Orlando Hudson is a 33-year-old who’s never stolen more than 10 bases in a season and the Twins let him walk as a free agent while talking about wanting to add more speed to the lineup at his position.
All of which makes this pretty remarkable: Hudson has already tied his career-high with 10 steals in just 28 games.
He’s typically been an efficient base-stealer, but Hudson has never even attempted more than 15 steals in a season. Right now he’s on pace to go 56-for-56.
Dan Hayes of the North County Times writes that, unlike Hudson’s previous teams, the Padres are encouraging him to run freely, and Hudson explained all the running by noting that San Diego’s lineup isn’t well-suited for station-to-station ball so he’s “doing whatever I can to get that extra base.”
All true, but it’s worth noting that despite all that running Hudson has only scored nine runs in 28 games. His fantasy owners are no doubt thrilled, but it hasn’t had much of an on-field impact yet.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.