Tick, tock: 13 first-round picks remain unsigned

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With the midnight deadline to sign draft picks looming the focus has obviously been on No. 1 overall pick and “greatest college pitcher since [fill in the blank]” Stephen Strasburg, but there also are a ton of other first rounders still unsigned. Here’s the complete list, as of noon today:

1.   Stephen Strasburg   RHP    Nationals
2.   Dustin Ackley       OF     Mariners
3.   Donavan Tate        OF     Padres
6.   Zach Wheeler        RHP    Giants
9.   Jacob Turner        RHP    Tigers
11.  Tyler Matzek        LHP    Rockies
12.  Aaron Crow          RHP    Royals
13.  Grant Green         SS     A's
14.  Matt Purke          LHP    Rangers
15.  Alex White          RHP    Indians
19.  Shelby Miller       RHP    Cardinals
22.  Kyle Gibson         RHP    Twins
30.  Levon Washington    OF     Rays

Everyone expected Strasburg and agent Scott Boras to drag things out until the last second, but with about 12 hours remaining until the deadline each of the top three picks and 13 of the first 30 picks are still unsigned. There are also plenty of prominent non-first rounders still negotiating, including Tanner Scheppers, who dropped to the Rangers at No. 44 after not signing last year.
There are last-minute signings every year, but it seems like there’s more uncertainty than ever on this deadline day, perhaps because teams are able to take a hard-line (or harder-line, at least) stance while knowing that not signing a first rounder will result in receiving a compensatory pick one slot down next June. In other words, the worst-case scenario no longer involves being left empty handed.
For the latest updates on all the signings, check out Rotoworld’s player news page and Baseball America‘s draft blog.

Royals closer Kelvin Herrera leaves with forearm tightness

Associated Press
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The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.

Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball.  Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him  “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”

Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.

Albert Pujols sets the all-time record for home runs by a foreign-born player

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Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.

Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:

”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”

After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).