Royals activate Bruce Chen, demote Tim Collins to Triple-A

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Veteran starter Bruce Chen is off the disabled list after missing two months with a back injury and in a corresponding move the Royals have demoted reliever Tim Collins to Triple-A.

Chen had an ugly 7.45 ERA before being shut down, but he was solid in a swingman role last season and the Royals weren’t going to give up on the 37-year-old southpaw after re-signing him for $4.25 million this offeason. For now he’ll be a long reliever.

Collins has been one of the league’s better left-handed setup men since debuting, posting a 3.55 ERA with 205 strikeouts in 190 innings from 2011-2013, but the diminutive southpaw’s control  has always been shaky and this year he had an ugly 10/10 K/BB ratio in 17 innings to go with a 4.15 ERA. He’ll be back in Kansas City, most likely pretty soon.

Mariano Rivera awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.

Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.

This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.