Jim Thome’s monstrous three-run homer yesterday was the 596th of his Hall of Fame career and the Twins measured it at 490 feet, which would be the longest homer in the brief history of Target Field and the longest homer hit by anyone in the majors this season.
Oh, and it also turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 win for the Twins, who’re suddenly just five games back in the AL Central despite starting the season 17-37.
My favorite part of Thome’s homer may have been Delmon Young’s reaction to it from the on-deck circle, which is the perfect facial representation of “daaaaaaaamn.”
Thome needs four more homers to become the eighth player in MLB history to reach 600, joining Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa. Thome is basically a part-time player at age 40, so in order for him to move above No. 8 on the list and pass Sosa with 609 he’d have to return for a 22nd season in 2012. As a Twins fan I’d certainly love to see him back, as his .965 OPS is the highest in team history among all hitters with 150 or more games.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.