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    Finding a job was pretty easy for Josh Donaldson. Proving he can keep it will be the tough part. The former AL MVP didn't have to wait long for a new opportunity, signing a one-year, $23 million contract with the Atlanta Braves less than a month after the World Series ended. 'I didn't expect it to go that quickly,' Donaldson said Wednesday, the day before his first organized workout with the NL East champions. 'It was my first time in free agency so I had something of an idea, but you don't really know. I was very happy with the timing of it. They gave me the ease of the entire offseason to know which team I was going to be with.' At 33 and coming off two straight injury-riddled seasons, the third baseman understood his market value had changed, that he would have to prove he can play an entire season. 'I wasn't expecting much (contract) length,' he said. 'I think you have to be realistic in what you're looking for. . . . One year, I felt, was a great opportunity to come here and help this organization. I feel like if I go out and play well, there could be a chance for more years after this.' After finishing among the top eight in AL MVP voting four straight times and winning the award with Toronto in 2015, Donaldson was limited to 113 games by a calf injury in 2017. Last season, due mostly to a shoulder injury, he played in just 52 games with the Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians. 'I'm not a robot,' he said. 'Everybody, if they play long enough, is going to deal with injuries — 2017 was the first time I've missed time due to an injury. Then 2018 was a lost season because of injuries. As we continue in our careers, our bodies are constantly evolving, and we're just trying to be ahead of that and focus on being as efficient and as strong as possible.' Donaldson spent the offseason working on his lower body, trying to gain strength in his feet and toes and improve his mobility. 'When I was 26, 27 years old, I felt I could go out there and and tear a hamstring and the next day I could be fine,' he said. 'The older you get into your career and the more evolved you get into your career, you know you're going to have to deal with things a little better.' While acknowledging little familiarity with the former American Leaguer, Braves manager Brian Snitker knew Donaldson would be a good fit when he called him soon after the signing. 'I can tell the energy with which he plays, the intensity with which he plays, and the focus on winning,' said Snitker, whose initial plan is for Donaldson to bat second, play third and stay healthy. Donaldson, who grew up in Alabama as a Braves fan, has a sense of coming home at a crucial point in his career. 'I just have a little more to prove this year than probably in years past,' he said. NOTES: Although Thursday will mark the Braves' first full-squad workout, the routine won't be much different from the last three days, with everybody having reported. 'We'll have some team-oriented things in, we'll start working on some fundamentals. That'll be the biggest change,' Snitker said. . . . RHP Touki Toussaint and LHP Kolby Allard will face the New York Mets in Saturday's exhibition opener at Port St. Lucie.
  • With their city's long-suffering fans desperate for a winner, the rebuilding San Diego Padres delivered their splashiest free agent signing ever by agreeing with All-Star infielder Manny Machado on a $300 million, 10-year deal. A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced. Machado can opt out after five years and become a free agent again, the person said. Machado's agreement would be the second-largest in baseball history behind Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million, 13-year deal signed with the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2015 season. It would be the highest deal for a free agent, topping Alex Rodriguez's $275 million, 10-year contract with the New York Yankees from 2008-17. More records may be broken soon. Free agent outfielder Bryce Harper could top Stanton's deal in coming days or weeks. That won't matter a bit to Padres fans, who have never celebrated a World Series title and were keeping their fingers crossed in recent days as it became apparent that their team, with a mostly sad-sack history stretching back a half-century, actually had a chance at landing Machado, who is only 26. Some fans seemed braced for yet another disappointment. But news of the deal was greeted with euphoria on social media. Speaking at spring training in Peoria, Arizona, Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler declined to confirm the deal, saying: 'We do not have a deal with any free agent player. We are continuing discussions, and that's all we have to say.' Teams draw a distinction between an agreement subject to a physical and a finalized deal. While Fowler looked serious, general partner Peter Seidler couldn't help but smile while waiting for his turn to speak. Without confirming the deal, Seidler — a nephew of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley — spoke of what his ownership group wants to bring to San Diego, where the Padres play in a gem of a ballpark just off the bay. 