Don Cooper saves Adam Dunn from infamy

22 Comments

Adam Dunn is not in the lineup for the White Sox’ last game today. Nor was he in yesterday’s starting lineup. That — and many other offsdays recently — means that he will not get to 503 502* plate appearances. Which is key, because that’s what you need to qualify for the batting title, and if Dunn qualified for the batting title, he’d set the record for the lowest batting average for a qualifier of all time.

The record holder is Rob Deer, who hit .179 in 1991. Dunn is at .160, so if he had played yesterday and today, he would have stood a good chance at shattering the record.  Which would have been something of a shame because Rob Deer is fun to remember and 2011 Adam Dunn basically stinks of failure.

Enjoy the pine today, Big Donkey. It — and the mercy of interim manager Don Cooper — is saving your butt from infamy.

*Sorry. Rounding error/brain lock issues. 

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.