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Fredi Gonzalez realized he was fired after an airline email

An odd situation, indeed.

The NFL will play regular-season games in London and Mexico City this season. China is on its radar — even if eating meat there will lead to failed drug tests and multiple teams are opposed to the idea. Germany has also been mentioned as a possible NFL destination in the future.

If Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah has his way, Africa will also be added to the NFL’s travel list.

“I would love to see a game in Africa,” Ansah said, per the Lions’ website. “That would be good, and I think there’s a lot of potential back in Africa. I know that one day the NFL will have a game out there just like we do in London.”

Control is more his strength, which would seem to contrast with his 2.7 walks per nine innings so far. But most pitchers — control artists or otherwise — work off their fastballs. They’re easier to locate than breaking balls, making it all the more amazing that Maeda’s most-thrown pitch through his first eight starts is his slider. You almost never see that, and perhaps now hitters have adjusted.

“It’s hard to make a living as a starting pitcher pitching off your slider,” manager Dave Roberts told MLB.com. “I just know Kenta’s got great fastball command. It’s just one of those cat-and-mouse things, where they adjust to you and you’ve got adjust to them.”

And Thompson isn’t the only lefty masher getting a real look against righties. Brandon Guyer has started seven straight games, including four against righties, and homered twice off a notable one, Sonny Gray, Sunday. The Rays seem to be turning the page on Desmond Jennings and like Guyer in the leadoff spot with Logan Forsythe sidelined by a fractured shoulder blade. He could surprise in the way Kevin Pillar did last year if the role holds.

Of course, it’s not like we were counting down the days for either Thompson or Guyer to get an opportunity, and they haven’t been at it long enough to enter the waiver wire discussion. Both are more food for thought than anything else at this point.

Nathan’s obviously had a great career, but in 2014, his last full season, he logged an ERA+ of 81 while issuing 26 unintentional walks in 58 innings. Consider this a depth signing by the Cubs.

Pirates, Francisco Cervelli agree to three-year contract extension

The Pirates on Tuesday announced that they’ve signed veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli to a three-year contract. Per Adam Berry, the deal will pay Cervelli a total of $31 million. Here’s how it breaks down …

Berrios may be one of those breakthroughs. This start and his demotion don’t preclude him. But is he the one you risk losing to someone else right now, or is Rubby De La Rosa, with four dominant starts in his past five?

Most likely, you’ll have another shot at Berrios down the line, but De La Rosa himself is promising enough that you don’t want to pass up what may be your one and only shot at him.
3. Ruh-roh Astros

As you’d expect for a last-place team with first-place aspirations, the Astros are in a state of flux right now, calling up three hitters in the last two days who could play a pivotal role for them.

The most certain and most promising for Fantasy purposes is Evan Gattis, who only got sent down to re-acclimate himself to catching. He’ll back up Jason Castro at the position and, thus, won’t be eligible there in CBSSports.com leagues for 2-3 weeks.

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