Roger Clemens Gerrit Cole Will Kill It w/ Yankees ... 'It's Gonna Be Great'

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GOOD ARM AND A GOOD HEART
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Sorry, Boston ... Roger Clemens is predicting a MONSTER career for Gerrit Cole with the New York Yankees, telling TMZ Sports, "It's gonna be great, man."

Cole just inked the fattest contract EVER for a pitcher ... signing a 9-year, $324 MILLION deal to play in pinstripes.

When we got Clemens out in NYC ... he told us he has ZERO doubts the 29-year-old is going to live up to that lofty deal -- saying the ace is just that good.

"We're going to miss him in Houston," Clemens says.

Of course, the Rocket knows a thing or two about succeeding in NY ... the dude is a Yanks LEGEND -- and he tells us Cole's got the right makeup to succeed at Yankee stadium.

"He absolutely does," Clemens says.

As for off the mound ... Roger is just as high on Cole there -- telling us, "He's a better person than he is a pitcher. That's how good a kid he is."

Music to Brian Cashman's ears!!

MLB Weed Ban Lifted ... For Minor Leaguers

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Weed is now LEGAL in the MLB ... the league is lifting its ban on marijuana for minor leaguers, removing the drug from its prohibited substance list.

As part of the MLB's efforts to crack down on opioid use in and around its league ... it has agreed to stop testing minor leaguers for weed, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports.

Of course, the MLB already didn't test its big leaguers for marijuana ... but the rule change for everyone else is a big deal for the sport.

Previously, minor league players faced a 25-game suspension for a first positive weed test, a 50-game suspension for a second test, a 100-game suspension for a third and a ban for LIFE for a fourth.

Ex-Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress is among the list of several current MLB players who have previously been popped for using weed in the minors.

As for the why now ... MLB officials are clearly trying to deter players from turning to opioids to fix their issues -- this after Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs tragically died from an accidental overdose on fentanyl, oxycodone and oxymorphone this past year.

MLB still lists dozens of recreational drugs on its banned substance list ... including cocaine, LSD and MDMA.

Question now ... will the NFL follow suit?

Ex-Astros OF J.D. Davis Never Saw Team Cheat ... Proof? I Hit .180!!!

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Ex-Astros OF/3B J.D. Davis INSISTS he NEVER saw any of his Houston teammates cheat ... despite 'Stros pitcher Mike Fiers claim the squad used high-tech gadgets to steal signs.

Davis -- now a member of the New York Mets -- was with the Astros from 2017-2018 ... smack in the middle of when the team's accused of cheating.

Remember, Fiers -- a starting pitcher -- recently told The Athletic that the 2017 Astros used a camera to steal signs from opposing catchers ... and then relayed the info (what pitch was coming) to 'Stros batters by banging on a garbage can.

The allegation sparked outrage ... and a massive MLB investigation.

But, Davis -- who was at a Mets children's holiday party in NYC Wednesday -- says despite the super-serious allegation, he simply never saw anyone cheat.

"I wasn't aware of anything and even if I was, even if there was, I wish I would've known because I batted only like .180, .200 or something like that," Davis says.

"But, I really have no idea or no clue."

Davis -- who had a monster year with the Mets in 2019 -- struggled with Houston in 2017 ... hitting .226 in his 68 plate appearances.

Davis says he was totally caught off guard by the sinister allegations.

"Sure, I was surprised about it, but I really have no idea. I was kind of like the freshman among the seniors and everything. I really had no idea what was going on or what's really happening, but that's an MLB investigation."

"I haven't gotten any calls yet."

CC Sabathia Bulky Shoulder Brace In NYC ... Needed Surgery After ALCS

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FEELIN' ALL-RIGHT
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Here's proof CC Sabathia gave EVERYTHING he had to try to get the Yankees another World Series title ...

TMZ Sports got the former MLB ace out in NYC on Tuesday ... and he was sporting a bulky brace on his pitching arm.

