Shelley Duncan, Austin Kearns sign with the Indians

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Shelley Duncan would have probably been a nice addition to any number of teams last year, but he had the misfortune of being one of the few — the Yankees — that had absolutely no use for him. So he ended up sitting in Scranton last season, where he hit 30 homers.

Now he’s going to a team — the Indians — who could definitely use an inexpensive outfielder with some pop.  The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s likely a minor league deal.

Duncan hasn’t shown much in the majors — .219/.290/.411 in 163 plate appearances — but In nine minor league seasons, he’s a career .258/.345/.479 hitter with 170 home runs and 599 RBIs in 905 games. Last year his AAA OBP was .370.  Smart pickup by Cleveland.

The Tribe also signed former Red and Nat Austin Kearns as, shockingly, the Nats didn’t want to exercise his $10 million option. Back in the day I took all kinds of heat for being the only blogger on the planet to defend the Reds for trading him to the Nats.  Now who’s laughing?

Well, not me, because Gary Majewski sucked too, but I think it’s fair to say that the Reds got more out of Billy Bray and will get more out of Daryl Thompson than the Nats ever got out of Kearns and Lopez.

Giancarlo Stanton dented the outfield wall in Marlins Park

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If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.

It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:

Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.

The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.