Jose Abreu testifies he ate his fake passport on the way to the U.S.

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The Associated Press is reporting that White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu testified to a Miami federal jury on Wednesday that he ate his fake passport aboard an Air France flight from Haiti to Miami. He washed the paper down with beer. When Abreu arrived in late October 2013, he signed a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox.

Abreu said, “If I had not been there on that particular day, the deadline, then the contract would not be executed and would no longer be valid. We had to be in Chicago to sign the contract.”

Abreu testified in the trial of sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, which is expected to last a few more weeks. Both are accused of alien smuggling and conspiracy. According to the allegations, the duo took Cuban baseball players to other countries to eventually sign a contract in Major League Baseball after establishing residency. Abreu’s testimony came under a grant of limited immunity, which means he won’t be prosecuted as long as he tells the truth while he’s on the witness stand.

Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin are among other players to testify in this trial.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?