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Tampa Bay Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier has eye irritation stemming from eyelash



DUNEDIN, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier has another freak injury: left eye irritation stemming from an eyelash.

Kiermaier left Saturday night’s game against Toronto in the fifth inning after first experiencing discomfort while shagging balls during batting practice.

“A couple minutes in, I was like, dang it, I got an eyelash in my eye,” Kiermaier said. “There was an eyelash in there and then we rinsed my eye, and then it disappeared or kind of went into one of these crevices or whatever. Once that happened, everything took a turn for the worse.”

“I don’t know how or if we scratched, that’s definitely what it feels like,” Kiermaier added. “I keep telling people it just feels like a piece of sand on the inside of my eyelid. Every time I blink, just pressure, irritation, a scratching feeling.”

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said Kiermaier was not scheduled to start in Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays but was available off the bench.

Kiermaier felt slight improvement Sunday.

“Still feel a little bit of a scratch or irritation, whatever we’ve got going on in there,” he said.

Kiermaier has a history of offbeat injuries, including hurting his hand during a base-running slide and injuring a wrist while attempting a diving catch.

“It’s just one of those weird things,” he said. “Seems like this stuff could only happen to me. Got to get through it and roll with the punches. I’ll be fine. I assume I’ll be 100% whenever my eye chooses to cooperate, but we’re kind of waiting for that moment.”

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Cleveland Indians get 15-year lease agreement, plan $435 million in renovations to ballpark



CLEVELAND — Soon to be known as the Guardians, the Indians aren’t leaving home anytime soon.

Ending rampant speculation that they would be relocating, the team agreed Thursday to a 15-year lease extension at Progressive Field, keeping it at the downtown ballpark through 2036 and perhaps longer.

The agreement, which still needs legislative approval, includes two additional five-year options that could make it a 25-year deal through 2046.

Also, team is partnering with the city, Cuyahoga County and the state to spend $435 million for renovations on the ballpark, which opened as Jacobs Field in 1994 and is now one of Major League Baseball’s oldest facilities.

The deal was unveiled during a virtual news conference at the ballpark with owner Paul Dolan, Gov. Mike DeWine and local leaders. The plan does not include new taxes or increases and would be funded by current revenue sources.

“This is an investment in Cleveland’s future,” Mayor Frank G. Jackson said.

The club has been in talks with the city and county, which owns the 35,000-seat stadium, on extending the lease for several months. The current lease is scheduled to expire after the 2023 season.

DeWine recently got involved in the negotiations to ensure the team isn’t going anywhere. After the NFL’s Browns moved to Baltimore in the 1990s and the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer were legally stopped from relocating, DeWine felt urgency to get involved.

DeWine said that Dolan never discussed moving but that it’s possible things could have changed without the new lease.

“We know the reality of the business, and the reality is that Cleveland is a small market,” DeWine said during the news conference. “Our goal is to make sure that a world-class city like Cleveland continues to have professional sports, professional baseball. It’s very, very important.

“So I felt the longer this lease was, frankly, for the fans, the better it would be.”

Under the agreement, the franchise will pay $10.2 million over the length of the lease on stadium repairs and upgrades. The city and county will pitch in $8 million per year, and the state will provide $2 million in aid annually.

Dolan said $200 million will go toward ballpark improvements, which he said includes a repurposing of the Terrace Club restaurant as well as a “reimaging” of the stadium’s upper concourse.

Dolan said the improvements could take place in the next five years, “if not sooner.”

“Our organization is proud to continue our long-term commitment to Cleveland by ensuring we keep our ballpark competitive,” Dolan said. “We want to give our fans, our community and our players the best ballpark experience possible.”

The extension comes on the heels of the Indians changing their name to Guardians at the end of this season.

Dolan had previously stated his commitment to Cleveland. However, the potential of the lease ending, along with a shriveled team payroll, led to conjecture the club might look to move.

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Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees unveil throwback uniforms for ‘Field of Dreams’ game



They have built it, and they will come. Now, they’ll be dressed for the occasion.

Ahead of the “Field of Dreams” game in Iowa on Aug. 12, the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox unveiled their uniforms — inspired by team jerseys worn in the early 20th century — for the first-time special event.

The White Sox uniforms feature navy blue pinstripes and a large SOX monogram on the left chest, which will match a white cap with navy blue pinstripes. During batting practice, the team will wear a navy cap with the Sox monogram.