When we spoke to sources close to the 39-year-old, they told us he needed surgery last week to clean up the mess he made in his left arm after pitching for the Yanks against Houston in the ALCS.

Tough dude, right?!

Of course, CC battled a TON of injuries in his last year in pinstripes ... the guy famously said he would have had knee surgery over the summer if the Yanks weren't in a championship hunt.

As for his future, a timeline for recovery doesn't matter much anymore ... Sabathia is done pitching for good -- and if you expect to see him around the diamond next year, don't count on it.

The guy told reporters Tuesday he has ZERO interest in managing or broadcasting ... and seems he wasn't kidding when he told us earlier this year he's looking to do a ton of fishing in retirement!

RETIREMENT PLANS
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Shockingly Not Good At Golf ... No Power On The Range!

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SWING FOR THE FENCES

The best young power hitter in the MLB hits a golf a ball like THIS?!?!?!

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took a trip to Top Golf on Monday ... and the results were shockingly average.

The Toronto Blue Jays superstar stepped up to the range mat with what appeared to be a 3-wood in his hands ... and proceeded to show off less power than your average dad.

Watch the clip ... the same violent swing that allows the 20-year-old to launch baseballs 500 feet only yielded some 175-yarders.

OKAY, he ain't exactly Zion Williamson with a golf club ... but come on, look at this kid with a baseball bat in his hands!!!

For their part, Vladdy's friends appeared to be making fun of his lack of pop on the links too!!

Don't worry, baby Guerrero's still raking on the baseball diamond ... he later posted some clips Monday night showing off his classic power.

But, still ... call up Nelson Cruz and get some golf lessons, bro!!!

NO MULLIGAN

Gary Sheffield Moonshot Home Runs While Smoking ... 51 Years Old!!!

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STILL GOT IT

GARY SHEFFIELD CAN STILL RAKE!!!

Here's the 51-year-old ex-MLB superstar proving he's still got plenty of pop left in his bat ... hitting monster home runs at a local park -- all while smoking a stogie!!!

The video is pretty awesome ... Sheffield -- still using his trademark pre-swing waggle and an aluminum bat -- gets three pitches from a buddy, and unloads on all three!!

They go at least 400 feet ... and it probably ain't the smartest idea -- 'cause cars are zooming by just inches from the landing spot of his moonshot dingers!!!

Of course, Sheffield was super proud of the feat ... you can see him smirking with the cigar in his mouth -- and he later wrote on social media, "51 years old and still has the fastest hands alive."

"#garysheffieldswing haha old man still got it."

Gary became a legend in the MLB back in the 1990s and early 2000s for his power ... the guy hit 509 home runs in 22 seasons.

Clearly, he can still hit a few if ya need him ... you watching, Miami Marlins??

Charlie Sheen Major League Gear Up for Grabs ... Cop Vaughn's Hat & Ball!!!

The hat and actual baseball Charlie Sheen wore and threw in the hit movie, "Major League," can now be yours to own ... but you'll have to beat everyone else out for dibs.

An auction house called Lelands -- which sells off famous sports memorabilia -- is auctioning off Charlie's movie-worn gear for him -- which includes his Cleveland Indians cap, as well as CS's 101 MPH baseball that Ricky 'Wild Thing' Vaughn threw to strike out slugger Clu Haywood. It's a pretty memorable scene ... you 'memba it, right?

Funny enough, Sheen says his actual fastball on set clocked in closer to 84/85 MPH -- apparently, he was actually a pretty good ballplayer himself back in high school.

Sounds like Charlie's ready to pass the good memories from his memorabilia to someone else, explaining, "It is my hope that whoever buys the cap and ball will get as much enjoyment from them as I did all these years." He says everyone always asks to try on the hat.

For now, there are 17 bids on the cap ... with the highest offer so far coming at $4,594. The ball has 10 bids on it, and someone's willing to drop $2,357 to call it their own.

