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Asked about negotiating a new deal during season with Atlanta Braves, NL MVP Freddie Freeman says it ‘would be a distraction’

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Freddie Freeman, the 2020 National League MVP, indicated Tuesday that he is apparently not interested in negotiating a long-term contract extension with the Atlanta Braves during the regular season. Freeman is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season.

“I don’t know if we could really even talk right now,” Freeman said on a Zoom call before Tuesday’s game at Yankee Stadium. “That would be a distraction, and I don’t like distractions. I don’t think there is going to be much talking any time soon.”

The Braves, who lost to the Yankees, 3-1, in the series opener, drafted Freeman out of high school in 2007 and he reached the majors in 2010 and has been the focal point of the Atlanta offense ever since. A four-time All-Star, he has finished in the top eight of the MVP voting five times. He already signed one long-term deal with the Braves, an eight-year, $135 million contract that ran from 2014 through this season.

Near the end of spring training, Freeman told MLB.com that the Braves, owned by Liberty Media Corporation, had yet to approach him or his agents about a new deal.

“There [are] no negotiations,” Freeman added Tuesday, indicating he was only worried about Jameson Taillon, the Yankees’ starter Tuesday night.

Freeman is hitting .233/.387/.517 after the loss to the Yankees, with five home runs and an NL-leading 14 walks. He turns 32 in September.

He went 1-for-4 on Tuesday.

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ AJ Pollock (hamstring) likely headed to IL, Dave Roberts says

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Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock left Friday night’s 9-6 win over the Miami Marlins with a left hamstring strain and is likely headed for the injured list, manager Dave Roberts said.

Pollock was making his first start since straining his left hamstring last week in a 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

In the second inning Friday, Pollock singled in the game’s first run but aggravated his hamstring injury when he took third base on Austin Barnes‘ RBI double. Pollock was removed for a pinch-runner.

“He felt it grab, so kind of right now, with where we’re at, I assume it’s gonna be an IL and we’ll probably have a move tomorrow,” Roberts said.

Pollock is batting .277 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 32 games.

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Jarred Kelenic has Mariners ‘excited’ as first MLB homer keys big night

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SEATTLE — At two minor league levels, the first hit for prized Seattle prospect Jarred Kelenic was a home run.

Same start in the majors.

Kelenic made his first career hit extra memorable with a two-run homer and later added a pair of doubles, leading the Mariners to a 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

After going hitless in his big league debut Thursday night, Kelenic brought the Seattle crowd to its feet with a long ball in the third inning. He stayed with an off-speed pitch from Aaron Civale, but still had the power to drive it 403 feet out to right-center field.

The ball was clocked at 109.3 mph off the bat, and Kelenic’s sprint around the bases seemed just as fast. He embraced fellow young Seattle star Kyle Lewis in the dugout with a bear hug and tipped his cap to the fans when their standing ovation didn’t stop.

“I didn’t even know that that’s what they wanted, until people were like, ‘Get out there.’ I didn’t know what was going on until I realized that everyone was standing up,” Kelenic said. “But that’s something I’ve always imagined.”

Kelenic, 21, became the youngest Mariners player to homer since Adam Jones in 2006 and joined Lewis in hitting a home run for their first major league hits. Lewis did it in September 2019.

Kelenic also homered for his first hits at Class A Modesto in 2019 and with Triple-A Tacoma earlier this month.

“A lot to get excited about. Big night for him tonight and his family and our team quite frankly,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s loud in here, guys are excited, they know what he can bring and he’s going to continue to have fun, that’s for sure.”

Kelenic added a pair of hustling doubles in the fifth and seventh, the second scoring Sam Haggerty to give Seattle a 5-1 lead.

Kelenic became the fifth player in Mariners history with three or more hits in his first two career games, and the first since Carlos Guillén in 1998. Kelenic also is the 18th player in baseball history with three or more extra-base hits in his first two career games.

“I’m a competitor. I want to win. I want to bury our opponents, each and every night,” Kelenic said. “It really bugs me when I give away at-bats or if I don’t execute on what I’m trying to do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Kansas City Royals 3B Hunter Dozier to IL, Chicago White Sox 1B Jose Abreu day-to-day after collision

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Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and Kansas City Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier both left Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader after they collided in the second inning.

Dozier, who left with a quad contusion and neck discomfort, was placed on the seven-day concussion injured list, and the club recalled Kelvin Gutierrez from Triple-A Omaha prior to Game 2 of the doubleheader.

Abreu is day-to-day after leaving the game with a facial contusion, laceration and bruised left knee. The initial assessment for a concussion was negative.

“He’s doing well enough that he wants to play the second game [of the doubleheader],” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He’s bruised. He’s sore. It could have been worse. … There’s a sense of relief.”

The nasty collision occurred after Dozier popped up right in front of home plate. As Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal and Abreu converged on it, Dozier started to run to first base, and, while avoiding Grandal, he ran right into Abreu, who was looking up at the ball.

The two hit the ground hard. They lay next to each other for several moments as they were attended to by their respective training staffs. Eventually, both walked off the field with assistance.

“It was extremely scary in the moment,” White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito said. “That was a big collision. [Abreu’s] taking some hits and gets right back up. After a minute, he got up and said he was fine and could keep playing. That’s the type of player that he is. He’ll do anything for this team.

“It was a huge relief going in and seeing he’s good, in high spirits. He’ll probably be back playing tomorrow.”

Abreu is the reigning AL MVP and a big part of Chicago’s success this season. Dozier has been struggling and is in the midst of an 0-for-31 skid. Grandal took over at first base, and Zack Collins came in to catch for the White Sox. Hanser Alberto took over at third base for the Royals, who ended up snapping an 11-game skid with the 6-2 win.

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