– Melky Cabrera became the 15th player in Yankees history to hit for the cycle in an 8-5 win over the White Sox this afternoon. He’s the first Yankee to accomplish the feat since Tony Fernandez in 1995.
– Just this morning, I wrote that Victor Martinez had a .198 batting average since June 4, but he broke out in a big way in his catching debut with the Red Sox, going 5-for-6 with four RBI in an 18-10 win over the Orioles. Go figure.
– James Shields tossed seven hitless innings, but lost the no-hit bid and the game by giving up two runs in the eighth, as part of a 4-1 loss to the Royals this afternoon.
– The Reds got quite a scare this afternoon when Scott Rolen was
plunked on the helmet by Colorado pitcher Jason Marquis. But no
worries, it looks like he’s just fine.
– A few weeks ago in this space I included Astros rookie Bud Norris in my players to watch for the second half. Don’t mean to say I told you so, but…uh, yeah. I kinda do.
– In additon to 2008 first-round draft pick Brian Matusz likely making his major league debut for the Orioles on Tuesday night, Neftali Feliz, one of the top pitching prospects in the game, could join the Rangers roster as early as Sunday.
– And Matt Holliday, well…he finally took his first 0-fer this afternoon. Dude’s human.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.