Hells Bells: Trevor Hoffman notches 600th career save

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Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Cardinals tonight to pick up his 600th career save in front of the home crowd in Milwaukee.
Hoffman lost the closer job after struggling mightily early this season and his ERA is still north of 6.00, but he’s quietly pitched well for the past few months while picking up the odd save here and there.
After the third out was recorded on a ground ball to 40-year-old shortstop Craig Counsell the Brewers reacted as if Hoffman had thrown a no-hitter, which says a lot about how well-liked he is in the clubhouse. In a postgame interview, he thanked the fans and his teammates for sticking with him.
He may get another save chance or two down the stretch, but it might be nice to end his career with an even number like 600. Mariano Rivera at 555 is the only other pitcher in baseball history with more than 480 saves and no other active pitcher is over 420.
Not bad for a former minor league shortstop who converted to pitching at age 23 because he couldn’t hit and hasn’t cracked 90 miles per hour with his fastball in at least a decade.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.