MLB is on break, but the news is not ...
- The NL ripped the AL in the All-Star Game last night, 8-0. Justin Verlander was rocked in the first inning to the tune of five runs (he later said, "that's why I don't try to throw 100 in the first"), and that was more than the NL needed. The biggest damage came from a pair of Giants: Pablo Sandoval hit a bases-clearing triple, and Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer. Cabrera took home the MVP award. The Cubs' duo of All-Stars, Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair, didn't make an appearance until the 8th and 7th innings, respectively, getting just one at bat a piece ... despite being the only back-ups at their position, and despite the game being a massive blowout by the middle innings. Unless you really stuck to the game, you didn't see them at all.
- Ben Sheets, a former stud, and long-time come-backer, is almost back once again. After just two minor league starts for the Braves, Sheets is expected to start Sunday for the big league team. It seems the Braves are just eager to see what they have in Sheets before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline rolls around.
- Robinson Cano says his family was heckled at the All-Star Game, a day after he was mercilessly booed by KC fans because he didn't choose Billy Butler - tied for 23rd in home runs - for the Home Run Derby.
- There are apparently behind-the-scenes concerns that Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, who's been out with a strained hamstring (and a subsequent setback in rehabbing from that injury), will miss the rest of the season.
- Interleague rivalry series - like the Cubs and White Sox, for example - will be reduced to a four game set (two each, home and home) starting in 2013, except for the years in which the teams' respective divisions are already playing each other in interleague play. In those years, the series will be six games.
- Bud Selig is very disappointed in the Rays' crummy attendance this year, and says the league is going to continue to work with the Rays to figure out a solution.
- The Indians took a surprising step in reaction to reliever Nick Hagadone's improvident decision to punch a wall after a crappy outing, which led to a serious hand injury that could keep him out the rest of the year: they placed him on the disqualified list. That makes him ineligible for pay, and it makes the union spring into action - they're considering filing a grievance, which they almost certainly will. MLBPA Director Michael Weiner says there's a long precedent in baseball for injuries caused by guys punching a wall in frustration during a game to be considered a "work-related injury." Thoughts? When a guy gets yanked, is angry, and kicks a water cooler, is that considered part of the game of baseball? And is the resulting broken toe just a risk that the team runs by hiring guys to play baseball?
Brett Taylor is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and a Contributor here at Bleed Cubbie Blue.