'Ron and I, we love the city of San Diego, we love sports in San Diego, but we're also well aware of the history. There's never been a championship from a major sports franchise in San Diego. ... We as an organization want to completely change that. We want our franchise to win year after year after year. And we're going to do whatever we can rationally do to help make that happen.' The Padres lost 96 games last year, haven't had a winning season since 2010 and haven't been to the playoffs since 2006. They haven't won a playoff series since the 1998 NL Championship against Atlanta. They were routed in their two World Series appearances, by Detroit in 1984 and the New York Yankees in 1998. And they've had the city's big league sports scene to themselves since the NFL's Chargers moved to the Los Angeles area two seasons ago. The Chargers did win the AFL title in 1963 but were blown out by San Francisco in their only Super Bowl appearance, after the 1994 season. Other than the AFL title, the biggest championships won around here were probably Little League World Series titles in 2009 by Park View of Chula Vista and in 1961 by El Cajon-La Mesa Northern, which included Brian Sipe, who won the NFL's MVP Award in 1980. Padres players were ecstatic, even though the signing was not yet official. Catcher Austin Hedges was headed toward bunting drills when he heard the news. He pumped his fists and said, 'I'm just that excited about bunting.' 'You see me smiling right here,' said first baseman Eric Hosmer, who exactly a year ago earlier finalized a $144 million, eight-year deal with San Diego. 'We've all been practicing today, obviously. We've all kind heard what's been going on, and all we can say is he's a guy we'd love to have, and I think it changes things pretty quickly if we do have him here. 'He's one of the top guys in the league,' Hosmer added. 'Obviously extremely young free agent that's got a lot of amazing baseball left in him and he's already had a lot of amazing baseball in his career. We're all just glad he'll hopefully be here with us in San Diego.' The Padres have been rebuilding mostly via their top-rated farm system since a failed win-now approach with high-priced veterans in 2015. Machado is expected to fill the team's glaring need at third base. He began last year at shortstop with Baltimore, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers after the All-Star break and split time and shortstop and third. He struck out to end the World Series loss to Boston. Commissioner Rob Manfred said the deal, if it goes through, is 'a great thing. The Padres were active last year in the free-agent market, obviously a big signing with Eric Hosmer. This would be another one, if in fact that's what happened. And I think it's good for baseball to have big stars present in some of our smaller markets and see those markets really being out there willing to compete for the best talent.' With Machado on board, the next big move for the Padres, whether by opening day or later in the season, is expected to be the promotion of shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the 20-year-old son of a former big leaguer and the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball. A four-time All-Star, Machado hit .297 last year and set career bests with 37 homers and 107 RBIs. A four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, he has a .282 career average with 175 homers and 513 RBIs in seven big league seasons. The Chicago White Sox offered $250 million for eight years, a person familiar with that proposal said. That person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the club did not publicly disclose its offer. The White Sox were trying to get in position for a second title under owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who turns 83 next week. 'Still in a bit of disbelief,' executive vice president Kenny Williams said. 'I feel we put our best foot forward. Jerry, in particular, really stepped up.' Machado also met with the Yankees, a team that had expressed concern over Machado's remarks about hustling — not hustling, actually — during the playoffs. After failing to run out a grounder in the NL Championship Series, Machado said: 'Obviously I'm not going to change, I'm not the type of player that's going to be 'Johnny Hustle' and run down the line and slide to first base.' Machado tried to clarify his remarks after the season, saying, 'looking back, it doesn't come across how I meant it.' Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner took notice of Machado's initial comments, labeling them 'troubling' and added, 'That ain't going to sell where we play baseball.' No worries. Padres fans will take him. ___ AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum, AP Sports Writer Jay Cohen, and AP freelance writers Jack Thompson and Weston DeWitt contributed to this report. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Ender Inciarte, Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies were among the position players who reported to Braves camp Sunday. Camp opened Friday for pitchers and catchers, but position players weren’t required to report until Wednesday. The Braves anticipated several early arrivals. Every position player is already in camp, except veterans Nick Markakis and Charlie Culberson. The team’s first full-squad workout is set for Thursday. Sunday marked the team’s second day of workouts. The position players in camp took batting practice in the morning.
  • Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers had their first organized workout Saturday, officially ending a relatively quiet winter for the team that won the NL East. It may have been a little too quiet for some critics, considering the aggressive roster moves made by their division rivals. But All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman begs to differ. 'Pretty much everyone came back, and we added Josh Donaldson and B-Mac (Brian McCann),' Freeman said. 'I feel we have a 90-win team that got better, so I think we're going to be very good this year.' Darren O'Day was the other major winter acquisition, adding veteran depth to a bullpen that was tested last season as the Braves won the division by eight games and qualified for the postseason for the first time in five years. 'We've kind of gotten to the point where there's not a lot of holes, maybe one starter, and we'll take the best eight (relievers) with us north,' said Brian Snitker, who won the NL Manager of the Year award. 'We used 33 pitchers last year. Ten guys made their debuts. We've got a long time to be down here and to sort things out. But you've got to like the depth and what we have.' The first priority will be finding a fifth starter behind Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran, Sean Newcomb and Kevin Gausman. Mike Soroka, a 21-year-old right-hander who went 2-1 in five starts before shoulder pain ended his rookie season in June, is one of the leading candidates to fill the No. 5 spot. 'It's the moment I've been thinking about for months now, I guess since we made the decision to shut it down last year,' said Soroka, who will not be limited this spring. 'I'm coming in ready to compete for a spot and make the team better. I know it's kind of a marathon, not a 100-meter race.' All of the starters are 28 or younger. 'Whoever has the ball that day is the ace. I truly believe everybody on this team feels that way,' said Gausman, who went 5-3 in 10 starts after being traded from Baltimore. 'It's good, healthy competition between all of us, and seeing these young guys motivates us, too.' O'Day joins a bullpen that includes seven pitchers who appeared in at least 35 games for the Braves last year, plus veteran left-hander Jonny Venters, who pitched in 28 games after being acquired in late July. 'We don't need to look anywhere else to fill the eight bullpen spots,' Snitker said. 'You start with eight healthy guys to take north and try to put your best foot forward, but things happen and you're going to need a bunch of 'em.' In spite of all the noise made by their division foes, Freeman defends the Braves' decision not to add a starter. 'We're good,' he said. 'You've already got four starters and then you've got dynamic young guys for the fifth spot. I'm sure some of those will go into the bullpen because that's a big part of the game now.' NOTES: SS Dansby Swanson, who had surgery on his left wrist in November, is in camp. 'He's obviously going to be behind a little bit,' Snitker said, 'but I think he's going to have plenty of time.' . . . The first full-squad workout it scheduled for Thursday . . . The Braves will play their first exhibition game Feb. 23 at Port St. Lucie against the New York Mets.
  • You know you’ve really made it in the big leagues when they make a custom bobblehead based on your appearance. That’s what happened for a Atlanta Braves stadium usher. At the home of the Atlanta Braves, some men are immortal -- people such as Hammerin Hank, 'Knucksie' Niekro, and now, Walter Banks. 'My dad was a big baseball fan. He used to listen to the games all the time. I'd be in bed. I could hear it. That was when the Atlanta Crackers were playing,' Banks said. When the Braves came to town way back in 1966, Banks got a stadium job as an usher. 'I still have my first check. It was 9 dollars and 77 cents. We were making not $4 an hour, but $4 a game. I still have a copy of that check,' Banks said. Now, 54 years later, he's still with the team and he's seen it all: Home run number 715, the World Series championship and last but certainly not least -- his own bobblehead. TRENDING STORIES: Fight breaks out as thieves steal 2 Super Bowl tickets worth $5K Georgia National Guard's first black female pilot gets surprise sendoff Day 10: Family, community using ATVs, boats to search for missing grandfather The Braves and SunTrust surprised Banks earlier this week. He said since Day 1, wonderful things have happened to him because of the Braves. 'Reminds me of an onion. You just keep peeling, keep peeling, keep peeling and it adds up,' Banks said. 'But each peel, you're very appreciative and thankful. You don't take any of it for granted.' Banks said 'you can't beat fun at the ole' ballpark.' 'It's a place to go and a place to meet. Some of the greatest fans I've ever met came through those turnstiles to see the Braves,' Banks said. Banks bobblehead day is July 5. The Miami Marlins will be in town and the first 15,000 fans will get one. Banks figures he'll spend the whole game autographing the boxes. And to top it all off, he'll also celebrate his 80th birthday that week.
  • The bomb squad was called to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Friday morning in response to a suspicious package. The Atlanta Police Department has since cleared the scene.  Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein was at the airport to fly to Orlando for Atlanta Braves Spring Training and saw the commotion. Klein tweeted a photo that shows part of the baggage claim area roped off. “All clear” just given by @Atlanta_Police https://t.co/VuezmpSlXN — Aaron Diamant (@AaronDiamantWSB) February 15, 2019 Give yourself time to get out of @ATLairport - suspicious package has bomb squad out pic.twitter.com/0V4xSFT4MR — Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) February 15, 2019
