10 years ago today: Barry Bonds hits three homers, giving him 20

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May 19, 2001

Barry Bonds hits three solo homers as part of a 6-3 win over the Braves, giving him 20 homers through the Giants’ first 42 games.

Bonds went on to hit a major league record 73 homers in 2001 to win the fourth of his seven NL MVP awards.

Even though he was on such a tear right from the start of the season, Bonds only moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with the outburst. Luis Gonzalez already had 20 on his way to hitting 57 that season.

It was Bonds’ second three-homer game, the first coming seven years earlier. He had another three-homer game on Sept. 9, 2001 and one last one on Aug. 27, 2002. While Bonds is the career leader in homers, he’s tied for seventh in his number of three-homer games. Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa had six apiece, while Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado, Dave Kingman and Mark McGwire all had five.

Also having multihomer games on May 19, 2001 were the Dodgers’ Shawn Green (Nos. 9 & 10 of the year) and the Tigers’ Damion Easley (Nos. 3 & 4). J.D. Drew hit his 16th homer for the Cardinals, while Alex Rodriguez hit No. 15 in his first season for the Rangers. The long forgotten Mark Quinn hit his 10th for Kansas City. He was just about on pace for a 40-homer season then, but he’d be out of the league barely a year later.

That’s 2001 for you.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.