UPDATE: And so much for that. Danny Valencia led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double to right field, ending Zach Stewart’s bid for a perfect game and no-hitter.
10:04 PM: Zach Stewart is now perfect through seven innings. Ben Revere flied out to shallow left-center field, Trevor Plouffe skied out to right and Joe Mauer lined one right at shortstop Alexei Ramirez for the third out.
Stewart is at 75 pitches and will get Danny Valencia, Rene Tosoni and Luke Hughes in the eighth. By the way, Valencia is batting cleanup tonight. Ouch.
9:58 PM: We have a perfect game alert on this Labor Day evening in Minnesota.
White Sox rookie right-hander Zach Stewart is perfect through six innings tonight against the Twins.
Stewart, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in July as part of the three-way Colby Rasmus trade, has struck out six batters and thrown 45 out of 65 pitches for strikes. This is his eight major league start.
The White Sox plated two runs in the top of the seventh to extend their lead to 4-0, an inning which also included a pitching change, so it will be interesting to see if the long break affects Stewart on the mound.
Stay tuned to see if the rookie right-hander can make a little history.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.
Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.
So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]
Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.
I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.
Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”
Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.
It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.