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Tampa Bay News and Links: MLB All-Star week is here

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MLB: All-Star Futures Game Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Rays News

The Rays took two out of three from the Blue Jays this weekend. They go into the All-Star break trailing the Red Sox by 1.5 games in the American League East.

The Rays had activated Vidal Brujan as their “27th man” for the Wednesday double header, but with plans to keep him around longer. Well, it looks like Mike Brosseau came down with a the sore roster spot oblique muscle that so often afflicts those players on the roster bubble. Brujan now has his 26-man roster spot. (To be clear, Brosseau may indeed have a badly strained oblique. It’s possible!)

The Rays All-Star contingent will include Kevin Cash and his coaches (earned by winning the 2020 AL pennant), Mike Zunino (chosen by his peers, discussed here ($)), and Joey Wendle, chosen (by Cash) as a substitute for an injured player:

It’s taken a while, but ESPN has finally figured out that the Rays are playing meaningful games. We all know, of course, that if it’s a nationally televised game there will HAVE to be a ball hitting a catwalk:

The Rays sent Xavier Edwards and Shane Baz to the MLB Futures Game on Sunday. Baz had an impressive outing:

Seems like the “Rays way” in recent years has been to draft/trade for shortstops, figuring I suppose that these very athletic players can manage all the other positions.

You can read about the Rays first two draft picks here and here.

Ice Rays news

Tampa’s Stanley Cup boat parade will be held today. If you go, tweet us your pictures at @draysbay!

Nikita Kucherov, I believe, spoke for many of us in his now viral “Number one bulls....” rant. And now Bud Lite wants him as their spokesman.

Around the League

MLB has its draft, Futures Game and All-Star activities this week. As is often the case, many top players who were selected for All-Star honors are injured (some actually on IL, others begging off for less significant injuries):

With the top draft pick, the Pirates went with a catcher; Rangers took Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter at number two.

Baseball media can’t stop writing about Shohei Ohtani’s season. Here’s Ken Rosenthal’s take ($)

The Yankees earned accolades when they gave “bat girl” honors to a Gwen Goldman, a woman who had been denied that honor sixty years earlier. This prompted Ashley MacLennan to wonder about this history of the bat girl.

Pro Publica, a nonprofit investigative news service, has been doing some deep dive research on the many ways wealthy people avoid taxes. Most recently they have shown how sports team owners (not just baseball, of course) can take advantage of several (legal) practices to use paper losses on their investments to write of hundreds of millions of dollars in income. Keep this in mind whenever team owners cry poverty. You can find their full analysis here, an overview of their findings here.

Per New York Times, this year’s All Star Game highlights the declining number of Black baseball players.

From the “You Hate to See It” department of Schadenfreude: