Hunter Greene, Reds agree to 6-year, $53 million contract

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CINCINNATI — A little over a year after his big league debut, hard-throwing right-hander Hunter Greene reached a long-term deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’m fired up,” the pitcher said, a day after the team announced a six-year, $53 million contract. “I want to be in the forefront to returning to winning in Cincinnati. We have a lot of great players here and coming through the system.”

Greene had agreed last month to a one-year contract paying $730,000 while in the major leagues and $350,000 in the minors. His new superseding deal includes a $2 million signing bonus payable within 60 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office and salaries of $1 million this year, $3 million in 2024, $6 million in 2025, $8 million in 2026, $15 million in 2027 and $16 million in 2028.

Cincinnati has a $21 million option for 2029 with a $2 million buyout,

“He’s a talented player, but he’s just as great off the field as well,” said general manager Nick Krall, who attended a news conference with manager David Bell, Greene’s parents and Reds teammates.“We want players who make commitments off the field.”

Greene’s 2028 salary can escalate by up to $11 million and the 2029 option by up to $13.2 million based on from this year going forward: $200,000 for each All-Star election or selection, $2 million for any Cy Young Award, $1 million for second or third in the voting, $750,000 for fourth or fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

“Hunter is a talented young pitcher,” Bell said. “He’s accomplished a lot, but he has a long way to go.”

Greene would get award bonses or $250,000 for each Cy Young or MVP, $150,000 for second or third in the voting and $100,000 for fourth or fifth. Greene also would get $100,000 for each for All-Star election or selection, winning a Gold Glove or earning World Series or League Championship Series MVP.

“The commitment we made to Hunter reflects his commitment to this organization and to our community,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. “He is part of the foundation of young players who will continue to help us build a successful major league team.”

Greene, 23, became the first Reds pitcher age 25 or younger to start on opening day since 1980.

Greene started and left after three innings after being struck on the right leg by a comebacker. X-rays were negative, and he is expected to make his next start.

Greene has struck out 188 while allowing 124 hits in 142 2/3 major league innings. Last season, he became the only major league rookie since 1900 to have at least three appearances in which he threw six or more innings and had eight or more strikeouts.

The Reds selected Greene with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft.

MLB, WNBA postpone games due to smoke from Canadian wildfires

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NEW YORK — With the stench of smoke permeating Yankee Stadium and wafting through its walkways, Major League Baseball postponed games in New York and Philadelphia on Wednesday night because of poor air quality caused by Canadian wildfires.

A National Women’s Soccer League game in New Jersey and an indoor WNBA game set for Brooklyn were also called off Wednesday amid hazy conditions that have raised alarms from health authorities.

The New York Yankees’ game against the Chicago White Sox was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, and the Philadelphia Phillies’ game against the Detroit Tigers was reset for 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, originally a day off for both teams.

“These postponements were determined following conversations throughout the day with medical and weather experts and all of the impacted clubs regarding clearly hazardous air quality conditions in both cities,” MLB said in a statement.

The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for New York City, saying: “the New York State Department of Health recommends that individuals consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects.” In Philadelphia, the NWS issued a Code Red.

The Yankees and White Sox played through a lesser haze on Tuesday night. A day later, stadium workers and fans arriving early to the ballpark wore face masks for protection in a scene reminiscent of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was business as usual for me coming in. I got in around 12, 12:30, and didn’t really think too much of it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I actually walked outside about 2 o’clock and was like – like everyone else, like – whoa.”

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol thought MLB made the right decision postponing the game.

“These are health issues, right? So this has got to be it. We’ve been through everything – snow, rain, hail. I don’t think I’ve been through something like this,” he said. “Today at one point, it was pretty bad out there. We walked out of the dugout and it was kind of orange. They did the right thing. They got all the information.

“I’m assuming if Major League Baseball is comfortable setting up a doubleheader tomorrow, they have some type of information that it should be better than what it is today, or at least safe.”

In Philadelphia, the Phillies beat the Tigers 1-0 on Tuesday night in a game played in hazy conditions with the smell of smoke in the air. Afterward, manager Rob Thomson and his Phillies players said the conditions didn’t affect them.

About a half-hour before Wednesday’s postponement, Thomson said he thought the game would be played. But the Philadelphia skyline could not be seen from the ballpark in the afternoon, and the smoky smell remained.

Minor league teams nearby also changed plans. The Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania, and the Mets’ top farm club in Syracuse, New York, postponed their games for the second consecutive night.

The Mets’ High-A affiliate in Brooklyn completed a game Wednesday against Greenville that began at 11 a.m.

The WNBA called off a game between the Minnesota Lynx and New York Liberty, saying the decision was made to “protect the health and safety of our fans, teams and community.” A makeup date wasn’t immediately announced.

Even inside Barclays Center at the morning shootaround, reporters could smell smoke in the arena.

The NWSL postponed Orlando’s match at Gotham in Harrison, New Jersey, from Wednesday night to Aug. 9.

“The match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index,” the NWSL said.

At nearby Belmont Park, the New York Racing Association said training went on as planned Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s Triple Crown horse race. However, NYRA canceled training Thursday morning at Belmont and Saratoga Race Course upstate “due to poor air quality conditions forecast to impact New York State overnight and into Thursday morning.”

NYRA said a decision about Thursday’s live racing program, scheduled to begin at 3:05 p.m., will be made Thursday morning “following a review of the air quality conditions and forecast.”

“NYRA utilizes external weather services and advanced on-site equipment to monitor weather conditions and air quality in and around Belmont Park,” spokesman Patrick McKenna said Wednesday. “Training was conducted normally today, and NYRA will continue to assess the overall environment to ensure the safety of training and racing throughout the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.”

New York’s NFL teams, the Giants and Jets, both had Wednesday off from offseason workouts. The Giants had been planning to practice inside Thursday, and the Jets said they are also likely to work out indoors Thursday.

Youth sports in the area were also affected, with parents quick to voice concern about their children’s safety outdoors.

In a statement Wednesday, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said schools should understand that all schedules were subject to change.

“NJSIAA is closely monitoring air quality data across New Jersey and local/state health advisories. As start times for athletic events draw near, we will make decisions for each venue and sport based on currently available information,” the organization said.

It’s not the first time in recent years that wildfires forced changes to the MLB schedule. A two-game series in Seattle between the Mariners and Giants was moved to San Francisco in September 2020 because of poor air quality caused by West Coast wildfires.

About an hour after Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium was postponed, two fans visiting on vacation from Vancouver, British Columbia, were still lingering outside the ballpark.

“It’s just circumstances. What do I say? It makes me disappointed because this is one of the highlights of the trip,” said Malcolm, who was in town with his daughter and didn’t want to give his last name.

“I have a heart condition. That’s the only reason I’m wearing two masks and whatever. And my personal thought is that, why wasn’t it canceled two days ago? Because we knew about all this two days ago. But having said that, I don’t want the players running around and putting out in this, too. It can’t be good for them.”