MLB Notes: Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar suspended 2 games for anti-gay slur

MLB Notes: Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar suspended 2 games for anti-gay slur

ATLANTA -- Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar was suspended two games Thursday for yelling an anti-gay slur at a Braves pitcher.

The Blue Jays suspended Pillar without pay shortly after he apologized in a statement, saying he was "completely and utterly embarrassed" by the word he directed at Jason Motte.

Pillar was angry at Motte for allegedly quick-pitching him to get a strikeout that ended the seventh inning in Atlanta's 8-4 victory Wednesday night .

Replays appeared to show Pillar using the slur as he shouted toward the mound. After what he described as a sleepless night, the player acknowledged his wrongdoing.

"I regret saying it," Pillar told reporters at SunTrust Park a few hours before the finale of a four-game series against the Braves. "I'm going to use myself as an example of how there are words out there you can't use. It's not a word I use ever. ... It's something that just came out" (see full story).

Braves: Freeman expected to miss 10 weeks with broken wrist
ATLANTA -- The Braves are looking for help at first base after losing Freddie Freeman for about 10 weeks due to a broken left wrist.

President of baseball operations John Hart says he knows no player can replace the production lost by the injury to Freeman, who shared the major league lead with 14 homers and was hitting .341.

Freeman was hurt when hit by a pitch from Toronto's Aaron Loup during the fifth inning of an 8-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

Hart said losing Freeman is "devastating news for the ballclub."

The Braves signed free agent James Loney to a minor league deal. Loney, 33, hit .265 with nine homers in 100 games for the Mets last year and was released from a minor league contract with Detroit this month. He is expected to join Triple-A Gwinnett.

Coppolella said re-signing Ryan Howard, who was released from Gwinnett on May 8, was not an option.

Jace Peterson, a utility player who has spent most of his time at the middle infield spots, started at first base in Thursday night's game against the Blue Jays.

"We couldn't find anybody that could do what Freddie does," Coppolella said. "He was arguably the best player in the whole league" (see full story).

Marlins: Manfred says bidders for club relatively even in price
NEW YORK -- The two groups bidding to buy the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria are relatively even in their price offers, according to Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads one group, which includes former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who would head the team's baseball operations. The other group is led by businessman Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and includes Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.

"There are two bidders, at least, for the franchise. The bidders are in relatively the same place in terms of price, maybe minuscule differences, and they are in fact in the price range that Mr. Loria was looking for," Manfred said Thursday following a quarterly owners meeting.

Loria, 76, bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, who was part of the group that bought the Boston Red Sox.

The groups are bidding to buy the Marlins for approximately $1.3 billion, which would include the assumption of about $100 million in baseball-related debt. More than $200 million in other debt associated with the team would be paid by Loria as part of the closing.

"The process is moving forward. It's really between the Marlins and the bidders," Manfred said. "At this point, two things need to happen. There needs to be a solidified financial structure presented to us so that we're sure that we actually have a transaction that can move ahead, and there are certain documents, the most important of which are a purchase and sale agreement that need to be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. And we'll be ready to process the transaction when those two things are completed."

Under baseball's debt-service rule, a deal in the range being discussed would require about $800 million in equity. Groups have to show additional money has been raised to operate the team.

A sale requires approval of 75 percent of the teams.

Larry Bowa on Jim Bunning: His words 'resonated throughout my career'

Larry Bowa on Jim Bunning: His words 'resonated throughout my career'

Beyond the center field wall at Citizens Bank Park, retired Phillies uniform No. 14 was draped in black cloth on Saturday afternoon.
 
Jim Bunning, who wore that number during six seasons with the club, died late Friday night at his home in Kentucky. The Hall of Fame pitcher, who went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, was 85.
 
Bunning was a workhorse right-hander who pitched with smarts and competitiveness during his 17 seasons in the majors. He also pitched with the Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers. He averaged 35 starts and won 89 games during his six seasons with the Phillies. He also authored one of the most iconic moments in club history when he pitched the franchise's first perfect game on a searing hot Father's Day in 1964 against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
 
Talking about a perfect game as it is unfolding is considered baseball taboo. To mention it is to risk jinxing it. But Bunning broke tradition and in the late innings of that game talked openly with teammates in the dugout about the possibility of finishing off the feat.
 
