Good times in San Diego

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As I mentioned in the recaps, the Padres extended manager Bud Black yesterday.  Probably a good move.  Black appears to be well-liked in San Diego, and it’s not as if it’s his fault the Padres have the record they have.  How about actually giving him a big league squad before passing judgment, ya know?

More interesting news from San Diego is that the Jake Peavy trade is already paying dividends.  Last night Claton Richard turned in his second decent start since coming over — not spectacular, but certainly servicable and obviously good enough to win — and there may be more where that came from.

As a result of the Chad Gaudin trade, the Padres will need another starter next week.  Here’s GM Kevin Towers: “It’s going to be someone from Triple-A.  It might surprise you all.”

The most interesting name among the Padres’ current Triple-A starters is Aaron Poreda, a 22-year-old left-hander who also came to the Padres in the Peavy trade.  Ozzie Guillen saw fit to only use him in relief ten times in the month and a half he was on the big club in Chicago.  I understand wanting to protect him, especially given that the Sox have playoff hopes, but he should get a chance to start for the Padres.  That big outfield in Petco Park provides a lot of protection for a young pitcher, and it’s not as if the Padres have any pressure-filled games left on their schedule. The fact that I have him on my Scoresheet roster and would love to see him in the bigs is completely irrelevant to this discussion.

As for the other part of that trade?  Jake Peavy will probably make a rehab start on August 13th and could pitch in the majors on August 28th.  Though don’t be surprised if that gets pushed out further if the Sox fall out of the race between now and then.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.