Seeking to pull his third baseman out of a slump, manager Joe Maddon shifted Evan Longoria to the leadoff spot in the order Saturday. He went 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk his first game there and then went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks Sunday in a 7-0 win over the Indians.
Jeremy Hellickson blanked the tribe for seven innings to earn his fifth win in six starts. He’s a prime Rookie of the Year contender with a 6-3 record and a 2.80 ERA this season.
Longoria was just 6-for-45 with one RBI in 12 games before moving up in the lineup Saturday. He’s reached base seven times since.
The Rays also got a contribution from last year’s leadoff man in this one. John Jaso, who has mostly hit eighth and ninth this year, went 2-for-4 and hit a two-run homer off Justin Masterson.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.