According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed a short while ago that Brandon Belt could be sent back to the minors if Cody Ross is activated from the disabled list tomorrow.
Ross is scheduled to play nine innings in a minor league rehab game with Triple-A Fresno tonight, so if all goes well, he’ll likely join the team in Colorado. Darren Ford is another candidate to be sent to the minor leagues, but Bochy dropped some pretty big hints that the young first baseman will be packing his bags.
“If it’s time to make that move, it wouldn’t be the worst thing,” Bochy said. “The kid is ahead of schedule. He only had one year in the minor-leagues without frankly having much success at the highest level. We’ve thrown a lot at him. But we haven’t made the decision yet.”
Belt, 22, is batting just .200/.310/.280 over his first 58 major league plate appearances and hasn’t driven in a run since April 3. It was quite an accomplishment for him to make the team out of spring training, but he’d be better served to get his confidence back at the Triple-A level. Meanwhile, Aubrey Huff can return to his best defensive position at first base while Ross can play right field or be another option in center until Andres Torres returns.
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.