With Mike Stanton going deep again last night, there’s now a three-way tie atop the NL home run leaderboard:
1. Matt Kemp (Dodgers): 31
1. Albert Pujols (Cardinals): 31
1. Mike Stanton (Marlins): 31
4. Lance Berkman (Cardinals): 30
4. Dan Uggla (Braves): 30
6. Prince Fielder (Brewers): 29
6. Ryan Howard (PhIllies): 29
8. Jay Bruce (Reds): 28
8. Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies): 28
Stanton, playing this season at 21, could become the youngest player ever to lead the National League in homers, overtaking Eddie Mathews, who was a slightly older 21 when he first did it. Tony Conigliaro was just 20 when he led the AL in homers in 1965.
Stanton would also be the first Marlin to ever lead the NL in homers.
Pujols, on the other hand, is trying for his third straight crown, a feat unaccomplished in the NL since Mike Schmidt won three straight from 1974-76. Pujols never led the league in homers during his first eight years with the Cards, but he was tops in 2009 (47) and 2010 (42).
Kemp would be just the second Los Angeles Dodger to lead the league in homers, joining 2004 champ Adrian Beltre.
Uggla would be the first second baseman to win the crown since the Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.
The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.
Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.
This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.