BTW, there's other items up for grabs that Charlie has personally owned ... including a watch he wore on the movie "Platoon," Don Larsen's perfect game baseball and a Babe Ruth locker tag that apparently belonged to the Great Bambino himself.

Get in on it while it's hot ... we're guessing these items will go fast.

Bernie Williams No Interest In Coaching ... I'm A Musician!!!

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FOCUSING ON MY MUSIC
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Bernie Williams will NOT be the next Carlos Beltran ... so says the Yankees legend himself, who tells TMZ Sports he's solely focused on being a musician -- not an MLB manager!!

Hiring ex-stars has been the trendy move for clubs looking for a new leader these days ... and with Bernie's background, he seems to be a great candidate for a job down the road.

But, Williams tells us he has no interest in having that gig at the moment ... saying his guitar has his heart!!

"This music thing has got me, man!" Williams says. "It's got me really hard. And, I'm trying to be the best musician that I can be right now."

If you're unfamiliar, Bernie's been shredding his guitar for years since his retirement in 2006 ... and even got nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2009.

But, he's clearly gunning for more in the music world ... telling us that's his passion right now.

Don't get it twisted, Bernie's still staying around baseball and says he's always down to help Yankees hitters during spring training workouts in Florida.

So, maybe, never say never??

Washington Nationals Huge World Series Bonuses ... $380k Each!!!

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It pays to be the champs ... and the Washington Nationals now know exactly how much they're getting for winning the World Series -- a whoppin' $382k per player!!

Major League Baseball just announced the total amounts that got divvied up to each postseason team ... and while it isn't record-breaking, it's still an insane number -- $80,861,145.74!!

BTW -- the total pool number is essentially made up of playoff stadium ticket sales and is divided by the 10 playoff teams based on how far they got.

Since the Nats took the title, they obvi got the biggest amount to share -- $29,110,012 to split between 61 players, totaling in $382,358!!

The Houston Astros lost, but they can wipe their tears with a sweet $256,030 each!!

Here's how much the rest of the playoff teams got ...

New York Yankees -- $114k per player

St. Louis Cardinals -- $144k per player

Atlanta Braves -- $33k per player

Los Angeles Dodgers -- $32k per player

Minnesota Twins -- $37k per player

Tampa Bay Rays -- $36k per player

The $80 million pot is the 3rd-highest of all time ... right behind the 2017 and 2018 postseasons.

Enjoy the money!!

Kate Upton Fangirls Out at Texans Game ... It's JJ Watt!!!

Kate Upton and Justin Verlander had the best seats in the house at the Houston Texans game on Thursday -- getting the ultimate VIP treatment ... plus hugs from JJ Watt!

The Houston Astros pitcher was being honored at NRG Stadium in Houston for winning the 2019 AL Cy Young Award ... his 2nd Cy Young ... and they picked the right game to attend!

Deshaun Watson threw for nearly 300 yards and 2 TDs as the Texans escaped with a 20-to-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

HOUSTON HOSPITALITY

Kate and Justin not only got field access before the game to rub shoulders with stars like Watt, Watson and others ... but they later got to chill in a VIP suite!

There was even a moment where the Texans put Kate and Justin on the Jumbotron -- and Kate shot herself being shot ... and put it on IG!

After the game, the couple got to go back in the locker room where Watson hooked 'em up with a signed jersey (it looks game worn, but we're told it's not. Still cool though!).

Next up for the Texans ... they take on the New England Patriots on Dec. 1 -- maybe they should invite Kate and Justin back for good luck?!

MLB's Felipe Vazquez Accused of Child Pornography ... Hit with 21 New Felonies

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1:29 PM PT -- Vazquez's next court appearance has been set for late January -- and because he was denied bail, he'll remain in jail until that hearing.

More terrible allegations against MLB pitcher Felipe Vazquez -- the Pirates star has just been hit with multiple child pornography charges in his already disturbing child sex case.

