Pittsburgh made a pair of minor trades, acquiring right-hander Zach Stewart from the Red Sox for a player to be named later and getting right-hander Vin Mazzaro and first baseman Clint Robinson from the Royals for minor leaguer pitchers Luis Santos and Luis Rico.
Boston got Stewart from Chicago in the Kevin Youkilis trade, but designated him for assignment last week. He has a 6.82 ERA in 103 career innings, but Stewart has a decent track record in the minors and could emerge as a useful back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever.
Mazzaro is a similar story in that the Royals got him from the A’s for David DeJesus and then designated him for assignment following a 6.72 ERA in 72 innings. He doesn’t have much upside, but gives the Pirates some more pitching depth.
As a 27-year-old first baseman Robinson was never going to get a chance in Kansas City behind Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer, but he’s consistently crushed minor-league pitching and offers 20-homer power with good strike zone control. Robinson hit .309 with a .396 on-base percentage and .493 slugging percentage in two seasons at Triple-A, so it’s nice to see the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder go somewhere he might actually get an opportunity.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.