Lindor, Mets talk about new deal; Rosario struggles in CF

© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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Just over two weeks before opening day, Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets have begun talking about keeping him in town beyond this season.

The newly acquired All-Star shortstop and the team have started discussing a long-term contract, he said Tuesday.

“I will not renegotiate during the season,” Lindor said after hitting his first home run this spring, connecting against Houston’s Jairo Solis during the Mets’ 8-3 win.

“I will go to free agency. If something carries on during the season, it’s not fair for me. It’s not fair for the team. I’ve got to give everything I’ve got into winning baseball games. So if it doesn’t happen in spring training, I’ll go to free agency. We’ll talk in November, December, whenever free agency starts,” he said.

As for now?

“Nothing serious,” Lindor said. “We’re just talking.”

The Mets obtained Lindor from Cleveland in January, and he’s signed for this season at $22.3 million.

The 27-year-old Lindor was an All-Star for four straight seasons before 2020, when there was no Midsummer Classic before of the coronavirus pandemic.

New York opens the season April 1 at Washington.

One of the players Cleveland got for Lindor, shortstop Amed Rosario, had a rough day in his debut at a new spot.

Playing center field for the first time, Rosario made three errors – two drops, one wild throw – in a game against the Los Angeles Angels. Rosario’s four years in the majors include just one game in the outfield, and that was only for three innings in left.

The Indians, with enough infield talent, are hoping to take advantage of Rosario’s athleticism. Rosario got two hits but as manager Terry Francona said earlier in the week, they’ve got to patient in seeing if the newcomer can play center field.

Shohei Ohtani hit his third home run in two days for the Angels and fourth of the spring, launching a shot that cleared the batter’s eye in center field off AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber.

Bieber allowed nine runs, but only one earned after the errors by Rosario.

“I talked to him after the third inning, once I was done. I told him, `Listen, man, this stuff’s hard. Don’t get down on yourself. Keep your head up,”‘ Bieber said.

ANGELS 17, INDIANS 8

Griffin Canning recorded five strikeouts over four innings in the start for the Angels, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Canning now has 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Albert Pujols doubled and singled.

Indians made five errors and permitted 17 unearned runs.

METS 8, ASTROS 3

Mets ace Jacob deGrom allowed his first run in three spring training starts, a wind-blown homer by Jeremy Pena. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has permitted three hits in 8 2/3 innings with 16 strikeouts and a walk.

Pete Alonso hit his third homer and Dominic Smith also connected. Jeff McNeil had an RBI double to end a 1-for-21 slump.

Houston star Alex Bregman played his first game this spring after recovering from a hamstring issue. He struck out his first time up, was robbed of a two-run homer by center fielder Brandon Nimmo and finished 0 for 3.

BREWERS 7, DODGERS 2

Los Angeles aces Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer both pitched, with mixed results.

Kershaw started and gave up home runs to the first two batters he faced, Kolten Wong and Luis Urias. The left-hander allowed five runs and eight hits over four innings.

Bauer took over and struck out seven over the final five innings, giving up two runs on three hits, two of them homers.

Josh Lindblom worked 3 2/3 shutout innings in the start for Milwaukee, striking out four and walking three. Josh Hader allowed a hit and struck out two in an inning of relief. Luke Maile and Billy McKinney also homered.

WHITE SOX 4, PADRES 3

Carlos Rodon worked three one-hit innings in the start for the White Sox, striking out four. Reynaldo Lopez went three innings in relief, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Nick Madrigal played in his second Cactus League game after having his left shoulder repaired surgically in the offseason and went 0 for 3.

Joe Musgrove struck out four over his four-inning start, allowing three hits, a pair of walks and a run on a wild pitch. Mark Melancon gave up one hit in his inning of relief.

DIAMONDBACKS 12, ATHLETICS 3

Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner gave up home runs to Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder in four innings. Ketel Marte and Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the Diamondbacks.

Lowrie got his first hit of the spring. He’s made just eight plate appearances over the last two years while suffering two significant knee injuries

Jesus Luzardo allowed six runs on five hits and a walk in 2 1/3 innings for Oakland.

