Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar has been suspended for three games after a photo emerged from Saturday's game showing him with a Spanish homophobic slur in his eye black, the substance ballplayers put below their eyes to reduce the sun's glare.
Escobar acknowledged being the author of the message, but was reticent about the underlying meaning of the words.
"It was not something I intended to be offensive," Escobar said through a translator. "It's something I just put on the sticker on my face."
The team said it met with Escobar, Major League Baseball officials and the MLB Players Association and decided the shortstop will be suspended without pay. The salary he forfeits will be donated to the groups You Can Play and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD.)
"The Blue Jays want to reaffirm that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated," the team said in a statement announcing the suspension.
Escobar said his actions were not intentional or directed at anyone in particular and he wanted to apologize to anyone he offended.
"I don’t have anything against homosexuals," Escobar said. "I have friends who are gay. I'd like to ask for the apology of all those who have been offended by this."
Maria Cristina Cuervo, a Spanish professor at the University of Toronto, told Toronto Star columnist Cathal Kelly on Tuesday that the word "is derogatory, but it’s not necessarily homophobic," and in some Spanish-speaking countries such as Argentina, it is more of a teasing insult.
Escobar did not say specifically what he thought the words on his eye black meant, but added the phrase was something that's "been said amongst Latinos."
"It's not something meant to be offensive," he said. "For us, it didn't have the significance to the way it's being interpreted right now. It's a word used often with teens."
When pressed further by reporters, Escobar said that the words he wrote have different meanings depending on how you say it and who you say it to. Reporters then asked what he specifically meant.
"I didn't mean to say anything with it," he said.
Escobar added he has several gay friends, including the person who decorates his house and who cuts his hair. He said those people told him they were not as offended as the larger community.
Bartolo Colon, a starting pitcher for the playoffs-chasing Oakland Athletics, has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for synthetic testosterone, Major League Baseball said Wednesday.
The move comes a week after 2012 All-Star Game MVP and San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was given a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test. Colon is the fifth MLB player to be suspended this year after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said.
“I apologize to the fans, to my teammates and to the Oakland A's," Colon said in a statement released Wednesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. "I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension.”
When Felix Hernandez struck out Tampa Bay's Sean Rodriguez on Wednesday, the Seattle Mariner completed a remarkable achievement, just the 23rd perfect game in 15 decades of major league baseball.
What might be equally remarkable is three of those 23 perfect games have been tossed this year, with a quarter of the season left to play.
In June, the San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain frustrated 27 straight Houston Astros in a 10-0 victory.
And in 2012's first perfect game, the Chicago White Sox Philip Humber breezed past 27 straight Mariners. Like Hernandez's, Humber's completed gem came at Seattle's Safeco Field.
Add to the perfect games, three other no-hitters this season, and you have even the most casual of baseball fans asking, what makes 2012 so perfect for pitching?
Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on Wednesday afternoon pitched the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history and the third this season.
Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, retired all 27 Tampa Bay Rays batters in order as the Mariners beat the Rays 1-0 at Seattle's Safeco Field. He struck out 12 of those batters, including the last one, third baseman Sean Rodriguez.
This is the third no-hitter and second perfect game at Safeco Field this season. Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox threw a perfect game against the Mariners on April 21, and six Seattle pitchers combined to hold the Los Angeles Dodgers hitless on June 8, according to mlb.com.
Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants threw the other perfect game this year, a 10-0 gem against the Houston Astros on June 13.
Johan Santana of the New York Mets and Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels have thrown no-hitters this season, but both pitchers allowed batters to reach base.
Hernandez's feat was the fourth no-hitter in Mariners history. Randy Johnson threw one in 1990 and Chris Bosio had one in 1993.
Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky dies
The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November. CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.
Today's programming highlights...
10:00 am ET - Cal Ripken talks mother's kidnapping - Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken will hold a briefing with reporters regarding the investigation into the abduction of his mother last month.
Some kids may not be learning good sportsmanship from their parents. We've obtained video of some adults losing control at their kids' sporting events by fighting and punching other parents. See why these parents became so upset.
A Little League game in Georgia got out of hand when a verbal fight turned physical.
Watch what provoked a fight between parents after a Little League game.
Three parents face criminal charges after a youth baseball tournament turns ugly. KUSA reports.
