4:30 p.m. EDT – From 257 at-bats between homers to… ummm… zero at-bats between homers. Jeter went deep again, this time against Arthur Rhodes, in the seventh inning.
Derek Jeter hit his first homer in 63 games dating back to last August when he took Dave Bush deep in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Rangers.
Of course, it came against a pitcher he never should have been facing for a third time on the day.
Bush, who had pitched just four times in the Rangers’ first 34 games, was called on today to make a spot start because of Alexi Ogando’s blister. He did his job, limiting the Yankees to two runs over the first four innings, but he allowed Jeter to go 2-for-2 in the process.
With those two hits, Jeter improved to 6-for-12 lifetime against Bush, begging the question of what Bush was still doing out there when Jeter came up to lead off the fifth.
Bush was pulled immediately after the homer, so it’s not like Ron Washington was caught unaware. He knew there was a good chance he’d be turning to the bullpen in the fifth inning; he just blew it by not starting the inning with a reliever.
The blast ended the longest homerless drought of Jeter’s career (257 at-bats). One of his previous hits also drove in a run, making this his first multi-RBI game of the year. It’s the second time he’s had at least three hits.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.