From Staff and wire reports

The Tampa Bay Rays released 24 minor leaguers last week and saw pitcher Nick Sprengel, a 15th-round pick in 2018, voluntarily retire according to the Tampa Bay Times.

A total of 16 of the players were in minor league camp in Port Charlotte this spring, while six others were from the Dominican Summer League program. Two others, pitchers Deck McGuire and Brooks Pounders were non-roster invitees to big-league camp,

McGuire, 31, allowed five earned runs in three innings this spring. He pitched briefly for the Angels, Blue Jays and Reds with a total of 51 2-3 innings over the 2017-18 seasons. Pounders, 29, pitched four scoreless innings this spring. He pitched for the Royals, Angels, Rockies and Mets over four seasons between 2016-19.

The players released from minor league camp, per the Times, include catchers Ryan Fineman and Luis Perez; infielders Angelo Armenta,Trevor Ezell, Conrad Gregor, Mason Mallard, Kevin Santiago, Robbie Tenerowicz and Jhosner Vargas; outfielder Johampher Arrendoll and pitchers Vince Byrd, Angel German, Rollie Lacy, Ryan Newell, Stanly Sabino and Daniel Santana.

The Dominican League players included, catcher Isaias Sangrona, outfielder Ismael Aguilar, infielders Angel Lopez and Ricardo Salazar and pitcher Endry Manrique.

Few, if any, of those released were expected to remain with the organization beyond spring training.

HOF coach dies

College Football Hall of Famer Pat Dye, who took over a downtrodden Auburn football program in 1981 and turned it into a Southeastern Conference power, died Monday. He was 80.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said Dye died at a hospice care facility in Auburn from complications of kidney and liver failure. Harris said Dye tested positive for COVID-19 after being admitted to the hospital for renal problems, but was asymptomatic.

When Dye came to Auburn, he inherited a program that was deeply divided after only three winning seasons in the previous six years. In 12 years, he had a 99-39-4 record, Auburn won or shared four conference titles and the Tigers were ranked in The Associated Press’ Top 10 five times.

Dye’s overall coaching record was 153-62-5 in 17 years at Auburn, Wyoming and East Carolina. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Dykstra suit dismissedNEW YORK — A judge has dismissed Lenny Dykstra’s defamation lawsuit against former New York Mets teammate Ron Darling, ruling the outfielder’s reputation already was so tarnished it could not be damaged more.

Dykstra claimed he was defamed when Darling alleged he had made racist remarks toward Boston pitcher Oil Can Boyd during the 1986 World Series. Justice Robert D. Kalish in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan did not evaluate whether the remarks occurred.

“It is only to say that Dykstra’s reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured by the reference,” Kalish said in a decision issued Friday.

Dykstra filed the suit in April 2019 against Darling, St, Martin’s Press and Macmillan Publishing Group, then added Daniel Paisner as a defendant last September. Dykstra’s suit followed the publication of Darling’s book, “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game” by St. Martin’s Press, which is part of Macmillan. Dykstra alleged defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.


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