LEADING OFF: Alonso’s big allegation, Zombro out of hospital

MLB

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

JUICY ALLEGATIONS

Mets slugger Pete Alonso uncorked a major allegation Wednesday, accusing MLB of manipulating its baseballs to harm the earning potential for star free agents and players eligible for arbitration.

Alonso, responding to a question about the supposedly pending crackdown on sticky substances used by pitchers, instead laid blame for a league-wide drop in offense on the league itself.

”I think that the biggest concern is that Major League Baseball manipulates the baseballs year in and year out depending on the free agency class – or guys being in an advanced part of their arbitration,” Alonso said.

The league did not comment on Alonso’s charge. MLB informed teams in February that it planned to slightly deaden the baseballs for the 2021 season following a years-long surge in home runs. In 2019, 3.6% of plate appearances ended in a homer, a number that has dropped to 3.1% this year.

As far as the original question was concerned, Alonso did not seem terribly concerned with what opposing pitchers might be putting on the ball.

”Whatever they want to use to help control the ball, let them use it, because for me, I go in the box every single day, and I see guys throwing harder and harder every day, and I don’t want 99 slipping out of someone’s hand,” Alonso said.

OUT OF THE HOSPITAL

Minor league pitcher Tyler Zombro is out of the hospital and transitioning to outpatiant occupational and speech therapy in Durham, North Carolina, after being struck in the head by a line drive last week.

Zombro, a right-hander in the Tampa Bay Rays organization pitching with Triple-A Durham, was hit by a sharp liner from Norfolk’s Brett Cumberland in the eighth inning on June 3. The Rays said Wednesday that he had finally been released from the hospital, saying family will remain with him in Durham to help with his recovery.

ON A ROLL

Zack Greinke goes for his third straight win when the Houston Astros close out a three-game series at the Boston Red Sox.

Greinke (6-2, 3.38 ERA) threw a six-hitter in a 13-1 victory at Toronto on Friday for his first complete game since 2017. He is 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his last five starts. Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 5.59 ERA) pitches for Boston. Rodriguez is looking for his first win since May 7.

LONG TIME, NO SEE

Washington ace Max Scherzer faces San Francisco for the first time in exactly three years when the Nationals meet the surprising Giants.

Scherzer is 4-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 career starts against the Giants. The last time he saw them on June 10, 2018, the three-time Cy Young Award winner pitched seven effective innings in a 2-0 loss. Scherzer (5-4, 2.22 ERA) has 104 strikeouts in 77 innings so far this year. Anthony DeSclafani (5-2, 3.51 ERA) pitches for NL West-leading San Francisco.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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