Did MLB really need that extra day off yesterday?
- Justin Upton's name is one of the bigger ones making the rounds on the trade rumor circuit this year, but he's doing his best to tune those rumors out. "I don't know anything," Upton said of the rumors. "I haven't been keeping up with it. I'm here to play baseball for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as of now .... It's hard to tune it out. You hear everything, obviously from you guys when you ask me questions or things like that. Other than that, I try to focus on today. Today I'm in a Sedona red uniform and I'm prepared to do what I've got to do." Upton, still just 24, is on a relatively team-friendly contract, and you can understand why there would be an avalanche of interest if he were aggressively shopped. The Diamondbacks, who head to Wrigley today, are still in the thick of the playoff chase, though, just a game under .500 and four games out of first in the NL West. Could they really pull off a Justin Upton deal that didn't torpedo their playoff hopes this year? For what it's worth, Buster Olney cites GMs who think an Upton move is likely, and lists 10 teams who could be a fit for Upton (one of which is the Cubs).
- Ratings for the All-Star Game were the lowest they've ever been, according to some metrics anyway. According to others, the ratings were up considerably over last year. Tweets about the Game were up massively, so at least there's that.
- Roy Halladay made his first rehab start since going on the DL back in late May with a right lat strain. He successfully threw three innings for the Phillies' High-A affiliate, but no time table has yet been set for his return.
- Good news and bad news for the Cardinals: on the good side, Lance Berkman will be returning to the Cardinals soon following knee surgery, but Kyle McClellan's season is over after shoulder surgery.
- A young cancer survivor is halfway to his goal of seeing every single Brewers game this season. He's using the travels as a way to raise awareness and funds for the Be The Match bone marrow donation registry, something you should check out.
- Reggie Jackson continues to work to try and un-wind the anger caused by his recent comments about the "cloud" surrounding Alex Rodriguez's accomplishments (due to PED usage). "In trying to convey my feelings about a few issues that I am passionate about, I made the mistake of naming some specific players," Jackson said in a statement Thursday. "This was inappropriate and unfair to those players, some of which are very close friends of mine. I think there are ways to speak from the heart without hurting people, and I'm disappointed that I didn't take greater care in expressing my views." I get that you can't have Jackson around the team and ripping on your players if you're the Yankees, but, generally speaking, isn't there a cloud surrounding Rodriguez's accomplishments?
- The Nationals' pitching coach doesn't want his guys trying to get strikeouts, despite how many they get. That Jeff Sullivan piece makes a pretty compelling argument for something you didn't think would have to be argued: strikeouts for your pitching staff are a very good thing.
- Al dropped this in a FanShot a few days ago, but it was so profoundly awesome that I had to mention it here, in case you missed it: What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light? Short answer: lots of bad stuff. Longer answer: well, you'll just have to read about it.