The Braves exercise options on Infante, Gonzalez; sign Scott Proctor to a one-year deal

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More non-surprising Day One Of The Hot Stove Season news: the Braves exercised options on shortstop Alex Gonzalez and ALL-STAR Omar Infante. They also signed reliever Scott Proctor to a one-year deal for $750,000 plus incentives.

Like I said, no-brainers. Gonzalez wasn’t any great shakes after coming over in the trade from Toronto, but he has pop, can still field well enough and, more importantly, he’s better and cheaper than just about any realistic option on the shortstop market.  Infante, of course, constituted about two-thirds of the bailing wire that held the team together once Chipper Jones and Martin Prado went down with injuries.  Brooks Conrad was the bubblegum, but the less said about him the better.

Proctor only pitched in six games for the Braves, but it was a rehab year for him.  The incentive deal sounds right for a guy with his history, but if he’s back to his old form in 2011, Atlanta won’t mind paying the incentives.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.