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  • Rockies receive approval to have 12,500 fans at Coors Field
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 26, 2021

    The Rockies announced Friday that they have been approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to allow 12,500 fans per game at Coors Field this season.

    • The number represents 25 percent of the stadium seating capacity.

      "To create a safe and healthy experience for fans, players and staff, the Rockies have implemented all required CDPHE, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and MLB policies and guidelines," the team said in a statement. "The Rockies and CDPHE will continue to monitor the conditions, with the hope of safely adding to the capacity number in the future."

      The Rockies begin the regular season at home against the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers on April 1.

      Speaking of Los Angeles, a final decision has yet to be made about letting fans in Dodger Stadium for the team's home opener against the Washington Nationals on April 9.

      As for the Padres, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond on Thursday requested Gov. Gavin Newsom allow fans to return to Petco Park.

      --Field Level Media

  • Braves extend manager Brian Snitker through 2023
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 26, 2021

    The Atlanta Braves on Friday extended manager Brian Snitker's contract through the 2023 season, with a club option for 2024.

    • Snitker, 65, led the Braves to a 35-25 record and a third straight National League East title during last season's shortened campaign.

      "I am thrilled that Brian will continue to lead our club on the field and in the clubhouse," Braves president Alex Anthopoulos said. "Three consecutive division titles speak to the impact of Brian and his staff, and we are pleased that he will continue to guide our club through 2023."

      Snitker is entering his 45th season in the organization and his fifth full season as manager. He was named the interim manager on May 17, 2016, before formally taking the helm on Oct. 11, 2016.

      Snitker, the 2018 NL Manager of the Year, has a 353-317 record and is the only manager in team history to reach the postseason in three of his first four seasons.

      The Braves open the season on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 1.

      --Field Level Media

  • Tigers prospect Spencer Torkelson out after cutting finger
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 25, 2021

    A minor kitchen mishap will sideline Detroit Tigers prospect Spencer Torkelson for at least the start of the Grapefruit League season.

    • Torkelson, the top overall pick in the 2020 draft, needed stitches after cutting his right index finger Wednesday at his rental home near the Tigers' Lakeland, Fla., spring training facility.

      Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said Thursday, "He can do some fielding work, but he's not going to hit or throw for a couple of days. ... You're going to see him limited."

      Torkelson did participate in the Tigers' fielding drills on Thursday, according to MLB.com.

      The 21-year-old third baseman is sharing a spring training home with fellow Tigers minor-leaguers Riley Greene and Jake Rogers.

      Hinch said of Torkelson, "I'm glad he wasn't at a restaurant. If he did it in a restaurant, we'd have a problem with the (COVID-19) protocols. He was following the rules. Maybe part of his development is going to be opening a can, I don't know."

      Torkelson starred at Arizona State before the Tigers selected him last year and gave him the richest draft signing bonus in baseball history, $8,416,300.

      He maintained a sense of humor about the incident.

      "When life cuts your finger, buy a can opener and then laugh it off," Torkelson posted on Twitter.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Blue Jays sign LHP Tommy Milone
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 25, 2021

    The Blue Jays signed left-hander Tommy Milone to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to a report Thursday from MLB.com.

    • Milone, 34, will compete for a spot on the back end of the Blue Jays' starting rotation. The Blue Jays' starters include Hyun Jin Ryu, Steven Matz, Tanner Roark and Robbie Ray, with Nate Pearson also vying for a spot.

      Last season, Milone went 1-4 with a 6.69 ERA in nine combined starts with the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. Home runs proved to be an issue as he surrendered nine long balls in 39 innings.

      In his career, Milone is 51-51 with a 4.56 ERA in 183 games (145 starts). He has pitched for eight teams including the Orioles, Braves, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics.

      --Field Level Media

  • Fan attendance plans not universal to start 2021 season
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 25, 2021

    Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has approved a plan to allow 30 percent capacity at home games for the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians to begin the 2021 season.

    • Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati (12,695 maximum capacity) and Progressive Field in Cleveland (10,512) will be allowed to host fans with detailed social distancing and mask-wearing policies in place under the ruling.

      Still, the number of fans at stadiums across the United States varies widely.

      Most teams are allowing fans at their spring training sites, but far below maximum capacity and with safety restrictions related to COVID-19 enforced.

