Brewers and Twins swap Hardy for Gomez

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For months now the assumption has been that the Brewers would trade J.J. Hardy this offseason and they wasted no time getting a deal done, sending the 27-year-old shortstop to the Twins for 24-year-old center fielder Carlos Gomez.
The deal makes sense for both sides. Milwaukee soured on Hardy during a career-worst season, sending him down to Triple-A while committing to top prospect Alcides Escobar as the long-term answer at shortstop. They also have an opening in center field with Mike Cameron leaving via free agency, and while his bat remains a question mark Gomez is among the elite defensive outfielders in the game.
Minnesota has long been rumored to have interest in Hardy and the fact that his demotion to Triple-A pushed free agency back another season no doubt appealed to the budget-conscious Twins. Gomez fell behind Denard Span and Delmon Young in the Twins’ outfield pecking order, rarely playing down the stretch, and has made little progress offensively since coming over from the Mets in the Johan Santana trade.
Milwaukee picks up a speedy, Gold Glove-caliber center fielder with tons of physical tools who still has plenty of time to develop further offensively. Minnesota gets a relatively young shortstop who’s under team control through 2011 and prior to struggling this season batted .277/.323/.463 with 26 homers in 2007 and .283/.343/.478 with 24 homers in 2008. Some trades just make sense and this is one of them.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.