The Rockies may need an arm or two to keep their hot start going

He lives and dies with nearly every at-bat. He’s on a crusade to Make Baseball Fun Again. What’s not to love about that?

If you’re raising your kid to be a baseball player, wouldn’t you want them to play like George Brett or Pete Rose? I’m sure you would, and it’s a funny thing, because both are guys who Harper has said he models his game after.

Some of the same folks who whined about Harper being a fake tough guy are the same ones who witnessed him charge the mound and throw hands after getting plunked on Monday. Well, which one is it? Fake tough guy or not?

Raise your hand if, on Memorial Day weekend, you thought the best records in baseball would belong to the Rockies and the Astros, who improved to an MLB-best 35-16 with an 8-4 victory over the Orioles.

The Rockies may need an arm or two to keep their hot start going, but the Astros are a deep team primed for the long haul. As for the Cubs, the talent is there. They just have to find the same spark they rode to a championship last year if they hope to defend their title.

Studs of the night
Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson struck out 10 without a walk over seven innings in Milwaukee’s 9-5 win over the Diamondbacks. Nelson also helped his own cause with an RBI single to help the Crew increase their division lead.

Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis did his part as the Indians leadoff hitter by going 4 for 4 with a solo homer, two runs scored and a pair of RBIs in the Tribe’s 10-1 win over the struggling Royals. The Indians provided starter Josh Tomlin plenty of offense with a complete-game effort.

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MLB trade rumors: Red Sox have scouted White Sox 3B Todd Frazier

It’s still more than six weeks until MLB’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but more than a quarter of the way through the 2017 season, the buyers and sellers are starting to sort themselves out. Here’s a look at one trade rumor that’s floating around.

The rumor: The Red Sox are interested in White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier.

From the Globe on Sunday: Yes, the Red Sox have been scouting Frazier given their tenuous third base situation and the fact they want to give Rafael Devers more time to develop. Frazier has the perfect power swing for Fenway but has had an awful start (.198, four homers, 15 RBIs). Frazier is making $12 million this season, but the White Sox would eat some of that if a trade came to fruition.

Why: A lot about Trout’s and Harper’s Hall of Fame chances hinge on their health. Trout has been a tank, averaging 158 games a season from 2013 through last year. Harper’s struggled more to stay healthy, averaging 131 games over his first five seasons in the majors.

Healthy, Harper’s been an All Star-level player, earning nods for the National League team all but one season. These haven’t been courtesy nods either. Harper’s averaged 5.7 WAR for every 650 plate appearances for his career, with Baseball-Reference.com rating 5 WAR as an All-Star season. Granted, Harper’s only reached 650 plate appearances one season, his 2015 MVP campaign. Entering this year, he’s averaged 554 plate appearances.

Harper might be turning the page this season health-wise, having played in 40 of the Nationals’ 43 games so far. With his style of play, though, or his bulky frame, Harper might have a propensity for injury. This doesn’t bode well for his Hall of Fame chances.

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Jameson Taillon gets giant card from Pirates fans after cancer diagnosis

The Mariners have been college-heavy in the first round recently, and there are three college right-handers who could be in play if this scenario plays out. Faedo is ranked highest of the three (ahead of UCLA’s Griffin Canning and Mizzou’s Tanner Houck) on MLB.com’s ranking of draft prospects. He hasn’t had the greatest season, but the raw stuff is there.

Mizzou has produced a number of first-round picks this decade, highlighted by two-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Houck might not be Scherzer, but his fastball sits in the mid-90s and sniffs triple digits, and the Tigers (the ones in Detroit) would be happy with that.

Canning’s a hard-throwing right-hander with 124 strikeouts and 28 walks for the Bruins this season, to go with an ERA of 2.55. Eight of San Francisco’s past 11 first-rounders have come from the college ranks.

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon recently underwent surgery after a dianosis of testicular cancer, and on Friday he received a gift from Pirates fans.

Taillon also met with the media for the first time since his diagnosis, and said he has only received good news so far.

Taillon is playing catch now. All good news re: potential spread so far but some blood work remains and he’ll have to keep an eye on it.

Taillon also said he’s heard from fellow cancer survivors and patients such as Lance Armstrong, Andrew Lambo, Chad Bettis and John Kruk.