      No fans were permitted for regular-season games in 2020, a pandemic-shortened season capped with a neutral-site World Series in Texas. MLB allowed 11,000 fans for the NLCS and World Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

      MLB and the state of Ohio have not revealed whether capacity could be increased later in the 2021 season as other markets continue to wrestle with proposals for fan admittance.

      Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told CNBC last week that he's hopeful Wrigley Field and other stadiums will be close to capacity by the end of the season.

      There is no ruling yet in Illinois as to whether the Cubs or Chicago White Sox will host fans for Opening Day.

      In New York, Yankee Stadium was approved to host 5,500 fans and the Mets will be permitted to have around 4,500 at Citi Field when their home seasons open.

      California, where coronavirus safety restrictions have been strict, has made no final decision about letting fans in Dodger Stadium for the World Series champions' home opener on April 9.

      Angel Stadium is set to open April 1 with the Angels in action against the White Sox, but current restrictions make fan attendance uncertain.

      There could be more immediate relief in sight for the Padres. San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond on Thursday requested Gov. Gavin Newsom allow fans to return to Petco Park.

      "Many other cities and teams have changed the way they operate to keep their fans safe, by limiting areas where they can congregate and making masks mandatory," Desmond said in a letter to Newsom.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yankees' Domingo German apologizes for domestic incident
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    New York Yankees right-hander Domingo German publicly apologized for his actions that resulted in an 81-game suspension under baseball's domestic violence policy.

    • "I want to sincerely apologize to the Steinbrenner family, my teammates, the front office and those around me who love me," German said through an interpreter on Wednesday. "I have made mistakes of which I am not proud of, and for that I want to apologize."

      German's public apology came one day after he addressed his teammates. One teammate, reliever Zack Britton, made critical comments about German last week, saying "Sometimes you don't get to control who your teammates are ... that's the situation. I don't agree with what he did. I don't think it has any place in the game or off the field at all."

      German, 28, addressed Britton's comments on Wednesday.

      "I did see his comments. He has a right to do that," German said. "I understood where he was coming from. The good thing is I had the opportunity to talk with him and he basically gave me really good advice on how I can improve.

      "At the same time, the comments he made were not to be taken personal, (they were) more on a professional level. Like I said, from that conversation, he gave me really good advice which I'm thankful for."

      German did not discuss the specifics of his actions that led to his suspension, but did confirm that he still has a relationship with his girlfriend.

      "My partner and I, thank God we've been able to have and had a good relationship," German said. "We're together and when you ask 'how can I be a better person,' I think one of the ways is through my actions. Showing how I can be a better person through my actions."

      German posted an 18-4 record with a 4.03 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) in 2019, He owns a 20-11 mark with a 4.52 ERA in 55 career games (38 starts) with the Yankees

      --Field Level Media

  • White Sox slugger Jose Abreu tests positive for COVID-19
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    Chicago White Sox slugger and reigning American League MVP Jose Abreu has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be away from the team for a few days, the team announced Wednesday.

    • White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Abreu is "completely asymptomatic." Abreu thinks he contracted a mild case in January, Hahn said, adding that's "reinforced by the presence of COVID antibodies in additional testing."

      "Other than being frustrated, Jose feels great and, like the rest of us, is looking forward to when he rejoins the club in the not-too distant future," Hahn said.

      Abreu hit .317 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs in 60 games last season, leading the White Sox to their first playoff appearance since 2008. It earned him league MVP honors.

      Abreu was Rookie of the Year in 2014 and is a three-time All-Star. He's a career .294 hitter with a slugging percentage of .520. He has hit 198 home runs in his seven seasons with the White Sox.

      --Field Level Media

  • Twins top prospect Royce Lewis to miss season
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    Shortstop Royce Lewis has a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the 2021 season, the Minnesota Twins announced Wednesday.

    • The 21-year-old is the top prospect in the Twins organization and was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.

      He is scheduled to have reconstructive surgery on Friday in Minneapolis and will miss nine to 12 months, said Derek Falvey, the team's president of baseball operations.

      Lewis reported feeling soreness in his knee when he got to camp in Fort Myers, Fla., and an MRI revealed the damage.

      With the 2020 minor-league season wiped out because of the pandemic, that means Lewis will go at least two seasons without playing a game.

      He closed the 2019 season at the Double-A level. In 302 minor-league games, he has a .266 average with 30 homers and 150 RBIs.

