Jason Varitek: one more year with the Sox

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The Red Sox declined their $5 team option on Jason Varitek yesterday, but the Captain had a $3 million player option that he decided to exercise last night:

NESN learned on Monday night that the 37-year-old Varitek will exercise
his $3 million player option for 2010 that includes up to another $2
million in incentives. The move is expected to be formalized on Tuesday
and will keep Varitek with the Red Sox through at least the end of 2010.

With
the incentives, Varitek would earn an additional $400,000 for starting
80 games in 2010 and another bonus for every 10 starts thereafter.

Varitek is done as a useful player. His bat is subpar and his defense is atrocious.  Given that the Sox exercised their option on Victor Martinez, ‘Tek will almost certainly be the backup catcher, making those incentives less than likely to kick in absent a Youkilis or Lowell injury that forces Martinez to first base.  

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.