Police ID suspect in Ortiz case
Tonight: Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 p.m.
Pitching matchup: Tigers LHP Daniel Norris (2-5) vs. Pirates RHP Mitch Keller (0-1)
TV: AT&T SportsNet
The Associated Press
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Dominican authorities on Monday identified the man they believe paid hit men to try and kill David Ortiz, adding that they were closing in on the mastermind and motive behind the shooting of the famous slugger who is recovering at a hospital in Boston.
The man was identified as Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, whom authorities say is a fugitive. The announcement was made as a judge held a hearing closed to the public for another suspect nicknamed “Bone.” Officials did not release details, but according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press, the man, whose real name is Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaino, is accused of being the liaison between the alleged hit men and the person who paid them.
The documents state that a man who is in prison for an unrelated case reached out to Perez for the alleged job a week before the June 9 shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo and sent him a picture of the target so he could share it with the hit men.
Perez allegedly shared the picture with the other suspects as they gathered at a nearby gas station just minutes before the shooting. Officials have not said whether the picture was of Ortiz.
The documents also state that Perez sold a gold-colored iPhone 6 used to plan the attack to a woman for $180 so he could get rid of the evidence a day after the shooting. Authorities claimed the phone was giving him problems and that’s why he sold it.
An attorney for Perez did not comment upon leaving the courtroom after the hearing as police whisked away the suspect, who was wearing a red T-shirt, a flak jacket and a helmet. He did not speak to reporters.
Machado in denial
SAN DIEGO — San Diego Padres star Manny Machado denied he made contact with plate umpire Bill Welke after being ejected for arguing a called third strike Saturday night and said he’ll appeal his one-game suspension and fine.
“I’ve just never seen anyone get suspended for arguing balls and strikes, so we’ll see what happens,” Machado said before Monday night’s game with Milwaukee.
MLB said the punishment, imposed by Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, was for “aggressively arguing and making contact” with Welke.
Asked if he made contact, Machado said: “Not that I believe, so no, but everyone has their own right to write what they want. We have our case and we’re going to wait to see what the appeal comes back with. We always have the right to argue balls and strikes and give our opinion on it.
“You could see the video. I mean, I was right the whole way. There’s video for it.”
The third baseman had two hits and scored twice before being ejected by Welke in the fifth inning Saturday night after a called third strike.
Asked if Welke indicated at the time that there was contact, Machado said: “He pointed but I was way too into the zone on letting him hear what I had to say on what I thought about the whole call. I didn’t touch him. I didn’t think I touched him. Video says it all. … I think we’ve got a good case. I don’t think anyone’s ever gotten suspended a game for arguing balls and strikes. I think that’s a little too much, a little unjustified, but there’s a process to this and we’re going to go through it.”
The 26-year-old Machado is batting .261 with 13 home runs and 39 RBIs for the Padres after signing a $300 million, 10-year contract in spring training.
Mets’ P to miss one start
ATLANTA — New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway says right-hander Noah Syndergaard has a low-grade hamstring strain and will miss at least one start.
Syndergaard underwent an MRI on Sunday and was placed on the 10-day injured list. Callaway hopes Syndergaard misses just one start but says it’s too early to tell if he will need more time to recover.
Reliever Wilmer Font is a candidate to take Syndergaard’s turn in the rotation, but Callaway says Seth Lugo is not.
“I think he’s so valuable in his role right now that it’d be tough to take him out,” Callaway said.
Syndergaard reached for the back of his right leg after throwing a pitch in the seventh inning Saturday night against St. Louis. He walked off the field with a limp, but wasn’t favoring the leg while playing catch and doing agility drills before Monday’s game.
He is 5-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 15 starts.
Gennett begins rehab
CINCINNATI — Scooter Gennett has begun a rehab assignment, the final step in returning from a severe groin sprain in spring training that has sidelined the Cincinnati Reds’ All-Star second baseman all season.
Gennett will play five days with Single-A Daytona and move up to Triple-A Louisville to continue the rehab.
In the last two years, Gennett has 50 homers and 189 RBIs, joining Dave Parker and Deron Johnson as the only Reds to put up such numbers in their first two seasons with Cincinnati. He was an All-Star for the first time last year, when he finished second to Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich for the batting title at .310.
The Reds are last in the NL Central at 31-38 with one of the majors’ worst offenses.
Yankee sent down
CHICAGO — Hot-hitting Clint Frazier was squeezed out of the New York Yankees’ powerful lineup and sent down to the minors Sunday, another frustrating episode in what’s been a breakout season for the 24-year-old outfielder.
The Yankees got AL home run leader Edwin Encarnaci¯n in a late-night trade with Seattle, then made the roster move following a 10-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. Frazier batted cleanup and went 1 for 5.
Frazier is hitting .283 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 53 games, a key factor in helping the Yankees stay within a half-game of Tampa Bay atop the AL East. He was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“Yeah, pretty surprised,” Frazier said, adding, “It’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s never fun especially with how much I’ve felt like I’ve contributed to this team this year.”
New York opens a three-game series at home against the Rays on Monday night, with Encarnaci¯n set to become the team’s designated hitter. Giancarlo Stanton is expected to come off the injured list on Tuesday and fellow slugging outfielder Aaron Judge might not be far behind.
The move came two weeks after Frazier made a couple of misplays in a Sunday night loss to Boston at Yankee Stadium. Frazier didn’t talk to the media after the game, and was unapologetic for his stance when he did talk the next day.
That approach didn’t exactly thrill the Yankees. Still, his bat continued to make an impact the Yankees appreciated and needed.
Manager Aaron Boone said it was “very difficult” to tell Frazier about the minor league assignment.
“He’s played a big role on a winning team,” Boone said. “That doesn’t necessarily stop now, but this is where we’re at from a roster situation.”
Boone said the Yankees want Frazier to be able to play regularly and there’s limited opportunity for him in New York, given the team’s suddenly loaded roster. The Yankees also have outfielders Aaron Hicks, who figures to start in center, and veteran Brett Gardner, who likely will be the top backup.
“Obviously that’s tough news to deliver, but hopefully he can make the most of it and continue to get better at his craft. We know that’s he going to play a role for us again,” Boone said.
“He’s got a chance to be a great player in this league and he’s already shown that,” he said.
Frazier said Boone told him that “this is the reality of things.”
“I guess I’m facing reality right now,” Frazier said.
Frazier said he figured he might become a victim of a numbers game.
“Not because of Encarnaci¯n, but maybe because of Judge or Stanton,” he said.
Frazier was the overall fifth pick in the 2013 draft by Cleveland and was dealt to the Yankees in July 2016 as a part of a package for star reliever Andrew Miller.
While the Yankees added another power bat with Encarnaci¯n, there’s speculation they will try to get an ace pitcher before the July 31 trading deadline. Frazier’s play could make him a possible bargaining chip for a big deal.
“I’ve been traded once. Who knows? I can’t control that, I just try to play as good as I can to put myself in a good position,” he said.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers have placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day injured list with a right groin strain.
Texas made the move before its series opener at home against Cleveland on Monday night, a day after Pence got hurt. He joined slugging outfielder Joey Gallo on the injured list.
Pence left Sunday’s game at Cincinnati when chasing down a ground-rule double down the right field line in the fifth inning.
Willie Calhoun was activated from the injured list. He was in the lineup against the Indians, batting fifth and playing left field in his first action since a left quad strain May 21.
Nomar Mazara, another outfielder, was out of the lineup for the second game in a row with right hamstring tightness.