Pariah no more! A-Rod was front and center for a big MLB community event

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Today in New York, Major League Baseball announced the launch of the “PLAY BALL” initiative, which is designed to encourage participation in baseball activities among kids. And not just in the form of organized leagues. Sandlot, playing catch, the whole deal. It seems like a pretty cool idea because, as so many have said, if you played baseball as a kid, you’re more likely to be a fan later. The website, linked above, has coaching tips, guides to help parents find community leagues and other information that can make it all easier.

The launch today happened at Heritage Park in New York, where Rob Manfred and members of the Yankees and Marlins — who are in town for an interleague series — were on hand. Included in the group:

Alex Rodriguez: good enough to market a very important Major League Baseball community initiative. I guess he’s officially off the s***-list.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.