Rookie hurlers Cahill, Porcello having interesting seasons

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A’s rookie Trevor Cahill set a new team record for most home runs allowed at home by serving up his 20th bomb at the Oakland Coliseum last night. Cahill has allowed 20 homers in 100.2 innings at home, but just six homers in 57.2 innings on the road, which is odd given that Oakland’s ballpark typically suppresses power.
Cahill leads all rookies with 158.1 innings, but is just 8-12 with a 4.66 ERA and sub par 79/64 K/BB ratio as a 21-year-old. He’s also served up 26 total homers in 28 starts despite inducing the ninth-most ground balls in the league. One out of every seven fly balls hit against Cahill have gone over the fence, which is the third-worst rate in the AL ahead of only Josh Beckett and fellow rookie Rick Porcello.
And speaking of Porcello, he tossed seven strong innings yesterday for this 12th victory, becoming just the 13th pitcher in the last 50 years to win a dozen or more games as a 20-year-old. Dwight Gooden sits atop that list with an amazing, Cy Young-winning 1985 season that saw him go 24-5 with a 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts, .201 opponents’ batting average, 16 complete games, and eight shutouts. As a 20-year-old!
Porcello’s numbers obviously pale in comparison, but he’s been very solid with a 12-8 record and 4.18 ERA in 25 starts. He’s managed just 72 strikeouts in 135.2 innings, but has succeeded while pitching to contact because no pitcher in the league has induced as many ground balls. Porcello is at 56 percent grounders, and Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Ricky Romero are the only other guys above 50 percent.

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.

Phillies release veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday

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The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.

Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.