Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
LOS ANGELES — It looks like baseball’s unwritten rules are in for a rewrite.The latest flareup in the sport’s culture wars came Monday night when Fernando Tatis Jr. took a healthy cut on a 3-and-0 pitch with the bases loaded and his team leading by seven runs in the eighth inning. The San Diego Padres’ 21-year-old star hit a grand slam.The Texas Rangers took offense, throwing behind the back of the next hitter, Manny Machado, and Rangers manager Chris Woodward bemoaned the disdain for baseball’s archaic etiquette.“Norms are being challenged on a daily basis,” said Woodward, who spent three seasons as a coach on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ staff. “I don’t think we liked it as a group.” Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Ruiz said his fever lasted for three days but he was not hospitalized. He lost weight because he couldn’t taste anything.ALSOLeft-hander Alex Wood was scheduled to throw a three-inning simulated game Tuesday afternoon. Wood made just one start before going on the Injured List with shoulder inflammation. He is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday or Friday and then would likely throw a four-inning simulated game before being considered for the rotation. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start MLB players – as a group – did like it. Support for Tatis poured out on social media.“Don’t like it,” Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty tweeted. “Don’t fall behind 3-0. Pretty simple.”Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson cited one-time teammate David Price.“I’ve never understood this,” Donaldson tweeted. “Why is it the hitters fault that the pitcher fell behind 3-0? As one of my favorite teammates ever David Price would say, ‘Don’t like it, pitch better.’”Never shy about sharing his opinion, Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer directed his tweet at Tatis. “1) Keep swinging 3-0 if you want to, no matter what the game situation is,” he tweeted.“2) Keep hitting homers, no matter what the situation is“3) Keep bringing energy and flash to baseball and making it fun“4) The only thing you did wrong was apologize. Stop that.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there were “a lot of layers” to the discussion and admitted he was brought up in baseball under the old-school mentality. But he has evolved, coming over to the “Let the kids play” side of the debate.“I think that I came up in a day and age when unwritten rules were sort of abided to and were kind of universally accepted,” Roberts said. “I think things are changing – some good, some not so good.“As I looked into last night and heard a lot of back and forth, you see both sides. There’s a lot of gray. Teams do score five runs a night. We did it twice (in an inning) last night. It changes the dynamic of how you use your ‘pen if you don’t add on, tack on runs.“So I see it both ways. I think for me personally I’ve flipped a little bit more about just keep playing to win the game. Teams that are trailing aren’t going to stop trying to score runs. … I might have changed the way I see things from last night’s incident.”Roberts said he did notice that Machado didn’t complain about being thrown at and another Padres veteran, Eric Hosmer, suggested the issue would be addressed internally with Tatis.But talent like Tatis should be allowed to play freely, Roberts suggested.“I think the unwritten rules have changed, should change,” he said. “Each passing day, we’ve got to continue to break some of those rules. And that’s a good thing.”COVID CASECatcher Keibert Ruiz became the fourth Dodgers player to acknowledge he contracted a case of COVID-19, delaying his arrival at Summer Camp last month. Kenley Jansen, A.J. Pollock and Scott Alexander have all said they suffered from the illness. Tony Gonsolin said he tested positive for the coronavirus but never became ill.Ruiz had the now-familiar range of symptoms – high fever, headache and a lost sense of taste.“It was a tough time,” said Ruiz who made his major-league debut Sunday. “It was like seven days I was sick, didn’t feel good. But thank God I’m good now.”Related Articles Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Amid a tangible buzz normally reserved for playoff games, Lakers fans were standing from the time Bryant walked onto the court for pregame warmups. It had been eight months since he ripped his Achilles tendon on the Staples Center court.Let’s just say the Lakers seemed to play at the same level as Bryant, who was coming off a devastating injury and couldn’t be expected to rebuild Kobe in a day.