YANKEES 7, TIGERS 4

Gerrit Cole made his third start for New York, yielding two runs on three hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five. Clint Frazier had three hits, including a home run. Gio Urshela had two hits and Mike Tauchman homered.

Michael Fulmer struggled for the third straight start. He surrendered three runs on four hits and three walks, throwing 63 pitches to get through two innings. Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera is batting .182 after going hitless in three trips.

BLUE JAYS 14, PHILLIES 5

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 4 for 4 with two doubles and a triple, scoring three times for Toronto. Marcus Semien, who homered, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Cavan Biggio and Randal Grichuk all had two hits. Tanner Roark allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.

The Blue Jays picked up the option for manager Charlie Montoyo’s contract for 2022. After going 67-95 in his first season, Toronto went 32-28 last year and made the expanded playoff field.

Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola was knocked around for the third straight time, giving up six runs on seven hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Nola has given up 15 hits in 8 2/3 innings, seeing his ERA rise to 10.38. Jean Segura had a two-run single and Andrew McCutchen hit his third double.

RED SOX 5, BRAVES 3

Michael Chavis had an RBI double and Christian Vazquez doubled and walked for Boston. Tanner Houck started and allowed three runs on three hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings.

Marcell Ozuna hit his first home run for Atlanta. Kyle Wright made his fourth start, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.

RAYS 7, ORIOLES 1 (7)

Felix Hernandez made his second start for Baltimore and pitched a scoreless innings before exiting because of discomfort in his right elbow. The 34-year-old former AL Cy Young Award winner opted out of playing last season because of coronavirus concerns.

Mike Zunino homered, Mike Brosseau had a two-run double and Manuel Margot and Yandy Diaz had RBI singles in a seven-run second inning. Tyler Yarbrough made his second start, allowing three hits in 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

PIRATES 4, TWINS 2

Chad Kuhl yielded two hits in three scoreless innings for Pittsburgh, striking out four. Colin Moran doubled in a run and Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker had RBI singles.

Jose Berrios allowed one run in each of the four innings he pitched in his third start for Minnesota, surrendering eight hits and a walk. Josh Donaldson had two hits. Leadoff man Max Kepler went 0 for 3 and is batting .087.

MARLINS 4, NATIONALS 3

Miami newcomer Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer and Joe Dunand, nephew of Alex Rodriguez, also connected off Washington starter Patrick Corbin, who gave up four runs and four hits with four walks in 3 2/3 innings.

Miami lefty Trevor Rogers whiffed five in four innings, allowing one run and four hits.

Victor Robles and Josh Bell homered for the Nationals, and Kyle Schwarber had an RBI double. Daniel Hudson struck out three in a hitless inning.

MARINERS 13, ROYALS 0

Justus Sheffield had an impressive outing for Seattle, pitching four innings of two-hit ball with six strikeouts. Touted prospect Julio Rodriguez homered, and the Mariners got two-run shots from Ty France and Tom Murphy. Sam Haggerty had three hits, including an RBI triple and a run-scoring double.

Kansas City starter Brad Keller was knocked around for six runs (five earned) and six hits in three innings. He walked three. Veteran right-hander Brad Brach followed and was hammered for five runs and six hits, including two homers, while getting only one out.

RANGERS 10, GIANTS 6

Nick Solak hit a grand slam, David Dahl had three hits and two RBIs, and Joey Gallo had two hits, two RBIs and two walks for Texas. The Rangers pounded Giants starter Johnny Cueto for six runs in 2 1/3 innings, raising the 35-year-old’s spring ERA to 9.82.

Evan Longoria homered twice and Brandon Crawford also connected for San Francisco.

ROCKIES 11, REDS 7

Ryan McMahon had two hits and three RBIs, and Connor Joe and Yonathan Daza homered for Colorado, with Daza collecting four hits. The Rockies beat up on a few veteran pitchers, scoring four runs in three innings against Reds starter Wade Miley and getting three more in the fifth off Sean Doolittle. Tyler Naquin and Alex Blandino homered for Cincinnati.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.