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Therapy bunny in Oracle Park stands a hit with San Francisco Giants’ fans

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SAN FRANCISCO — A handsome, golden-colored therapy bunny named Alex came to the ballpark and stole the hearts of San Francisco Giants fans Thursday night, attending the series opener against Miami with owners Kei Kato and Josh Row.

Sporting a dark bow tie with orange crabs to represent the Giants’ colors, 4 1/2-month-old Alex earned some major screen time in the early innings — because it’s just not every day you see a rabbit at a baseball game.

The bunny in the stands is believed to be a first in the 22-year history of Oracle Park, according to Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter.

“Never. Crazy. … If we win tonight, she has to come back tomorrow,” Slaughter said via text message, noting Alex became an instant Twitter sensation.

Daniel Kurish of the Marlins’ media relations staff wasted no time getting in on the bunny fun: In the seventh inning, he was off to deliver Miami gear to the good-sized mammal.

“Tonight’s attendance, 4,580, not including the rabbit,” official scorer David Feldman announced in the seventh.

Alex has been an important, beloved companion for the 32-year-old Kato, who lost her brewery restaurant called “K-OZ” during the pandemic and now runs a small café in the U.S. Immigration office. The bunny helps her deal with the anxiety and stress of no longer having her main source of income and fulfillment.

“I lost it all because of COVID, so I’ve been really stressed a lot,” Kato said. “We support local. I was a local. He’s well trained, too.”

Alex has hopped along with the Warriors dance team at its practice outside nearby Chase Center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district. Kato and her fiancee, Row, plan to bring him to see Stephen Curry and Golden State soon enough. Fans return for the Warriors’ home game Friday night against the Nuggets.

“The bunny is welcome! If he’s fast, we’ll put him in the game to run the fast break!!” Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder said.

The bunny has attended a NASCAR event and is even an ambassador for Lions Clubs International. Alex helped hand out 400 Easter eggs to children, brings smiles and loves to play, even giving kisses on command. He entertains the masses at farmers’ markets, has been tubing at Lake Tahoe and kayaking.

“We actually bring him everywhere,” Kato said. “He brings joy to everybody. He brings joy to us.”

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Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ ‘good’ after being activated from IL

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The Chicago Cubs activated outfielder Ian Happ from the injured list after he missed time due to bruised ribs.

“They’re good,” Happ said Saturday morning. “I feel great. It’s not like anything I’ve ever had before. Working out the last three to four days, being able to throw, hit, run and do everything it takes to play in a major league baseball game.”

Happ, 26, was injured in a collision with second baseman Nico Hoerner as both players converged on a pop up in the outfield earlier this month. Hoerner also spent time on the injured list with a forearm injury. He was activated on Friday.

To make room on the roster for Happ, infielder Ildemaro Vargas was designated for assignment. Happ is batting sixth and playing centerfield against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

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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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