      Andrelton Simmons is expected to play shortstop for the Twins this season.

      "He's Royce," Falvey said of Lewis. "He's got a smile on his face. He knows he's going to have a rehab year ahead, knows he's going to have to put in a lot of work, but he's prepared and ready to do that."

      --Field Level Media

  • Tigers sign former All-Star Julio Teheran to minors deal
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    The Detroit Tigers on Tuesday announced the signing of former All-Star right-hander Julio Teheran to a minor league contract.

    • Teheran, 30, will earn $3 million plus incentives if he makes the big league club, according to multiple reports.

      Teheran spent last season as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, going 0-4 with a 10.05 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). Prior to then, he had spent the first nine years of his career with the Atlanta Braves, where he had posted a 3.67 ERA in 229 games (226 starts).

      Teheran's best season earned him his first All-Star berth in 2014, when he finished with a 2.89 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 221 innings. He was an All-Star again in 2016.

      Teheran is expected to compete for a spot in Detroit's rotation along with former No. 1 overall draft pick Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and others.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mariners leaders vow to move past Kevin Mather comments
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    Seattle Mariners leaders expressed their dismay on Tuesday and vowed to move on positively from comments made by former team CEO and president Kevin Mather, who resigned Monday after his insulting comments toward some players and groups were made public.

    • "It's been a difficult couple of days ... for our players, for our staff, for me, our baseball operations team, and all of the Mariners, that's the reality," general manager Jerry Dipoto said in an unscheduled video conference call with reporters. "I think the most important thing was to spend some time with you, answer the baseball questions, and just re-humanize our players."

      Mather spoke earlier this month via Zoom with the Breakfast Rotary Club in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. His comments were made public over the weekend, and Mather apologized Sunday night. He commented on everything from poor English skills among some foreign-born players to the manipulation of service time.

      Dipoto said Tuesday that team leaders need to show their commitment to the players.

      "We need to be sensitive and make sure that they understand where we are, and frankly to address the stigma that's now associated with our team, which I don't think is the way we see ourselves, and that includes our players and our staff," Dipoto said.

      "It's something I hope we're able to shed pretty quickly and get back to who we are. But we can't get beyond the situation that exists today. And we have to address it head on."

      Manager Scott Servais agreed.

      "I'm very grateful for how they've handled everything that's happened in the last 48-72 hours, and it doesn't surprise me," Servais said about the players. "It really doesn't. We talk about doing the right thing, and they continue to do it and it's because of the character of this group.

      "We talk about character, and what adversity does. Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it. And I really like what I've seen in how we've handled this so far. It hasn't been easy."

      Mather's remarks drew widespread attention.

      New York Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole, a member of the Major League Baseball Players Association's executive subcommittee, said, "Every player should wake up and read the news on the guy (from) the Mariners. ...

      "This guy's talking about players that are making him money. The product is the people that he's talking poorly about. It's just tired. It's tired, man, and I think players are over it. And if they haven't been awakened to that type of behavior, that's what goes on. I don't really know how to fix it. I just know I don't like it."

      --Field Level Media

  • Alex Cora happy to be reunited with Red Sox
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    The Boston Red Sox are in spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., with a renewed sense of enthusiasm, two seasons removed from winning the World Series.

    • Spearheading that is manager Alex Cora. After a season away from Boston -- fired as manager in January 2020 amid Major League Baseball's investigation into illegal sign-stealing with his former organization, the Houston Astros -- the Red Sox rehired him last November after his season-long suspension expired.

      "I don't have to explain to you guys how I feel about this game. I don't have to tell people I love the game and I'm very passionate about it. You guys know that. So I don't have to explain that," Cora, 45, told reporters recently. "But at the same time, coming here, and it's not about me -- it's about seeing guys and working with guys and going to the field, and when the game is over or the practice is over, to sit at your desk and be like, 'Oof, I gave everything today.'"

      After finishing the abbreviated 2020 season with a 24-36 record under manager Ron Roenicke, the Red Sox seem to be happy to have Cora back, too.

      "(Cora) has just a charisma about him where people feel lifted up by being around him, and that's a great thing in somebody who you have leading your group, where he can bring the best out of people," said Chaim Bloom, the team's chief baseball officer, on Sunday. "That's what we're looking for in a manager, and he connects as well as anybody that I've seen.

