Jeff Bagwell named Astros' new hitting coach

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Astros director of social media Alyson Footer reports that the club has dismissed Sean Berry as hitting coach and named Jeff Bagwell as his replacement

Bagwell, 42, played all of his 15 major league seasons for the Astros and retired in 2005 with a .297/.408/.540 batting line, 2,314 hits and 449 home runs.  He will try to right the ship on what has been a dreadful season at the plate for the Astros.

Houston ranks 28th in the league in runs scored, 29th in batting average, 27th in home runs and dead last in OPS.  Bagwell won’t start the gig until after the All-Star break, so there will be no Mark McGwire-Bagwell hitting coach face-off today in Houston.  But that’ll come later this season.  Dingers!

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal to be examined for arm tightness

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Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of last night’s game against the Red Sox after he gave up a big homer and a walk. He velocity was down as well, and Mike Mathney said after the game that he didn’t look right. Now the Cardinals are going to take a closer look at him, and he’ll be examined today for what is being described as “tightness” in his right arm.

Rosenthal is 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/20 in 47.2 innings. He has 11 saves after regaining the closer’s job from Seung Hwan Oh. Now some combination of Oh, Tyler Lyons, and John Brebbia will fill in for Rosenthal to the extent he needs to miss time.

Aaron Judge broke a dubious record last night

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Aaron Judge hit a monster home run in last night’s win over the Mets, but he also set a dubious record. Judge struck out for the 33rd consecutive game, setting a new mark for a position player in a single season.

Yes, that’s qualified. No pitchers, of course, as I assume many of them have struck out in more than 33 straight games. Also,  Adam Dunn once struck out in 36 straight games, but that straddled two seasons: he struck out in the final four games of 2011 and the first 32 games of 2012. Still, Judge’s feat is impressive, and given the nature of his game and the state of baseball these days, it’s not hard to imagine him striking out in three or four more straight games anyway.

None of which, by the way, should be all that much of a slight on Judge. The guy is still hitting .291/.420/.614, even with his second half slump. If I was a manager I’d happily accept his whiffs in exchange for everything else he brings to the table. It’s not 1959 anymore, and strikeouts are not the worst thing that can happen.