* Former Yankees, Indians, Cubs, and Giants outfielder Mel Hall has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after being convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl who he coached on a basketball team.
The 48-year-old Hall, who has also been accused of carrying on inappropriate relationships with several other children, will be eligible for parole in 22.5 years.
* It’s probably not a great sign that A.J. Hinch is holding a team meeting 36 games into his managerial career. As Ozzie Guillen put it last week: “Good teams win games. Bad teams have meetings.”
* Also not a good sign for a manager: Cleveland’s most prominent sports columnist is wondering if Eric Wedge has “reached his limit with floundering Tribe.”
* Chipper Jones is happy
that John Smoltz’s altered comeback timetable has him avoiding the
Braves in his second start. Instead of facing his former teammates,
Smoltz will start against the Orioles after getting the Nationals in
his Red Sox debut next Thursday.
* After eight straight Republican victories, the Democrats finally won the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park last night.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.