      "Already, I've been struck by players that are new to camp, that we try to have some conversations with for the first time, he's gotten all of them already, he's talked with everybody. He just has a good way over the course of the day of circulating, making sure he touches every player, that he gets to know everybody. He's fun to be around, and he brings a lot of energy and a lot of optimism to the group."

      Cora led the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2018 in his first season as manager. A season later, they finished 84-78 and in third place in the American League East.

      "You know everything we went through, winning the World Series in 2018, I just feel happy that he's back," pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez said. "He's like a father, like a brother. Sometimes I feel like a teammate when I talk to him, and that's part of the relationship that we have together and we can make it better. We will make it better."

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Shin-Soo Choo to continue career in Korea
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    Free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is expected to sign with SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization for the 2021 season, multiple outlets reported.

    • Choo, 38, spent the past seven seasons in Texas after signing a $130 million deal in December 2013.

      The South Korea native signed with the Mariners in 2000 and made his major-league debut five years later. After just 14 games with Seattle, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2006, then to Cincinnati before the 2013 season.

      Choo made his only All-Star team in 2018.

      In 1,652 games over 16 seasons, Choo hit .275 with 218 home runs and 782 RBIs. He had 1,671 hits and an on-base percentage of .377.

      He was limited to 33 games in the injury-shortened 2020 season and hit .236 with five homers and 15 RBIs.

      --Field Level Media

  • White Sox SS Tim Anderson backs Tony La Russa
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is ready to play for manager Tony La Russa.

    • The flamboyant and energetic Anderson said when La Russa was hired that he was concerned he'd need to tone down the spice in his game, something he was not ready to change.

      But after a face-to-face meeting in Arizona as the White Sox opened spring training, Anderson, 27, said he's all-in on the 76-year-old manager.

      "Just to see what page he's on is definitely awesome," Anderson said Monday, noting he arrived in Arizona ahead of schedule for the purpose of meeting with La Russa. "Just have conversations with him -- very motivating. The drive to want to win, he has that. I'm behind him 110 percent. That's the ultimate goal, is to win and to win a World Series here. I'm behind him."

      La Russa was last a manager in 2011 and has largely been in an administrative or advisory role since that season with the St. Louis Cardinals ended.

      Anderson hit .322 in 2020 and won the American League batting title in 2019. After the meeting and a sitdown with media, Anderson said he's more confident the White Sox "got the right man."

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: D-backs bring back RHP Tyler Clippard on one-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 22, 2021

    The Arizona Diamondbacks are bringing veteran reliever Tyler Clippard back to the desert after the right-hander agreed to a one-year deal, multiple outlets reported Monday.

    • The deal is worth a guaranteed $2.25 million, according to the Arizona Republic, with a mutual option for $3.5 million in 2022 or a $500,000 buyout.

      Clippard pitched one of his 14 seasons with the Diamondbacks, posting a 4.30 ERA in 40 games in 2016 before he was dealt to the New York Yankees at the non-waiver trade deadline.

      The 36-year-old has pitched for 10 teams and has a career 3.13 ERA over 777 appearances. All but 14 of those games have been in relief.

      In 26 games for the Minnesota Twins last season, Clippard was 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 26 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. wants monumental career to match big contract
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 22, 2021

    The eye-popping contract extension is for 14 years, with the San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. saying that he hopes to have a presence in the downtown area far longer.

    • Less than a week after it was revealed that Tatis had agreed to the third-largest contract in major league history at $340 million, he backed that up by saying he wants to go down in Padres lore. The club made the contract official Monday.

      Tatis not only wants to be remembered in the border town in the same regard as Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman, he wants to earn a spot for all time, perhaps in the grassy plaza beyond the left-center field wall at Petco Park.

      "Why not go to a statue contract?" Tatis said, recalling negotiations with the team. "People are saying, 'Oh, too many years.' But I just love what I'm seeing, what we're going to do. I want that statue on one team. I want to stay on one team and build my legacy over here in San Diego."

      Gwynn and Hoffman have their own statues at Petco Park, but they also earned spots in the Baseball Hall of Fame to get the honor. Unsaid in Tatis' "statue" intention is that he would like to earn his way to Cooperstown, too, but only because he kept the Padres a winner for years to come.