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Joe Girardi says Yankees are afraid to turn Masahiro Tanaka into Spider-Man

The Yankees’ No. 1 starter is pitching to a 6.56 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP this season. He has given up 16 runs over his past two starts and has lasted a combined 4 2/3 innings in those games.

Much was made about Tanaka’s health in 2014, when he was shut down with a partial UCL tear in his right elbow. He rehabbed the injury and has been pitching with the tear since.

There are worse things than being turned into a superhero.

Tuesday night’s Braves-Pirates game at SunTrust Park was disrupted briefly when an emergency stadium-evacuation message briefly flashed on the scoreboard, accompanied by a loud alarm and flashing lights, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The incident occurred in the third inning, with the scoreboard message indicating that an emergency had been reported in the new stadium. The message disappeared from the scoreboard shortly thereafter, but not before a few fans began to exit their seats.

With continuing injuries but a relatively long career, say 15 to 20 seasons — which seems perfectly reasonable with Harper debuting as young as he did — Harper might wind up in roughly the same territory as Dunn, Kingman or Delgado. This will doom his Hall of Fame chances. Dunn last played in 2014 and isn’t yet eligible with the BBWAA, but Kingman and Delgado each lasted just one year on the ballot.

The best that can be said for candidates such as Dunn, Kingman and Delgado (particularly Delgado, among the most underrated players in baseball history) is they have their supporters. But then, many fringe Hall of Fame candidates have supporters on the internet. There are 50 or 100 retired players, maybe more, who can garner blog posts and occasional news columns, though they don’t have much hope of getting in. Such is the Hall of Fame, which keeps out so many more good players than it lets in.

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Eduardo Rodriguez injury update: Red Sox lefty headed to DL after bullpen slip

Eduardo Rodriguez insisted he was fine after falling in the bullpen while warming up for Thursday night’s start in Baltimore.

He ended up turning in his worst start of the season, surrendering four home runs in a 7-5 loss, and now the left-hander is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a knee injury.

Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed the roster move to reporters before Friday’s game, saying the team hopes it’s a short-term issue but Rodriguez will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday for a second opinion.

Rodriguez’s pregame tumble in the bullpen at Camden Yards was nothing crazy, he told reporters following the game, and said his struggles were the result of just missing his pitches and the Orioles making good contact.

Bryce Harper leads the NL All-Star balloting by a wide margin, but he’s not the only dominating presence in the voting.

Two Cubs currently lead the voting at their position, three more are second, and Cubs outfielders rank 3-5 in the results, released Tuesday by Major League Baseball.

With more than 900,000 votes thus far, Harper has a third more votes than the next highest in the balloting, Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (669,643 votes).

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Brewers convinced Cubs had ulterior motive to cancel Saturday’s game after rain misses

Rain forced Saturday’s game between the Cubs and Brewers to be postponed. Only, it wasn’t raining at or after the scheduled first pitch.

The Brewers certainly realized that fact, which is why they believe the Cubs may have had an ulterior motive for the postponement.

Clearly, the Cubs were looking at a weather forecast that made them think it was going to rain, Brewers general manager David Stearns said, via JSonline.com. Our weather forecast did not indicate that. I think there were five or seven other forecasts that also did not indicate that. Ultimately, it’s the Cubs’ call.

We were a little surprised the game was called as early as it was. I’m sure they had their reasons to do it. Obviously, it didn’t rain. So, from our standpoint, we would have preferred to play yesterday. I talked with some guys with the Cubs. They knew how we felt. That’s one of the earliest games I’ve ever been involved with that was called. That surprised me a little bit.

That statement wasn’t entirely true. It did deluge in Chicago for a couple hours leading up to the game, and the radar for the rest of the day was less than promising.

Of course, weather can change at the drop of the hat. The constant thunderstorms that were at one time supposed to flash through Chicago all day Saturday missed.

Still, the Brewers aren’t convinced.

I’m not privy to their forecasting methods or what service they use, Stearns said of the Cubs. All I know is what they told us at the time they canceled the game. They certainly knew we preferred to play. We’re of the opinion if there are playable conditions, we’d like to play. It was out of our hands yesterday.

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Padres, Wil Myers agree to 6-year extension worth reported $83M

All-Star first baseman Wil Myers and the Padres have agreed on a six-year extension, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal is worth a franchise-record $83 million, FanRag Sports reported, citing unidentified sources.

