MLB investigating the Dodgers over alleged discrimination against a war veteran

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Jeff Passan reports that Major League Baseball is investigating allegations that the Los Angeles Dodgers discriminated against Nick Francona, a former baseball operations employee and son of Indians manager Terry Francona, for seeking assistance from a veterans organization which helps with PTSD, traumatic brain injury and other ailments. Francona is a combat veteran, having served with the Marines in Afghanistan.

Francona was the Dodgers assistant director of player development, reporting to Gabe Kapler. He claims he received exemplary employee evaluations in his first year on the job and, in December 2015, was offered a contract extension. Soon after that, at the prompting of his mother, he reached out to Home Base, a Boston-area organization dedicated to helping veterans dealing with PTSD and TBI. Francona says his reason for reaching out was due to concussions he suffered in combat. Home Base is partnered with the Boston Red Sox and is one of many veterans organizations which Major League Baseball helps support.

While Kapler expressed support, Francona says that, in practice, his seeking treatment led to discrimination. Specifically, he claims that Kapler insisted that Francona take a leave of absence, despite him not requesting one and despite Francona telling Kapler that such a thing would create a stigma and would actually be counterproductive to his treatment. Francona said Kapler insisted, however, and it led to increasing acrimony. Francona was eventually removed from his position and was offered a role at the same salary in a different department. Francona declined the job, believing it was a demotion. Soon after he was asked to resign or be fired. He was terminated in April of 2016.

Francona has not sued the Dodgers and has, instead, tried to resolve the matter internally, in negotiations with the Dodgers and, now, MLB’s Department of Investigations. Despite this, the Dodgers have offered him money to settle the dispute. As Passan notes, MLB’s investigation is proceeding and could take a week or two.

Updates as warranted.

Alvarez’s bases-clearing double sends Astros past White Sox

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON – Yordan Alvarez hit a go-ahead three-run double in the seventh inning, and the Houston Astros rallied past the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Friday night for their first win of the season.

Kyle Tucker hit a two-run homer in the sixth and made a spectacular catch at the wall in the seventh to rob Andrew Benintendi of extra bases and keep the World Series champion Astros within one run.

Eloy Jimenez hit two RBI doubles for the White Sox, both off Astros starter Cristian Javier.

Jimenez’s first double scored Tim Anderson in the first inning. In the sixth, Javier gave up three straight doubles to Benintendi, Jimenez and Joan Moncada to make it 3-0 and end his night.

White Sox reliever Kendall Graveman (0-1) loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh on two walks and a single. Jake Diekman came on and gave up Alvarez’s double to deep left-center, a drive that just eluded Luis Robert Jr. and bounced off the wall, clearing the bases.

Four Astros relievers each worked one scoreless inning. Seth Martinez (1-0) got the win and Rafael Montero handled the ninth for his first save.

Chicago starter Lance Lynn allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

ALL IN A DAY’S REST

White Sox INF Andrew Vaughn, who hit a go-ahead two-run double in Thursday’s season-opening win, did not play. Vaughn experienced lower back issues during spring training. Gavin Sheets started at first base.

HOMETOWN HIT

Astros outfielder Corey Yulks, a Houston-area native, singled in his first at-bat and finished 1-for-4 in his major league debut.

PUT A RING ON IT

Astros owner Jim Crane and his wife, Whitney, presented the team and staff with their 2022 World Series rings in a pregame ceremony.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: LHP Blake Taylor, who is on the 15-day injured list with a left elbow strain, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sugar Land.

UP NEXT

The four-game season-opening series continues Saturday when Houston’s Jose Urquidy faces Chicago’s Lucas Giolito.