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Angels place Albert Pujols on 10-day disabled list with knee inflammation

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Just one day after tying Ken Griffey, Jr. on the all-time home run list, Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols has landed on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his left knee. It’s not clear exactly when the injury developed or how long Pujols will be sidelined, though it seems likely that he’ll rejoin the team soon after the All-Star break next week.

The 38-year-old hitter hasn’t paid a visit to the disabled list since 2013. He’s currently batting at a clip of .251/.291/.432 with 16 home runs and a .723 OPS through his first 268 plate appearances. As the Angels are currently slated to face the Dodgers during their last pre- All-Star Break series, they’ll be able to spare their DH for a few days while they keep an eye on his condition.

In corresponding moves, the team optioned outfielder Michael Hermosillo to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled fellow outfielder Jabari Blash and first baseman Jose Fernandez. While Blash didn’t make much of his major league call-up earlier this season, his Triple-A numbers are impressive: a .327/.438/.755 batting line, 23 home runs, and a 1.193 OPS in 249 PA. Fernandez, likewise, left behind a .333 average and 11 homers in Salt Lake, and will try to replicate those numbers as he plays backup to Jefry Marte at first base.

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?