Hunter Strickland

MLB player pool: Mets sign former Bryce Harper enemy Hunter Strickland

MLB player pool: Mets sign former Bryce Harper enemy Hunter Strickland

When the shortened Major League Baseball season begins, a notable name from Bryce Harper's storied past will be wearing New York Mets blue.

The Mets signed pitcher Hunter Strickland on Monday, and plan on adding Strickland to their 2020 player pool:

Strickland finished 2019 with the Nationals after being traded from the Mariners, but his relationship with Harper dates back to his original squad, the San Francisco Giants.

For the uninitiated, here's a lengthy breakdown of the infamous years-long beef between Harper and Strickland:

A short version: Harper smoked a pair of homers off Strickland in a 2014 postseason series, had some fun celebrating the second, and Strickland got mad. Three years later, Strickland plunked Harper, who then charged the mound, where the two engaged in a mildly entertaining, bench-clearing brawl.

Like most baseball beef, it was pretty dumb.

But if you're thinking about more fireworks this season between the two, you'll be sorely disappointed. 

Harper explained earlier this year that he's moved past the incident with Strickland:

For him to hit me in the a**, I'm not mad. You know what I'm saying? Like, it was definitely where, like, 'Okay, three years ago, now we're down the road, c'mon man. You got a World Series ring with it.' ... For him to come back, I respect him for the pure fact that he hit me in the butt. Because he could've came up and in, anything like that. And he just wanted to fight! How can you disrespect a guy who wants to fight? I enjoy that. And after that, it was squashed. It was done.

It's definitely some athlete logic, but I respect Harper and Strickland for having their brawl, and then moving right along.

The Mets' move still matters for Harper, though: last year, the Phils' superstar faced Strickland twice - once with the Mariners and once with the Nationals - and hit a home run in both at bats.

So that's something.

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MLB Notes: Hunter Strickland's 6-game suspension upheld

MLB Notes: Hunter Strickland's 6-game suspension upheld

ATLANTA -- San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland began serving a six-game suspension Monday for brawling with Bryce Harper after his appeal was denied by Major League Baseball.

The penalty stemmed from a benches-clearing incident between the Giants and Washington Nationals on May 29.

Strickland plunked Harper on the right hip with a 98 mph fastball, igniting an eighth-inning fight that ended with Strickland being dragged to the Giants dugout by several teammates.

Harper was suspended for four games, which was reduced to three games after his appeal. He has already served the penalty.

John McHale Jr., a special assistant to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, denied Strickland's appeal, which means the pitcher will miss all four games of a series set to begin Monday in Atlanta against the Braves, as well as the first two games of a weekend series in San Francisco against the New York Mets.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he wasn't surprised by MLB's decision.

"It's good to finally get this out of the way so we can focus on going forward," he said before Monday's game at SunTrust Park. "That's six games we don't have him. We knew this was coming" (see full story).

Reds: Arroyo, Cozart placed on disabled list
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Cincinnati Reds have placed Bronson Arroyo on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder, one day after the 40-year-old right-hander said there is a possibility his career might be over.

Cincinnati also put shortstop Zack Cozart on the 10-day DL Monday due to a strained right quadriceps.

Arroyo gave up five runs and seven hits in just three innings Sunday as the Reds lost 8-7 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Arroyo (3-6) is attempting a comeback this season with his former team after missing 2 seasons with arm and shoulder problems, including Tommy John surgery and a procedure on his shoulder. He said after Sunday's outing, "Have I thought `This time might be my last time on the field?' Yeah."

"Now, it's just a matter of seeing where this goes, to define the source of the pain, and really kind of figure out what's in his best interest," Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We haven't even really got to the point to really talking about what the future holds for Bronson. We just realized that he does need to go on the DL, and we have time now to kind of reassess."

Cozart is hitting .320 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 58 games this season. The injury has slowed him for the past few weeks and was further aggravated while running to first Saturday.

"It's just getting to a point where it's just smart to take a couple days and let it calm down, get that swelling out of there," Cozart said (see full story).

Orioles: Hardy placed on DL with broken wrist
BALTIMORE -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday with a broken bone in his right wrist, an injury that will keep him sidelined four to six weeks.

Surgery will not be required, but Hardy can't participate in baseball activities until the wrist has fully healed.

