Joel Pineiro on struggles: “Honestly, the next thing I can do is sacrifice a live chicken”

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Another ugly outing last night puts Joel Pineiro in danger of losing his spot in the Angels’ rotation and the veteran right-hander hasn’t been able to figure out why he’s struggling, telling Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:

This is embarrassing. I’m making the team, the staff and myself look bad. I’ve got to turn it around. If it’s going to be like this the rest of the year, it’s going to be a long year for me.

I wish I had an explanation, but I have no idea what’s going on. I’ve tried everything. I’ve seen video, worked on mechanics, thrown in the bullpen. Honestly, the next thing I can do is sacrifice a live chicken.

Pineiro had a 3.84 ERA in 23 starts last season and a 3.90 ERA through 14 starts this year, but he’s coughed up 24 runs in 13 innings during his last four starts as his ERA ballooned to 5.31. Things got so bad last night that manager Mike Scioscia yanked the right-handed Pineiro in the middle of a bases-loaded at-bat against the right-handed Michael Cuddyer, bringing in the left-handed Hisanori Takahashi … who promptly served up a grand slam on his first pitch.

That speaks to how little confidence the Angels have in Pineiro at this point, but they might have even less confidence in the potential replacements at Double-A and Triple-A being ready to step into the rotation with better results. In the meantime: Joel, leave those chickens alone.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.