams: Adrian Peterson, Kevin Love, Maya Moore, and Zach Parise.

But then here’s the complete list of “celebrities” signed up for the game: Andy Cohen, James Denton, Chris Distefano, Jennie Finch, Melanie Iglesias, Fat Joe, Charlie McDermott, Nelly, Dylan O’Brien, Rob Riggle, Sway, and Andrew Zimmern.

Woof. Not listed: Jon Hamm. What a travesty.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.