Veteran right-hander Francisco Cordero was unable to land a ninth-inning gig this past offseason and instead settled for a setup job and a one-year, $4.5 million free agent contract with the Blue Jays.
But he was traded to the Astros as part of Friday morning’s two-team, 10-player swap and has now stumbled back into his more familiar role.
From Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle comes word that Cordero has been named the Astros’ new closer, filling the spot left vacant by Saturday’s Brett Myers trade. It’s another crafty move by ‘Stros GM Jeff Luhnow, who may be able to get a bit of young talent out of the 37-year-old Cordero if he proves capable of retiring batters between now and the August 31 waiver deadline.
Cordero posted a rough 5.60 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in his 35 1/3 innings with Toronto, but lineups in the National League Central are considerably easier to navigate than those in the American League East.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.