  • Tommy Giordano, a longtime scout who played only 11 games in the major leagues but spent more than seven decades in a variety of baseball roles, died Thursday. He was 93. Known affectionately as 'T-bone,' Giordano was stricken in December with a blood infection, said his daughter, Gail Przeclawski. He died at her home in Orlando, Florida, after the family decided against further treatment. Giordano worked for the Atlanta Braves as baseball's oldest scout through last season, his 71st in professional baseball. He had intended to come back for another year until he became ill. 'I can't wait to get up in the morning and go to the ballpark,' he said in a 2016 interview with The Associated Press. 'I'm still in baseball, so I must have been doing a pretty good job.' Giordano, a slick-fielding middle infielder, played in the minor leagues for a dozen years. His only appearance in the majors came toward the end of the 1953 season, when he was called up by the struggling Philadelphia Athletics. He had a memorable debut at Connie Mack Stadium, homering off 20-game winner Virgil Trucks of the Chicago White Sox in his second career at-bat. But Giordano hit only .175 with two homers and five RBIs during that 11-game stint and never returned to the Show. The Athletics played just one more season in Philadelphia, moving first to Kansas City and eventually to Oakland. Giordano spent most of the 1953 season with Savannah in the Class A South Atlantic League, where he met future home run king Hank Aaron, then an up-and-coming prospect with Jacksonville. Aaron led the Sally League in almost every offensive category except one — Giordano hit 24 homers, two more than the Hammer. Giordano became a scout after his playing days were over, serving in that role for numerous teams beginning with the Kansas City Athletics in 1960. He relished the opportunity to comb the backwoods and backwaters for potential future stars. Two of his biggest prizes were Cal Ripken Jr. and Manny Ramirez. 'Get in the house' was a scouting mantra that Giordano swore by, giving him a chance to check out a prospect's family and any off-the-field red flags. 'See what kind of furniture they have in the house. See how many cars they have. See what kind of dad he has. Does he drink? Does he smoke? Are there any problems in the house? Get to know that family. I love doing that kind of work,' he said. Over the course of his long career, Giordano served as a scouting director, player development executive and assistant to the general manager with the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. He was selected by his peers as Major League Baseball's East Coast scout of the year in 2007. Born Oct. 9, 1925 in Newark, New Jersey, Giordano's baseball career almost ended not long after it started. His father, who owned a grocery store, believed young Tommy should focus on his schoolwork and devote any free time to working at the family business. When Giordano joined the high school team, he fibbed to his parents about his reason for coming home late. 'I used to hide my spikes,' Giordano said. 'Well, my dad got hold of them and put them on the butcher block. He cut them up. He cut everything up. My bat, my glove, everything.' Eventually, though, his father came around. He even had a pregame ritual that gave his son a nickname, one that stuck with him through the rest of his life. T-bone. 'I hit a couple of home runs one day,' Giordano recalled. 'Someone made the statement, 'Hey, where did you get all that power? What did you do?' I told 'em, 'Before every game, my dad fixes me a big T-bone steak.' That's where it all started.' Still vibrant into his 90s and determined to remain part of the game, Giordano was hired before the 2016 season as a special assistant by his protege John Hart, then serving as president of baseball operations for the Atlanta Braves. That would be Giordano's final stop. 'I love what I'm doing,' he said in 2016. 'I'm going to do this until I die.' Hart was able to visit with Giordano in his final days, part of a steady stream of visitors who descended on his daughter's home to say goodbye. Many others called, including Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. In a text to the AP, Hart wrote that Giordano was 'like a father to me, and I have been so blessed to have him in my life.' Giordano is survived by two children, two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and two brothers. His wife, Berenice, died almost a year ago. The couple was married for 70 years. A memorial service is scheduled in Orlando on March 10. The family also plans memorial services in Newark and on Long Island, where Giordano and his wife lived for many years before moving to Florida. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Baseball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino has help for anyone confused by the team's long list of young starting pitchers, including several who had Atlanta auditions in 2018. As Atlanta's pitchers and catchers prepare to report to spring training this week, there are many highly regarded candidates for at least one open spot in the rotation. The list includes Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Kolby Allard, Max Fried, Bryse Wilson and Luiz Gohara. Vizcaino sees one starter emerging from the crowd. 'Touki. Touki,' Vizcaino said last month. 'He's very good. He impressed me a lot.' Vizcaino wouldn't be swayed. Nor would he seek a diplomatic way out when asked about Soroka. 'I like Touki more,' Vizcaino said. And that was that. Vizcaino isn't the only Braves player with high expectations for Toussaint, 22, who was acquired from Arizona in 2015. The Braves agreed to take on Bronson Arroyo's $10 million contract with Toussaint for third baseman Phil Gosselin. Toussaint could make that $10 million price tag look like a bargain. First, though, the 6-foot-3 right-hander with the big curveball must win a job. Mike Foltynewicz, who was last season's breakout starter while landing an All-Star spot, is expected to lead a rotation that also includes Sean Newcomb, Kevin Gausman and Julio Teheran. The competition for the fifth spot could be the highlight of the Braves' spring. The first workout for pitchers and catchers is Saturday. The full squad reports next week. 