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HOUSTON — Major League Baseball said in a statement Tuesday that the league will interview relevant parties regarding allegations published Monday night in a Sports Illustrated article.

According to the report by SI’s Stephanie Apstein, during the celebration in the Houston Astros’ clubhouse after the team’s 6-4 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — and repeatedly yelled, “Thank God we got (Roberto) Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

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The shouts appeared to be directed specifically at the reporter wearing the bracelet, NPR reported Tuesday night. Taubman, according to the report, has complained in the past when that reporter tweeted about domestic violence awareness on nights when Osuna pitched.

Last season, Osuna, 24, served a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. The closer, while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, was charged in May 2018 with domestic assault; the charge was later withdrawn when the woman he is alleged to have assaulted made it clear she would not travel from Mexico to Toronto to testify. Houston acquired him via trade in July 2018.

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The SI report Monday was corroborated by multiple witnesses present in the clubhouse at the time.

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MLB declined to comment directly on the allegations, instead saying in a statement Tuesday, “Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior — whether intentional or not — that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence. We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article. The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated’s characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further.”

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HOUSTON — To nobody’s surprise, three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is officially the Game 1 starter for the Washington Nationals. He’ll face off against Houston Astros starter Gerrit Cole, who is riding a streak of 19 consecutive winning decisions, in the first showdown between two powerhouse starting rotations.

Both pitchers have excelled so far in the postseason. Scherzer is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 27 strikeouts in three starts and one relief appearance (20 innings). In the division series against the Dodgers he allowed one run in seven innings, and against the Cardinals in the NLCS he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, finishing with one hit, no runs and 11 strikeouts over seven frames.

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Cole, meanwhile, has won all three of his postseason starts and has allowed one run in 22 2/3 innings with 32 strikeouts. The two hard-throwing right-handers arguably have the best pure stuff of any starters in baseball. Cole had the second-highest average fastball velocity among starting pitchers at 97.1 mph and set a record for starters by striking out 39.9 percent of the batters he faced in the regular season.

Scherzer had the 10th-highest average fastball velocity at 94.9 mph and the third-highest strikeout rate in the regular season.

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“I’ve been in the situation, faced really good pitchers here in the National League over the years: Clayton Kershaw, Jacob deGrom, those guys,” Scherzer said. “You just know you’ve got to come out there, you’re going to be throwing up zeros. And you’ve got to try to match the intensity from your opponent. And Cole’s had a terrific year. So obviously it’s going to be one heck of a challenge.”

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Overall, Scherzer went 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA in 27 starts in the regular season. He did miss time in July and August with a back strain and bursitis in the scapula beneath his shoulder and had a 4.74 ERA after returning from the injured list in late August, but he has appeared to be at full strength in October. It was the first season in his career in which he failed to make 30 starts. Cole went 20-5, leading the AL with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts.

Cole said he most admires Scherzer’s determination that has helped him build a potential Hall of Fame resume.

“I feel like that word kind of covers how he competes, how he prepares, Cole said. “You have to be determined to be durable. My gosh, he’s as durable as they come. You have to be determined to be prepared. And he’s as prepared as they come. And then his presence on the mound is determined. He’s got a job to do, and he wants to go out and do it and just put the blinders on and get after the ball.”

The Nationals struggled to a 19-31 record early, but have excelled ever since, including a sweep of the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series.

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“I love this team we have here in ’19,” Scherzer said. “I speak to our group the most of how much clubhouse chemistry we have, we’re just playing good baseball together. We’re really firing on all cylinders. And there’s just — we’ve got some mojo going, that’s the easiest way to describe it. That we just seem to be playing great baseball together, and anybody who gets their number called just continues to step up and perform for the team.”

Game 2 will feature Stephen Strasburg against Justin Verlander.

This postseason, Max Scherzer is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance with 27 strikeouts in 20 innings. Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
The Astros enter as the heaviest betting favorite to win the World Series since 2007, but MVP candidate Alex Bregman says facing Scherzer and Strasburg obviously will be a big challenge.

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“They have multiple plus pitches. They throw all of them. They have confidence in all of them. They are super tough,” Bregman said. “They are two of the best pitchers in the game. Patrick Corbin is unbelievable as well and so is [Anibal] Sanchez. It’s going to be a fun series.”

The Astros faced some unconventional strategy in the first two rounds as the Rays and Yankees both relied heavily on their bullpens. They’ll face a more old-school approach in the World Series.

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“If you want to do well against the Nats, you’ve got to beat their starters, and then make them make decisions as the game goes on,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “If you sit back and kind of wait for the bullpen or wait for them to make a decision, you’ll look at Strasburg and Scherzer throwing 120, 130 pitches and you’ll be too deep in the game to make up a difference. Those guys getting 21, 24, 27 outs is a real possibility for them. And that makes it tough either way.”

