Diamondbacks calling up first base prospect Brandon Allen

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Arizona first basemen rank 24th among MLB teams with a .691 OPS this season, so the Diamondbacks have decided to call up 25-year-old prospect Brandon Allen for his third shot in the majors.

Allen saw some time with the Diamondbacks in both 2009 and 2010, but hit just .221 with five homers and 60 strikeouts in 172 total plate appearances. Of course, even that modest production equaled a .709 OPS that beats what Arizona got from Juan Miranda and Xavier Nady at the position in the first half.

Allen’s minor-league resume is far more impressive. He’s hit .287 with 56 homers and a .960 OPS in 243 games at Triple-A, including .306 with 16 homers and a 1.009 OPS in 83 games there this season. He’s old for a prospect and is going to strike out a lot, plus those Triple-A numbers are inflated by a very hitter-friendly environment, but Allen could bring some much-needed power and plate discipline to the lineup.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.