Here are five interesting stories in Major League Baseball this week:
Griffey, Piazza enshrined
Staring out at their families and tens of thousands of fans who hung on every word, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were inducted Sunday into the Baseball Hall of Fame in a ceremony tinged with tears all around.
The two became a piece of history on their special day. Griffey, the first pick of the 1987 amateur draft, became the highest pick ever inducted. Piazza, a 62nd-round pick the next year – No. 1,390 – is the lowest pick to enter the Hall of Fame.
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Griffey played 22 big-league seasons with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox and was selected on a record 99.32 percent of ballots cast, an affirmation of sorts for his clean performance during baseball’s so-called Steroids Era.
Selected in the draft by the Dodgers after Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, a close friend of Piazza’s father, Vince, put in a good word, Piazza played 16 years with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and Athletics and hit 427 home runs, including a major league record 396 as a catcher.
Sale suspended over uniform fiasco
The White Sox suspended ace Chris Sale for five days without pay on Sunday for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear Saturday.
The suspension comes to $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700 – the cost of the destroyed jerseys – according to a person familiar with the penalty who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
FanRag Sports first reported Sale was protesting the 1976-style jerseys, which were navy and sported unusual collars on a hot and humid night.
Sale then cut up an unknown number of jerseys before the game and was told to leave the stadium. With not enough usable 1976 jerseys available, the White Sox wore white throwback uniforms from the 1983 season.
Cueto irked at K.C. over D.C.
Johnny Cueto feels slighted the Kansas City Royals didn’t invite him to come along when they were honored at the White House.
Acquired by Kansas City from Cincinnati on July 26, 2015, the pitcher went 2-1 in the postseason. His two-hitter in Game 2 of the World Series against the New York Mets gave Kansas City a 2-0 series lead, and the Royals won in five games for their first championship since 1985.
Cueto left as a free agent after the season to sign a $130 million, six-year contract with the San Francisco Giants.
“I believe that I earned it,” he said of the White House trip, speaking through a translator after his start Saturday against the New York Yankees. “I was on the team. I did something for the team for them to win the World Series, so I was expecting it. ... I think that they should have had the courtesy to invite me.”
Kansas City said it set limitations on who would get invitations: players had to be on the team all last year, on the active postseason roster and not currently on another team.
Porcello rolling at home
Rick Porcello became the first Boston pitcher in 55 years to open a season 10-0 at Fenway Park after Sunday’s 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins.
“I just feel good here,” Porcello said. “I feel comfortable pitching in front of our crowd.”
Last year, Porcello (13-2) was expected to be an ace after the club acquired him from Detroit before the season, but he lost six of his first 11 starts at home and ended the year 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA.
Porcello, 27, became the first since Don Schwall in 1961 to win his first 10 Fenway decisions in a season.
Giants likely happy to be going home
The San Francisco Giants headed into the All-Star break a major league-best 57-33.
They started the second half by skidding on a 1-7 trip to San Diego, Boston and New York that culminated in a 5-2 loss Sunday to the Yankees. A 12-inning victory Saturday was the Giants’ only win.
The Giants will open a homestand Monday against Cincinnati, last in the National League Central at 38-60.
Compiled by Noel Harris with information from The Associated Press