We’re excited to secure a player with talent like Wil’s for the next six years, Padres general manager A.J. Preller said in a statement. Wil has shown that he wants to be in San Diego and wants to be a Padre, and he is going to be an integral part of our team and the community as we continue to build a championship club.

The Browns are also willing to eat as much as half of Osweiler’s $16 million contract in a trade scenario. Kay Cabot noted.

While that seems like a smart move by the Browns, it’s unlikely.

Several NFL personnel executives say they doubt anyone will give the Browns a third-round pick for Osweiler and pay him $8 million a year, Kay Cabot wrote. If that could’ve been done, the Texans would’ve done it, they say.

The more likely scenario for the Browns is that they cut Osweiler and someone signs him for about $4 million a year. With offset language in his contract, that would reduce the price of the move up to somewhere between 33 and 64 to about $12 million.

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Arizona Wildcats baseball channels ‘Major League’ in spot-on video spoof

If you’re gonna play baseball where Major League was filmed, you might as well take advantage. Well played, Arizona Wildcats.

In a clever promotional video for their 2017 season, the Wildcats channel the cult 1989 baseball film in a near-shot-for-shot remake of the famous spring training arrival scene at Hi Corbett Field, which long-served as the spring training home of the Indians and is now the home of the Wildcats.

I have a food show that’s going to be streaming on Netflix and Hulu, Fielder said. It’s coming out around the beginning of spring training in March, I believe. It’s not just baseball people. It’s a mixture of baseball people, actors, musicians, chefs and whatnot. They bring out different dishes, and at the end of the show, I give the one I like the most the ‘Fielder’s choice.’ It’s good TV.

Fielder, a six-time All-Star, was a vegetarian at one point in his career. Baseball-Reference.com lists his playing height and weight at 5-foot-11, 275 pounds.

In other words, who better than Prince to have a show about the joys of eating?

According to Fielder, actor Chazz Palminteri, singer Jose Feliciano and rapper Xzibit will be guests.

CC Sabathia will also appear. That should be entertaining.

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Red Sox renew Mookie Betts’ contract for near-record amount

The Red Sox on Thursday renewed right fielder Mookie Betts with a $950,000 contract for 2017, the second-highest one-year deal of its kind in MLB history, USA Today reported .

Only Mike Trout’s $1 million deal from the Angels in 2014 was bigger for a player with two-plus years of MLB service but not yet eligible for arbitration.

Under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, players with under three years’ service time have no leverage in negotiations. If such a player, like Betts, is unable to reach a contract agreement with his team, then he can opt to have his contract renewed, perhaps as a way of showing he’s unhappy with the team’s salary offer.

So could Tebow be in line to earn a promotion? There is speculation he could be boosted to the High-A Port St. Lucie Mets, but that likely won’t happen for a while.

According to The State, the Mets have a long-term plan for Tebow and will continue to monitor his improvement.

He has been able to get his foot down on time, working on his timing, and it is finally paying off. He is more consistent, Leger said. When you get a couple hits and find that rhythm at the plate, your confidence also grows. That is what has been happening.

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Phillies ready to give Hector Neris save opportunities

The Phillies’ closer situation may not seem like a huge deal under normal circumstances, but they are finally giving their best reliever a chance to shine.

Since trading Ken Giles to the Astros in December 2015, Philadelphia has been struggling to find a consistent presence to close out games. April’s follies alone have epitomized their desperation and cluelessness.

In his first comments since Castro’s passing, Elias criticized the reception people had toward his death.

I didn’t really like the reaction some people had, said Elias through translator Daveson Perez, via WEEI in Boston. They were happy he passed away. But at the end of the day, someone who, in though it was a little bit, helped me out when I was living there for 21 years. I had a normal day when he passed away. I just didn’t like how some people were happy he passed away, because he’s a person, too.

Good or bad, I think he definitely helped a lot of people who are living here today. People who lived in Cuba ate his food, they took what was given to them. To have a party, all of a sudden, during his passing doesn’t seem right to me.

Elias is not alone, Castro’s mixed legacy will be debated for years to come. While he tirelessly defended the poor, he forced Cuba into economic ruin and withheld basic freedoms from millions of Cubans.

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