Listen to chilling 911 call of a parent reporting a fight at a youth baseball tournament game.
Back in 2006, CNN affiliate KZTV captured video of parents at a Texas Little League game fighting with the referee.
Watch to see how many parents get involved in this brawl.
[Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET] Famed baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty Monday of lying to Congress during an investigation of steroid use among major league players.
The case against Clemens involved one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. He was found not guilty on all counts.
"Mr. Clemens, you're free to go," Judge Reggie Walton said after the verdicts were read in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Roger Clemens thanks all those who defended him after a jury found him 'not guilty' of federal perjury charges.
Clemens wiped away tears as he hugged his sons in the courtroom following the verdicts.
He was not charged with illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs, but his denial of such use was part of the case against him.
Arguments in the trial concluded last week. Federal prosecutor Courtney Saleski, in closing arguments Tuesday, told the jury Clemens "wanted to protect his brand, he wanted to protect his livelihood," in denying the use of steroids during a 2008 investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into the problem.
The Clemens defense team disputed whether the government has made its case, telling the jury all the evidence came through a former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who the defense team said had incentive to lie.
The New York Mets want Major League Baseball to officially upgrade Wednesday’s one-hitter from pitcher R.A. Dickey to a no-hitter. And they’re willing to blame one of their other players to do it.
The Mets, who beat the host Tampa Bay Rays 9-1 on Wednesday, have asked MLB to change the Rays’ only hit against Dickey to an error on Mets third baseman David Wright, MLB.com reported Thursday.
If MLB makes the change, it would be Wednesday’s second no-hitter – San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game against the Houston Astros - and the Mets’ second in 12 days (Johan Santana threw the Mets’ first-ever no-hitter June 1).
Dickey sounded conflicted when talking about the team’s request.
"A part of me would love a no-hitter," Dickey, a 37-year-old knuckleballer with a 10-1 record this season, said Thursday, according to MLB.com. "Regardless of how you get it, it's still a no-hitter. And then a part of me thinks it would be cheap."
The key play came in the first inning, when the Rays’ B.J. Upton hit a two-hopper to third base. Video of the game from SNY shows Wright trying to barehand it but not getting hold of it.
On Wednesday night, Wright told SNY that he tried to barehand the ball because Upton is fast, and he didn’t think he had time to glove it.
“I wish it would have been somebody a little bit slower where I could have took my time and then gloved it, but it’s also the first … inning, I think. Had I known that there was going to be a one-hitter, I would have tried a little harder or something, you know,” Wright said.
The Mets’ manager, Terry Collins, said Thursday that the decision to appeal was his idea. He said he expects the league to announce a decision Friday ,and the chances of a change in Dickey’s favor are slim, according to MLB.com and The New York Times.
“It’s something that you don’t see very much, and if you can get something changed to where a guy gets to have a no-hitter, I think it’s great,” Collins said, according to the Times. “We’re just taking a stab.”
The Rays scored their lone run in the ninth inning, after Tampa Bay’s Elliott Johnson reached first on a throwing error by Wright, according to an MLB.com report on the game. Johnson made his way home thanks to two passed balls and an RBI groundout.
Wright said Thursday that it’s “a little awkward when a team wants an error on its own player.”
"I wish I could have made the play. I just didn't. It's a very difficult play," Wright said, according to MLB.com.
Six pitchers from the Seattle Mariners combined to throw a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, the 10th combined no-hitter in MLB history.
Kevin Millwood held the Dodgers scoreless in six innings before leaving the game with a groin injury. Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Leutge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen combined to throw for three scoreless innings to keep the no-hitter intact.
Third baseman Kyle Seager had a RBI single, scoring Ichiro Suzuki from second base in the Mariners' 1-0 victory.
It is the fourth no-hitter of the baseball season so far, following Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Johan Santana of the New York Mets and Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox.
Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda suffered a mild heart attack Monday while in New York, the Los Angeles team confirmed Tuesday.
Lasorda, 84, was in New York for the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and doctors inserted a stent to correct a blocked artery, the Dodgers said in a statement. He is resting and in stable condition.
The Hall of Fame manager led the Dodgers between 1976-1996. He also managed the United States to its first gold medal in baseball at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Baseball fans who tuned into Sirius XM’s "Power Alley" on Monday didn’t hear the familiar voice of analyst Jim Duquette.
