Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko’s odd streak: home runs in nine straight vs. Mariners at the Cell

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Shannon Drayer points out on Twitter that Paul Konerko made it nine in a row tonight.  He’s taken Mariners pitching deep that last nine times he’s faced the team in home games at U.S. Cellular.

The streak dates back to April of last year.  The Mariners and White Sox played seven times in Chicago last year and Konerko homered in all seven games.  Now he’s started this year 2-for-2 with homers the last two days.

Of course, it’s a pretty exclusive set of conditions, but it’s still a very notable streak, especially considering that no major leaguer has ever homered in more than eight games in a row.  Only Dale Long (PIT, 1956), Don Mattingly (NYY, 1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (SEA, 1993) have ever made it that far.

Also interesting is that Konerko has done nothing else at all during the streak.  Tonight’s game is just in the third inning as of this writing, so we’ll ignore it for now.  But in the first eight games, he had a total of 10 hits and nine RBI.  Tonight’s homer, just like all of the others, was a solo shot.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.

Report: Blue Jays close to a deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 9: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Detroit Tigers hits an RBI single in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 9, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.

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The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.

Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.

The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.