      Tatis helped the Padres into the playoffs last season, the first time the team had been on the October stage since 2006. The Padres dispatched the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card round but were swept away in the division series by their nemesis to the north, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      A few weeks later, the Dodgers earned what Tatis has targeted for his own club: a World Series title.

      San Diego might not have a major-city vibe, but Tatis intends to pattern his career after New York legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

      "I was already thinking about that since I got to the big leagues," Tatis said as the Padres approached their first full-squad workout of the spring at Peoria, Ariz. "In my dreams, the players I admire the most, they stay on one team, they build a culture, and they become winners with that team. I'm over here trying to do the same."

      Tatis' extension, trails only Mike Trout's 12-year, $426.5 million pact with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts' 12-year, $365 million extension with the Dodgers. However, the 14-year deal is the longest in terms of additional years ever signed by a player in baseball history, according to MLB.com.

      Tatis, 22, won a Silver Slugger award after hitting .277 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in 59 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He finished fourth in National League Most Valuable Player voting behind the Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman, Betts and Padres teammate Manny Machado.

      His 39 home runs in 143 career games are the most by a primary shortstop in his first 150 games, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

      Tatis burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2019, when he hit .317 with 22 homers and 53 RBIs in 84 games. In two seasons, he has batted .301 with 98 RBIs, 27 steals and 111 runs.

      In other words, if he intends to live up to Jeter's lofty status, he is off to a fine start.

      "He's got a chance to set his mark by winning World Series," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. "It starts with one, and then you build on that."

      --Field Level Media

  • Nationals sign former All-Star reliever Jeremy Jeffress
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 22, 2021

    Veteran right-hander Jeremy Jeffress will have some work to do to make the Washington Nationals' Opening Day roster after agreeing to a minor league deal with the club Monday, multiple outlets reported.

    • The former first-round draft pick in 2006 will earn $1.25 million if he can earn a roster spot out of spring training, with another $1.25 million available in incentives.

      Jeffress, 33, is a veteran of 11 major league seasons, seeing action in 414 games, all but one as a reliever. He has a career 3.08 ERA in 424 1/3 innings with 387 strikeouts and 52 saves.

      He had three separate stints with the Milwaukee Brewers, making his major league debut with the club in 2010. His only All-Star season came with the Brewers as well when he went 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 15 saves in 2018.

      Jeffress pitched for the Chicago Cubs last season, his fifth major league club, going 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA in 22 relief appearances.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yoenis Cespedes intends to play in 2021, now he needs a team
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 22, 2021

    Two-time All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has played in just eight games since the end of the 2018 season, has every intention of playing again in 2021.

    • He just needs to find a team in need of his services.

      A veteran of eight seasons, the 35-year-old will put his talents on display in a March 2 showcase, The Athletic reported. Scouts from all major league teams will be invited.

      A native of Cuba, Cespedes has a .273 career batting average over 834 games with the Oakland Athletics (2012-14), Boston Red Sox (2014), Detroit Tigers (2015) and New York Mets (2016-18, 2020). He has 165 home runs and 528 RBIs, making the American League All-Star team in 2014 and the National League team in 2016. He also won a Gold Glove in left field in 2015.

      He has been plagued by injuries in the latter part of his career, playing just 38 games in 2018 because of issues to both heels that required surgery. Before he could return to action in the 2019 season, he fractured his right ankle in an accident on his ranch.

      He did start the delayed 2020 season with the Mets, but opted out of the remainder of the season after eight games because of COVID-19 concerns.

      In five seasons with the Mets, Cespedes played in just 316 games, less than his total number of games in two-plus seasons with the A's. He did hit 76 home runs with 205 RBIs for the Mets after hitting 66 home runs with 229 RBIs with Oakland.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yankees shut down RHP Clarke Schmidt (elbow)
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 22, 2021

    The New York Yankees are shutting down right-hander Clarke Schmidt due to an elbow injury.

    • The former first-round draft pick will be sidelined for three to four weeks after an MRI revealed a strain of the common extensor tendon, manager Aaron Boone said Monday.

      Schmidt had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2017, but Boone said his surgically repaired ulnar collateral ligament is "intact and fine."

      Schmidt, who turned 25 on Saturday, made his Yankees debut in 2020 and went 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA in three games (one start). He struck out seven and walked five in 6 1/3 innings.

