Padres set to call up Kyle Blanks from Triple-A

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John Manuel of Baseball America reports
that the Padres are on the verge of calling up Kyle Blanks from
Triple-A, which is interesting given that the massive first-base
prospect appeared to be blocked by Adrian Gonzalez as recently as last month.

Since then the Padres have moved the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Blanks to left
field on a part-time basis and are apparently pleased enough with his
progress there defensively in 15 games at Triple-A to give him a shot
in San Diego.

It remains to be seen what type of role Blanks will play and how
long his first taste of the majors will last, because it’s possible
that the Padres are calling him up primarily to serve as designated
hitter for back-to-back interleague series in AL ballparks next week.
However, before then they host the A’s for a three-game series that
begins tonight and calling him up for that suggests Blanks could stick
around … as an outfielder.

Early reviews of his defense in left field have been fairly
positive, but Blanks is probably never going to be an asset there
defensively and would be the heaviest outfielder in baseball history if
he finds a long-term home at the position. That honor currently resides
with Frank Howard, who checked in at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds 40 years
ago, yet played over 11,000 innings in the outfield while hitting 382
homers.

Of course, Blanks isn’t being called up for his glove and playing a
palatable left field would merely be a way to get his bat into the
lineup alongside Gonzalez. Banks has hit .283/.393/.485 with 12 homers,
22 total extra-base hits, and 39 walks in 66 games at Triple-A as a
22-year-old and is a career .304/.393/.505 hitter in over 1,900 plate
appearances in the minors.

As a right-handed hitter he’ll complement the left-handed hitting
Gonzalez and hopefully help a Padres lineup that ranks dead last among
NL teams in batting average (.215), on-base percentage (.297), and
slugging percentage (.365) against southpaws. San Diego also ranks dead
last in OPS from left fielders (mostly Chase Headley) and right
fielders (mostly Brian Giles), so there’s plenty of room for Blanks
somewhere. Plus, who wouldn’t want to watch a surprisingly nimble
300-pounder chase after fly balls at Petco Park?

Orioles signed Tommy Hunter to a major league contract

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 12:  Pitcher Tommy Hunter #48 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the ninth inning during the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 12, 2016 in Anaheim, California. The Indians defeated the Angels 8-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
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The Orioles announced, prior to Sunday’s game against the Yankees, that the club signed pitcher Tommy Hunter to a major league contract. In related roster moves, the club recalled pitcher Oliver Drake from Triple-A Norfolk and designated pitcher T.J. McFarland and outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment.

The Indians released Hunter on Thursday after he struggled in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. Hunter was recovering from a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. The right-hander put up a respectable 3.74 ERA with a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings for the Indians.

This will be Hunter’s second stint with the Orioles. The O’s had acquired him along with first baseman Chris Davis at the trade deadline from the Rangers in 2011 in the Koji Uehara trade.

The Orioles are only responsible for paying Hunter the prorated major league minimum.

Orioles’ Mark Trumbo becomes the first to 40 home runs this season

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a home run during the eighth inning of a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Orioles DH Mark Trumbo drilled a two-run home run to left-center field off of reliever Ben Heller in the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Yankees. In doing so, he became the first player to reach the 40-homer plateau this season.

Trumbo finished 1-for-4 on the afternoon. Along with the 40 dingers, he’s hitting .257/.317/.541 with 96 RBI. He has already set a career-high in homers and is four RBI away from tying his career high in that regard.

Trumbo is eligible for free agency after the season. Needless to say, his performance in 2016 bodes well for his ability to secure a hefty contract.