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Mike Trout favored to win AL MVP at sportsbooks, but Shohei Ohtani attracting most action

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Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout is the consensus betting favorite to win the MVP award entering the 2021 season, but dual-threat teammate Shohei Ohtani is attracting the most action at some sportsbooks, including one giant bet that could pay nearly $1 million.

At Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, Trout is the favorite at 2-1, followed by the Houston AstrosAlex Bregman (11-1), New York YankeesAaron Judge (12-1) and Cleveland IndiansJose Ramirez (14-1).

Ohtani, at 20-1, has attracted more money wagered than any other player to win the AL MVP at William Hill, including a $30,000 bet placed March 19 in Nevada at 30-1 odds that would pay $930,000.

At DraftKings, more than eight times as much money has been bet on Ohtani as has been bet on Trout to win the MVP award.

Ohtani, a starting pitcher and outfielder for the Angels, was hampered by injuries last season and finished with a .190 batting average and seven home runs in 175 plate appearances. He made his last spring training start on the mound Monday, giving up seven runs before being removed in the third inning with a blister on his right middle finger.

Trout, who will turn 30 later this season, hit .281 with 17 home runs and 46 RBI during 2020’s abbreviated campaign and finished fifth in AL MVP voting.

In the National League, two Dodgers top the MVP odds. Outfielder Mookie Betts is the favorite at 8-1, followed closely by first baseman Cody Bellinger at 17-2. Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto is also at 17-2 at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

They are followed by San Diego Padres third baseman Fernando Tatis Jr. (9-1), Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna (10-1) and Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (12-1), last year’s MVP.

The New York MetsJacob deGrom is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young at +400; Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is the favorite for the AL honor at +350.

Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes is the favorite for NL Rookie of the Year, while Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena is the favorite in the AL.

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New York Mets acting GM Zack Scott not thrilled with tunnel mystery, says it was ‘a bigger story than it needs to be’

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NEW YORK — New York Mets acting general manager Zack Scott wasn’t thrilled by Francisco Lindor‘s fuzzy explanation for a dugout dispute Friday night.

Scott said Saturday it was “unfortunate” that Lindor and teammate Jeff McNeil attempted to dismiss their dust-up after the seventh inning by bizarrely claiming they were arguing over a critter spotted in the clubhouse tunnel. Lindor said it was a rat, while McNeil indicated it was a raccoon or a possum.

The disagreement happened out of view of television cameras, but New York’s broadcast showed other players and coaches rushing into the tunnel to break up some sort of commotion.

“You’d have to ask the players why they chose to handle it that way,” Scott said Saturday. “Not how I’d go [about it]. I think what’s unfortunate is it’s a little bit of a bigger story than it needs to be, and it takes away from one of our best wins of the year. That was a great win last night.”

Lindor homered in the seventh on Friday — a half-inning after he and McNeil had a verbal exchange following a miscommunication on an infield single by Nick Ahmed — to key a 5-4, 10-inning victory over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.

“The rat or possum story is something that our guys were talking about early this afternoon,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Saturday.

After the apparent clash in the team tunnel, both Lindor and McNeil appeared sullen over the next few innings, before offering smiles during separate postgame videoconferences with reporters in which they insisted their beef was over rodents — and not slow rollers.

Neither Scott nor Mets manager Luis Rojas confirmed the exact parameters of the argument.

“Certainly, it’s something that they didn’t want to get into too much detail about, so I respect that and know kind of the code of the clubhouse,” Scott said. “The one thing I’ll just say generally is not specific to the situation but just broadly: These guys are competitive. They want to win. They are like a family.

“They spend so much time together, and sometimes, like a family, there’s disputes and debates and arguments. At the end of the day, you go out there and grind out a great win and you walk away still brothers.”

The Mets’ comeback from a four-run deficit on Friday was their biggest of the season.

It came amid a week of ups and downs with the club, which won a dramatic, controversial game in Philadelphia on Sunday night, after an overturned home run call that cost the Phillies a tie game. Then a day later, after a loss at the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets fired hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater.

“Today, we’re a better ballclub, and we’re a better family,” Rojas said Saturday. “That’s how I see the events that happened yesterday, just after talking to both players and talking to the group.”

While Scott hoped to move on from the viral vermin story, the entertainment team at Citi Field leaned into it. Shortly before first pitch Saturday night, a new quiz game debuted on the scoreboard, asking fans, “Rat or Raccoon?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. exits after left hand hit by pitch

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ATLANTA — Ronald Acuna Jr., who shares the major league lead with 10 home runs, left the Atlanta Braves‘ game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night after being hit by a pitch.

Acuna was hit on his left hand by a 98 mph fastball from Sam Coonrod in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit Acuna’s little finger on the bottom of the bat.

Acuna fell back, holding his hand in obvious pain. He was immediately escorted off the field.

There was no immediate update from the Braves on Acuna’s injury. He missed two games in April with a mild abdominal strain and is hitting .313.

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Texas Rangers activate slugger Khris Davis from injured list

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Khris Davis was activated from the injured list Saturday by the Texas Rangers, marking the slugger’s first time on their active roster for a game since being acquired in a trade that sent longtime shortstop Elvis Andrus to Oakland.

Davis, an outfielder and designated hitter, opened the season on the injured list because of a left quad strain suffered in a spring training game March 23.

Texas got Davis, catcher Jonah Heim, and a minor league pitcher from the A’s just before spring training Feb. 6 when it sent Andrus to the West Coast. Heim was in the starting lineup for Saturday night’s game against Seattle, but Davis was not.

To make room on the active roster for Davis, outfielder Eli White was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. After making an opening day roster for the first time in his career, White was hitting .127 with no homers and four RBIs in 20 games this season. He had only one hit his last 30 at-bats over his past 12 games.

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