      The 16th overall selection by New York in 2017, Schmidt's career numbers in the minors include a 6-8 record and a 3.39 ERA in 27 games (25 starts). He skipped the Triple-A level to join the Yankees last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Francisco Lindor waiting on Mets, unafraid of hitting free agency
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 22, 2021

    Shortstop Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets are already running out of time to reach a new deal before the start of the 2021 regular season.

    • Lindor, acquired from the Cleveland Indians in January, took the field with the Mets on Monday for the team's first full workout of the spring in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Already, the sides are down to about five weeks to reach a long-term contract extension based on a deadline Lindor plans to impose to avoid talking money in-season.

      As of Monday, no discussions have taken place, Lindor said.

      "There has been none. We haven't found the time," Lindor said. "I obviously have to get to know the organization, get to know the people, and they have to get to know me. If something comes up, we'll see in the future, but that's between my agent and Sandy (Alderson) and the rest of the staff. I just focus on my business, and that's doing things the right way here. ... It's too early, I think."

      Lindor said he won't discuss a deal once the regular season begins. He also said Monday that he's "never been scared of free agency" and will not rush to sign a contract.

      "The reason why I've said I don't want it to be (past) Opening Day is because as a player, we have a duty, and the duty is to show up and win. It would be unfair for me and the rest of the team to have an ongoing conversation about extending, whether it's me or other players, and we show up on Opening Day and our minds are somewhere else and we don't focus on our duty. And then we start losing and people get on us -- it's like, no, we have a duty, and that's winning.

      "When it comes to negotiations, that's something that's out of the stadium, and that has nothing to do with showing up to the game on Opening Day. That's why I said I don't want it extending -- if we have it -- I don't want it to extend to Opening Day."

      The 27-year-old Lindor is scheduled to hit free agency in November. He said he was excited to see Fernando Tatis Jr. complete his 14-year deal worth a reported $340 million with the Padres on Monday. Lindor said he sent Tatis a note of congratulations.

      "Tatis got an outstanding deal," Lindor said. "I'm extremely happy for him, he deserves it, his family deserves it, and that shows the game is headed in the right direction. There's two $300 million players on the same team -- so the game's headed in the right direction. I'm happy for him, I'm excited to watch him play for the next 14 years."

      Lindor earned four All-Star selections and won two Gold Gloves with the Indians from 2015-20, batting .285 with 138 home runs and 411 RBIs in 777 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mariners prez Kevin Mather resigns after offensive remarks
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 22, 2021

    Seattle Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather resigned Monday, one day after apologizing for his recent eye-raising remarks about current and former players, including their ability to speak English.

    • Mather's departure was announced by the team along with a statement from Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton.

      "Like all of you, I was extremely disappointed when I learned of Kevin Mather's recent comments. His comments were inappropriate and do not represent our organization's feelings about our players, staff, and fans. There is no excuse for what was said, and I won't try to make one," Stanton said in the statement.

      "I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We must be, and do, better. We have a lot of work to do to make amends, and that work is already underway. Kevin Mather has resigned his position effective immediately. I want to thank Kevin for his 25 years of service to our franchise."

      Stanton said he will serve as acting president and CEO until a successor is found.

      Mather apologized Sunday night after a video was posted of remarks he made to a local Rotary Club on Feb. 5. In those remarks, he said Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez "is loud, his English is not tremendous." He also said former pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma's English "was terrible."

      "I want to apologize to every member of the Seattle Mariners organization, especially our players and to our fans," Mather said in a statement. "There is no excuse for my behavior, and I take full responsibility for my terrible lapse in judgment.

      "I've been on the phone most of the day today apologizing to the many people I have insulted, hurt, or disappointed in speaking at a recent online event," he added. "I am committed to make amends for the things I said that were personally hurtful and I will do whatever it takes to repair the damage I have caused to the Seattle Mariners organization."

      The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement Monday.

      "The Club's video presentation is a highly disturbing yet critically important window into how Players are genuinely viewed by management. Not just because of what was said, but also because it represents an unfiltered look into Club thinking," the statement read. "It is offensive, and it is not surprising that fans and others around the game are offended as well. Players remain committed to confronting these issues at the bargaining table and elsewhere."

      Iwakuma appeared in 150 games in six seasons with the Mariners (2012-17), and the club hired him in January as a special assignment coach. Mather was fielding a question about what the club does to help foreign players with learning to speak English.

