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Arizona Diamondbacks analyst Bob Brenly takes voluntary leave of absence, to undergo sensitivity training after comment

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Arizona Diamondbacks television analyst Bob Brenly on Thursday said he will take a voluntary leave of absence from Bally Sports Arizona while he takes sensitivity training following his comment earlier this week about Marcus Stroman, which the New York Mets pitcher said had “racist undertones.”

“I want to apologize again for my insensitive reference on Wednesday, as it does not reflect my values or who I am,” Brenly said Thursday as part of a statement issued to The Athletic. “Beginning today, I have voluntarily decided to take some time off to listen, reflect and devote my attention to awareness training related to diversity and inclusion to enhance my understanding and appreciation of others. I plan to return to the booth next homestand, hopefully a better person.”

The Diamondbacks’ next home game is June 11 vs. the Los Angeles Angels.

Brenly made what he later called an “insensitive” crack during Tuesday’s broadcast about the head covering worn by Stroman, who is Black and has been outspoken on issues concerning race and social justice.

“Pretty sure that’s the same do-rag that Tom Seaver used to wear when he pitched for the Mets,” Brenly said during the telecast. After the game, Stroman tweeted, “Onward and upward…through all adversity and racist undertones. The climb continues through all!”

Brenly issued an apology via social media on Wednesday, saying “I made a poor attempt at humor that was insensitive and wrong.”

Former Chicago Cubs player Aramis Ramirez told The Athletic in a story published Thursday that he felt Brenly was unfair to Latin players when he was with the Cubs as a broadcaster and “should be fired right now.”

“With respect to Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto and all of the players who I have covered over the years, I have the utmost respect for their life stories, their talents and their careers,” Brenly said in the statement to The Athletic. “Having played the game and managed for many years, I understand how hard it is to play so successfully for such a long time. My job for many years has been to talk about baseball and I have had thousands of opportunities to both applaud and analyze performances and was privileged to witness the career of players like Aramis Ramírez.

“My job is to describe Major League Baseball and to call it the way I see it — the good and the bad. I have always tried to do so in an honest, unbiased way, regardless of a player’s background or race. I am sorry that my work offended Aramis, as I think of him as one of the most successful players of his generation.”



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New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom leaves start with right flexor tendinitis

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New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was pulled after six innings in his start against the San Diego Padres on Friday night due to right flexor tendinitis, the team said.

DeGrom was removed after throwing six shutout innings in continuation of his dominant start to the 2021 season. He struck out 10 batters and allowed only a single off the bat of San Diego’s Wil Myers. He lowered his ERA to 0.56 this season.

DeGrom, speaking after the game, said he felt the elbow injury in between starts this week. He said it tightened up on him in the sixth inning, leading to his exit.

“I am not too concerned about it because it did not get much worse as the game went on,” he said. “Whenever you say elbow, everybody gets nervous about that. I am not too worried about it. Hopefully it’s something we can treat.”

DeGrom said team trainers did several ligament tests and everything checked out well. He added that he’s hopeful he can make his next scheduled start.

The Mets led 3-0 when deGrom left the game, in part because of his two-run single off Padres lefty Blake Snell in the fifth. DeGrom has now driven in five runs as a hitter this season. As a pitcher, he has allowed just four earned runs in 64 innings to begin the campaign.

DeGrom’s seventh strikeout gave him 100 on the season. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that is the fewest innings by a starter to reach 100 strikeouts in a single season since the mound moved to its current distance in 1893.

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New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom leaves start with right flexor tendinitis

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New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was pulled after six innings in his start against the San Diego Padres on Friday night due to right flexor tendinitis, the team said.

DeGrom was removed after throwing six shutout innings in continuation of his dominant start to the 2021 season. He struck out 10 batters and allowed only a single off the bat of San Diego’s Wil Myers. He lowered his ERA to 0.56 this season.

The Mets led 3-0 when deGrom left the game, in part because of his two-run single off Padres lefty Blake Snell in the fifth. DeGrom has now driven in five runs as a hitter this season. As a pitcher, he has allowed just four earned runs in 64 innings to begin the campaign.

DeGrom’s seventh strikeout gave him 100 on the season. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that is the fewest innings by a starter to reach 100 strikeouts in a single season since the mound moved to its current distance in 1893.

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Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo waiting for more ‘data’ on COVID-19 vaccine

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CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said he understands the controversy surrounding his decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but explained that he is “taking some more time to see the data in all of it.”

The Cubs are one of eight teams in baseball who haven’t reached the 85% vaccination threshold, which would allow for a loosening of restrictions. They’re still required to wear masks in the dugout and need permission to leave their hotel on the road, for example.

Rizzo, 31, is a cancer survivor who meets regularly with young cancer patients, though that has been on hold during the pandemic. He said he knows his decision not to get the vaccine has drawn strong reactions from both sides of the debate, adding that he’s “definitely not against getting it.”

“I love my teammates and love this franchise,” he said after the Cubs’ 8-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. “This is bigger than baseball. This is a life decision. It weighed hard. It’s a decision I made and I stand with, and obviously there are people that are going to hate me and think I’m disgusting. And there are going to be people that side with me, but it’s out in the open.”

Rizzo didn’t get specific with his reasons for not taking the vaccine. He and his teammates have had an ongoing discussion about getting to the 85% threshold. Shortstop Javier Baez is doing PSAs for vaccine awareness.

“We discuss it,” Baez said. “If you want to call it, ‘we argued about it,’ but at the end of the day, we respect each other.

“He just doesn’t believe in it right now, and we respect his decision. … The vaccine was made pretty fast, and a lot of people don’t believe in it. I got vaccinated because I have kids and want to protect them.”

Rizzo didn’t seem to be against the vaccine, per se. In fact, he was thrilled to see Wrigley Field at 100% capacity for one of his most memorable at-bats. With the Cubs trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the 6th inning, Rizzo saw 13 pitches from reliever Daniel Ponce de Leon before taking the 14th one out to right field to tie the game.

“Towards the fifth, sixth, seventh pitch, everyone started getting into it more,” Rizzo recalled. “It almost, in a way, helped me calm down and relax. I kept saying to myself, ‘Stay locked in, stay locked in.’

Cubs manager David Ross likened the at-bat to one then-teammate Alex Cora had with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004. That one lasted 18 pitches.

“I’ll remember this one for a long time,” Ross said.

Rizzo added: “It was definitely one of my most memorable at-bats.”

Rizzo fouled off six pitches in a row before taking Ball 2, then fouled off three more before going deep.

“I saw all of his pitches, so it was a matter of getting one to hit,” Rizzo explained. “He did a good job of flirting with one up, where it’s too close to take. Fortunately, for me, I put a good swing on it and had a good result.”

The home run came after Rizzo revealed on his own paid radio segment on ESPN 1000 in Chicago that he had not taken the vaccine.

“I think whenever you come out with any decision that’s the big topic, it’s not easy one way or another,” Rizzo said. “This is a big topic. There’s a lot of lives being saved from this vaccine. There’s a lot of people getting back to their normal life. That’s what we want.”

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