The Yankees ended a 12-game drought against the Yankees Sunday thanks to a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the eighth inning from Jason Kubel. It was his only hit of the game, but it was a big one. Even more impressive, he hit the slam off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
The Twins trailed 3-1 heading into the eighth. But Denard Span hit a single to shallow left, Joe Mauer walked, Michael Cuddyer singled, Jim Thome walked with the bases loaded, and then Kubel cleared ’em. The Twinkies are now 6-29 in the Bronx under manager Ron Gardenhire’s leadership. More importantly, they’re 23-14 and own a 1.5-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central.
Kubel, 27, hasn’t had the best start this year. He’s currently hitting just .225 with a 661 OPS and two home runs in 98 at-bats. Perhaps the exciting four-run shot will get his juices flowing.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.