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Tuesday's baseball: Indians players, owner discuss name change

Tom Withers
Associated Press

Cleveland — Cleveland’s players met Tuesday with owner Paul Dolan to discuss a potential name change for the team, which has been called the Indians for the past 105 years.

Manager Terry Francona (former Tiger coach) said the group had an “honest” conversation and he came away proud of how it was handled by all involved.

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona

“The way the players expressed themselves in a mature manner and in a respectful manner, and the way Paul listened and spoke back to the players,” said Francona, who attended the meeting along with team president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff. “I was really, really happy and content to just sit there and let them talk back and forth.”

Francona stressed that nothing has been resolved over the controversial topic.

The franchise recently announced it was in the early stages of meeting with the community and appropriate stakeholders “to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”

The Indians’ move coincided with the recent decision by Washington’s NFL team to drop the name Redskins, which had been decried as being racist for decades.

Cleveland removed its contentious Chief Wahoo logo from its game jerseys and caps. Fans, however, can still buy merchandise bearing the red-faced, toothy mascot that became a symbol of hatred to some and civic pride to others.

Francona said the meeting with Dolan was a positive, significant step.

“I don’t know that anything was actually resolved and I don’t know if it needed to be,” Francona said. “I just thought it was really good for the players to share their opinions, and let Paul be in the room and hear them and also to share his opinions as an owner.

“I think sometimes perspectives can be different and it’s good for everybody to hear that. But I think everybody was so genuinely honest and also respectful in the way they gave their opinions,” he said.

Tanaka throws BP

Masahiro Tanaka threw 20 pitches during batting practice Tuesday and is on track to make his first start July 31 against Boston after missing one turn in the New York Yankees’ rotation.

Tanaka walked two in his one inning, his first time facing batters since he was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s line drive on July 4.

New York placed Tanaka on the 7-day concussion injured list. He is to throw batting practice again on Sunday at the Yankees’ alternate training camp at Scranton, Pennsylvania, likely 35-40 pitches.

“If everything comes out OK, I should be ready to go,” he said through a translator.

He did not use a protective screen. Tanaka thought about getting hit only before delivering his first pitch.

“After I threw that, it was back to business, back to normal,” he said.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 75-43 in six major league seasons and is entering the final year of his contract.

Kapler to speak out

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, a former Tiger, plans to use his position to speak out against racial injustice and provide a voice for those who aren’t heard.

Kapler and several of his players knelt during the national anthem before their 6-2 exhibition victory against the Oakland Athletics.

Kapler shared his plans when he addressed the team earlier Monday, and he said everyone would be supported by the Giants no matter what they decided to do.

“I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality and I told them I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well,” Kapler said.