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  • John Gibbons, the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, had a strange and unfortunate way of complimenting two of his rookie pitchers, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, on Thursday afternoon. Stroman had just combined with two relievers on a one-hit shutout against the Boston Red Sox. The night before, Sanchez — reputed to be Toronto's top prospect — made his major league debut with two shutout innings against Boston.

    The future is so bright, Gibbons couldn't help but say:

    The Toronto Sun quoted Gibbons slightly differently:

    “They’re both young, they’re both classy guys,” manager John Gibbons offered. “They’ll be good faces for the organization, guys you can look up to that are respectable, that kind of guy. They’re not a couple of thugs we’re going to run out there. Where their future ends up, who knows, but I’d be excited about ’em.”

    There's that word again: thugs. The best thing Gibbons can say about Stroman and Sanchez is that they're not "thugs." Gibbons was trying to pay a compliment, trying to be nice. But is it ever a compliment to refer to someone as "not a thug"? What is Gibbons thinking? Who are the thugs? Have the Jays had a thug problem?

    Stroman has black skin. Sanchez has a Latino last name. Gibbons has neither. Does he think that some might see Stroman and Sanchez and worry, because of their respective ethnicities, that they might be thuggish?

    During football season, "thug" came up often when media and fans would refer to Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks. Sherman, who is black, didn't like what he was inferring in the racially and socially coded language:

    "The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it's the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays. Because they know.

    "I know some 'thugs,' and they know I'm the furthest thing from a thug. I've fought that my whole life, just coming from where I'm coming from. Just because you hear Compton, you hear Watts, you hear cities like that, you just think 'thug, he's a gangster, he's this, that, and the other,' and then you hear Stanford, and they're like, 'oh man, that doesn't even make sense, that's an oxymoron.' "You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it's frustrating."

    Thugs can come in any race or ethnicity, but certain races and ethnicities get lumped in with the thugs more often than others. Gibbons might not have meant anything harmful by saying Stroman and Sanchez weren't thugs but, by using that word, he's done the opposite.

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    David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

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  • Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards has been one of the breakout pitchers of the 2014 season, but as his matchup Thursday night against Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers showed us, there's a reason Scherzer is the reigning Cy Young winner and every pitcher in the AL is trying to dethrone him.

    Scherzer bested Richards in a pitcher's duel between two of the AL's top teams. The Tigers beat the Angels 6-4, as Scherzer struck out 11 batters in seven innings. He allowed six hits and three runs, but when you're back by the Tigers offense, that's often OK. His record improved to 12-3.

    Richards wasn't bad, but he wasn't as good as he has been this season. He gave up seven hits and four runs, as his record fell to 11-3. Richards hadn't given up four runs in a start since May.

    Scherzer definitely knew he needed to step up with Richards on the mound:

    ''Richards is a great pitcher and he's been having an awesome year, so you know you have to bring your 'A' game,'' Scherzer said. ''I felt good with everything tonight and had all four pitches going. I hadn't been getting the swings and misses I had been searching for with that pitch, so I made a little adjustment with my grip. Tonight I felt like I had a lot more consistency with it and a lot more downward action.'' 

    The last time Matt Garza pitched, he gave up five runs and only got one out before the Milwaukee Brewers went to their bullpen. His performance Thursday will help to average that out a bit. Garza rebounded in fantastic fashion, holding the New York Mets to two hits and one run in eight innings of work. The Brewers gave Garza plenty of offensive support and won the game 9-1.

    What started as a pitcher's duel ended up as a walk-off win for the Kansas City Royals in 14 innings. Nori Aoki's RBI single gave the Royals the 2-1 win, which seemed like a slim possibiility earlier in the night when Indians starter Corey Kluber took a perfect game into the seventh inning.

    Omar Infante busted up the perfect game with one out in the sixth, but the Indians hadn't had much success themselves against Royals starter Danny Duffy. Duffy didn't give up a run in seven innings, striking out nine and allowing two hits. Kluber, meanwhile, pitched nine innings and struck out 10, but he gets a regular ol' no-decision for his outstanding effort. The only run the Indians could muster came in the ninth inning when Yan Gomes drove in Carlos Santana to tie the game. 

    There's not too much for the San Diego Padres to be excited about these days, but an offensive outburst and another good start from Tyson Ross made for a good day. Ross struck out a career-high 11 batters to improve to 9-10, while the Padres offensive exploded in a 13-3 win against the Chicago Cubs.

    Ross has had a great July, sporting an ERA of 1.03 in five starts.

    For the rest of Thursday's results, check out our scoreboard.

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    Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

  • To be fair, outfielder Ryan Raburn of the Cleveland Indians made a terrific attempt on a fly ball to left hit by Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night. What happened after Raburn's dive was cruelly unfair.

    Raburn dived in fair territory and, though he couldn't come up with the catch, kept the ball in front of him and appeared to contain Moustakas to a double. But, as you can see from the Vine above recorded by @MonteTheColorMan, Raburn's throw was a disaster, spiked into the ground about a body lenghth away on the warning track. It rolled into left field — where nobody else on the Indians was.

    Alertly, Moustakas started running again and the Tribe was helpless to do anything about it. Score it a double and an error on Raburn. The brief shot of Indians right-hander Corey Kluber standing there, expressionless, was a perfect addition to the moment's composition. Kluber had taken a perfect game into the seventh, but had gotten no offensive support. And then this happened to break a scoreless tie.

    Here's another angle:

    From here, it almost appeared that Raburn caught the back of his hand on the fence, but the spike was all him. Instinct told Raburn to rush the ball back into the infield, but throwing toward second base — where Moustakas already had advanced — made no sense. So he tried to stop.

    From the Associated Press:

    Raburn was miffed about how the play unfolded.

    ''It was a freak play,'' he said. ''I was trying to hold up. I saw our infielders going toward third, and I tried to hold up. I couldn't and of course the ball rolls halfway to center field.''

    It's also reasonable that Indians center fielder Michael Brantley should have come over to back up Raburn on the play, especially given the known treachery of playing the corners at Kauffman Stadium. But Raburn was on his own.

    The Indians tied the score with two outs in the ninth but Kansas City came back to win 2-1 in 14 innings.

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    David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

    Follow @AnswerDave

  • Look at what Brandon Phillips has started!

    Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel responded to a heckling fan in Oakland not with his mouth, but with a baseball. Keuchel tossed this to the heckler:

    Well played, Dallas, well played. 

    Phillips, the Cincinnati Reds second baseman, gave a signed ball to a drunken heckler in Pittsburgh last month, telling him to "shut up." Keuchel's ball probably isn't as cool as Phillips' (there's no signature), but it's still a clever retort that's turned into a cool piece of memorabilia. 

    The trouble with these types of keepsakes, though, is when the owner shows it off, he has to admit that he was being a butthead toward a baseball player. 

    Kuechel, in case you're wondering, is making $508,000 this season, a smidge above the MLB minimum. That works out to $3,135 per game.

    BLS H/N: Hardball Talk

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    Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

  • Mark Reynolds was doing an interview for MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" on Thursday when someone in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume appeared behind him and started dancing.

    Leonardo the Videobomber, eh?

    The guy in the Ninja Turtle costume eventually revealed himself. It was All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez. While showing up in a teammate's nationally televised interview is amusing, the costume actually had a better purpose.

    Gomez told Tom Haurdicourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

    “That cartoon is my son’s favorite,” said Gomez, referring to 4-year-old Yandel. “He’s crazy about it. I ordered (the costume) and I will go home tonight dressed like a Ninja Turtle. I ordered it online like 20 days ago. That thing came from China."

    Now there's a pretty cool dad. And it would be cool whether Gomez were a pro baseball player or a plumber. As it turned out, there was just one complication.

    Gomez's wife showed their son a picture of the costume, but didn't tell him who was inside. The youngster responded by saying he'd rather meet a different Ninja Turtle — Donatello.

    Kids, man. So hard to please.

    ALSO: On a related Ninja Turtles-meets-baseball note, you might remember that we told you that the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies were wearing Ninja Turtles theme jerseys this season. That's happening Aug. 2. Here's a look.

    That's a pretty cool giveaway. Someone should send one to Carlos Gomez's kid.

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    Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

  • The Stew's Trade Talk Tracker follows the juiciest rumors in MLB until the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. We'll give you the day's most important links about who may (or may not) be changing teams soon.