Instead, the former general manager of the New York Mets and one-time vice president of the Baltimore Orioles had more important business: trying to save his daughter’s life.
Ten-year-old Lindsey Duquette has a rare kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, the New York Daily News reports.
Duquette was scheduled to go under the knife at Johns Hopkins Hospital, not far from the family's Maryland home, where he was donating his right kidney, the Daily News reported.
In many ways Lindsey Duquette is like any other fourth grader: concerned with life's pressing issues, like convincing her parents to give her an e-mail account, the Baltimore Sun reported.
"Can I pleeeaaase have an email account?" she is quoted as saying in the the paper quoted her as asking.
But life is different and at times uncertain for Lindsey. She has suffered nearly her whole life, first showing symptoms at the end of 2004, the same year her father was Mets GM. She had both of her kidneys removed after going into end-stage renal failure last year.
The Baltimore Sun article described Lindsey's scarred kidneys leaking protein into her blood and draining her of the vibrant personality, though it seems to have returned since she began daily dialysis treatments.
Now, with the help of her father's kidney, Lindsey has a shot at going into remission from the disease, for which there is no known cure.
Lindsey's outlook is positive. She is looking forward to beginning a new phase of her life with "Raven," the name she gave the kidney, in honor of the local NFL team.
A jersey worn by New York Yankee Hall of Famer Babe Ruth has sold at auction for $4.4 million, the most ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia, a California auction house announced.
The $4,415,658 paid for the 1920s away jersey eclipsed the $4,338,500 paid in 2010 for an original copy of James Naismith's founding rules of basketball, SCP Auctions of Laguna Niguel said in a statement.
The 1920s jersey was on display in a Baltimore museum.
"We are honored to, once again, be a part of history,” David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions, said in a statement. “This proves again that Babe Ruth is king in the sports memorabilia world."
The jersey was bought by Lelands.com, a New York auctioneer of memorabilia from sports, rock 'n' roll, American collectibles and vintage photography.
"We are ecstatic about the purchase of his earliest known Yankees jersey," Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com, said in a statement. "It's like buying a priceless painting, the pinnacle of sports memorabilia."
The company plans to offer the jersey to a private buyer.
The jersey had been on display in the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore.
Also sold during the auction was a Ruth cap from the 1930s. Owned by former Yankees pitcher David Wells, it went for $537,278, a record for a cap, according to the auction house. Wells wore the cap while pitching for the Yankees on June 28, 1997, it said.
Ruth played for the Yankees from 1920 through 1934, part of a 22-year career that began in 1914 with the Boston Red Sox and finished in 1935 with the Boston Braves.
Ruth hit 714 home runs in his career and was baseball's all-time home run leader until Hank Aaron passed him in 1974. Barry Bonds subsequently passed both Ruth and Aaron to become baseball's home run king.
Major League Baseball has suspended Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie for four games for an outburst Tuesday in which he threw his batting helmet, which bounced off the ground and struck umpire Bill Miller.
In the ninth inning of Tuesday's game in Toronto against the Tampa Bay Rays, Lawrie faced Rays closer Fernando Rodney. With a count of three balls and one strike Lawrie took back-to-back pitches from Rodney. Miller called both strikes, sending Lawrie back to the dugout.
Trouble was, when the third strike was called, Lawrie had already taken two steps toward first base, thinking he had drawn a walk. He spun around, took two steps back in the direction of the umpire and threw his batting helmet to the ground. It bounced up and struck Miller.
Besides the four games, Lawrie was also fined an undisclosed amount, according to a report on MLB.com.
He pledged to appeal the ruling and can remain in the Blue Jays lineup during the appeal process.
"I feel that I have the right to explain my side of the story about what happened last night. I just have to suck it up, appeal it and worry about baseball, worry about playing today and getting a win," he said before Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees, according to MLB.com.
Lawrie said it was not his intention to strike Miller with the helmet, but the helmet took "a bad hop," according to a report in the Toronto Star.
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is likely facing a suspension after throwing his helmet in anger and hitting home plate umpire Bill Miller in Toronto Tuesday night.
With a count of three balls and one strike in the bottom of the ninth, Lawrie took back-to-back pitches from Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney. Miller called both strikes, sending Lawrie back to the dugout.
