Casey Kotchman sets defensive record for first basemen

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Kotchman Mariners headshot.jpgI mentioned this in the recaps, but it deserves its own post: last night Casey Kotchman set the record for most consecutive defensive chances at first base without an error.  He’s at 2,008 after last night’s game.  The previous mark was Kevin Youkilis’ 2,002.  Youkilis still has the consecutive games streak at 238.  Kotchman has 230 straight error-free games.

It’s probably an open question whether Kotchman deserves to stick around to break the consecutive games record. He’s hitting .191/.273/.309.  For his career he’s a below-average major league hitter which makes him a profoundly substandard hitter for a first baseman.

Kudos on the defense, of course, but leather alone is not even a good reason to keep someone at shortstop anymore, let alone at first base.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.