      "We just re-hired Iwakuma. ... Wonderful human being, his English was terrible," Mather said. "He's coming to spring training. And I'm going to say, I'm tired of paying his interpreter. When he was a player, we'd pay Iwakuma X, but we'd also have to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly got better, his English got better when we told him that!"

      Mather didn't paint a flattering picture of transitioning Latin American players either.

      "Twenty years ago, if we signed a 16-year-old in the Dominican, we'd send them to a dumpy old academy with no hot water and a lousy rock-filled field," Mather said in the online meeting. "Then when he was 18 or 19, we'd send him to Peoria, Arizona, put him up at the Hampton Inn, and give him $30 a day. He doesn't even know how to make change! $30 a day for per diem, and surprise surprise, they'd get in trouble because they wouldn't know how to speak the language or make change or even buy dinner."

      Mather was also overt in talking about manipulating service time for key prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert -- among others. Mather said neither would start the season on the big-league club after a shortened 2020 season in which there was no chance of them getting called up.

      "The risk was, if our major league team had had a COVID outbreak, or injuries, and we had to call people up from the taxi squad, we were a little short on players. Because there was no chance you were going to see these young players at T-Mobile Park," Mather said. "We weren't going to put them on the 40-man roster, we weren't going to start the service time clock. There were all kinds of reasons that, if we had an injury problem or COVID outbreak, you might've seen my big tummy out there in left field. You would not have seen our prospects playing in T-Mobile Park."

      Mather was promoted to president and CEO on Dec. 14, 2017. He joined the Mariners in July 1996 as vice president of finance and administration.

      The Mariners haven't qualified for the postseason since 2001.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reggie Jackson steps down as Yankees' advisor
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, February 21, 2021

    Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is stepping down as a special advisor for the New York Yankees, he told the New York Post on Sunday.

    • "I would say I've stepped back a little bit, taken my retirement, really," Jackson said. "I just think it's time."

      Jackson, 74, has served in the role since the late George Steinbrenner named him to the post in 1993. The Steinbrenner family still owns the Yankees.

      "I'll never have anything bad to say about George," Jackson said. "It's just time to step back. I want to be around the game, and I want to contribute. I want to leave my knowledge. But it's just time to move on."

      Jackson, a 14-time All-Star, became known as "Mr. October" after hitting five homers in the 1977 World Series to help the Yankees defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

      Overall, he clubbed 18 postseason homers, which matched Mickey Mantle among all-time leaders at the time. Of his post-season homers, 12 came for the Yankees. He also hit five for the Oakland Athletics and one for the then-California Angels, reaching the postseason in 11 of his 21 seasons in the major leagues.

      Jackson was MVP of the 1973 World Series when Oakland defeated the New York Mets in seven games. He was part of three World Series championship teams with the Athletics (1972-74) and two with the Yankees (1977-78).

      Jackson smashed 563 regular-season homers in 21 seasons with the Athletics (1967-75, 1987), Baltimore Orioles (1976), Yankees (1977-81) and Angels (1982-86). The homers rank 14th in major league history.

      Jackson won American League MVP honors in 1973 when hit a league-high 32 homers. He tied for the homer lead three other times (1975, 1980 and 1982).

      He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former pitcher Stan Williams dies at 84
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, February 21, 2021

    Former major league pitcher and pitching coach Stan Williams died Saturday at his home in Laughlin, Nev. He was 84.

    • Williams had been in hospice care since Feb. 11 due to cardiopulmonary illness, the Los Angeles Dodgers said in a statement Sunday.

      Williams pitched for six different teams in a 14-year career, appearing in two World Series and two All-Star games, establishing a career record of 109-94 with a 3.48 ERA in 482 games.

      At 6-foot-5, he was an intimidating presence on the mound and was known as the "Big Hurt" because of his penchant for pitching inside.

      In 1959, he was the winning pitcher of the deciding, extra-inning game of the Dodgers' tiebreaker series against the Milwaukee Braves, bringing the first World Series to Los Angeles. The Dodgers won that 1959 World Series over the Chicago White Sox in six games. In his only appearance, he pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Sandy Koufax in Chicago's 1-0 victory in Game 5.