Nationals manager Dave Martinez didn’t announce a Game 3 starter, leaving open the possibility that Patrick Corbin could pitch in relief if needed in Game 1. He’s made three relief appearance along with two starts in the postseason. “We shall see,” Martinez said about Corbin perhaps coming out of the bullpen before he starts a game.

In a statement released Monday after the SI report was published, the Astros claimed the report was “misleading and completely irresponsible.”

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“Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else — they were also not directed toward any specific reporters.”

On Tuesday, Taubman apologized for his behavior via a statement released by the team but maintained that his comments were misinterpreted.

“This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed,” Taubman said. “In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”

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Astros manager AJ Hinch said he was “disappointed” that the incident occurred and that “we all need to be better across the board, in the industry.” Hinch said he wasn’t there when it happened and, “like everybody,” read what happened.

“It’s unfortunate. It’s uncalled for,” Hinch said just hours before Game 1 of the World Series against the Washington Nationals. “For me, as a leader in this organization down here in the clubhouse, on the field, I take everything that happens in the clubhouse to heart.

“No one — it doesn’t matter if it’s a player, a coach, a manager, any of you members of the media — should ever feel like when you come into our clubhouse that you’re going to be uncomfortable or disrespected.”

Also Tuesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America denounced the incident and the team’s handling of it. The BBWAA called for multiple members of the Astros front office to issue a public apology to the media outlets involved in the story.

The BBWAA’s statement said it was “alarmed and dismayed by the actions” of the team and its public relations department and said the team’s denial of the incident was “an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists.”

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The Boston Red Sox have agreed to hire Tampa Bay Rays Jerseys China executive Chaim Bloom as their new head of baseball operations, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Terms were not available. The New York Post was first to report the Red Sox would hire the Rays’ senior vice president of baseball operations.

Bloom, 36, will succeed Dave Dombrowski, whom the Red Sox fired as president of baseball operations in September, less than a year after winning the 2018 World Series. Boston failed to make the playoffs this season, finishing 84-78, 19 games behind the American League East champion Yankees.

Bloom had spent 15 years with the Rays in capacities including minor league operations, player development, contract negotiations, salary arbitration and international scouting.

He has operated in a front office unlike Boston’s in that the Rays have a low budget and remain competitive. This season, they had the lowest payroll on opening day at $49.08 million, and the Red Sox had the highest at $187.23 million.

Late in September, Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner said at a news conference that they intended to make major cuts to the payroll to get under the luxury tax threshold next season, saying they fired Dombrowski because of differing opinions on how to build for the future.

It’s a crucial offseason for the Red Sox, who need to decide what to do about 2018 MVP Mookie Betts Jersey China, who will be a free agent after next season, and J.D. Martinez Jersey China, who can opt out of his $23.75 million deal five days after the World Series, as well as other players on expiring contracts.

Bloom is a Philadelphia native and attended Yale University, graduating in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in classics.

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WASHINGTON — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that the league office would continue conversations with the Houston Astros regarding the incident last weekend that resulted in the termination of a member of the team’s front office.

Speaking before Game 3 of the World Series after a photo session with Cleveland Indians Jerseys China pitcher Carlos Carrasco Jersey China, this season’s recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, Manfred declined to characterize the nature of those conversations.

“I will say that there are a variety of issues,” Manfred said. “I’m not going to narrow the statement. We’re going to continue to review the situation, have conversations with [Astros owner Jim] Crane. It’s one thing to comment and investigate for 24 hours on a specific incident.”

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The incident in question came to light after a report was published earlier this week by Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein. According to the report, during the celebration in the Astros clubhouse after Houston clinched the American League Championship Series on Saturday, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — and repeatedly yelled, “Thank God we got [Roberto] Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

Last season, Osuna served a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, stemming from an incident while he was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays Jerseys China.

The Astros initially called the report “misleading and completely irresponsible” and accused SI of trying to “fabricate a story where one does not exist.” Taubman later apologized for his language but said his comments were misinterpreted. After a league investigation into the allegations outlined in the report was completed, the Astros announced on Thursday that Taubman’s employment with the team had been terminated.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow met Friday with Apstein, who requested a retraction of the team’s initial statement. Luhnow acknowledged the request but had not yet issued a retraction.

Manfred declined to say whether more disciplinary actions might follow.

“I didn’t say that there is going to be further action, but there are things we want to talk to the Astros about, continuing to have those conversations and gather information,” Manfred said. “I think it was important that they recognize that they had made a mistake. They issued an apology and they dealt with the individual situation in a decisive way, and those are all positives.”

Manfred said the league would continue its inquiry into the incident and its fallout after the World Series concludes. The Washington Nationals lead the series 2-0 entering Game 3 at Nationals Park on Friday night. Manfred added that the league would address the matter publicly when the conversations he referenced are finished and any further decisions related to the matter are made.

