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Bruce Bochy says Max Muncy is ‘poking the bear’ with t-shirt

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Earlier this month, Max Muncy hit a home run off of Madison Bumgarner that landed on the fly into McCovey Cove, a relatively rare feat, especially from opposing hitters. Bumgarner wasn’t happy that Muncy was admiring his homer as it soared in the air, so he yelled at Muncy to put his head down and run the bases. Muncy barked back at him. After the game, Muncy said, “I told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean.”

And lo, a catchphrase was born. T-shirts were immediately made and those shirts have found their way into the Dodgers’ clubhouse. Muncy worse a “Go Get It Out Of The Ocean” t-shirt during batting practice ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Giants in L.A., which will feature Bumgarner starting.

According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, manager Bruce Bochy said of the shirt, “That’s poking the bear. You poke the bear enough and you can’t be upset if he bites back.” Bochy added, “they want to let kids play, but he’s fiery. I’ll miss that as much as anything, the way this man plays.”

It’s one thing to bark back at a player, but Bumgarner has a long history of stepping over the line. He has, on many occasions, thrown at hitters, escalating things into a benches-clearing confrontation. Bochy is certainly fair to say, “You poke the bear enough and you can’t be upset if he bites back.” However, if “bite” is a euphemism for intentionally throwing a 95 MPH fastball at a player, then that’s taking it too far. Rivalries and smack-talk are fun; injuries are not fun.

Zack Wheeler headed to IL due to shoulder fatigue

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Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler will be placed on the 10-day injured list due to fatigue in his right shoulder, Newsday’s Tim Healey reports. The roster move is retroactive to July 12. Steven Matz will open up a two-game series in Minnesota, starting in Wheeler’s place on Tuesday.

As Healey notes, the soonest Wheeler can return is July 23, which would give him at most two starts ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Wheeler has frequently been brought up in trade conversations as he can become a free agent after the season and the 42-51 Mets have been freefalling.

Wheeler, 29, owns a 4.69 ERA with 130 strikeouts and 34 walks across 119 innings of work this season.