'There are so many talented arms,' said catcher Tyler Flowers. ' ... Of course everybody wants to get a (Justin) Verlander or a (Max) Scherzer or somebody like that, but not every team can bring those guys in. Sometimes you've got to grow them yourself and I think we have a lot of guys who can grow into those types of pitchers.' The wealth of young starting candidates kept Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos from entering a bidding war to keep right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who instead signed with division rival Washington. 'Knowing we have guys internally we think are ready to take a step, the bar is high for us,' Anthopoulos said. Manager Brian Snitker believes the depth will allow Atlanta to bring up a sixth starter from Triple-A Gwinnett when needed to keep the rotation fresh. Snitker said the depth was 'real important' to the Braves' NL East title last season. 'The extra day's rest is big now with what we're doing and we have numbers you can bring up here and stretch guys out,' Snitker said. The Braves used 13 starting pitchers in 2018. Toussaint, Soroka, Wright, Allard and Wilson made their major league debuts. Toussaint's debut came after he was selected to pitch in the Futures Game on All-Star weekend. Toussaint was impressive in his first start, allowing only two hits and one run in six innings in a win over Miami on Aug. 13. He was 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA in seven games, including five starts. In what could be an indicator of the team's 2019 plans, Toussaint was placed on the postseason roster. Pitching in relief, he earned the decision in Atlanta's only win in the NL division series loss to the Dodgers. Toussaint said his 2018 experience helped him believe he belongs in the major leagues. 'I'd say very confident,' he said when asked about his mindset. 'I know what I have. I've seen it. I've watched it. I'm ready to get after it.' Soroka also was impressive when healthy. He could be watched carefully in his return from a sore shoulder that put an early end to his 2018 season. He said he began throwing in November and feels strong. Many of the young pitchers moved through the organization together after they were on the same Class A Rome staff in 2016. 'It's pretty incredible to be with those guys,' Soroka said. 'Healthy competition is always good. It brings out the best in everyone.' ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Georgia’s Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and current Major League Baseball stars teamed up last Saturday in Athens to raise money for perhaps Athens’ most-favorite charity, Extra Special People.  ATLANTA, GA— (February 11, 2019) On Feb. 9, Georgia’s Lt. Governor, Geoff Duncan, and several other MLB players were guest judges for Extra Special People (ESP) Big Hearts at Bat. The line-up included Duncan, who played for the Florida Marlins early in his career before being elected as Georgia’s Lt. Governor. Kyle Farmer of the Cincinnati Reds, Gordon Beckham formerly with the Atlanta Braves and now with the Detroit Tigers, Brooks Brown formerly with the Colorado Rockies, and Trevor Holder of the San Diego Padres were also guest judges. “ESP is making dreams come true for kids with special needs, and I was honored to be a part of the inspirational night,” Farmer, who also played in two World Series’ for the Los Angeles Dodgers, said. “I’m excited to see kids of every ability have the chance to step up to the plate and play the sport I love.” “One of the best parts about being lieutenant governor is having the opportunity to find out about organizations like ESP and the huge impact they have on a community and the joys they bring to people’s lives,” Duncan said. In its 12th year, ESP’s Big Hearts pageant showcases kids of all abilities as they perform for thousands of guests in Athens, Ga. This year, money was raised to build a Miracle League baseball field and sports complex. Through generous donations at Big Hearts at Bat, ESP reached the $1.1 million mark of a $1.4 million campaign goal. The Miracle League sports complex will bring the magic of baseball to kids of all abilities in Northeast Georgia. Additionally, funds were raised at the pageant and silent auction to send hundreds of kids to summer camp. “Big Hearts at Bat was focused on bringing to life the dream of typical kids and those with special needs playing alongside one another, no longer benching those who have different abilities,” said Laura Whitaker, ESP Executive Director. “Our Miracle League sports complex will be for everyone—a fully-accessible baseball field, making it possible for every child to play America’s favorite pastime, as well as a playground and splash pad for everyone in the community.” ESP is committed to fostering genuine friendships and memorable moments between all citizens who want to play and aims to see the bases loaded at the newly-constructed complex by Spring of 2020. About Extra Special People Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), a 501 (c)(3) is a nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in the 26-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1987. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 425 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive. Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Camp Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats and events for children and families of all abilities. About The Miracle League The Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime. Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, Ga., in April 2000. Now there are more than 300 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico and Canada, serving more than 250,000 children and adults. Miracle League is not only partnering with ESP for the first local field in the Athens area, but will also be a part of the expansion of Camp Hooray, an innovative, state-of-the-art camp for individuals with disabilities.
