Chipper Jones’ recovery from knee surgery last Saturday has gone well and the Braves third baseman said yesterday that he’s “felt fine for a few days now.”
Jones told Chris Cox of MLB.com that he’s optimistic about coming off the disabled list when eligible on July 24, but remains undecided about whether he’ll head out on a minor-league rehab assignment first or simply jump right back into the Braves’ lineup. He’s scheduled to hit off a tee today.
Jones was selected for his seventh All-Star game despite finishing the first half with a modest .259 batting average and .768 OPS in 77 games, but he was in the midst of a 9-for-28 (.321) hot streak to start this month before being shut down with two games to go before the break.
His absence has been doubly tough for the Braves because Martino Prado is also on the DL, so they’ve turned to 35-year-old Julio Lugo and his decrepit bat for back-to-back starts in his place. However, barring a setback Prado could rejoin the lineup as soon as tonight after missing more than a month with a staph infection in his calf.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.