Manfred emphasized that there was no timeline on the next phase of the inquiry, or even what the scope of the inquiry might be.

“I think we’ve had pretty good record of transparency when we make decisions,” Manfred said. “So I think when we get to the point when we have something more to say, it’ll be public. Again, I don’t want the expectation that this piece of it is going to be as quick as the last piece, because there is more to it.”

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The Philadelphia Phillies Jerseys China have hired former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi as their next skipper.

The team announced that he receives a three-year contract with a team option in 2023. Girardi will be introduced at a news conference Monday.

“I’m excited for this next chapter of my career,” Girardi said in a statement. “The Phillies have a strong commitment to winning from the owners to the front office to the players to the fans. It’s something that I’ve seen up close for the last 30 years of my baseball career. I played against the great Phillies players of the early ’90s from Dutch Daulton to John Kruk to Dave Hollins, and I managed against their teams during the incredible run they had from 2008 to 2011. To have my name now associated with this great franchise is something that I couldn’t be happier about.”

Girardi, who will wear No. 25, replaces Gabe Kapler, who was fired after two disappointing seasons. The Phillies went into last season with high hopes after signing Bryce Harper but still missed the playoffs, finishing at 81-81 and in fourth place in the National League East.

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The Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011 when they finished a run of five straight NL East titles, two pennants and one World Series championship under Charlie Manuel

Girardi also interviewed with the New York Mets Jerseys China, who still have an opening, and the Chicago Cubs, who went with David Ross. The Phillies reportedly also talked to former major league managers Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker.

“Joe brings high character and a tremendous work ethic to his position, and he is a proven winner,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. “I look forward to working with him and I believe that he is the right manager to lead our team to the next level.”

Phillies CEO John Middleton fired Kapler, overruling Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail. Both men face a critical offseason trying to address the team’s needs. The Phillies sorely lack pitching, especially starters.

“Matt did a great job running the search, culminating with the three exceptional candidates we interviewed,” Middleton said. “Ultimately, we all agree that Joe is the right person to lead our team, and I am excited to welcome him to the Phillies.”

The 55-year-old Girardi managed 10 years with the Yankees from 2008 to 2017, winning a World Series championship in 2009. He had a 910-710 record over that span.

“He’s going to represent their franchise well,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday. “He’s been a winner his entire career, so I expect nothing but the same to continue there in Philadelphia. I wish him luck. I’d rather it not be in the American League East. I guess that’s the biggest compliment I could give.”

Girardi began his managerial career with the Marlins in 2006 but was fired after one season despite going 78-84 and being voted NL Manager of the Year — the only manager in the history of the award to win it with a losing record. He succeeded Joe Torre after the 2007 season and spent a decade in pinstripes, leading New York to its 27th World Series title, beating the Phillies in six games in 2009.

As a player, Girardi was a catcher in the big leagues from 1989 to 2003 and hit. 267. He won the World Series with the Yankees in 1996, 1998 and 1999 and was an All-Star for the Chicago Cubs in 2000.

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CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs Jerseys China are hiring David Ross to be their new manager, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation. The official announcement is expected to come on Thursday.

Ross, 42, beat out five other candidates to replace Joe Maddon, who was hired by the Angels. Ross played under Maddon in 2015 and 2016, helping the Cubs to a World Series title before becoming a member of the team’s front office and an ESPN baseball analyst.

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He’ll be asked to manage several players he once called teammates, including Kris Bryant Jerseys China.

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“I’ve always looked at Rossy as a coach when he played here,” Bryant said in late September. “Yeah, it was goofy, it was fun, it was energetic, but when he needed to tell you something, he let you hear it. From the very get-go, I felt like this guy will be a manager someday.”

“I think it’s one of the best jobs in baseball,” Ross said recently. “I’ve got a lot of close ties with those guys. … I think my heart is drawn to that dugout a little bit.”

Other candidates — including Cubs first-base coach Will Venable, bench coach Mark Loretta, former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Astros bench coach Joe Espada — have been informed of the decision. Espada was called in for a second interview on Sunday, which included a mock news conference, according to a source. Ross did the same on Monday, and he performed as expected: extremely well, the source said.

Ross was a Game 7 hero for the Cubs in 2016, hitting a World Series home run before calling it quits on his career. He also won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox Jerseys China and played for the Los Angeles Dodgers Jerseys China, Pittsburgh Pirates Jerseys China, San Diego Padres Jerseys China, Cincinnati Reds Jerseys China and Atlanta Braves Jerseys China.

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HOUSTON — Major League Baseball and its players’ union are optimistic that talks are progressing on testing for opioids following the death of Los Angeles Angels Jerseys China pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

“The dialogue in this has been really positive with the players association, a lot of common ground on addressing the issue,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday before Game 2 of the World Series. “We understand that our workforce is a microcosm of society. There’s a societal problem.”

