Juan Castro

Juan Castro retires, joins Dodgers front office

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After 17 seasons in the big leagues — yes, 17 seasons — Juan Castro announced his retirement Sunday and took a job as a special assistant in the Dodgers front office.

Now, granted, Castro spent a lot of those 17 seasons playing in the minors, too.  He had one at-bat in 1999, three in 2010, four in 1995 and 14 this year.  But for 17 straight seasons, Castro got a chance to put on a major league uniform at least once.

And, oddly enough, Castro played for just five teams.  He opened and finished his career with the Dodgers, spending parts of eight seasons with the team.  He also served two stints and played eight seasons with the Reds.

His best season came with Cincinnati in 2003, when he hit .253/.290/.388 with a career-high nine homers in 320 at-bats.  It was his only season over 300 at-bats.

He ends his career with a .229/.268/.327 line, 36 homers and 234 RBI in 2,627 at-bats.  That .595 OPS is the worst of any player to have at least 2,000 plate appearances since 1990:

1. Castro – .595
2. Matt Walbeck – .596
3. Rey Ordonez – .600
4. John McDonald – .601
5. Jose Lind – .604
6. Tony Pena Sr. – 607
7. Alvaro Espinoza – .608
8. Mike Benjamin – .617
9. Felix Fermin – .617
10. Cesar Izturis – .618

So, no, Castro wasn’t a very good hitter.  He was also far from a speedster, stealing just five bases in 14 lifetime attempts.  Still, 17 years is awfully impressive, and it sounds like he has a nice career ahead of him in coaching or in the front office, depending on which route he wants to go.

Gary Sanchez stays red hot, homers again as Yankees blank Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 22:  Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees hits a home run against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 22, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has wasted no time acclimating himself to major league competition. Since getting called back up on August 3, Sanchez has smacked nine homers and driven in 16 runs in a span of 18 games. In fact, since August 3, no hitter has homered more than Sanchez and only Charlie Blackmon and Brian Dozier have matched him, Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues notes.

One of those homers came in Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Mariners at Safeco Field. It was a first-inning blast off of Hisashi Iwakuma, quickly giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. They would go on to win 5-0. Sanchez finished 2-for-3 with a pair of intentional walks, a double, and the homer.

Some more fun facts about Sanchez, courtesy Sharp:

  • Sanchez is the first Yankee in club history with nine home runs in his first 21 career games [Link]
  • Sanchez is the third American League player in the last 100 years to hit at least nine home runs in his first 21 career games, joining George Scott and Alvin Davis [Link]
  • Sanchez and Joe DiMaggio are the only Yankees with 15 or more extra-base hits in their first 21 career games [Link]

Sanchez was considered the fifth-best prospect in the Yankees’ minor league system, according to MLB Pipeline. In the majors, he’s carrying a .389/.450/.847 triple-slash line in 79 plate appearances. He has also thrown out five of seven would-be base-stealers.

Katie Ledecky made Bryce Harper hold her medals while she threw the first pitch at Nationals Park

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13:  (BROADCAST - OUT) Swimmer, Katie Ledecky of the United States poses for a photo with her five medals on the Today show set on Copacabana Beach on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
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American swimmer Katie Ledecky, fresh off of winning four gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Nationals’ game against the Orioles.

As NHL.com’s Katie Brown notes, Ledecky’s favorite player is Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who was on the field with her. So what did she make him do? Hold all of her medals while she threw out the first pitch.

Harper has his fair share of hardware, including a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP Award, but no gold medals. For shame.