The 28-year-old All-Star showed up to a Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania courtroom on Tuesday with shackles on his ankles and wrists ... and was reportedly looking to be released on bond after he was arrested back in September for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

But, not only did a judge not let him out of jail Tuesday -- prosecutors announced they were bringing 21 new charges against Vasquez.

Among the new crimes ... Vasquez has been hit with 10 counts of child pornography, 10 counts of unlawful contact with a minor and 1 count of corruption of minors.

In court docs, authorities say they found photos and videos of the alleged underage victim in "various stages of nudity" in Vazquez's phone.

All 21 charges are listed as 3rd-degree felonies ... which carry a maximum of 7 years in prison each if Vazquez is convicted.

As we previously reported, Vazquez is accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in his Ford Mustang in Pennsylvania back in 2017.

Officials say the MLB closer also sent the girl graphic videos and photos -- and told her in text messages he was planning to have sex with her again.

The texts were discovered by the alleged victim's mother -- who alerted police. Investigators say the images depicted numerous "unique and distinguishable" tattoos on his body ... which they were able to match to Vazquez through public images on the Internet.

Getty/IMAGN Composite

Cops claim Vazquez admitted to the crime during a Sept. 17 interrogation ... telling investigators he had "sex but not really" with the victim.

Vazquez was initially charged with 3 felonies in Pennsylvania -- including statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors.

Vazquez is also facing 2 felony charges in the case in Florida -- where the alleged victim's mom initially reported the relationship to authorities.

Vazquez is a 2-time All-Star who had a great season for the Pirates in 2019. He signed a 4-year, $22.5 million contract in 2018.

Originally published -- 11:08 AM PT

Cody Bellinger In Tears After Winning NL MVP ... 'It's What You Dream Of'

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Got tissues nearby? Better go grab 'em ... 'cause Cody Bellinger started crying after winning the NL MVP award Thursday -- and he says it's all 'cause of a celebration hug with his dad!!!

"That's what made me emotional right there for sure," Bellinger said.

The LA Dodgers superstar had an unbelievable year in 2019 ... hitting 47 home runs with 115 RBIs while batting .305 -- and he earned the MVP award over Christian Yelich because of it.

When MLB Network had Cody on shortly after to talk about the honor ... the outfielder couldn't hide his emotions -- saying an embrace with his pops made him break down.

"It's what you dream of, man," Bellinger said.

Of course, Cody and his dad, Clay, are SUPER tight ... Poppa Bellinger is a former MLB player who Cody has often credited for his ultra-successful baseball career.

Cody also had a bunch of other family and friends join him for the celebration ... and he called the whole moment, "pretty cool."

"It's absolutely incredible," Bellinger said ... "A little emotional. So, it's pretty cool."

WE'RE NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING!!!

Houston Astros Investigating Cheating Claims ... From 2017 Season

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The Houston Astros have launched an investigation into claims the team cheated during the 2017 MLB season ... the same year they won the World Series.

Former 'Stros pitcher Mike Fiers said in an article posted by The Athletic on Tuesday that he personally witnessed Astros players going above and beyond to steal signs from opposing teams back in '17.

"That’s not playing the game the right way," said Fiers, a current Oakland A's pitcher who left Houston after the 2017 season. “They were advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win.”

The Athletic, citing multiple MLB sources, reports Houston used an outfield camera to record other team's catchers ... and watched video of the footage in the clubhouse hallway.

The report states Astros staffers and players would then try to decode the signals ... and when they felt they had them down, they would relay the expected upcoming pitches to batters using a loud banging noise.

The report claims the alleged cheating took place during the regular season ... but says it's unclear if it continued during the Astros' epic playoff run that year.

Houston released a statement saying they're looking into the matter, writing, "The Houston Astros organization has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball."

"It would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time."

Of course, the 'Stros have become no stranger to controversial MLB investigations ... just a few weeks ago they fired high-ranking exec Brandon Taubman after a probe revealed he directed taunts about Roberto Osuna to female journalists.

