Danny Valencia’s walk-off single against Chris Perez last night was dramatic enough, coming with the bases loaded and turning a 1-0 Indians lead into a 2-1 Twins victory, but their back story added to the drama.
Valencia and Perez have been friends since high school, played together at the University of Miami, and were roommates for two years. And after Valencia handed Perez just his second blown save of the season he also handed him some pillows and blankets, with the Indians closer staying at the Twins third baseman’s place for the night.
Asked about their postgame plans for the evening, Valencia replied: “We’re just going to watch highlights over and over.”
If Valencia’s hand didn’t end up in a bowl of hot water Perez is a better friend than me.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.