Report: Mitch Williams’ claims against Deadspin dismissed

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In May of 2014, former major league pitcher and former MLB Network commentator Mitch Williams was coaching a youth baseball team and was alleged to have cussed out an umpire, called kids on opposing teams derogatory names and, in one instance, ordered one of his players to bean a player on an opposing team. As a result of the controversy — which went public fast — Williams took a leave of absence from his MLB Network job and was eventually fired.

Later that year he sued MLB and Deadspin, alleging wrongful termination and defamation. The former against MLB Network, of course, the latter against Deadspin for its reporting. While the specifics of Williams’ termination from MLB aren’t fully known and while his contract may have played a part in it all, the defamation case against Deadspin seemed ridiculous on its face. Partially because there were pictures and multiple witnesses which showed that Williams did, in fact, act like a loon at those baseball games, partially because he actually apologized for his behavior.

There is a trial date for this summer, but it won’t involve Deadspin. A source familiar with the litigation tells NBC Sports that the claims against Deadspin and its staff have been dismissed via summary judgment. Meanwhile, Nick Denton, the head of Gawker Media, which owns Deadspin, issued a memo which likewise states that the defamation claim has been dismissed. Here’s Denton, in a memo shared with NBC Sports on Twitter, talking about the larger matter of litigation filed against Gawker, which has been all over the news lately:

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We’re still waiting for the ruling or entry from the court on it, or word as to whether or not MLB Network is still on the hook, but for now it seems like the Wild Thing has, once again, missed his intended target.

Zack Britton’s season over, TJ surgery comeback out of time

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Zack Britton‘s season is over, his comeback from Tommy John surgery cut short after just three relief appearances for the New York Yankees.

New York put the 34-year-old left-hander on the 60-day injured list and selected the contract of right-hander Jacob Barnes from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Britton was removed after throwing a tiebreaking wild pitch in a 2-1 loss to Baltimore, an outing that lasted just nine pitches. The two-time All-Star had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 8, 2021, and made eight minor league injury rehabilitation appearances starting Aug. 24 and three big league appearances beginning Sept. 24. He threw 36 pitches to nine batters with a 13.50 ERA, six walks and one strikeout.

“Kind of running out of time here and having a little bit of fatigue last night, it’s like one of those things, you don’t want to power through that and reach for more and then do some damage as you’re coming back,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s in a good spot heading into the offseason.”

Britton had hoped to be able to help the Yankees in the postseason. He is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

“It’s just that final sharpness,” Boone said. “At this point in the season, just kind of up against it there. But he worked his tail off to put himself in this position and give himself an opportunity and certainly admire that.”

Barnes, 32, started the season with Detroit and was released on June 18 after going 3-1 with a 6.10 ERA in 22 relief appearances. He struck out 10 and walked nine in 20 2/3 innings.

Barnes signed a minor league contract with Seattle, made four relief appearances for Triple-A Tacoma, then was brought up by the Mariners and designated for assignment two days later without playing in a game. He refused an outright assignment, signed back with the Tigers and made five appearances at Triple-A Toledo. Released by the Mud Hens, he signed with Scranton on Aug. 30 and had a 2.25 ERA in 10 games for the RailRiders.

Boone said reliever Clay Holmes will not go on the IL after receiving a cortisone injection for inflammation in his right rotator cuff. If the Yankees had put Holmes on the IL, he would not be available for the Division Series.

After playing his first game since Sept. 4 and going 0 for 3, DJ LeMahieu said his injured right second toe felt fine. He is in a 2-for-41 slide.

“It felt good to play again,” LeMahieu said. “I felt like a baseball player.”

Matt Carpenter, sidelined since breaking his left toot on Aug. 8, ran on the field and will be among players reporting to training camp for Double-A Somerset, where there will be eight or nine pitchers. Boone anticipates Carpenter being available for the postseason as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter.

Right-hander Frankie Montas, sidelined since Sept. 16 by inflammation in his pitching shoulder, has resumed throwing.

“I don’t know about the Division Series,” Boone said, “more likely beyond.”