Phillies sign Ronnie Belliard to a minor league contract

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One day after releasing Luis Castillo, the Phillies have signed infielder Ronnie Belliard to a minor league contract, reports Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. He’ll report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Belliard, who turns 36 next week, was released by the Yankees earlier this week after batting just .136 with one double and one RBI over 22 at-bats as a non-roster invitee this spring. He batted just .216/.295/.327 with two homers, 19 RBI and a .622 OPS over 185 plate appearances with the Dodgers last season before being designated for assignment in early September.

The Phillies could certainly use the depth for their infield given Chase Utley’s knee injury and the recent scare with Placido Polanco’s surgically-repaired left elbow, but if Belliard plays even semi-regularly this season, chances are things aren’t going according to plan.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: