SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and director of player development Andy McKay on Thursday strongly denied allegations from the team’s former high performance director that they disparaged Latino players.Answering questions about the allegations for the first time since they surfaced in November Matt Kemp Jersey , Dipoto and McKay reiterated the team’s stance that Lorena Martin is fabricating claims against members of the front office. Dipoto said he’s embarrassed by what has happened. He denied Martin’s claims while taking responsibility for hiring her.Major League Baseball is investigating the accusations, which included a post on social media that stated Dipoto, McKay and manager Scott Servais had called Latino players “lazy, dumb and stupid.”“I hired her. At the end of the day we believe that, I guess, justice will prevail. There is an ongoing investigation I’m not going to get into,” Dipoto said. “I’ve been at this for 30 years, I know a lot of people in the game. I’m not a sexist, nor am I a racist. The accusations that have been made are untrue. I believe that will wash out as this unfolds. I can only speak for myself. The responsibility for this development of the program and hiring Dr. Martin to come here Rich Hill Jersey , it’s on me. I take full responsibility for it.”Martin was on the job for only one season in Seattle, hired away from the Los Angeles Lakers with much fanfare by Dipoto. She was let go after the 2018 season and has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the franchise.Martin alleges she went to team owners John Stanton and Buck Ferguson and CEO Kevin Mather as far back as March to complain about alleged discriminatory treatment. Her lawsuit also said several Latino players complained to Martin about feeling excluded and that Dipoto took midseason steps last year to undermine the progress and mental state of star pitcher Felix Hernandez.Martin’s lawsuit countered claims by the team that Martin did not approach anybody with complaints of racial and gender discrimination before she made her initial accusatory posts on social media.The team’s reasons for seeking Martin’s termination were revealed last month in a filing in King County Superior Court in response to Martin’s lawsuit. The club’s response was an eight-page, weeks-old letter originally filed in an attempt to have her situation settled in private arbitration, but it became public after it was attached to a motion filed by Martin’s attorney.The Mariners say unnamed employees had warned Dipoto last March that Martin was ignoring medical advice on treatment of injured players and that she was misrepresenting herself “as a medical doctor to other MLB teams’ staff.”The team also said it had received “overwhelming and accumulating” employee complaints about Martin.McKay said he had not addressed the allegations publicly until being asked about them Thursday.“It’s a difficult situation obviously and one that requires thought. It requires reflection. But in terms of the people I work with on a daily basis, the support has been unanimous and 100 percent positive. The accusations are serious but they are completely false. I never said anything like that. I’ve never thought that, I’ve never felt it. It didn’t happen,” McKay said.McKay added that he hasn’t been approached by any Latino players in the Mariners’ minor-league organization seeking explanations for Martin’s claims and his denials.“I know who I am. I know what I believe. I know what I did not say. I think the overwhelming number of people around me feel the exact same way,” McKay said. “I would have no issues bringing it up and addressing it with somebody if they think it would help or felt uncomfortable, or if I sensed they were uncomfortable. I would be proactive and bring it up http://www.dodgersfanproshop.com/authentic-alex-wood-jersey , but it just hasn’t occurred to this point.”NOTES: Seattle is expected to finalize a one-year contract with reliever Hunter Strickland, possibly as early as Friday. Dipoto did not confirm reports of an agreement between the sides, but did say he was “very close” to adding a reliever to the pitching staff. Strickland was not tendered a contract by San Francisco after the 2018 season. He was 3-5 with a 3.97 ERA and 14 saves in 49 games last season. … Relievers Sam Tuivailala (Achilles tendon surgery) and Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) are the only players expected to be delayed when pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 11. The Mariners believe Swarzak will still be ready for the start of the regular season. Tuivailala likely won’t be ready until June. The biggest rivalry in baseball will continue at Fenway Park on Thursday when the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox (75-34) host the New York Yankees (68-38) in a near pick'em divisional matchup at the sportsbooks.Both teams are coming off losses heading into this key four-game series, with six more meetings set to take place over the last two weeks of the regular season.MLB betting line: The Red Sox opened as -130 favorites (wager $130 to win $100); the total is at 10 runs, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)MLB betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 4.9-4.1, Red Sox (MLB picks on every game)Check out the OddsShark podcast on iTunes or at OddsShark.libsyn.com for more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week's top sports betting news.Why the Yankees can pay on the MLB linesNew York has a slight edge in the first nine meetings, going 5-4 so far after taking four of the past six Starlin Castro Jersey , according to the OddsShark MLB Database. The Yankees should also have an advantage in this series-opening pitching matchup with veteran southpaw CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.53 ERA) on the mound.The Yankees have won four of the previous five times the 38-year-old has toed the rubber, with him allowing two runs or less three times during that stretch. Rich Schultz/Associated PressSabathia has also notched a victory against Boston once already this year, allowing one run and six hits in seven innings of an 8-1 win at home on June 29. Why the Red Sox can pay on the MLB linesThe Red Sox have been MLB's best team for a while now, and they have had some success versus Sabathia this season as well. In his first start against the veteran on May 10, they had four runs and nine hits off him in four innings en route to a 5-4 victory.Converted reliever Brian Johnson (1-3, 3.45 ERA) will get the call here with Chris Sale on the disabled list, and he has pitched well lately despite not having anything to show for it. In his last two starts, Johnson has not allowed an earned run in 10.2 innings http://www.marlinsfanproshop.com/authentic-justin-bour-jersey , with the Red Sox getting outscored 7-1 in a pair of losses. More run support would help him.Smart betting pickBoston leads New York by 5.5 games in the race for the AL East title and owns MLB's best home record, too, at 38-15. The Red Sox have less favorable pitching matchups the rest of the series, so look for them to earn a win right away and relieve some pressure.MLB betting trendsNew York is 2-4 in its last six games on the road.Boston is 4-1 in its last five games.Boston is 14-3 in its last 17 games at home.All MLB odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.