Houston -- which won the World Series over the Dodgers in 2017 -- fell in 7 games to the Nationals earlier this month in this year's championship.

MLB's Nelson Cruz Launches Ball To Moon At Top Golf ... Cleared The Netting!!!

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NO MULLIGAN

Wanna see how far one of the MLB's best power hitters can launch a golf ball??

Good ... 'cause Minnesota Twins slugger Nelson Cruz pulled out the driver at a Top Golf earlier this month -- AND HE SENT A BALL TO THE FREAKIN' MOON!!!!

The Babe Ruthian swing all went down on Nov. 1, when Cruz was getting in some offseason golf hacks at the range.

Cruz only posted one video ... but it was seriously epic -- he blasted a ball that appeared to clear the top of the netting some 300-ish yards away!!!

Of course, Cruz is 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and is used to killin' balls ... he's hit 37 or more home runs in the MLB for 6 straight seasons.

But, it ain't like power in one sport always translates to another ... just ask 6-foot-6, 284-pound NBA beast Zion Williamson, who REALLY sucks at golf!!!

SHANK U, NEXT
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As for Cruz, the 39-year-old seemed impressed with himself after the hack ... writing on his social media page, "¿Futuro golfista?"

SI, SI, SI!!!!!

Cleveland's Francisco Lindor New Video Might Cause Indians Fans ... To Freak Out!!

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SILENCE SPEAKS VOLUMES
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Everyone wants to know if Cleveland Indians superstar Francisco Lindor will sign a new deal to keep him in CLE after the 2021 season.

So, we asked him about that ... and this video could have Indians Nation super worried!

Here's the deal ... Lindor was out in NYC this weekend and was super nice to our camera guy and other fans, talking about everything MLB related.

He gave love to Cleveland and called it "my home" -- but when we pressed him about staying with the Indians long term ... well, that's when the cat got his tongue.

Watch the video ... Lindor is chatty about every other topic except when we specifically asked about his career in Cleveland.

Of course, Lindor -- who's one of the 10 best hitters in the sport -- has a very uncertain future in Cleveland ... Indians owner Paul Dolan has already hinted he ain't willing to give the shortstop the FAT contract extension he probably deserves.

In fact, Dolan famously said before this past season, "Enjoy him. We control him for three more years. Enjoy him and then we’ll see what happens."

So, is Lindor's silence speaking volumes ... or is this a big ol' nothingburger?

It's not just the Indians fans in our office feeling some sort of way ... and even the non-CLE crowd was shocked by the non-answer answer.

Nice guy though!

Johnny Damon Players Should Visit White House ... Talk About Your Issues!!!

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PART OF THE BASEBALL BIZ
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Johnny Damon says players like Sean Doolittle and Steph Curry should NOT ditch The White House because of President Trump ... telling TMZ Sports it's the perfect time to make their voices heard with the leader of the free world!

Of course, it's become a major debate in sports ... with huge athletes boycotting celebratory visits to 1600 Penn. as a way to stick it to POTUS.

So, when we saw Damon, we spoke with the ex-Yankees superstar about some Washington Nationals players like Doolittle, Anthony Rendon and more deciding to sit out the trip last weekend ... and JD says that's the WRONG thing to do.

"That's one of the things you wanted to do when you won the World Series was go to The White House, regardless of what political affiliation you may or may not have," Damon told us outside Capitale in NYC.

"I think it's a great thing and if you do have an issue, that's the greatest time to talk about the issues that you see and try to make things work."

Damon says there's too much hate going around between both sides ... and refusing to talk it out isn't gonna make anything better.

"I'm glad the Nationals went there. I'm glad there was a great support for the president. I hope other teams elect to go in the future so they can talk about the issues that are bothering them."

As for those who DID go to The White House ... the visit looked, uh, interesting. Just ask Kurt Suzuki.

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We also talked ball with Damon ... and he tells us why the Red Sox should NOT trade Mookie Betts.