  • Spring training opens in a few days. It won't seem quite the same without T-bone. Tommy Giordano is dying. Yet, do not let your heart grow heavy. He's going out like he lived for more than 93 years — surrounded by family and friends, accompanied by overwhelming love and stories that will endure long after he's gone. 'It's like we're doing the funeral, the celebration of his life, a little bit early,' said his daughter, Gail Przeclawski, when reached by phone Monday morning at the family home where Giordano was spending his final days, 'and he got to enjoy every moment of it.' Giordano spent nearly all of his full life as a baseball man. He was a major league player (for 11 games with the late, great Philadelphia Athletics), a minor-league manager, a front-office executive. More than anything, he was a scout, one of those guys who combed the backwoods and backwaters searching for the game's next big star. It was a job he loved, a job he was good at, a job he held with the Atlanta Braves right up until what would be the very last year of his life. 'I'm going to do this until I die,' Giordano told me back in 2016, when I first met him at the Braves' spring training complex, located within the confines of Disney World. 'I can't wait to get up in the morning and go to the ballpark.' T-bone (a nickname that goes back to his days growing up in New Jersey, when his father would always make him a steak as a pregame meal) had every intention of coming back for his 72nd season — staked out behind home plate, a stopwatch in one hand, a lineup card in his lap, the games unfolding before his eyes as he gleaned those tell-tale signs of a player's strengths and weaknesses. Can't hit a curve ball. Great speed from first to third. Gets a poor jump on the ball. Strong throwing arm. . Then, the blood infection struck out of nowhere. Not long after climbing three flights of stairs during a family vacation to the beach, Giordano started feeling poorly. He came down with a 102-degree fever. The doctors weren't sure what caused the infection. Giordano spent nearly three weeks in the hospital. It looked as though he would survive. Unfortunately, the infection returned. The doctors knew he wasn't nearly strong enough to ward it off like he did the first time. He might live a bit longer, but his quality of life would be greatly diminished. No one wanted that, so he was sent home to die. That's where this sad story takes a beautiful turn. These last few days in Orlando have given so many people a chance to show how much Giordano was loved. Everyone from Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson to longtime baseball executive John Hart to an Uber driver who hauled T-bone around to the owner of a local Italian restaurant that Giordano frequented for a good bowl of pasta have called or stopped by to say farewell. They've been able to reminisce. They've been able to swap stories told a thousand times. They've laughed. They've cried. They've celebrated an amazing man. Przeclawski has watched it all with pride. 'I'm still learning things about my dad that I never knew,' she told me in that phone call, her voice both sad and joyful. For the record, here's a highlight reel, gleaned from my 2016 interview with T-Bone: — Growing up in Newark, New Jersey, he played on the high school team but fibbed to his parents about his reason for staying late after school. His father, who owned a grocery store, believed young Tommy should focus on his schoolwork and devote any free time to working at the family business. 'I used to hide my spikes,' Giordano told me. 'Well, my dad got hold of them and put them on the butcher block. He cut them up. He cut everything up. My bat, my glove, everything.' — Giordano was called up to the majors by the Athletics toward the end of the 1953 season, giving him a chance to meet one of the game's most towering figures, Connie Mack. In his very first game with Philadelphia, the slick-fielding shortstop homered off the facade of old Shibe Park, going deep against 20-game winner Virgil Trucks of the Chicago White Sox. — Also in 1953, while playing with Class A Savannah, Giordano took the infield alongside a 19-year-old second baseman on his way up, a guy named Henry Aaron. The future home run king led the league in virtually every offensive category except one. Aaron hit 22 homers — two less than Giordano. — After his playing days, Giordano was responsible for the Baltimore Orioles drafting Cal Ripken Jr. During a stint in Cleveland, T-bone signed off on the Indians picking Manny Ramirez. His scouting mantra was 'get in the house,' which gave him a chance to check out a prospect's family and any off-the-field red flags. 'I love doing that kind of work,' he said. Now, everyone is getting a chance to return the love. His daughter set out a book for visitors to sign. As I was speaking to her, someone arrived at the door. She instructed them to turn to the fourth page of the book. The first three pages were already filled up. 'He's gotten to attend his own funeral service the last four days,' Przeclawski said. 'He's had a blast.' But the end is drawing near. T-bone lost the ability to speak and swallow Sunday night. Her voice choked with emotion, Przeclawski noted that Wednesday would've been her mother's birthday. She died less than a year ago. She and T-bone were married for 70 years. 'I think they're going to be celebrating her birthday in heaven,' their daughter said. Giordano will be buried just outside the family home, with a view of a lake. His daughter issued an invitation to come by and visit the next time I'm in Orlando. 'We'll tell some great stories about my dad,' she said. I can't wait. ___ Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry@ap.org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Baseball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

News

  • Measles outbreaks are occurring around the world.  >> Read more trending news  More than 130 people — about half of them ages 1-4 — have died in the Philippines, and 8,443 others having contracted the disease. Officials blame the outbreak on a fear of vaccinations. Despite being declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, there have been five outbreaks already this year, including in Washington state. Three cases have been confirmed in Georgia, all in the same Atlanta family.  Every state has vaccinations requirements for children to attend school, but 47 states offer exemptions on religious grounds. Seventeen of those states also allow parents to opt out of vaccinations for “personal, moral or other beliefs.” That doesn’t sit well with the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. >> Related: Unvaccinated kids now seeking out vaccines 'Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they're creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications,' Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Tuesday in an interview with CNN. 'It's an avoidable tragedy,' Gottlieb told Axios. 'Too many states have lax laws.' If states don’t strengthen their their requirements, Gottlieb said, “… I think they're going to force the hand of the federal health agencies.' Gottlieb offered no specifics as to how the FDA would intervene, but he told CNN he hoped recent outbreaks would make state officials realize the need for vaccinations. Reports of measles have made some people rethink the anti-vaccine stance.  “Internet-savvy teenagers are fact-checking their parents’ decisions in a digital health reawakening — and seeking their own treatments in bouts of family defiance,” the Washington Post reported. >> Related: What is measles and how can you prevent it? For a child to be exempt from immunization on religious grounds in Georgia, for example, “the parent or guardian must first furnish the responsible official of the school or facility an affidavit in which the parent or guardian swears or affirms that the immunization required conflicts with the religious beliefs of the parent or guardian.” Georgia does not allow exemption for philosophical reasons.
