Matsui sees first outfield action since mid-2008

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Hideki Matsui started in the outfield this afternoon for the first time since June of 2008, as the Angels hope his knees will be able to handle at least occasional defensive duties this season.
In fact, according to Lyle Spencer of MLB.com “the Angels’ plan is to give him a few starts in left field a week, if possible, to provide DH opportunities” for fellow outfielders Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera, and Bobby Abreu plus first baseman Kendry Morales and catcher Mike Napoli.
That seems like an exaggeration given that “a few starts in left field” each week would essentially mean he’s splitting time evenly between designated hitter and the outfield.
More likely is that Matsui sees one or maybe two starts per week in left field, allowing the Angels to rest other players at DH while also potentially keeping Napoli in the lineup on days he isn’t behind the plate. Barring an injury to Abreu or Rivera it would surprise me if Matsui ended up playing defense in more than a couple dozen games.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.