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Kyle Crick injured in clubhouse fight with Felipe Vázquez

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Pirates relievers Kyle Crick and Felipe Vázquez were involved in a clubhouse altercation prior to Monday night’s game against the Giants. In a statement released on Tuesday, the Pirates announced that Crick suffered an injury to the index finger on his pitching hand and underwent extensor tendon repair surgery. He is expected to be healthy ahead of spring training next year. Both Crick and Vázquez have been issued undisclosed fines by the team.

GM Neal Huntington said, “The behavior exhibited by these two players last night is unacceptable, inconsistent with the standards expected of a Major League player and will not be tolerated by the organization.”

Last month, The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel published a report on the Pirates, detailing yearlong clubhouse turmoil, including a fight in July between coaches, Crick, and teammate and fellow reliever Keone Kela. The two hurlers were suspended, but the Pirates were mum on the details at the time. Add another fight to the list.

The Pirates entered Tuesday’s action in the NL Central cellar at 63-81. It’s been a long, disappointing, frustrating season. It is the kind of season that might cost manager Clint Hurdle and his coaching staff their jobs. Huntington may also be on the hot seat.

Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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