After nearly six weeks off, Denard Span has finally recovered from his concussion and has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Sunday.
He’ll be joined there on the same day by teammate Jason Kubel, who suffered a sprained right foot on May 30. Kubel originally began a rehab assignment two weeks ago, but he experienced a setback and was put back on the shelf.
The plan is for Kubel to spend a few days at Rochester and rejoin the Twins next weekend. Span, though, will probably be on limited activity at first and could spend two weeks in the minors even if everything goes according to plan.
The return of both will give the Twins a tough call to make on Ben Revere. Revere, co-winner of AL Rookie of the Month honors with Jemile Weeks for June, has slumped of late and is down to .269/.307/.302 for the season. The Twins like the way he’s played center field, and one could argue they’d be better off with him playing regularly than with defensive liability Delmon Young in left field, but he might get shipped back to Triple-A anyway.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.