Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero started spring training off positively, answering the one question that many had about him: can the guy play defense? At least he answered it in the first couple of weeks down in Tampa, where he was reportedly solid behind the dish. Since then, however, he has regressed, Brian Cashman tells the Daily News, and he’s neither playing good defense nor hitting. It’s being suggested, therefore, that he be sent down to Scranton to begin the year.
The suspicion is that if Montero doesn’t make the club that Austin Romine would be Russell Martin’s backup. But Romine is hitting worse than Montero is. Given that he’s had less success at similar levels than Montero — and given that he has yet to play a game above AA — you’d think that he could use more starting time at Scranton to develop than Montero does. But really, there are no good options here.
Anyone got Bengie Molina’s number?
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.