LEADING OFF: Báez, Mets barb home fans, anger team president

Sports

Washington Nationals shortstop Luis Garcia (2) looks on as New York Mets’ Francisco Lindor (12) gestures after his double scored Patrick Mazeika and Jonathan Villa during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Monday:

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BOO WHO?

Javier Báez and his New York Mets teammates get a day to cool off after the derogatory gestures they directed toward frustrated fans at Citi Field angered club management.

Booed at home during a rough August, Báez said Mets players have been turning double thumbs down on the crowd in reponse. Báez did it after homering Sunday in a 9-4 win over Washington.

“When we don’t get success, we’re going to get booed,” he said. “So they’re going to get booed when we have success.”

Báez, a two-time All-Star acquired from the Chicago Cubs last month, good friend Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar all were seen giving the thumbs-down during the win.

Mets President Sandy Alderson swiftly condemned those remarks and signs.

“These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable,” Alderson said in a statement.

“Booing is every fan’s right,” he said. “The Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way toward our fans. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.”

The Mets are 8-19 this month, dropping them from the NL East lead to third place, 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

New York is back in action Tuesday, at home against Miami. The teams will resume a nine-inning game that was suspended after just one out because of rain on April 11, and then play a seven-inning game.

WANDER-FUL

Rays rookie shortstop Wander Franco has reached base in 29 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.

The 20-year-old Franco got two hits and drew a walk as the AL East leaders beat Baltimore 12-8 on Sunday.

Franco’s string is the second longest in history among AL players aged 20 or younger — Mickey Mantle reached in 36 straight for the Yankees in 1952. The major league record among players 20 and under is 43 in a row for Cincinnati in 1956.

Franco will try to extend his streak when the Rays host Boston in the series opener between playoff-contending division rivals.

KLUBOT BACK

Corey Kluber is set to return to a major league mound for the first time in more than three months when he starts for the Yankees on the road against the Angels.

Kluber pitched a no-hitter at Texas on May 19, then exited his next start on May 25 against Texas after three innings because of a strained right shoulder.

The 35-year-old Kluber is 4-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 10 starts for New York this season. He missed most of the previous two seasons with injuries.

After a stint in the minors for rehab starts, the two-time Cy Young Award winner will rejoin the playoff-chasing Yankees.

“He feels really good and I think he’s ready for this next step,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone recently said.

ANOTHER NEWBIE

For the third time in six games, the Texas Rangers will have a starting pitcher making his major league debut.

Right-hander A.J. Alexy was added to the taxi squad on Sunday in advance of his scheduled start in the opener of a three-game home series against Colorado. He will be the 13th Rangers player (eighth pitcher) to make his big league debut this season.

The 23-year-old Alexy will follow the debut of left-hander Jake Latz at Cleveland on Wednesday, and righty Glenn Otto against Houston on Friday night. The Rangers got Alexy and outfielder/DH Willie Calhoun from the Dodgers in the 2017 deadline trade that sent Yu Darvish to Los Angeles.

Starting pitchers Mike Foltynewicz, Dane Dunning and Spencer Howard are among seven Texas players currently on the COVD-19 related injured list.

The Rangers have 13 rookies on their active 26-man roster, and has used a club-high 25 rookies to match Miami and Baltimore for the most in the major leagues this season.

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