    DONE DEAL: The Yankees acquired lefty Chris Capuano from the Rockies. [Yahoo Sports]

    TAKE HIM, PLEASE: The Phillies are working hard to move Ryan Howard, and are even willing to pay "most or much of" his $70 million salary. [CBS Sports]

    ICYMI: The Mariners traded for Kendrys Morales, who they had last year. [Yahoo Sports]

    ALSO: The Mariners are pursuing Drew Stubbs from the Rockies. [@jonmorosi]

    SO IT'S A MAYBE: The Red Sox could consider trading Jon Lester, but only if they think there's no chance to sign him to an extension after the season. [@Ken_Rosenthal]

    MEANWHILE IN ARIZONA: The D-backs want to trade Aaron Hill. Martin Prado, not as much, but they're listening to offers. [CBS Sports]

    DAVID PRICE UPDATE: Jayson Stark ranks the teams most likely to land Price: Dodgers, Mariners, Cardinals, Giants, Blue Jays. [ESPN]

    DONE DEAL: The Royals sent IF/OF Jimmy Paredes to the Orioles for cash. [Yahoo Sports]

    NATIONALLY SPEAKING: The Nats need help at second and in the bullpen. [@Ken_Rosenthal]

    UHHH, NO: It sounds like the Rockies want too much for Jorge De La Rosa. [CBS Sports]

    NOT EVERYONE IS AVAILABLE: The fire-selling Padres are fine keeping Ian Kennedy around, unless they're overwhelmed by an offer. [CBS Sports]

    #DODGERPROBLEMS: L.A. wants relievers, but they're having trouble. [@JimBowdenESPNxm]

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    Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

  • One Bash Brother wants to make amends. The other Bash Brother wants to bash that idea entirely.

    Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, two sluggers baseball history will link forever, aren't any closer to reconciling, despite recent attempts by Canseco. The two of them were the Bash Brothers for the Oakland Athletics in the late '80s, hitting homer after homer and bashing forearms as they crossed home plate. They also became the faces of baseball's steroid era. When Canseco named McGwire as a PED user in his 2005 book "Juiced," their friendship ended. 

    Canseco, high off the nostalgia from last weekend's 25th anniversary reunion of the 1989 A's World Series team, has been trying to apologize to McGwire. But McGwire, now the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is not hearing it. He told ESPN Los Angeles: 

    "It's too late. I don't care to ever speak to him again. What he did was wrong ... I can care less what he does."

    Canseco told reporters at the reunion festivities: 

    "Mark, to me, when I played with him, I looked up to him. I idolized him for a lot of reasons — the guy was on the field, he was off the field. It haunts me till this day that I said those things about him, even though obviously they were true. I could have gone about it a different way and gotten my point across."

    Canseco then sent out a number of tweets aimed at McGwire on Wednesday (name misspelling and all):

    That last idea is soooooo Jose Canseco. Always a spectacle.

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    Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

  • Ex-MLB All-Star Chuck Knoblauch was arrested Wednesday at his home near Houston for allegedly assaulting his wife, Cheri Knoblauch, who once appeared on the reality TV show "Baseball Wives."

    There are obviously graver stakes involved in a case like this, but the upshot in the baseball world is that Knoblauch's former team, the Minnesota Twins, has canceled his scheduled induction into its Hall of Fame on Aug. 23.

    News92FM in Houston reports that Knoblauch — a four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year — is out of jail on $10,000 bond and is due back in court on July 30. The station had more details on the arrest and Knoblauch's other legal troubles:

    When officers arrived, they said Knoblauch appeared to be intoxicated. Police said Knoblauch’s wife told them she was asleep in her child’s room when her husband came in, upset that he wasn’t sleeping in their bed. He allegedly grabbed her by the arm and started smashing her head into a wall. Knoblauch is accused of throwing a humidifier at her before she ran from the room.

    Police said Knoblauch’s wife had a large bruise on her arm, a large scratch on the left side of her face and a visible knot on her forehead. Back in 2009, felony charges were dismissed in an incident in which Knoblauch was accused of choking his then-common-law wife Stacey Stelmach at their Bunker Hill Village home.

    According to court records, he also got a one-year year deferred adjudication and a fine in a 2010 charge of assault on a family member. And it doesn’t end there. He was also charged with interference with public duties after allegedly pushing an officer in March of this year. Knoblauch is due in court on that charge next month.

