Happy 21st birthday to the American League’s best player


Happy birthday to Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who turned 21 years old today. Which means the best player in the American League–and reigning American League player of the month–can finally buy alcohol legally.

He leads the league in batting average (.348), steals (36), and runs (86), ranks second in slugging percentage (.598) and OPS (1.009), and rates third in on-base percentage (.411). And course he’s also an excellent defensive center fielder, which is part of how Trout leads all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement (7.4).

And he wasn’t even called up by the Angels until 20 games into the season. Oh, and officially this is actually Trout’s “age-20 season” because baseball uses a player’s age of as June 30.

For a birthday present I’m giving him this complete list of all the 20-year-olds in baseball history with an OPS above 1.000: Mike Trout, Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez, Mel Ott.

Nathan Eovaldi expects to pitch out of bullpen if Yankees reach ALDS

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
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Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.

Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.

There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.

Cardinals “optimistic” Yadier Molina will be on NLDS roster

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.

Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.

The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.