Lawrie was promptly ejected from the game for the outburst, but is likely to face a further suspension and/or fine because the helmet struck Miller.
I've never, ever, done anything to go at an umpire before in my life, and I didn't mean to tonight. I apologize for that," Lawrie said after the game, according to MLB.com. "It just kind of took an unlucky bounce and I think it got him, so my apologies for that."
The Blue Jays lost to the Rays 4-3. Major League Baseball has made no announcement yet as to how long they'll lose Lawrie's services.
The Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship baseball game wasn't played Thursday night because Mesa Prep's second baseman is a girl.
Paige Sultzbach, a freshman, is playing baseball because her high school doesn't offer girls softball. But the school Mesa Prep was to face in the final, Our Lady of Sorrows Academy, said its boys would not compete against a team with a girl and forfeited the game - and the state title - to Mesa Prep.
"As a Catholic school, we promote the ideal of forming and educating boys and girls separately during the adolescent years, especially in physical education,” Our Lady of Sorrows said in a statement, according to CNN affiliate KTVK.
“It takes tremendous moral courage to stand by what it is you believe, and they are doing what they think is right,” Mesa Prep Headmaster Robert Wagner told KTVK.
But Sultzbach's mother, Pamela Sultzbach, said her daughter and the Mesa Prep team were being done a disservice.
"This is not a contact sport. It shouldn't be an issue. It wasn't that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it's that (they believe) that a girl's place is not on a field," Pamela Sultzbach told the Arizona Republic.
"I respect their views, but it's a bit out of the 18th century," Amy Arnold, Mesa Prep's athletic director, told the Republic.
Mesa Prep and Our Lady of Sorrows played twice during the regular season, but Sultzbach sat out, as they were away games for her team.
“It was on their field, and I felt the need to respect their rules,” she told KTVK.
The final would have been on a neutral field, and Sultzbach wanted to play.
Now, despite being hailed as state champions, Mesa Prep will feel like they've missed something, Pamela Sultzbach said.
"This team has worked so hard," she said. "They're undefeated. They had one game left. At our school, we're taught that when you start something, you complete it, and they weren't done."
Sunday was a triple play of surprises in Major League baseball.
First, Albert Pujols homered. No surprise for someone who's hit 446 home runs in a 12-year career, you say? Well, Pujols' homer was his first as a player for the Los Angeles Angels and his first in 110 at bats, a career-long homer drought for the former St. Louis Cardinal who signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels during the winter.
The two-run blast ended up accounting for the winning runs as the Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 in Anaheim, California.
"I'm blessed that I had the opportunity to do it here in front of the fans," said Pujols after the game, according to a report in the Orange County Register. "They were being patient and waiting until the last couple of days, when I heard some boos. ... I was not performing the way everyone was expecting."
Teammates congratulate Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper after he stole home on Sunday.
While Pujols was finally winning over Angels fans, rookie outfielder Bryce Harper was continuing to delight Washington Nationals fans.
The 19-year-old Harper stole home in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, becoming the first teenager to steal home in a Major League game since 1964, the Washington Post reported. It was also Harper's first stolen base in the big leagues.
It came after Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels hit Harper with a pitch to put him on base. Harper advanced to third on a Jason Werth single before swiping home.
Hamels admitted later he hit the rookie on purpose.
"I was trying to hit him," Hamels said, according to a report on MLB.com. "I'm not going to deny it. That's just ... something that I grew up watching, that's what happened, so I'm just trying to continue the old baseball. I think some people kind of get away from it."
And Harper seemed to be OK with that.
"He is a great guy, great pitcher, he knows how to pitch, he is an All-Star. It's all good," Harper was quoted as saying on MLB.com.
In the end, Hamels and the Phillies won 9-3.
Baltimore Orioles players celebrate after completing a 17-inning victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
And Sunday's third surprise came during the 17-inning marathon between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The winning pitcher in the six-hour, seven-minute marathon was Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, who hadn't pitched in any competition in six years, when he was in junior college, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Davis took the mound in the 16th inning after the Orioles had used seven other relief pitchers in the game. He gave up two hits, struck out two and walked one in two innings, picking up the victory when Adam Jones hit a three-run homer in the top of the 17th.
