White Sox manager Robin Ventura suggested to reporters after Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Tigers that designated hitter Adam Dunn might be ready to return to the starting lineup Wednesday evening.
But Dunn failed to make it through batting practice on Wednesday afternoon, according to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, and has experienced little to no improvement in his sore right oblique over the past couple of days. A pain-killing injection administered Tuesday morning did not achieve its intended effect.
The 32-year-old slugger has been out since September 5 — a full week — and seems unlikely to appear in a game before the weekend. Dan Johnson, a .236/.335/.406 career hitter in the major leagues, is filling in at designated hitter on Wednesday against tough Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer.
Dunn is batting .208/.340/.485 with 38 home runs and 88 RBI through 133 games played this season. Chicago is currently clinging to a two-game lead over the Tigers in the American League Central standings.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.