UPDATE: It’s official: Hayhurst has signed a minor league deal with the Rays. We know this from a news release. We know it more colorfully from Hayhurt’s own tweet:
Why hello there, Tampa fans. My name is Dirk. My hobbies include writing, speaking, pretending to be a giant firebreathing giraffe/moose.
Oh, Fortuna, please let him make the team.
Thursday, 2:06 PM: Hurm. Rob’s tweet was taken down. Perchance this was premature exuberance. Here’s hoping the best for Dirk regardless.
Thursday, 1:39 PM: Rob Neyer reports — and last night I’m pretty sure the man himself hinted — that Dirk Hayhurst of “Bullpen Gospels” fame is going to sign with the Rays. I’m hoping Hayhurst does well in Tampa Bay, makes the team and sticks in The Show for a while, because he’s an awesome guy.
But really, this may be more notable for its literary implications than anything else. Hayhurst no doubt has another book in him. Friend of HBT Jonah Keri has a book about the Rays coming out very, very soon. How awesome would it be if Hayhurst learns all kinds of neat things about the Rays from the inside and subsequently writes his own book about them, totally debunking what Jonah writes? It would be the most awesome baseball nerd fight of all time. I hereby proclaim HardballTalk as neutral territory where Dirk and Jonah can argue about it all.
Or maybe not. Either way, good look Garfoose.
Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.
With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.
The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.
Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.
It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.