  • A Wisconsin man is facing charges after his arrest for allegedly driving away from a Manitowac gas station without paying for his fuel for the 23rd time. >> Read more trending news  During the latest incident involving Karl Kinyon, 37, he told police officers he was in a hurry Monday and that he has a “layaway system” with the Kwik Trip gas station and always pays for the gas “eventually,” WLUK-TV reported. The gas station said Kinyon still owes more than $800 for 14 drive-offs he hasn’t paid for yet, according to WLUK. >> Trending: 3,000 turkey fryers recalled over potential fire hazard He’s facing charges of retail theft and bail jumping related to charges from other retail theft cases.
  • Newly released jailhouse phone calls provide insight into how a woman arrested in connection with the death of her 2-year-old son was adjusting to life at the Orange County Jail in Florida. >> Read more trending news In July, Johnathan Pursglove beat Jayce Martin to death in what was described by detectives as a case of torture, police said. Pursglove and Victoria Toth, his girlfriend and Martin's mother, face manslaughter charges in connection with the boy's death. In the newly released calls with Toth's parents, she did not mention Martin while listing what was wrong with her life since her arrest. 'I'm confused. I miss you guys. I miss my bed. I miss Johnathan. I miss food,' she said. 'I haven't even been able to eat. I've had a couple of pieces of bread in the four days I've been here. And some water.' Toth told her parents that her case was drawing comparisons to another case involving an Orange County woman who had been charged in connection with the death of her child. 'The officers are comparing me to Casey Anthony,' she said. 'Don't listen to them,' her mother said. 'Don't you listen to them.' In another phone call after Toth's arrest, her lawyer and her parents urged her to not communicate with Pursglove. 'Do not have contact with anyone in his family,' her father said. 'I know it's difficult to hear that, but it's a harsh reality right now. And it's going to mean the difference -- it can alter the outcome of this entire thing.' 'Yeah, I can't talk to Johnathan,' Toth said. 'Or his family. Nobody,' her mother said. 'If you do, Tori, you're done.' During that hearing, Judge Gail Adams learned that Toth had moved in with Pursglove's sister. 'What I've heard today could in fact be in violation of her bond,' Adams said. Visitation logs also show Toth returned to the jail to visit Pursglove at least 10 times. A court hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine if adjustments should be made to Toth's bond conditions, because of the revelations of Pursglove's last hearing.
  • A Texas man was arrested for allegedly slapping a 12-year-old Deer Park boy accused of bullying his stepdaughter in an incident that was caught on surveillance tape, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  James Olander Peace is facing a felony injury to a child charge, but his wife told KTRK-TV that the court records don’t tell the whole story.  She wanted to remain anonymous but said her daughter was being bullied by two classmates and that her husband was just sticking up for the girl.  They said “that her body was ugly, said that she was a transvestite, started throwing ice cream at her and then they picked up the rocks,' the woman said, according to KTRK. The girl called her parents for a ride, and after Peace picked her up, they saw the two boys, authorities said. 'On the drive home, they happened to see the suspect juvenile walking and that's when the stepdad decided to stop and confront the kid,' Deer Park police Lt. Chris Brown said. The confrontation was caught on a surveillance camera, and Peace was seen shouting and hitting the boy, Brown said. 'He was slapped across the face with an open hand, had red marks and swelling to his cheek and upper jaw,' Brown said. >> Trending: School bus driver on heroin revived with Narcan after crash, police say The news station also reported that court records indicate Peace told the boy not to tell police or he’d beat him up. The boy did tell a teacher about the incident the next day, and Peace was arrested. He’s free on a $15,000 bond.