The Yankees unveiled a uniform featuring the NEW YORK lettering in a thinner and wider typeface than the modern-day jersey, featured in navy blue on gray with no white outline or sleeve trim. The cap features a loose knit interlocking NY.

The first Major League Baseball game to take place at Dyersville ballpark will feature a corn maze behind the right field fence, a manually operated scoreboard and bullpens behind the center field fence meant to resemble old Comiskey Park.

The ballpark is located on the Lansing Family Farm, the filming site for the “Field of Dreams” movie starring Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones and Amy Madigan.

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United States beats South Korea to reach baseball gold-medal game; Eddy Alvarez clinches winter-summer medal double



YOKOHAMA, Japan — Eddy Alvarez will become only the third American to earn medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics after the United States beat defending-champion South Korea 7-2 on Thursday night to earn a berth in this weekend’s gold-medal game against host Japan.

The U.S. speedskater-turned-infielder wept in the dugout after the final out as teammates patted him on the back and offered handshakes and hugs.

After earning a silver in 2014 at Sochi as part of the U.S. four-man short track team, Alvarez will get at least a silver in baseball. The other Americans with summer and winter medals are Eddie Eagen (boxing in 1920, bobsled in 1932) and Lauryn Williams (track and field in 2004 and 2012, bobsled in 2014).

Jack Lopez drove in his first two runs of the Olympics with RBI singles for his first two hits, Jamie Westbrook hit a solo homer, and Tyler Austin hit a two-run single as the U.S. built a 7-1 lead with a five-run sixth. Alvarez and Mark Kolozsvary also drove in runs.

The U.S. team of prospects and released veterans, seeking the Americans’ second baseball gold medal and first since 2000, improved to 4-1 and will play Japan (5-0) on Saturday night.

Japan, which stopped its major league season to make top players available for the Olympics, defeated the U.S. 7-6 in 10 innings on Monday in the double-elimination second round.

South Korea (3-3) faces the Dominican Republic (2-3) for the bronze.

At the final out, a line drive caught by reliever Anthony Carter, Alvarez raised his right arm in triumph then raised both arms and hugged shortstop Nick Allen.

A 31-year-old infielder with the Miami Marlins‘ Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Alvarez and his team came up 0.271 seconds short of the Russians in the 5,000-meter relay in 2014. He hopes to finish the job this time against another host nation.

Alvarez made his major league debut last season when the Marlins’ roster was decimated by the coronavirus, hitting .189 with zero RBIs in 12 games.

Eagen earned a gold in light heavyweight boxing in 1920 and a gold in the four-man bobsled in 1932. Williams won silver in the 100-meter sprint in 2004, gold in the 400 relay in 2012 despite not running in the final and a silver in the two-woman bobsled in 2014.

Ryder Ryan (1-0), a 26-year-old right-hander at Texas‘ Triple-A Round Rock, pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings for the Americans’ second win over South Korea following a 4-2 victory in the first round.

U.S. starter Joe Ryan, a 25-year-old right-hander obtained by the Minnesota Twins in last month’s trade that sent Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays, allowed four hits in 4 1/3 innings and left with a 2-1 lead. South Korea stacked its batting order with six left-handed hitters, likely taking notice of his minor league righty/lefty splits.

Lopez, a 28-year-old infielder promoted to Triple-A Worcester by the Boston Red Sox in May, lined a two-out RBI single in the second for his first hit in eight Olympic at-bats. Lopez is a nephew of former big league shortstop Onix Concepcion.

Westbrook homered about 20 rows into the left-field seats for a 2-0 lead in the fourth. The 26-year-old was demoted to Double-A Biloxi by the Milwaukee Brewers in mid-May then promoted back to Triple-A Nashville in early June.

Park Hae-min chased Joe Ryan with an RBI single in the fifth, and Ryder Ryan needed just two pitches to escape two-on trouble, getting Kang Baek-ho to ground into an inning-ending double play.

American hitters batted around against four relievers in the sixth. Kolozsvary and Lopez had RBI singles, Alvarez’s RBI grounder made it 5-1, and Austin, in his home ballpark of the Central League’s Yokohama DeNA BayStars, followed with a two-run single that gave him seven RBIs in the tournament.

Oh Ji-hwan hit an RBI double in the seventh off Scott McGough. Anthony Gose, throwing at up to 98 mph, relieved with two on and got a pair of called third strikes then pitched a hitless eighth.

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