It’s not as exciting as a perfect game — it’s not even as exciting as a near-perfect game — but I almost like quirky stuff like this better: Felix Hernandez struck out four guys in one inning last night. The wild pitch punchout went to Joe Mauer, but the King then bore down and got Justin Morneau looking. Here’s the video of all four strikeouts.
Thanks to MLB.com we now know that the 4K feat has happened forty-nine times. The first one I remember from that list was Mike Scott, who did it in 1986. Thanks to getting the USA Today and its then-astoundingly comprehensive weekly stats page at home that summer ’86 was the first season I really followed statistics closely. Because of it, I was totally fixated on Scott’s rising strikeout totals and I thought the 4K inning — mentioned in a little blurb in the next morning’s recaps — was the most awesome thing ever.
On some weird level it kind of is. At least for dorks like me.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.