    The Twins, meanwhile, released the following statement, tinged with disappointment:

    In light of recent news reports surrounding Chuck Knoblauch, as well as direct communication with the former Twins second baseman, the Minnesota Twins have decided to cancel the team’s 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled for August 23 at Target Field. In January of this year, Knoblauch was elected by a 62-member committee consisting of local and national media, club officials, fans and past elected members, using rules similar to those necessary for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

    If his previous legal troubles weren't enough to make Knoblauch get his act together, perhaps a professional shaming will help. Before long, people won't remember him for his All-Star play, but rather his disappointing behavior off the field after his playing days.

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    Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

  • Hope the Seattle Mariners kept Kendrys Morales' jerseys handy. He's on his way back.

    Morales' weird 2014 just got weirder, as he's been traded from the Minnesota Twins back to the Mariners for pitcher Stephen Pryor. So ends Morales' oh-so-memorable 39-game stint with the Twins. He hit .234/.259/.325 in Minnesota with one homer and 18 RBIs after signing there on June 8. Twins fans will remember every single swing, obviously.

    If you haven't followed the odd Kendrys Morales saga the past nine months:

    • He rejected a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Mariners, for whom he played in 2013 and hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs in 2013.

    • Morales didn't immediately sign with another team. He was linked to a number of teams, including the Mariners, but a deal didn't get by spring training, nor by season's start.

    • Ultimately Morales decided to sit out the first two months of the season. Rejecting Seattle's qualifying offer meant that any team that signed him then owed the Mariners a draft pick. Morales' agent Scott Boras believed that limited Morales' market and had his client wait until after the MLB draft to sign, because then there was no draft-pick penalty.

    • The Twins signed him to a one-year, $12 million contract, which was pro-rated down to $7.4 million.

    • Now he's back in Seattle, getting a paycheck from the Mariners again. Seattle's portion reportedly works out to $4.33 million.

    For the Mariners, that's not a bad deal, money-wise. They're paying him $4 million instead of $14 million. They're in contention for the AL Wild Card, so they're getting Morales when they need him most.

    But Seattle is giving up Pryor too, of course — he's a 25-year-old who has pitched in one game this season after a shoulder injury in 2013. He did pitch in 26 games in 2012 and has a career ERA of 2.81 in 32 innings at the big-league level. Yes, it seems odd to trade a player for another player you could have signed as a free agent six weeks ago, but that's MLB in July for you. Everybody's angling to get better.

    If Morales flourishes in Seattle, then things may get weird yet again. He'll be a free agent after this season, of course.

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    Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

  • This interview with Ken Griffey Sr. starts out horrendously; the inquisitors from TMZ ask him about how "baseball has changed — right? — as far as eatin' at the bawlpark," since he was in his prime in the 1970s. What? It has changed, lots, going from hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack in Griffey's day to a $26 taco that's 2 feet long today. But what's that got to do with the price of beans? And why would that be the first question you ask Ken Griffey if you happen upon him? Was he a noted hot dog-swiper?

    About 35 seconds in, whomever has the video camera backs into a topic germane to the Griffey family. Paraphrasing: "What's it like having a son who was a better player than you were?"

    Griffey gave an honest and funny answer:

    "You always want the best for your child. So, if he's better than me, that's fine. Just remember: He got all of the home runs, and I got all of the rings."

    Zing! Awesome. And it's true; Griffey Sr. won a pair of World Series rings with the Cincinnati Reds, in 1975 and 1976. He was an important cog in the Big Red Machine. Individually, he was a very good ballplayer for a very long time — 19 seasons — batting .296 with 200 stolen bases, 152 homers, a .359 on-base percentage and a .790 OPS. Adjusted for the ballparks and his OPS was 118 — above average. But he received only 4.7 percent of the Hall of Fame vote his first season and never reappeared on the ballot.

    Ken Griffey Jr., conversely, is a likely Hall of Famer on the first ballot in 2016 after hitting 630 home runs and all of the rest. But, as dad said, no rings. He made two playoff appearances with the Seattle Mariners and one more with the Chicago White Sox. He posted great numbers in many of those postseason games, too. But nothing in the World Series, because the M's and Sox weren't meant to go.

    Darn you, pops! The younger Griffey wins the gene pool lottery, the older wins the teammate and circumstance lottery.

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    David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

    Follow @AnswerDave

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