Nick Markakis is opting back in
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Nick Markakis is opting back in to the 2020 season

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I expected more players to opt out this week. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear that Nick Markakis is opting back in.

David O’Brien of The Athletic reports that Markakis is rejoining the Braves, three weeks after he opted out. In so doing he becomes the first of the 14 major-league players who have so far opted-out to change his mind. “Markakis felt as if he had let the team down, particularly as he watched the Braves on TV during their opening 2-3 road trip,” O’Brien writes.

That contrasts with his comments back on July 6, when he opted out. In announcing his decision then Markakis said, “with everything that’s going on not just in baseball but in the world, it makes you open your eyes. I’ve got three kids that I’ve missed for 11 years now.” It was also reported at the time that the fact that teammate Freddie Freeman fell ill with COVID-19 shook Markakis. Freeman has since recovered and is playing. No doubt that has impacted his decision as well.

Markakis, a 14-year big league veteran who turned 36 this past offseason, hit .285/.356/.420 with nine homers and 62 RBI over 116 games in 2019. He’s under contract for $4 million in 2020, which was to be prorated to 60 games. Which now, I suppose, it’ll be further prorated.

Either way, Nick Markakis is opting back in. What a week this has been.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.