Now that’s a slump: Craig Counsell hitless in last 45 at-bats

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Craig Counsell popped out as a pinch-hitter yesterday, extending the veteran infielder’s historic slump to 0-for-45.

Yes, zero hits in his last 45 at-bats. Seriously.

Counsell hasn’t had a hit since going 3-for-3 on June 10 and is now just one more hitless at-bat away from tying Bill Bergen’s all-time record of 46 straight at-bats without a hit from way back in 1909.

During his 0-for-45 streak Counsell has lowered his batting average from .236 to .145, although with one walk and one hit by pitch during that stretch he does have a nifty .042 on-base percentage.

Asked about Counsell’s incredible slump, Ron Roenicke offered up some fantastic manager-speak: “It is what it is. He’s still battling. He still feels good upstairs. Whether it’s driving in runs or saving runs, I don’t see the difference.”

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.