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Carl Edwards Jr. admits to throwing at Austin Nola on purpose

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Cubs sluggers Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras were both hit by pitches during Tuesday afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Mariners. Bryant was hit by Nabil Crismatt in the bottom of the third inning and Contreras was hit by Wyatt Mills in the fifth.

Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. got the final out of the top of the fifth and came back out for the start of the sixth inning. He allowed a leadoff home run to Kyle Lewis, then got Tim Lopes to fly out, bringing up Austin Nola. Edwards hit Nola with a pitch and was promptly taken out of the game.

On Wednesday, Edwards admitted to defending his teammates by hitting Nola with a pitch. Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Edwards said, “Yeah, I did. It’s just, honestly, it’s like the nature of the game — spring training or not. It’s just you get to a point where you’re kind of tired of the guys getting hit. I mean, those are our big guys. That’s 25-man roster. Those are guys that are going to help us win championships, help us win ballgames. And, you know, all due respect, but it’s the nature of the game. And it just gets to a point where you just get tired, you know? Yes, it was Willy and a couple innings before it was KB.”

No other batters were hit in Tuesday’s game. Pitchers don’t often admit to intentionally throwing at batters because it easily turns into a fine and a suspension. We’ll have to see if Major League Baseball takes Edwards’ actions and admission seriously or looks the other way because it was just a spring training game.

The Mariners and Cubs, by the way, meet up in the regular season April 30 and May 1 in Seattle.

Brad Ausmus interviewing for Astros manager job

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I did the Handsome Managers list in December. Thought I had moved on. Thought I’d never have to think about him again. But here is, walking right back in my door: Brad Ausmus is interviewing for the vacant Astros manager job. So reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Ausmus played for the Astros longer than he played for any other team in the bigs, notching ten years of service in two stints and playing on the 2005 NL Pennant-winning club. As a manager, you know, that he led the Tigers for four seasons and was the Angels’ skipper last year.

Houston has already interviewed Dusty Baker for the job. They’ll presumably want someone in place before spring training begins in a few weeks.