Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is on absolute tear at the plate.
He slugged a three-run homer in Saturday night’s 6-0 rout of the Yankees and now has seven home runs and 13 RBI in his past eight games. The 29-year-old is batting .345 with an .836 slugging percentage in the month of May.
Gonzalez has also started every game thus far on the Red Sox’ schedule. Only Jacoby Ellsbury can also claim that feat.
“A-Gone” hit a rough patch or two in his debut month with Boston — his OPS sat at .746 on April 15 — but those struggles are well behind him and there’s no reason to think that he can’t keep the good times rolling all season. He’s currently sporting a .961 OPS, nine longballs and 34 runs batted in through 39 games played.
According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, only five players in franchise history have roared out to such a fine offensive start. Manny Ramirez had 13 homers and 46 RBI through 38 games in 2001, Jimmie Foxx had 11 homers and 35 RBI through 38 games in 1936, Ted Williams had 8 homers and 38 RBI as a rookie in 1939, Walt Dropo had 10 homers and 34 RBI as a rookie in 1949, and Carl Everett smashed 13 homers and 38 RBI through his first 38 games in 2000. Decent company, eh?
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.