Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia is really good at introductions.
You might remember that the 24-year-old catcher hit two home runs in his major league debut last August. Well, Arencibia hit two more in last night’s 13-3 drubbing of the Twins.
Arencibia became the first rookie to hit two homers on Opening Day since Gary Gaetti in 1982. He’s the first player to have multi-homer games to start a season in consecutive years since Joe Torre did it with the Braves in 1965 and 1966. If that isn’t enough history for you, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Arencibia became the first Jays rookie to homer on Opening Day since Carlos Delgado in 1994 and the sixth Jays player to have a multi-homer game on Opening Day. Maybe I’m just weird, but I have missed hearing obscure stats like this.
You wouldn’t know it by last night’s results, but Arencibia was flat out awful this spring. He batted just .161 with 19 strikeouts over 62 at-bats. Many expect him to struggle to hit for a high batting average — remember, he went 1-for-30 after his historic exploits last season — but nobody has ever questioned his power.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.