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Coors Field expected to host 2021 MLB All-Star Game , sources say

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Coors Field in Denver is expected to host this year’s All-Star Game, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney on Monday.

MLB opted to move the game out of Atlanta due to voting laws passed in Georgia last month.

It will mark the second time the homer-friendly home of the Colorado Rockies will host the Midsummer Classic. The American League beat the National League, 13-8, at Coors in 1998.

This year’s All-Star Game originally was scheduled for July 13 at Truist Park, home of the Braves. However, on April 2, MLB announced that it decided to move the game out of Atlanta due to a new Georgia law that has civil rights groups concerned about its potential to restrict voting access for people of color.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement at the time that he discussed the potential move with individual big leaguers and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd last year, before ultimately deciding to make the call “as the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law last month a sweeping, Republican-sponsored bill that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run. The bill, which also prohibits volunteers from distributing food and water to voters waiting in line, was finalized on March 25 roughly 15 miles from Truist Park.

The new voting law came in the wake of the first Democratic victories in presidential and Senate elections in Georgia in a generation, which triggered repeated unproven assertions by former President Donald Trump that the state’s election was fraudulent. Supporters of the new law have said it merely ensures election integrity and stamps out potential fraud, while critics have described it as a voter suppression tactic that would make it more difficult for minorities, particularly people of color, to vote, citing how it reduces ballot access in urban communities that lean Democrat.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole struggles with grip, tells MLB ‘just talk to us’

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BUFFALO — Gerrit Cole called out Major League Baseball in its attempt to regulate foreign substances after struggling to grip the baseball during his start against the Toronto Blue Jays on a cold, windy Wednesday night at Sahlen Field.

“It’s so hard to grip the ball,” a frustrated Cole said after the New York Yankees‘ 3-2 win. “For Pete’s sake, it’s part of the reason why almost every player on the field has had something, regardless if they’re a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball.”

Cole added: “We are aligned in a lot of areas with the commissioner’s office on this. … Please, just talk to us, please just work with us. I know you have the hammer here. But we’ve been living in a gray area for so long. I would just hate to see players get hurt. I would hate to see balls start flying in people’s head. I had a really tough time gripping the baseball tonight, especially early when it was windy. I don’t really care to be inflammatory here, so I am just going to leave it at that.”

This was Cole’s first start since Major League Baseball sent a memorandum detailing enhanced enforcement of Official Baseball Rules 3.01 and 6.02(c) and (d), which prohibit applying foreign substances to baseballs. Those foreign substances are frequently used to doctor baseballs for increased spin rates.

MLB’s research concluded that “foreign substances significantly increase the spin rate and movement of the baseball, providing pitchers who use these substances with an unfair competitive advantage over hitters and pitchers who do not use foreign substances, and results in less action on the field.”

A lower fastball spin rate did not affect Cole’s execution against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Despite setting a season high for hits allowed in the first inning with three, Cole allowed only two earned runs, both on solo homers, over eight solid frames.

Cole, who struck out a season-low four batters, threw 104 pitches, 47 of them fastballs. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Cole’s fastballs averaged a spin rate 2,303 revolutions per minute (RPM), down 210 RPM from his season average coming into the game. In his start in Minnesota last Wednesday, Cole’s fastballs averaged a spin rate of 2,515 revolutions per minute.

“We’re all just trying to trying to play by the rules, play by what the commissioner’s handed out going forward,” Cole said. “Spin rate is not everything. You can still pitch well if you don’t have a high spin rate.”

When asked whether he had a chance to discuss the report with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who was at Sahlen Field for the Blue Jays-Yankees game Wednesday night, cracking a smile, Cole quipped: “Probably not the not the right time to have a discussion with Rob before I’m gonna go pitch.”

Abiding by the new rules, Cole struggled with his grip in a windy night by Lake Erie, with temperatures hovering in the high 40’s with the wind chill.

“I was messing with [my grip] all night,” he said. “To make a drastic change in the middle of the season is going to be challenging for a lot of people. I am a little concerned of injuries, especially after talking to Tyler [Glasnow]. I hope that we can apply some feel to the situation. I would encourage the commissioner’s office to continue to talk with us, please, because we’re the ones that throw the ball. They don’t. And we’re the experts in this situation.”

Cole said that he spoke to Glasnow, the Tampa Bay Rays ace who sounded off on MLB’s crackdown of foreign substances after he was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and a flexor tendon strain.

“I talked to him privately and I’ll keep most of the details of that private,” he said. “I feel for the guy in that situation. We’re all out there trying to compete, and he’s working his tail off trying to compete for his team and it’s just … yeah, man, that’s a bummer.”

Cole agreed with Glasnow’s assessment of understanding MLB’s policing of sticky substances, but both have an issue with it happening midseason because they believe eliminating something that helps pitchers’ grip could lead to an increase in injuries. Cole added that he would like MLB to come up with a substance to help with the grip, besides rosin.

“We’ve heard about a universal substance. I certainly think that’s something to be discussed,” he said. “I read a statement from the commissioner’s office that this isn’t about blaming anybody. I hope that we can remember that as an industry and just keep the lines of communication open in regards to this, between all three parties, umpires, players, and the league, and move in the right direction going forward.”

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Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman leaves with strained quadriceps vs. Texas Rangers

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HOUSTON — Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman left Wednesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers with a strained left quadriceps.

Bregman was injured in the first inning while running to first base when he grounded into a double play. He pulled up a few steps before first base and hobbled off the field after the play before heading to the clubhouse.

He was replaced by Robel García to start the second inning.

Bregman is hitting .275 with seven homers and 34 RBIs this season.

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Jean Segura (groin) out at least 3 weeks; Bryce Harper (back) day-to-day

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LOS ANGELES — The Philadelphia Phillies will be without second baseman Jean Segura for at least three weeks with a Grade 1 left groin strain, while slugger Bryce Harper is day-to-day with lower back tightness after both were injured Tuesday.

Segura was added to the 10-day injured list Wednesday before a game at Dodger Stadium, and infielder Nick Maton was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Segura and Harper were hurt during a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harper left in the fourth inning after he struck out swinging, and Segura appeared to injure himself crossing first base on a ground ball in the ninth.

Harper was not in the lineup in Wednesday’s series finale against the Dodgers but is considered probable to return Friday in the opener of a three-game series at San Francisco.

Segura is batting .332 with three home runs and 20 RBIs and had been particularly hot of late with three consecutive three-hit games before the Phillies started a three-game series at Los Angeles on Monday.

Harper is hitting .274 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs, with a three-hit game Saturday at home against the New York Yankees, while collecting two hits and the Phillies’ only RBI in Monday’s 3-1 defeat to the Dodgers.

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