Pittsburgh is close to signing left-hander Scott Olsen to an incentive-laden one-year contract, according to both Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
Langosch reports that the deal will be completed once Olsen passes a physical exam later this week, although given his history of shoulder problems that’s no sure thing.
Olsen was once a promising young starter for the Marlins, winning a dozen games with a 4.04 ERA as a 22-year-old rookie in 2006, but he’s gone 24-38 with a 5.17 ERA since then and had a 5.56 ERA for the Nationals this year.
He’s still just 26 years old, but Olsen’s average fastball has hovered in the high-80s for the past few seasons and he’s never had good control. Given his extreme righty-lefty splits Olsen might have some success transitioning to the bullpen, but every indication is that the Pirates view him as a full-time starter.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.