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Cork found in Mantle bat

Sat., May 4, 2013

A corked bat that belonged to baseball legend Mickey Mantle is going up for auction later this month by Gray Flannel Auctions.

The bat, which has a reserve price of $5,000, is a Mantle bat from the 1960s. Authenticator John Taube was verifying that the bat was a Mantle bat when he noticed alterations at the top of the barrel.

“During our examination of the bat, we noticed a circular area .75 inches wide in the center of the top barrel,” Taube said in a statement.

“The finish in the area has also been touched up to mask the circular area. Alterations of this nature indicate the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork. We had the barrel X-rayed and it confirms that the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork. This is the first corked bat of Mantle that we have heard of.”

Did Mantle use it in a game? Was it used only in batting practice? Were teammates pulling a prank on him? It will never be known for sure.

Mantle hit 536 home runs in his career with the New York Yankees. He retired after the 1968 season and died in 1995.

Affeldt activated

The San Francisco Giants activated left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt from the 15-day disabled list after he had been sidelined since April 17 with a strained muscle in his right side.

Also, the team recalled infielder Francisco Peguero from Triple-A Fresno and optioned struggling catcher Hector Sanchez to the Grizzlies. Guillermo Quiroz is San Francisco’s No. 2 catcher behind N.L. MVP Buster Posey.

Clearing the bases

Cardinals closer Jason Motte, who tied for the National League lead in saves in 2012, will undergo Tommy John surgery next week and miss the entire 2013 season. Motte threw Friday before the Cardinals game against the Brewers at Miller Park, and his right arm did not respond well to the throwing session. Also, the Cardinals sent reliever Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A Memphis. Boggs began the season as a stand-in for Motte, but had a 12.66 ERA. … The Los Angeles Dodgers placed left-hander Ted Lilly on the 15-day disabled list with a strain in his right rib cage. … The Washington Nationals activated third baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the 15-day disabled list and he was in the starting lineup against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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