Rob Manfred
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Sounds like MLB is blaming lobbyists for Hyde-Smith donation

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As I mentioned in the earlier post today, what vexes me most about this whole Cindy Hyde-Smith donation fiasco is MLB’s poor response to it. The explanations for the donation have been piecemeal and less-than-explanatory thus far. My sense is that it’s because, as of this morning, MLB didn’t really have a satisfactory person to blame and no easy way to say, with its usual sort of comment, that it was sorry, etc. etc. I mean, when a donation is made from the “Commissioners Office PAC,” the world of people who could’ve bungled it is . . . small and important.

Commissioner Rob Manfred just took a step in the direction of placing blame, however. He’s blaming MLB’s lobbyists. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic was at an appearance Manfred made in New York a few minutes ago and passes on his comments:

MLB has had its own lobbying outfit in D.C. for over two years. It also retains the law firm BakerHostetler in Washington to serve as its PAC treasurer and, it would appear, to handle some lobbying duties as well (the in-house lobbyist for MLB is a former BakerHostetler attorney too).

It’s quite plausible, I will note, that the lobbyists were acting on their own and that Manfred did not know about the donation or appreciate the significance of it until after the firestorm hit. Which may absolve him of the specific donation in this case, but which says less-than-flattering things about how Major League Baseball approaches its political operations and the amount of oversight it exercises. I mean, if you’re going to “always *always* embrace” a certain set of political values, you had best make sure you’re embracing them in ways that matter.

For what it’s worth, I have reached out to both Major League Baseball and to BakerHostetler with some specific questions about all of this. We’ll see what answers we get. At the very least, I expect MLB to issues a more thorough statement today.

Rays place Austin Meadows on 10-day injured list with thumb sprain

Austin Meadows
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Rays outfielder Austin Meadows has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, per a team announcement Sunday. No concrete timetable has been given for his return to the lineup just yet, but he’s scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Sunday as the Rays try to determine the extent of his injury.

Meadows, 23, suffered the sprain in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. He lined a two-run triple into the right-center field gap — one of a franchise-record four triples that the Rays recorded in the game — but slid awkwardly into third base and jammed his right thumb in the process. He didn’t appear to be in obvious pain following the hit, however, nor was he removed from the game at the time.

Prior to the setback, Meadows carried a hefty .351/.422/.676 batting line with six homers, 19 RBI, and a 1.097 OPS through his first 83 plate appearances of 2019. He was replaced by Guillermo Heredia in right field for Sunday’s series finale and will likely lose a few starts to Avisaíl García as well.

In a series of corresponding moves, right-handed reliever Jake Faria was optioned to Triple-A Durham, infielder/outfielder Andrew Velazquez and righty reliever Emilio Pagán were recalled from Triple-A, and reliever Hunter Wood was placed on the paternity list. Second baseman Joey Wendle was also reinstated from the 10-day injured list after rehabbing a left hamstring strain and is scheduled take over the keystone during the Rays’ matinee against the Red Sox on Sunday.