4:30 p.m. EDT: Jose Batista grounded out to shortstop with a man on and two outs in the eighth. Unless the Blue Jays can send nine men to the plate in the ninth (or the Twins score eight runs to tie the game at 11), he’s done for the day at three homers.
Jose Bautista, who reclaimed the major league lead in homers by hitting his13th in extra innings Saturday, homered in the third, fourth and sixth innings of Sunday’s game against the Twins.
With the contest still ongoing, he’s due at least one more at-bat.
Bautista popped out foul in his first plate appearance today before taking Twins starter Brian Duensing deep in the third. His subsequent two homers came off Kevin Slowey.
If he can do it again, he’d come the first player since the Blue Jays’ Carlos Delgado to hit four homers in a game. Delgado accomplished the feat against the Devil Rays on Sept. 25, 2003.
Only 15 players in major league history have hit four homers in a game.
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.