Curtis Granderson ties and then overtakes career high in homers

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Curtis Granderson hit his 30th and 31st homers Wednesday to lead the Yankees to a 9-3 win over the Angels.

The second homer gave him a new career high with 47 games left to play.  He hit 30 homers in 160 games in his final year with the Tigers in 2009.

Granderson had already long blown past his career high for RBI.  He knocked in four more runs tonight, giving him 91 RBI for the season.  His previous high-water point was 74 in 2007.

Granderson, though, still has a ways to go in runs scored.  Even though he leads the majors with 104 runs scored — 20 more than Jacoby Ellsbury in second place — he’s 18 short of matching his high total of 122, also from 2007.

Besides new highs in homers, RBI and likely runs and OPS this season, Granderson could also set a personal best in steals.  He’s at 22 right now, leaving him four shy of his total from 2007.  He also needs 14 walks to match his high of 72 from 2009.

But tonight wasn’t all about Granderson: Robinson Cano missed the cycle by a single and rookie Ivan Nova improved to 7-0 in his last eight starts.  The Yankees also beat a pitcher making his major league debut for the first time in seven tries.  Granderson’s three-run homer off young Angels right-hander Garrett Richards set the tone in the first, and the Yankees ended up knocking him around for six runs in five innings.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.