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Chicago White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes starts season 8-for-8 to set MLB mark

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Welcome to the record books, Yermin Mercedes.

The Chicago White Sox rookie went 8-for-8 to start 2021, the most consecutive hits to start a season by any player in the modern era (since 1900).

Mercedes, who had one major league at-bat entering the season, going 0-for-1 in 2020, has started at DH the past two games and tortured the Angels with his two-strike hitting — five of the eight hits have come with two strikes.

After homering in the second inning on Saturday for his first career home run, Mercedes’ eighth straight hit came in the sixth inning, a double that bounced off the warning track in left-center.

The eight hits:

Friday

Saturday

  • 6. 421-foot home run off a 2-2 splitter from Alex Cobb.

  • 7. Groundball single off a 1-2 sinker from Cobb.

  • 8. Double to deep left-center off a 1-0 sinker from Cobb.

In his ninth at-bat, the Mercedes flew out to center field to end his streak.

Mercedes is a 28-year-old rookie who has bounced around three organizations, originally signed by the Nationals and spending time with the Orioles before the White Sox signed him in 2018. He wasn’t expected to be a big part of the lineup, but Eloy Jimenez’s injury has opened up playing time, with projected DH Andrew Vaughn starting the past two games in left field.

Mercedes has spent most of his time in the minor leagues at catcher, but does own a .302 career minor league average and in 2019, he hit .317/.388/.581 with 23 home runs in 95 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

“I’m so excited right now,” Mercedes said after going 5-for-5 on Friday. “I don’t even know what to say right now, or what I want to say, but I’m just so happy.” Before Mercedes, the only player since 1900 to get five hits in his first career start was Cecil Travis, who went 5-for-7 for the Washington Senators in 1933.

The overall record for consecutive hits at any point in a season is 12, shared by the Cubs’ Johnny Kling (1902) and two Red Sox players, Pinky Higgins (1938) and Walt Dropo (1952).

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Nationals-Phillies game postponed as Washington deals with COVID-19 outbreak

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A COVID-19 outbreak within the Washington Nationals organization has forced the postponement of Wednesday’s scheduled game in Philadelphia.

According to Nationals manager Dave Martinez, the team currently has 12 positive cases, including four players and eight staffers/coaches.

One of those players is All-Star shortstop Trea Turner, who was pulled in the first inning of Tuesday’s game after returning a positive test.

Martinez said he believes one of the 12 people who have tested positive is unvaccinated.

MLB said in a statement that Wednesday’s game was postponed to “allow for continued testing and contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization.” The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon, with the first game scheduled for 12:05 p.m. ET.

Washington also dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak ahead of Opening Day, forcing the team to start its season five days later than it was supposed to.

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Seattle Mariners introduce Catie Griggs as president of business operations

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SEATTLE — Baseball was an integral part of Catie Griggs’ life growing up just not when it came to her career.

Now it will dominate her professional life as she takes over as president of business operations for the Seattle Mariners.

“I think one of the things that undoubtedly wouldn’t have come across in my LinkedIn profile or any resume that you all may have been looking at, I grew up with a batting cage in my backyard. I grew up playing Little League ball,” Griggs said. “My dad and I spent a lot of nights at the old Durham Athletic Park watching the Durham Bulls play when they were a Single-A affiliate of the Braves. Baseball has always been a part of my life, it’s a passion of mine.”

Griggs was formally introduced in her new role Wednesday before the Mariners closed out a homestand against Houston. She spent the past four seasons as the chief business officer for the Atlanta United of Major League Soccer and will oversee all aspects of the Mariners organization outside of baseball operations.

She joins a small group of women holding executive roles in Major League Baseball. According to the Mariners, Griggs is the only woman to hold a “president” title role with a club in the majors.

“I’ve had the privilege of holding a lot of senior-level roles, and I think it is a privilege and an honor to set a path for other people to follow up,” Griggs said. “With that being said, I truly view my role in this organization, in every organization, as being the absolute best leader I can be. And that has nothing to do with my gender. So with that being said, it’s a privilege and an honor and one I take very seriously. But it’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about.”

Griggs replaces Kevin Mather, who resigned in February after video surfaced of him making derogatory remarks about some players and club operations. Mather took insensitive shots at a former All-Star from Japan and a top prospect from the Dominican Republic for their English skills, and admitted the team possibly manipulated service time for some of its young players.

Mather oversaw both baseball and business operations for the Mariners. Following his resignation, Mariners chairman John Stanton said those roles would be split.

Griggs will begin her new role full time the week of Aug. 23.

“It’s very important to me that the culture of this organization include the values that she just talked about in terms of diversity and inclusion, in terms of embracing and addressing the progressive ideas, the new ideas,” Stanton said. “Innovation is one of the key elements of this organization, and Catie reflected that in every conversation that we had.”

Griggs said that while she has spent the majority of her life in the South, her family has many connections to the Pacific Northwest. She’ll start the role with about six weeks left in the regular season but intends to connect with the fan base as quickly as possible.

“I’m here to listen. I’m here to learn. I want to know what you like. I want to know what you don’t like,” Griggs said. “I want to know what it will take to make the Seattle Mariners the single best experience in the city of Seattle.”

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Hearing for Trevor Bauer temporary restraining order delayed to Aug. 16-19

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The civil hearing for the temporary restraining order obtained against Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has been moved to Aug. 16 to 19.

The hearing, expected to last between two and three days, was originally scheduled for Aug. 3, 4 and 19, but Bauer’s side once again asked for a continuance, sources told ESPN.

Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended three times and currently runs through Aug. 6, but Major League Baseball can continue to extend it with consent from the MLB Players Association. Doing so is mutually beneficial because it allows more time for investigations to conclude while players continue to be paid.

The initial hearing — attending by Bauer and his accuser — took place Friday at L.A. County Superior Court and was delayed an additional six business days after Bauer’s attorneys requested more time to prepare a defense against witnesses and exhibits they claimed to not have received until the night before the hearing.

Further delaying the hearing would allow Bauer’s team more time to prepare to cross-examine witnesses — the woman’s team previously stated it would call as many as six — and perhaps give the ongoing criminal investigation a chance to conclude before then.

One of Bauer’s lawyers, Shawn Holley, who famously defended Lindsay Lohan, told the judge during Friday’s hearing that she has advised her client not to testify given the concurrent criminal investigation. But the petitioner’s side stated that Bauer must nonetheless take the stand, even if he invokes his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions.

Bauer’s legal team is expected to call three to four witnesses.

MLB and the City of Pasadena Police Department are conducting separate investigations into Bauer, who has been accused by a woman of choking her until she lost consciousness on multiple occasions, punching her in several areas of her body and leaving her with injuries that required hospitalization over the course of two sexual encounters earlier this year, according to a domestic violence restraining order that was filed in L.A. County Superior Court on June 28, copies of which were obtained by ESPN.

The temporary restraining order was executed ex parte, which can be attained without input from the other party. Bauer’s side has strongly denied the allegations of sexual assault, calling the interactions between him and the woman “wholly consensual” and saying in a prior statement that Bauer “vehemently denies her account of their two meetings.”

Bauer hasn’t been with the Dodgers since initially being placed on leave July 2. The Dodgers have canceled Bauer’s bobblehead night, which was scheduled for Aug. 19, and have removed all of his merchandise from the team and online stores, saying they “did not feel it was appropriate” given the investigations.

MLB can unilaterally place players on seven-day administrative leave under its domestic violence policy but must seek consent from the MLBPA to extend it thereafter.

Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, joined the Dodgers with a record-setting three-year, $102 million contract in February that includes two opt-out clauses.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan contributed to this report.

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