“I felt good I was able to get in the lane,” Bryant said. “I felt like I could penetrate and get into the corner, which was a big question mark for me. Once I got in there I didn’t make the proper reads most of the time. But the fact I could get in there means I can improve. The explosiveness you can’t.”Physically, that’s the good news. Team-wise, it wasn’t pretty. None of the starters scored in double figures, but all five reserves did. Now come the adjustments. In Mike D’Antoni’s perfect world, the return of Kobe Bryant would be a nice integration into a team that had begun to form an identity, that his talents would begin to fit in, they’d all mesh and the Lakers could go about their business of winning games.“We feel like it’s a boost, not the cavalry coming to save us,” D’Antoni said Sunday.If you listened to Bryant’s reviews after his return to the court, it actually kind of was the cavalry. Or the product all those horses leave behind.The Lakers’ 106-94 loss to Toronto at Staples Center showed them that Bryant is back in some form, but it didn’t help much more than that as the undermanned Raptors led wire-to-wire. “It’s more me adjusting because I’ve got to get used to the timing of the game and speed of the game and where those lanes are and how quickly they close down, getting them the ball in the right spot,” Bryant said. “A bunch of times we were just out of sync.”The Raptors, with leading scorer Rudy Gay held out because he’s part of a reported seven-player trade with Sacramento, led by as many as 14 and responded every time the Lakers made a push.Nick Young scored 19 points for the Lakers and Xavier Henry scored 17, making 6 of 8 shots. But when the stretch run arrived, D’Antoni brought Bryant in for Henry.But they realize the season just changed for the Lakers (10-10).“We have a lot of things that are different,” Henry said. “We have point guards that are out so I have to play backup point guard. We have Kobe coming back, so everything shifts. Everybody just has to find their way and we’ll figure it out in due time.“Before long we’ll know what we’re doing, for sure.”Bryant missed his first two shots but had two early assists. The first shot he made was a leaning left-handed bank shot, but when his night ended after a 28-minute stint, he had nine points and eight rebounds. He made only 2 of 9 shots and committed eight turnovers.“Not to turn the ball over, I failed miserably at that,” Bryant said when asked of his expectations. “That was really the biggest thing for me, was just trying to take care of the basketball. I’m going to be in charge of making some decisions out there, but some of it is the guys getting used to where the ball’s going to be and me getting used to where they’re going to be and me being able to read defenses and me taking care of the basketball. This was complete failure to me.”At the same time, forward Pau Gasol also struggled, scoring only seven points on 3-for-7 shooting and drawing a healthy amount of boos from frustrated fans. At the same time, former Westchester High star Amir Johnson made his own return home and scored a career-high 32 points for the Raptors, who sent only eight players onto the court all night. Former USC star DeMar DeRozan added 26 points and guard Kyle Lowry had 23 points for Toronto (7-12).Bryant’s return, of course, came with concerns other than his health or conditioning level. The Lakers had to wonder how his infusion into the lineup might gum up the works.And at the same time keep the eye on the prize.“To win and start building a team that hopefully we can start driving to the playoffs and do something,” D’Antoni said, asked what he expected. “There’ll be a little bit of a sorting-out process to see what we need to adjust, and he needs to adjust to the team and vice versa and go from there. “Obviously, this is a boost and we’ll try to get him back to a level that he left.”Bryant was in the starting lineup and was expecting to get a run of minutes in the 20s, but as the Lakers chased Toronto in the fourth quarter, he was flirting with a 30-minute night.“I feel like I can run all day long. It’s a matter of getting those game legs back,” Bryant said. “Getting the shots feels weird, running and cutting and being able to explode feels weird because you’ve kind of got those game legs back. “It’s a matter of trusting certain things and also experimenting. You’ve got to be able to throw yourself out there and take off (from) the leg a little bit and measure. You can’t just shy away from it and put all the stress on the healthy leg, because you’ll wear that thing down.”When Bryant checked in during the fourth quarter, he tried to pass his team back into the game. He said he’s not in a catch-and-shoot rhythm yet, but the first hurdle was cleared. “You try to control (the emotion) as much as you can, but you can’t help but think of all the support, the hard work,” he said. “I’ve really worked my butt off this entire summer to get to this place. The amount of support’s been incredible. You can’t help but to think of that. You put it to the side as much as possible, go out there and do your job as best you can.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error