Edmonds should be threat to Hart, not Gomez

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Never finding the kind of deal he wanted, even after he hit .256/.369/.568 in an 85-game stint with the Cubs, Jim Edmonds sat out last season. Now that his itch to play again outweighs his pride, he’s accepted a minor league contract in an attempt to make the Brewers.
The initial thought will be that, by taking on Edmonds, the Brewers aren’t showing much faith in the newly acquired Carlos Gomez. After all, Gomez hit just .229/.287/.337 for the Twins last season, and he ended the year as a reserve. Gomez, though, has a huge defensive advantage over Edmonds, who wasn’t looking like much of a center fielder even while he was stinging in the ball in 2008. It’s doubtful that a year off made him any faster, and Edmonds would almost certainly be more useful in a corner than in center this season.
That brings us to Corey Hart. The Brewers resisted attempts to trade the 27-year-old right fielder over the winter, suggesting they still believe 2007 wasn’t an outlier. However, he’s posted OPSs of 759 and 753 the last two years since finishing at 892 in what might go down as his career season. Hart also has a significant platoon split over the course of his career. He’s hit .290/.358/.486 against lefties, versus .266/.312/.463 against righties. It’s not a bad line against righties — and it’s worth noting that he was actually better against righties than lefties last year — but there’s a good chance the left-handed-hitting Edmonds would beat it.
Odds are that Hart will get every chance to keep his job, and Edmonds may have an uphill battle to make the team, considering that the Brewers already have a left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder due $2 million this year in Jody Gerut. I think it’s a nice pickup for Milwaukee, though. The Brewers might well prove better off with a true platoon in right field.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.