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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres will posthumously induct Kevin Towers into their Hall of Fame on May 12 as part of a celebration of the 20th anniversary of their 1998 National League championship team.

Towers, who spent 14 seasons as San Diego’s general manager, died Jan. 30 of complications from cancer. He was 56.

The Padres won the NL West four times under Towers, reaching the World Series in 1998 before being swept by the New York Yankees.

“Kevin was the perfect embodiment of what it means to be a Padre and his legacy will continue to live on at Petco Park,” Padres owners Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler said in a statement.

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Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant not having as much fun as before

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After intimating as much over the last year or so, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant admitted he isn’t having as much fun playing baseball as he used to.

Bryant, 29, spoke to Red Line Radio, a Barstool podcast, and was asked if there was joy for him on the field.

“At times, no,” Bryant responded. “It really got to me sometimes. The stuff I was hearing. The first trade rumors (in 2018) that started to pop up really got to me. I find myself (thinking) ‘Man is this even fun anymore? Why did I start playing this game?’ Because it was fun.

“There’s a lot of other stuff involved. You make a ton of money and fame and all this. You have to get yourself back to why I started playing.”

Bryant is set to become a free agent after next season after settling on a contract with the Cubs for $19.5 million for 2021. He’s been the subject of trade rumors as he and the team haven’t been able to come to an agreement on a longer term deal. He’s also heard criticism for his play, perhaps for the first time in his career. That prompted the former MVP to sound off at the end of the 2020 season.

“I don’t give a s—,” Bryant said at the time. “I really don’t. That’s a good answer. I’m over it. Sometimes I go out there and go 4-for-4 and it’s not good enough for some people, so I don’t give a s—.”

Bryant hit just .203 last season but battled injuries and was hardly the only Cub that struggled in 2020. He’s actually had a couple years of some nagging ailments which may have helped prevent him from returning to his MVP form.

Bryant is the only player in baseball history to win college player of the year, minor league player of the year, rookie of the year and MVP in four consecutive seasons, from 2013-2016. But the last few years have been a struggle as he’s become somewhat of the poster boy — fair or unfairly — for the Cubs’ offensive struggles, especially in the postseason.

On the podcast, Bryant recalled the joy of his dad picking him up before he reached home plate after he hit his first home run as a kid. The six year veteran wants to find that happiness in the game again, though he indicated there are more important things going on in the world right now.

“I found myself sitting there, ‘I don’t have that joy right now,'” he stated. “I’m trying all I can to get back to that place. This year was really rough for me personally, just stat wise. I still had a good time (despite COVID protocols and struggles). Making the most of a terrible situation.”

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Kansas City T-Bones renamed Monarchs in move to honor Negro League team

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association are being renamed the Kansas City Monarchs after the team that played in the Negro Leagues.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum signed a licensing agreement with Mark Brandmeyer’s MaxFun Entertainment, owner of the minor league team.

The original Monarchs were founded in 1924 and won the first Negro League World Series in 1920. The team played in the Negro National League from 1920 to 1931 and the Negro American League from 1937 to 1961, with independent stints from 1932 to 1936 and 1962 to 1965.

“This exciting partnership celebrates Kansas City’s rich baseball heritage and becomes an important extension of the work we’re doing to educate the public about the history of the Negro Leagues,” Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick said in a statement Thursday. “We are thrilled that the proud legacy of the great Kansas City Monarchs will take the field again and look forward to sharing our story through a myriad of opportunities made possible through this historic alliance.”

A museum satellite exhibit is planned to travel with the team, which intends to establish a Monarchs youth academy for baseball and softball.

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Jason Castro, Houston Astros reach agreement on one-year contract, source says

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The Houston Astros have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Jason Castro, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The deal brings Castro back to Houston, where he spent his first six major league seasons and was an All-Star in 2013.

Castro finished the 2020 season with the San Diego Padres following a trade by the Los Angeles Angels in August. The 33-year-old appeared in 27 games between the two teams during the shortened season, hitting .188 with two home runs and nine RBIs.

He has been a below-average hitter throughout his career, with a .230 batting average, but has been lauded for his pitch-framing and blocking skills.

The Athletic first reported on the agreement.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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