Lucas Giolito is buddies with Samuel L. Jackson, has Mace Windu lightsaber hanging in his room

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Samuel L. Jackson tweeted out an amusingly quasi-obscene congratulations to Lucas Giolito after the Nationals’ first-round pick agreed to a $2.925 million deal just moments before last Friday’s signing deadline and it turns out the actor is a family friend.

Giolito’s mom and dad are both actors and they live in California, so here’s what he told Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com:

My dad has played golf with him a bunch of times, he is actually friends with Sam. I was able to meet him and talk to him a couple of years ago. I have actually gotten a couple of presents from him. I got a signed Mace Windu light saber from him, the purple one. Those are the kinds of things I hang up in my room.

In related news: Lucas Giolito is 18 years old … and so is Pulp Fiction.

(Full disclosure: I had to ask Calcaterra if “lightsaber” is one word or two.)

Royals closer Kelvin Herrera leaves with forearm tightness

Associated Press
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The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.

Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball.  Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him  “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”

Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.

Albert Pujols sets the all-time record for home runs by a foreign-born player

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Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.

Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:

”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”

After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).