  • Police continue to investigate the reported attack against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who told authorities he was assaulted in the predawn hours Jan. 29 by a pair of men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. >> Read more trending news Update 8:50 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Smollett’s Chicago attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, released a statement following the indictment: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.” Update 7:44 p.m. EST Feb. 20: The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Jussie Smollett has been charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report on Jan.29. The charge is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible prison sentence of 1-3 years, but he could also receive probation. The bond hearing has been set for 1:30pm Thursday according to WLS-TV. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that detectives will make contact with his attorneys and negotiate a surrender for his arrest. Update 5:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20:  “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect and detectives are presenting case to grand jury according to the Chief Communications Officer for Chicago Police Department. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted the news on Wednesday after Smollett’s attorneys met with prosecutors and detectives. Update 4:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20: A police official said lawyers for Jussie Smollett are meeting with prosecutors and police investigators about the reported attack on the “Empire” actor.  Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Associated Press the meeting was taking place Wednesday afternoon. He declined to confirm reports that subpoenas had been issued for Smollett’s phone and bank records. Update 2:20 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Officials with 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment on Wednesday denied reports Smollett was being written out of “Empire” in a statement released to WBBM-TV. “Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” the statement said. The comment followed reports that Smollett's role on the show was being slashed amid investigations into the actor's report that he was attacked in Chicago last month. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 9:30 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself Monday from the investigation into the reported attack against Smollett, according to WMAQ-TV. In a statement emailed to the station, a spokesperson for Foxx’s office said First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats would instead serve as acting state’s attorney in the case. “Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” the statement said, according to WMAQ-TV. No further information was provided on the reason behind for the recusal. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Tuesday that authorities determined a tip they were investigating about a possible sighting of Smollett and the brothers who were previously suspected in the attack were unfounded. “It was not supported by video evidence obtained by detectives,” Guglielmi said. Original report: Authorities are investigating a tip that Smollett was seen in an elevator in his apartment building with two men who have since been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack in downtown Chicago, and were subsequently released without charges, police told The Associated Press. The men, who were identified by attorney Gloria Schmidt as brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were released without charges Friday after police said new evidence surfaced in the case, according to CNN and police.  >> 'I will only stand for love': 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett performs in California after attack Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Associated Press a person who lives in the building or who was visiting someone there reported seeing the Osundairo brothers with Smollett on the night he was attacked. Guglielmi told the AP that as of Tuesday, officers had yet to confirm the account. Smollett told officers he was attacked around 2 a.m. Jan. 29, as he was walking downtown near the Chicago River. He said two men yelled that he was in “MAGA country” -- an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make American Great Again” -- and that they hit him in the face, poured an “unknown substance” on him and wrapped a rope around his neck, The Associated Press reported. >> Jussie Smollett's attorneys say he will not meet with investigators, despite reports Guglielmi told the AP that Smollett still had a rope around his neck when officers first made contact with him after the alleged attack. Last week, police announced that the 'investigation had shifted' following interviews with the brothers and their release from custody without charges. Police have requested another interview with Smollett. They have declined to comment on reports that the attack was a hoax, a claim Smollett’s attorneys have denied. 'Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,' Smollett’s attorneys said in a statement late Saturday. Authorities continue to investigate. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Tuesday about new businesses offering blood transfusions from young donors. >> Read more trending news  Some companies, according to Yahoo News, “charge thousands of dollars to inject older patients with infusions of blood plasma from young donors.” In December, the Huffington Post detailed how one such company claimed these transfusions could reverse aging and provide something “pretty close” to immortality. None of those claims had any proof. “Simply put, we’re concerned that some patients are being preyed upon by unscrupulous actors touting treatments of plasma from young donors as cures and remedies,” the FDA said. “Such treatments have no proven clinical benefits for the uses for which these clinics are advertising them and are potentially harmful.”  >> Related: Nearly half of US adults have heart or blood vessel disease The FDA statement, which is credited to Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and FDA director Peter Marks, warns consumers these treatments have not been tested to show they actually help patients. In fact, the FDA says, the transfusions may hurt the recipient. “Plasma administration is not without risks,” the men wrote. “The more common risks are allergic reactions and transfusion-associated circulatory overload.” Less common risks include acute lung injury, infectious disease transmission or circulatory overload, the FDA warned. Plasma is the liquid part of blood, containing blood-clotting proteins. The FDA said there are a few instances where a plasma transfer has proved to be safe and useful. For example, patients whose blood is unable to clot because of illness or medication might receive a plasma transfer. In such a case, the benefits (helps the patient’s blood to clot) outweigh the risks (allergic reactions, etc.). However, even then, the patient still faces the same risks inherent to transfusions. >> Related: Feeling stressed? Thinking of your romantic partner can help lower blood pressure, study says “As a general matter, we will consider taking regulatory and enforcement actions against companies that abuse the trust of patients and endanger their health with uncontrolled manufacturing conditions or by promoting so-called ‘treatments’ that haven’t been proven safe or effective for any use,” the FDA said.