2011 Draft – Day one wrapup: Nationals, Red Sox are winners

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A few winners and losers after 60 picks…

Winners

Nationals – Anthony Rendon’s injury history is a big concern, but he looked like the best bat in the draft and the Nationals took advantage of him slipping to No. 6. They’ll probably try him at second base, and since he’s quick and not too big, he could be solid there. The Nats also got a high-ceiling right-hander in Alex Meyer at No. 23 and a speedy outfielder in Brian Goodwin at No. 34.

Red Sox – Possessing four early picks and plenty of money, the Red Sox were sure to have a field day. They opted for quite a mix, picking college right-hander Matt Barnes at No. 19, high school catcher Blake Swihart at No. 26, high school left-hander Henry Owens at No. 36 and college outfielder Jackie Bradley at No. 40. Barnes projects as a starter for the long-term, but he might be able to make an impact as a reliever next year if the Red Sox want to go in that direction. Swihart is iffy to last behind the plate, but he had one of the highest offensive ceilings in the draft.

Brewers – The Brewers need pitching and they got two very good arms at No. 12 and No. 15. Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley were both considered top-10 picks at times. It remains to be seen in Jungmann’s curve will be enough of a strikeout pitch to make him a No. 2 starter in the majors, but he should be a mid-rotation guy at least. Both guys could be factors in the second half of next year if things break right.

Losers

Mets – With some very talented pitchers and quality up-the-middle players on the board, the Mets rolled the dice on outfielder Brandon Nimmo at No. 13. He’s terribly raw, but he’s going to have to hit to make it an outfield corner. It seemed like the Mets felt they had to have left-handed power in Citi Field and reacged to get some. RHP Michael Fulmer at No. 44 was another iffy pick, though he has a big fastball.

Mariners – The Mariners could have used the bat and were connected with Rendon for the longest time before his shoulder problems scared them off. Instead, they settled for Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with the second pick. He projects as a nice mid-rotation guy, but since he was their only pick in the top 60, they’re going to have to get lucky to come out of the draft with any offensive talent.

Padres – Some teams deserve the benefit of the doubt when they appear to reach, but the Padres don’t have that kind of track record. Cory Spangenberg has a nice line-drive stroke, but with no position and not all that much home run power, he wasn’t worthy of the 10th pick in the draft. In their defense, the Padres had so many picks that they didn’t want to spend on some of the higher-upside guys and they did do better in getting right-handers Joe Ross at No. 25 and Michael Kelly at No. 48. Still, they missed an opportunity at No. 10.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.