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1 before the start of a series against the Texas Rangers Jerseys China. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body.

Although the joint program of MLB and the players’ association has testing with penalties for performance-enhancing drugs and banned stimulants, opioids are included in drugs of abuse and not subject to testing with penalties for players on 40-man rosters.

Players with minor league contracts are subject to testing with discipline for opioids.

“Tyler hit home for a number of guys that knew him and a number of guys that didn’t,” union head Tony Clark said. “Whether the players know of another player, they may know somebody in the family that’s struggling with it. So it still hits close to home.”

The joint drug agreement has a provision calling for annual updating.

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HOUSTON — Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he is “really concerned” about events that led MLB to investigate the behavior of a Houston Astros employee.

According to allegations in a report published by Sports Illustrated, during the celebration in the Astros clubhouse after the team’s victory over the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — and New York Yankees Jerseys China repeatedly yelled, “Thank God we got [Roberto] Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

Last season, Osuna, 24, served a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. In a statement released by MLB on Tuesday, the league acknowledged the SI report and said it would investigate the matter. The process is underway in Houston.

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“Look, I just don’t know because I haven’t even had an interim report from the investigators,” Manfred told reporters after a photo session for the Hank Aaron Award ceremony. “They are actually at it today. In general, it is my view that you want to be as thorough as possible. You want to get all the facts, understanding the whole situation. Once you get there, you want to get it behind you.

“I’m really concerned at this point about the underlying substance of the situation and what the atmosphere was and how it came to be. That’s my focus right now.”

The Astros initially called the report “misleading and completely irresponsible.” Taubman has since apologized for his language but said his comments were misinterpreted. Astros manager AJ Hinch told reporters Tuesday that the incident was “unfortunate” and “uncalled for.”

“We pride ourselves on providing an inclusive, harassment-free environment in all of the various aspects of our business,” Manfred said. “I think it’s a core value for baseball. I think we have to be tremendously concerned whenever we have an incident that has this much attention.”

Regarding possible consequences from the conclusions reached by the league’s investigation, Manfred said MLB would work with the Astros to determine the appropriate course of action.

“There will be a conversation with the club at the end of the investigation,” Manfred said. “We’ll make a decision with the club as to who should handle it. At the end of the day, he is an Astros employee.”

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HOUSTON — George Springer set a record in Game 1 with a home run in his fifth consecutive World Series Jerseys China game, but in the wake of the Houston Astros Jerseys China‘ 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals Jerseys China, his failure to sprint out of the batter’s box in the eighth inning became a hot topic.

With the Astros down 5-3 and Kyle Tucker on second base with one out, Springer launched a long fly ball into the right-center-field corner. Springer initially watched the ball and then hopped six or seven times on his way down the first-base line. He didn’t run hard until he reached first base.

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Nationals right fielder Adam Eaton made a leaping attempt at the ball, but it bounced off the heel of his glove and was retrieved by center fielder Victor Robles.

Tucker, who went back to second base to tag up, scored on the play, but Springer had a double instead of a potential triple. The next batter, Jose Altuve, flew out to right field, and Springer might have scored if he had been on third base. Instead, he was left stranded when Michael Brantley then lined out to left field.

In the initial aftermath of the game, Springer said he couldn’t have made third base on the play even if he had run hard.

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“I was watching [Eaton] the whole time,” Springer said. “That’s one of those things where I don’t want to necessarily run as fast as I can because for some reason, if [Tucker] tags or whatever the case and I run by him, it’s not good. So I was just kind of watching the outfielder.”

He added that he wasn’t kicking himself for not making it to third.

“I can’t go to third right there because the guy on second had gone back to tag,” he said. “If I had gone to third, I’m out.”

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Before Game 2, however, Astros manager AJ Hinch said Springer called him later to talk about the play, surprised that it had become a focal point of discussion and wanting Hinch’s reaction.

“I felt like it was an honest mistake,” Hinch said, adding that he wasn’t going to dwell on it.

“I know how hard he plays,” Hinch said of Springer. “I know he leaves it all out on the field. I talked to him late last night on the phone. He called me. He initiated the conversation. We followed up today with a personal meeting and walked through the different scenarios. I’m not sure if the play ends any differently, but everybody understands the look when it’s a late entry into a play like that.”

Still, Hinch admitted that it wasn’t the best of baserunning plays.

“I think George got caught up in the moment of the play, in the anxiousness to see if the ball was leaving,” he said. “It wasn’t an egregious showmanship kind of pimp job, as they call it. It was a delay in reading the play correctly to where once he started running, he ran into Tucker, who was coming back to tag up because Eaton looked like he was camped underneath the ball.”