Last night Carlos Pena hit his 13th homer of the year, setting the Tampa Bay franchise record with 129 homers as a member of the Rays. Here’s the rest of the top 10:
CARLOS PENA 129
Aubrey Huff 128
Fred McGriff 99
Carl Crawford 90
Evan Longoria 71
Jonny Gomes 66
Greg Vaughn 60
B.J. Upton 55
Rocco Baldelli 52
Ben Zobrist 47
You know a team hasn’t been around very long when only four players in franchise history have more homers than the MLB single-season record. Slightly more impressive than topping Aubrey Huff for the Rays’ record is Pena’s homer rank among all players over the past four seasons:
Ryan Howard 150
Prince Fielder 139
Adam Dunn 131
Albert Pujols 130
CARLOS PENA 129
Alex Rodriguez 127
Miguel Cabrera 123
Adrian Gonzalez 119
Ryan Braun 111
Mark Teixeira 111
Particularly impressive once you consider that Pena missed the final 25 games of last season when a CC Sabathia fastball to the left hand broke two fingers. Despite that injury he still has more homers than anyone else in the AL since 2007. Of course, Pena is also hitting just .186 with a league-high 66 strikeouts so far this season, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of market there is for the 32-year-old impending free agent this winter. My guess is he won’t be back in Tampa Bay.
Marlins’ outfielder Ichiro Suzuki set a new record for the club on Sunday afternoon, and all he had to do was take the field. The 43-year-old made his second start of the year in center field, becoming the oldest starting center fielder in Major League Baseball since 1900.
Suzuki made his first start in center field back on May 6, but came 15 days shy of beating the record Rickey Henderson established in 2002 when he patrolled center field at a sprightly 43 years and 211 days old. During Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs, Suzuki’s 43 years and 246 days set a new record for aging outfielders.
Naturally, Ichiro commemorated his moment in history by doing what he does best — proving that age is just a number. He reached on a fielding error by Addison Russell in the first inning and came home to score on a Marcell Ozuna RBI single to pad the Marlins’ three-run lead. His defense wasn’t too shabby, either, as he gloved a shallow fly ball in the second inning to bail Edinson Volquez out of a bases-loaded jam.
The Marlins currently lead 3-2 in the seventh.
There’s something irresistible about Michael Martinez, at least where the Indians are concerned. Six weeks after parting ways with the utility infielder/outfielder, the Indians re-signed Martinez for the fifth time in three years, committing to a minor league contract that will see the 34-year-old in Triple-A Columbus this week. He was designated for assignment by the Rays last Thursday after slashing just .077/.172/.077 through his first 29 PA with the club.
Martinez bounced around the American League last season, logging four games with the Red Sox after the Indians jettisoned him in a trade for cash considerations. He returned to Cleveland on waivers and finished the year with a cumulative .238/.267/.307 batting line, contributing one home run and a .574 OPS in just 106 PA. He found more consistency in the minors, touting a .288 average, 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 114 PA for Triple-A Columbus last season, but didn’t receive enough playing time to develop his stuff at the big league level.
Martinez will rejoin fellow infielders Chris Colabello, Nellie Rodriguez, Josh Wilson, Ronny Rodriguez, Todd Hankins, Yandy Diaz, Eric Stamets and Giovanny Urshela on the Clippers’ roster.