“I'm like, sweet,” Davis said, according to the Sun report. “I get to try something different today because hitting ain't working.” Davis was hitless in eight at-bats in the game. He struck out five times.
And if that's not strange enough, the losing pitcher, who gave up Jones' homer, was Darnell McDonald, a Red Sox outfielder forced to pitch when the Red Sox depleted their relief corps.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver tossed the second no-hitter of the Major League season on Wednesday night, shutting down the Minnesota Twins 9-0 in Anaheim.
Weaver missed a perfect game by two batters, with Chris Parmelee reaching base in the 2nd on a passed ball after a strikeout, and Josh Willingham walking in the seventh.
Weaver threw 121 pitches, 77 for strikes.
Weaver, 29, is a Southern California product, hailing from Northridge and attending Long Beach State, and he had plenty of personal support among the 27,288 in the stands Wednesday night.
"It was unbelievably neat to get it in front of friends and family," Weaver was quoted as saying by ESPN LA.
Weaver's father, Dave, was in the stands.
"I get so nervous sometimes I have to go stick my head in a toilet," Dave Weaver said, according to a Los Angeles Times report. "It gets so nerve-racking, and he's been close before. But after 8 1/3 innings, I figured he'd have a chance."
The victory moved Weaver to 4-0 on the season and lowered his earned run average to 1.61.
"It still hasn't totally sunk in yet," he said on the field after the game, according to a report in the Orange County Register. "It's so surreal."
The first no-hitter of the 2012 season was on April 21, when Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox shut out the Seattle Mariners 4-0. Humber's win was a perfect game, meaning no Mariners reached base.
Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young was arrested in Manhattan early Friday and charged with aggravated harassment after a dispute with another man, New York police said.
Young appeared intoxicated when police arrived at the scene outside the New York Hilton, and he was treated and released from a hospital Friday morning, police Detective Martin Speechley said. The other person involved in the dispute, a 26-year-old male, sustained minor injuries but refused treatment, Speechley said.
Young was in police custody Friday morning, the detective said.
The aggravated harassment charge is a misdemeanor, but Speechley said the case is being investigated as a possible hate crime because of "religious statements made" during the dispute. If there is evidence to support a hate crime, the seriousness of the charge would be "elevated," he said.
The team issued a brief statement Friday afternoon.
"We are aware of the situation, however it is our club policy not to comment on pending legal matters," the statement said. "As we understand it, this is an allegation and we need to allow the legal process to take its course."
The Tigers are in New York for a three-game series against the Yankees beginning Friday.
The team lost to the Seattle Mariners in Detroit on Thursday afternoon before flying to New York.
Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfect game Saturday in a 4-0 win over the Mariners in Seattle.
Only 20 other pitchers have tossed perfect games, in which no opposing batter reaches base, in Major League history, according to MLB.com.
It was the first no-hitter of the 2012 season.
Humber threw 96 pitches, 67 for strikes, and struck out nine. The last batter he faced, Brendan Ryan, nearly spoiled the perfect game when he struck out but had to be thrown out at first when the ball got past Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Until Humber's gem, Philadelphia's Roy Halladay had the most recent perfect game, on May 29, 2010, against Florida. Oakland's Dallas Braden had the American League's most recent perfect game, on May 9, 2010, against Tampa Bay. The last White Sox pitcher to throw a perfect game was Mark Buehrle against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009.
Baseball’s ageless wonder has become one for the ages.
The Colorado Rockies’ Jamie Moyer – at 49 years and 150 days of age – on Tuesday night became the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win a game, surrendering two unearned runs in seven innings to guide his new team past the San Diego Padres 5-3 in Denver.
He also tied Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer for 34th on the all-time wins list at 268.
The previous oldest pitcher to win a game in the majors was the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jack Quinn, who was 49 years and 70 days old when he beat the St. Louis Cardinals in 1932.
Moyer said it was a special night for him, but he said that during the game he was more concerned about having the Rockies finish their nine-game home stand with a winning record than history, according to MLB.com.
"For me to put that in front of the game really would be unfair to my teammates, unfair to myself," Moyer said, according to MLB.com. "It would tell me also that my focus and my attention were in the wrong place.”
Baseball’s attention is now focused on the man who easily could have given up the game two years ago, when – already the oldest active player – he injured his elbow.
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