Justin Upton missed two weeks with a strained left shoulder, returned to the lineup for two games earlier this week, and is now sidelined again by the same injury.
Upton is out of the Diamondbacks’ lineup this afternoon for the second straight game, but downplayed the seriousness of the injury last night:
It’s really sore. My timing was off the first night, and I was playing catch-up and it was causing me to swing a little harder. It’s just sore.
Interim manager Kirk Gibson indicated that the last-place Diamondbacks may simply decide to shut Upton down for the final three weeks of the season.
After a 2009 breakout that ranked among the best seasons by a 21-year-old hitter in baseball history Upton has taken a step backward this season, with his OPS dropping 100 points. Of course, a 22-year-old batting .274/.356/.442 with 47 extra-base hits, 64 walks, and 16 steals in 131 games is still pretty damn impressive and Upton remains one of the best young players in baseball.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.