WASHINGTON – Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren said a tweet from the team directed at Washington outfielder Bryce Harper was “an inappropriate attempt at humor.”

The Braves’ official Twitter account posted “Clown move bro” after Harper was angered over being drilled in the leg Tuesday night by Julio Teheran. It was a reference to Harper’s famous retort to a reporter, “That’s a clown question, bro.”

Harper had homered in his previous at-bat. After he was hit, both benches and bullpens emptied but no punches were thrown.

The Nationals answered the Braves’ tweet with one of their own: “Which part, giving up the home run, or drilling the 20-year-old on the first pitch his next time up?”

THE MAJOR League Baseball Players Association formally appealed Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension.

Rodriguez was suspended through the 2014 season Monday when the league penalized 13 players following an investigation into Biogenesis of America, a closed Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

TIGERS: Veteran closer Jose Valverde was released from his contract with Triple-A Toledo.

The Tigers designated Valverde for assignment June 21, less than two months after bringing him back to the major leagues for another chance to be the team’s closer. Valverde went 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA, converting nine saves in 12 chances.

ROYALS: Kansas City optioned left-hander Will Smith to Triple-A Omaha to make room for pitcher Danny Duffy.

Smith is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in seven games. He struck out five in three perfect relief innings in Tuesday night’s 7-0 loss to Minnesota.

PHILLIES: Pitcher Roy Halladay is set to take the next step in his return from shoulder surgery and will pitch a simulated game Saturday in Clearwater, Fla.

Halladay threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session. He said he hopes to pitch again this year.

Second baseman Chase Utley agreed to a contract extension that could keep him in Philadelphia through at least the 2015 season.

INDIANS: Starter Corey Kluber will miss at least one month with a sprained right middle finger.

Utilityman Ryan Raburn signed a two-year contract extension with a club option for 2016.

REDS: Cincinnati activated reliever Jonathan Broxton from the 15-day disabled list.

ROCKIES: Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list because he’s seen little improvement in his sprained right middle finger.

DAVE PARKER, 62, a seven-time All-Star, said he’s dealing with Parkinson’s disease after being diagnosed in February 2012.

UMPIRE MANNY Gonzalez was held out of the Rockies-Mets game because he’s experiencing dizziness and has swelling in his throat a day after being hit by a pitch.

DODGERS: Shortstop Hanley Ramirez missed his third straight start with a shoulder injury but the team remained confident he wouldn’t need to go on the 15-day disabled list.

CARDINALS: Rookie pitcher Shelby Miller lasted just two pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers, leaving the game after taking a line drive by Carl Crawford off his right elbow. The team described it as a right elbow contusion.

CUBS: Catcher Dioner Navarro and left fielder Thomas Neal left in the seventh inning of the game against the Phillies, Navarro after a collision at the plate and Neal hurting his arm on a throw.


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