Hardy was injured Sunday when hit by a pitch from Lance Lynn in the fourth inning of Baltimore's 8-5 win over St. Louis. Hardy remained in the game initially, then was replaced by Ruben Tejada in the sixth.

"I realized there was zero chance I was going to be able to hold a bat, so there was no point staying in," Hardy said Monday, his arm in a soft cast.

Though Hardy was batting only .211, he was on a 7-for-23 streak that added 10 points to his batting average after working with batting coach Scott Coolbaugh.

"We basically started with a clean slate, just started focusing on what needed to be done in the swing," Hardy said. "I was right on my way to getting out of the little slump I was in, and then this happens" (see full story).

MLB Notes: Bryce Harper, Hunter Strickland handed suspensions for brawl

MLB Notes: Bryce Harper, Hunter Strickland handed suspensions for brawl

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland has received a six-game suspension and Washington's Bryce Harper four games for their roles in a benches-clearing brawl at AT&T Park.

Each also has been fined an undisclosed amount, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday. Both players planned to appeal.

Strickland hit Harper in the hip with a pitch and the Washington slugger charged the mound, wildly firing his helmet and trading punches to the head with Strickland during the Nationals' 3-0 win Monday over the San Francisco Giants (see full story).

Marlins: Jeb Bush no longer interested in buying team
MIAMI -- Jeb Bush has dropped out of the race for the Miami Marlins.

The ex-presidential candidate and former Florida governor is no longer interested in buying the Marlins and has ended his pursuit of the team, two people close to the negotiations said Tuesday.

One of the people said former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who had been part of Bush's group, is still exploring a bid with other investors. The two people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the parties involved aren't commenting publicly on the status of negotiations.

Jeter becomes the frontman for an investment group competing with a group led by businessman Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The Romney group includes Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine and former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart.

Earlier this month, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Romney and Bush-Jeter groups were relatively even in their price offers. Both bid about $1.3 billion to buy the team from Jeffrey Loria, who bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry (see full story).

Red Sox: Pedroia to the DL, Sandoval activated
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox have placed second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained wrist and activated third baseman Pablo Sandoval from the DL.

Pedroia sprained his left wrist when he tumbled over White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu in Chicago on Monday. He returned to Boston for tests. He missed three games earlier this season after being spiked in the leg.

Sandoval was placed on the DL on April 25 with a sprained right knee and made seven rehab appearances at Triple-A Pawtucket. He was batting .213 with three homers in 17 games before then (see full story).

Blue Jays: Man accused of tossing beer at playoff game pleads guilty
TORONTO -- The man suspected of throwing a beer can at a Baltimore outfielder during a playoff game in Toronto last October has pleaded guilty to mischief.

In an agreed statement of facts presented in court on Tuesday, Ken Pagan admitted tossing a can of beer on the field as Orioles player Hyun Soo Kim was about to catch a fly ball during seventh inning of the playoff game on Oct. 4.

The can just missed him. The statement gave no indication as to why Pagan threw the can.

Pagan pleaded guilty to mischief and is to return to court on June 28.

The incident triggered a social media frenzy as many scanned photographs and video footage from the game to figure out where the can had come from.

White Sox: Robert's $26M signing bonus spread over 3 years
CHICAGO -- Cuban prospect Luis Robert's signing bonus will be spread out over three years.

Chicago finalized a minor league contract with the 19-year-old outfielder on Saturday, a deal that includes a $26 million signing bonus and will cost the White Sox an additional $25,243,200 in tax for exceeding their international bonus pool.

Robert receives $10 million within 30 days' approval of the commissioner's office and $2.5 million on Dec. 20. He gets $2 million each on July 1 in 2018 and 2019, and $2 million each on Dec. 20 in 2018 and 2019. A final $4.5 million payment is due on July 1, 2020.

Chicago must pay a 100 percent tax on the amount of bonuses exceeding $3,729,800, not including bonuses of $10,000 or under.

As part of baseball's new labor contract, in the signing period that starts July 2 Chicago's bonuses will be capped at $4.75 million, not including bonuses of $10,000 or less. In addition, the White Sox may not give an international amateur a signing bonus of more than $300,000 for the next two signing periods.