Lance Berkman hit his NL-best 23rd homer 452 feet Tuesday, making it the longest homer since the new Busch Stadium opened in 2006.
It was the 350th homer of Berkman’s career, and it tied him with Chili Davis for fourth all-time among switch-hitters. Only Chipper Jones (443), Eddie Murray (504) and Mickey Mantle (536) have hit more.
With the home run, he overtook Matt Kemp for the NL lead this season. Berkman, though, wasn’t picked to participate in next week’s Home Run Derby by captain Prince Fielder.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.