Phillies beat Reds in 19 as infielder Wilson Valdez earns victory

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Wilson Valdez threw a hitless 19th inning and became the first position player since Colorado’s Brent Mayne in 2000 to record a victory as the Phillies beat the Reds 5-4 in 19 innings Wednesday.

The game was the longest in the majors since the Mets edged the Cardinals 2-1 in 20 innings on April 17, 2010.

The game was tied 3-3 after nine.  Jay Bruce homered in the top of the 10th, but Ryan Howard came back with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning, denying Francisco Cordero his 300th career save.

Vadez played 18 innings at second base and went 3-for-6 before moving to the mound.   The contest also featured Carlos Ruiz’s second career appearance at third base and two very long relief appearances.

Valdez took over after Danys Baez, the last man in the Philadelphia pen, pitched five scoreless innings.  Reds reliever Carlos Fisher matched Baez, throwing five scoreless innings of his own before giving up a run in his sixth inning of work.  Fisher ended up throwing a whopping 95 pitches in relief.

Working the top of the 19th, Valdez gave up a long shot to center to Joey Votto to begin the inning, but it was hauled in by Manny Martinez.  He then hit Scott Rolen with a pitch before Jay Bruce flied out and Fisher popped out.

The game ended with Raul Ibanez’s sac fly with one out in the bottom of the 19th.

No one had pulled off Valdez’s feat in 11 years.  Mayne was the last to do it, pitching a scoreless 12th inning as the Rockies beat the Braves 7-6 on Aug. 22, 2000.  Rockies manager Buddy Bell managed to run through nine pitchers in 11 innings in that one.

Yoenis Cespedes: “I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland”

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Yoenis Cespedes told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to finish his career with the Athletics, according to an exclusive interview released on Friday. The Mets’ 31-year-old outfielder praised Oakland manager Bob Melvin, telling Slusser, “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin” and adding that while he didn’t know if a return to Oakland would be possible, his love for the city had not faded.

Melvin, for his part, said he wasn’t surprised that the slugger wants another go-round with his first major league club, even if only as a final hurrah. Cespedes hit well over two and a half seasons with the A’s, compiling a cumulative .262/.318/.470 batting line from 2012 to 2014 and enjoying two postseason runs with the club before he was traded for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes in 2014.

There’s been relatively little for Cespedes to complain about since his departure from Oakland, of course: he turned in a career-best performance in 2015, slashing .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 6.7 fWAR in back-to-back gigs with the Tigers and Mets, and netted a whopping three-year, $75 million contract prior to the 2016 season. Still, there’s something special about the A’s, as the slugger relayed to teammate Jerry Blevins:

I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.

Whether or not Cespedes gets his wish, it’s unlikely he’ll pursue any kind of deal with the A’s for the time being. He’s still owed $23.75 million in 2017 and 2018 and isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2019.

Brewers sell Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes

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The Brewers offloaded outfielder Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a team announcement on Friday. Choice signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in early May, but did not earn a major league stint in 11 weeks with the team.

It’s been two full years since the 27-year-old outfielder snagged a big league opportunity of any kind. He last appeared with the Rangers in 2015 and played in just one game, striking out in his only at-bat. His production rate sagged through three consecutive minor league assignments with the Indians, Orioles and Brewers and peaked in 2016 after slashing .246/.304/.456 with 14 home runs for the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus. He was off to a decent start this season for the Brewers’ Double-A Biloxi, working a .272/.349/.503 batting line with nine home runs and an .852 OPS through his first 195 PA.

Choice is poised to join several other ex-major leaguers on the Heroes’ roster, including left-hander Andy Van Hekken, right-hander Jake Brigham and infielder/outfielder Danny Dorn.

6:43 PM: Danny Dorn no longer plays for the Nexen Heroes, as he was released to clear roster space for Choice.