"Jim Bunning was way too practical of a man to worry about a jinx," former teammate Rick Wise once said. Wise pitched the second game of that Father's Day doubleheader. It started 20 minutes after Bunning completed his perfecto and Wise had trouble finding a ball and a catcher to warm him up because everyone was busy celebrating the perfect game.
 
Bunning went 224-184 with a 3.27 ERA in 591 career games. He led the American League with 20 wins in 1957. He led the league in innings twice and strikeouts three times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1996 and went into Cooperstown as a Phillie.
 
Bunning had two tours with the Phillies, 1964-67 and 1970-71, and was a straight-laced competitor who expected effort and excellence from his teammates. During his second time through Philadelphia, as he was nearing the end of his career, he was a teammate of a young shortstop named Larry Bowa.
 
"I remember him coming up to me and saying, ‘Don’t ever, ever lose your energy. I don’t want to turn around and see your head dropping because you’re 0 for 3,’" Bowa recalled Saturday. "He said, ‘I don’t ever want to see that.’ He said, ‘You’ve got to be accountable. You’ve got to play with energy. You’ve got to play every inning of every game.
 
"I made an error one day and he turned around — I didn’t even want to make eye contact with him — he turned around and he was rubbing the ball and looked at me and I went, 'Yeah, I know I should have caught it.' He was just that intense."
 
Bunning had a mean streak on the mound. He led the league in hit batsman four times.
 
Bowa recalled the time Ron Hunt — a notorious plunkee — did not get out of the way of a Bunning breaking ball. As Hunt ran to first base, Bunning admonished him.
 
"He went over and said, 'Ron, if you want to get hit, I’ll hit you next time and it won’t be a breaking ball.' That’s what kind of competitor he was."
 
Bunning suffered a stroke last year.
 
"I knew he had been sick," Bowa said. "Tremendous, tremendous person who taught me a lot about the game in a short time.
 
"He always gave me good advice. He talked about self-evaluation with me all the time. He said you’ve got to be accountable in this game, no one gives you anything in this game. I never had a pitcher mentor me like he did. In spring training, he told me, ‘Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.’ It was that simple. I said, ‘Yes, sir.’
 
"When a guy like that takes the time with someone who is just starting, it’s, I mean, it resonated throughout my career."

MLB Notes: Tigers place 2B Ian Kinsler on 10-day disabled list

MLB Notes: Tigers place 2B Ian Kinsler on 10-day disabled list

CHICAGO -- The Detroit Tigers placed Ian Kinsler on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring ahead of their doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

Outfielder JaCoby Jones was recalled from Triple A Toledo to fill the roster spot. He was scheduled to start the first game of the twin bill in center field.

Kinsler sat out five games because of the same injury this month. He has a .239 batting average, four home runs and 11 RBIs in 41 games this season.

Also, the Tigers acquired the contract of pitcher Arcenio Leon and Chad Bell was optioned to Toledo. Bell pitched 2 1/3 innings on Friday. Pitcher William Cuevas was designated for assignment.

Leon spent the 2016 season in the Mexican League before signing as minor league free agent last winter. He'd be making his major league debut.

Indians: Ace starter Corey Kluber expected to rejoin rotation next week
CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber, sidelined most of the month with a strained lower back, is expected to rejoin the Cleveland Indians rotation on Thursday against Oakland.

Cleveland's ace right-hander hasn't pitched since May 2 when he left his start against Detroit after three innings. He threw five scoreless innings for Double-A Akron on a minor league rehab assignment Friday.

Kluber is 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts. He pitched 249 1/3 innings last season, including 34 1/3 in the playoffs. Kluber also pitched on three days rest three times during the postseason, two coming against the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Kluber was 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and two shutouts in the regular season and went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six playoff starts. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 2014 and was third in the voting last season.

Indians manager Terry Francona didn't say whose spot Kluber will take in the rotation.

Padres: OF Manuel Margot placed on 10-day DL with calf strain
WASHINGTON -- The San Diego Padres placed Manuel Margot on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right calf before Saturday's game against the Washington Nationals.

The centerfielder left Wednesday's game with calf soreness. He was in a walking boot ahead of Friday's series opener.

Second on the team in at-bats, the 22-year-old Margot is batting .259 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

"He's just sore right now," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He'll take off four-to-five days and keep the workload really minimum. After that, see how he progresses."

Outfielder Franchy Cordero was called up from Triple-A El Paso for his major league debut. He is expected to start Sunday and receive much of the playing time in center field.