Gearing up for Thursday at the Winter Meetings

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Disco Hayes.jpgThere’s not much left on the official agenda here in Indianapolis, but none of the fun stuff happens on the official agenda anyway.  For what it’s worth:

The Rule 5 draft takes place at 9 A.M. this morning. Even the prospect junkies I’ve talked to here aren’t terribly excited about it. There’s no Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla or Joakim Soria in this crowd.  Last year 21 players were selected. Only six saw major league playing time. Only three stuck all season with the teams that chose them. The draft is not going to make a tremendous difference for any team this year.

Among the potential pickees this year:  Marlins outfielder John Raynor is mildly interesting. Marlins pitcher Arquimedes Caminero is too. D-backs pitcher Hector Ambriz is someone else who has been mentioned.  You may have heard of Royals submarine pitcher Chris “Disco” Hayes, but really, his nickname is his biggest claim to fame. While submariners are evidence of all that is right and good in the universe, he’s basically a one-pitch pitcher.

Officially, that’s it.  Unofficially, teams and agents will continue to talk about the Roy Halladays and Jason Bays of the world.  But maybe not too intensely.  Many of the movers and shakers have early flights today (assuming the high winds and frigid temperatures here in Indy don’t cancel them all). As a result, the biggest deals are likely to wait for a later day.

But CTB is still on the job.  I’ll be blogging from the Marriott until they kick me out.  Aaron and Matthew will be monitoring the interwebs as well.  If it happens, we’ll tell you about it. If we miss it, we’ll make it up.  If it’s wrong, we’ll blame Jon Heyman.

Albert Pujols passes Mark McGwire with 584th career home run

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 11: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs out a double during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 11, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Angels 14-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.

Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.

Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.

Zach Britton allowed an earned run for the first time since April 30

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 22:  Zach Britton #53 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches for his 38th save in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 22, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Oriole won 4-3.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.

The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.

Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.