      He played five seasons for the Dodgers and was traded to the New York Yankees before the 1963 season. He helped the Yankees to the American League championship, only to lose to the Dodgers in the World Series. Williams also pitched for the Cleveland Indians (1965-69), Minnesota Twins (1970-71), St. Louis Cardinals (1971), and Boston Red Sox (1972).

      He was pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds when they won the World Series in 1990. He also had pitching-coach stints with the Red Sox, White Sox, Yankees and Seattle Mariners.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg battled numbness prior to summer surgery
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, February 21, 2021

    Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg said his entire right hand would go numb when he attempted to throw baseballs last season prior to undergoing carpal tunnel surgery in late August.

    • The 2019 World Series MVP pitched just five innings for the Nationals in 2020 due to the hand troubles.

      He said he now feels healthy and believes the issues have been resolved with the August surgery that took just 15 minutes.

      "I don't really try to look back too far to see why it happened," Strasburg told reporters on Sunday. "But obviously I've been throwing a baseball for a long time, and it's an injury that's from repetitive use."

      Strasburg said the movement on his pitches has improved, and that might not be the type of thing hitters want to hear from a guy who has struck out 1,697 batters in 1,443 2/3 career innings.

      Strasburg, 32, said he moved up his throwing schedule and began playing light catch on Nov. 1 as opposed to mid-December. He did the same thing in terms of throwing bullpens, starting those in early January instead of near the end of the month.

      That has him feeling ahead of schedule during the opening phase of spring training.

      "Endurance-wise, stamina-wise, I feel like I'm a lot further along than I have been in years past," Strasburg said. "I wanted to give myself some extra time to work through some mechanical things and be ready to go on day one."

      The next task will be regaining his form. The three-time All-Star owns a 112-59 mark with a 3.19 ERA in 241 career starts in his 11 seasons with the Nationals. The San Diego State product was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft.

      Washington manager Dave Martinez is eager to see how Strasburg fares this season.

      "He's one of our workhorses. And not to see him out there was tough," Martinez said. "But for me, if he was ever going to get hurt and ever fix an issue, last year would've been the time. I'm glad he got it fixed, and I'm glad he feels great."

      Strasburg is entering the second season of a seven-year, $245 million deal.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Braves reach deal with infielder Jake Lamb
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, February 21, 2021

    The Atlanta Braves have reached a one-year deal with corner infielder Jake Lamb, according to published reports.

    • The Braves are likely hoping Lamb can provide depth at both first and third base as well as add power off the bench.

      Lamb, 30, was an All-Star in 2017 when he hit 30 home runs with 105 RBIs. But he had just 12 home runs and 62 RBIs over the next three seasons with the Diamondbacks as shoulder issues took their toll.

      After his September release from Arizona, Lamb joined the Oakland Athletics and hit three home runs in 13 games for the playoff-bound club. He had just one hit in seven at-bats in the playoffs.

      Lamb has played in 609 career games, batting .239 with 84 home runs and 312 RBIs. He was a sixth-round draft pick by Arizona in 2012.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rockies' Ian Desmond opts out of second straight season
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, February 21, 2021

    Colorado Rockies infielder/outfielder Ian Desmond announced Sunday morning that he is opting out of the 2021 season.

    • Desmond, 35, also sat out the 2020 campaign with concerns about his family amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also cited the state of the world in terms of racial and economic issues.

      On Sunday, he took to Instagram to share his feelings about his decision to opt out again.

      "Over the last few months, I've had tough conversations. I've asked a lot of questions and done a lot of thinking. For now, I've decided to opt out of the 2021 season," Desmond wrote on Instagram. "My desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances. I'm going to continue to train and watch how things unfold."

      Desmond's five-year, $70 million contract runs through 2021. He was scheduled to make $8 million this season. The Rockies hold a $15 million club option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout.

      He was an All-Star with the Washington Nationals in 2012 and with the Texas Rangers in 2016.

      A third-round draft pick of the Montreal Expos in 2004, Desmond broke into the majors with Washington in 2009 and stayed with the Nationals through 2015. He played just one year in Texas before signing as a free agent with the Rockies in December 2016.

      In 2019, Desmond hit .255 with a .310 on-base percentage, a .479 slugging percentage, 20 homers and 65 RBIs in 140 games. In 1,478 career games over 11 major league seasons, he has a .263/.315/.427 batting line with 181 homers and 711 RBIs.

      --Field Level Media